La Alma/Lincoln Park: Denver, Colorado

Summary

La Alma/Lincoln Park is one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods, with a strong sense of heritage and community. Dating back to the 1850s, the community is well-known for its Hispanic and Latino heritage. It is a mixed-use neighborhood at the heart of Denver. It benefits from a variety of housing types, diversity of land uses, historic resources, proximity to downtown, presence of transit, strong job base, the Santa Fe Arts District, welcoming parks, and a broad range of cultural and public facilities.

Designated Area

Bounded by West Colfax Avenue on the north, Speer Boulevard on the east, West Sixth Avenue on the south, and the South Platte River on the West.

1st Friday in Santa Fe Arts District. Photo by Karen Good.

Planning Excellence

In the 1970s and 1980s this once-thriving community experienced poverty and crime rates much higher than the city and national averages. Since that time, a number of forces combined to bring the neighborhood back to its former glory. Arts and culture have helped transform the neighborhood into a fresh, vibrant, and eclectic community and a popular tourist destination. The Santa Fe Arts District has played an important role in the area's transformation into a community of innovation, creativity and prosperity. It is home to many eclectic businesses including painting, ceramics, photography, performing, arts, mixed media, sculpture, and fashion.

The neighborhood is currently undergoing changes with the rebirth of the South Lincoln Park Homes. Mariposa (formerly known as South Lincoln Homes) is owned and managed by Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and contains 270 public housing units on 15.1 acres. DHA's redevelopment plan is being implemented with a mix of housing products, a range of income levels, and sustainable and innovative design features. The goal for the redevelopment is to create an energized transit community with environmental suitability goals, cultural diversity, and close proximity to downtown, offering a spectrum of housing options.

Historic homes on 10th Avenue and Lipan Street. Photo by Karen Good.

Defining Characteristics, Features

Art and Cultural Centers

  • The Colorado Ballet (1951) plans to open a 30,000-square-foot building on Santa Fe Drive as a new home for the company
  • Centro Su Teatro (1971) is the region's first theater dedicated to the art and culture of Latinos and has established a national reputation for productions that represent the history and experience of Chicanos
  • The Museo de las Americas (1991) educates the community about the diversity of Latino American art and culture through exhibitions and programs; the museum boasts a collection of over 4,000 items from Pre-Columbian to colonial to contemporary
  • Art District on Santa Fe (2003), located along Santa Fe Drive, features over 70 art galleries, studios, restaurants, theaters, and other creative businesses and organizations
  • Art Students League of Denver offers classes to artists of all abilities and has a commitment to outreach into communities across Denver
  • Metro State University's Center for Visual Arts is an off-campus art gallery that features contemporary art and serves as an art laboratory for students and the wider community

Planning

  • Opening of the light rail station at 10th and Osage (1994)
  • Creation of the Santa Fe Arts District (2003)
  • La Alma/Lincoln Park Neighborhood Assessment (2006)
  • Reconstruction of 11th Avenue, which connects the 10th and Osage light rail station and Santa Fe Arts; facilitates transit oriented development (2009)
  • La Alma/Lincoln Park Neighborhood Plan (2010)
  • La Alma Recreational Pool reconstructed (2012); existing pool and pool house have been replaced with a new regional aquatic facility and pool house
  • The Santa Fe and Kalamath Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Study helped identify pedestrian and cyclist movements and impediments to movement,¬†proposing near-term, implementable solutions within the study area (2013)
  • Current redevelopment of South Lincoln Park Homes into Mariposa Development (2010-2018)

Events

  • First Friday Art Walk attracts over 5,000 patrons per walk to the Santa Fe Arts District where people can enjoy great art while listening to live music and sampling delicacies from an array of food trucks
  • Third Friday Collector's Preview offers a more intimate version of First Friday, providing an opportunity to see art and meet the artists and owners without large crowds
  • Annual neighborhood picnic held each June

Cherry Creek Trail. Photo by Karen Good.