Shared Space at the HollyShared space and collaborative programming are key elements of the Holly Area Redevelopment Project (HARP) in Northeast Denver. The HARP Vision Plan recognizes that successful reinvestment strategies must involve coherent, collaborative efforts to deliver community-building services to address the area’s multiple issues simultaneously - in education, public safety, and community development. This approach requires expansion of non-profits to serve the neighborhood with capacities that make a substantial difference in the community’s overall health. As a partner in the Denver Shared Space Project (DSSP) and an organization working to preserve critical community development opportunities in Denver’s urban core, the property owner Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) and its partners at the Holly support sustained investment in rebuilding the social fabric of the community.
With the recent announcement of Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver coming to the Holly, HARP is moving forward with the redevelopment of the Holly. The Boys and Girls Club has been very vocal in its support of the collaborative efforts that have occurred to date. President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club John Arigoni stated that they are looking forward to working with the community to create space and youth programming that will complement and not compete with the community assets that already exist.
With this $5 Million Anschutz Foundation investment, Boys and Girls Club is leveraging ULC’s $1 Million investment at the Holly to date to create the Nancy P. Anschutz Community Center. While the Community Center will be across the street from the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center, there is a need for facilities, said Arigoni. “It's a matter of synergy. Rec centers serve a wide variety of folks and they really can't focus on kids — we can," he said. "It's really good to be close by. Our offerings will be coordinated with each other and we'll very much complement each other."
At the February 14th press conference regarding the Boys and Girls Club announcement, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock singled out one of the members of the neighborhood, Terrence Roberts.
Roberts, Executive Director of the non-profit organization The Prodigal Son Initiative, has put together interim uses with the Holly basketball courts on the west side of the property in 2010 and in 2011 added the colorful and complementary peace mural and peace poles. Prodigal Son is working to raise additional funds to complete the mural as well as add a small play area, benches, concrete chess/checkers tables, chairs, and shade canopies.
As interim uses, the basketball courts and mural that Prodigal Son has assembled will be used to compliment the work and facility of the Boys and Girls Club. In the long term, Prodigal Son intends to share as much space as possible within the Anschutz Community Center, maximizing the space utilized for area youth and complementing other positive work done in Park Hill. The Boys and Girls Club will use 22,000 to 24,000 square feet of the total 30,000 square feet in the Nancy P. Anschutz Community Center, leaving 6,000 – 8,000 square feet for other organizations such as Prodigal Son.
“Non-profits interested in sharing workspaces and improving program delivery to the Northeast Park Hill community were encouraged to get involved in the Denver Shared Space Project,” said Aaron Miripol, President & CEO of the Urban Land Conservancy, the property owner. “We are excited about each project we undertake, but we are particularly enthusiastic about this property because of the passion and strong sense of community in this neighborhood.”
The Denver Shared Space Project is built upon strong collaborative efforts like this one. John Arigoni remarked, “This has been the most impressive process I have ever witnessed — the way the community came together.”
Quotations drawn from Denver Business Journal, Denver Post, Greater Park Hill News, Denver CBS, Denver ABC, Front Porch, and other sources.