303 ArtWay: History & Background
303 ArtWay is a proposed future pedestrian and bike trail connecting the RTD 40th & Colorado Transit Station to Holly Square in Northeast Park Hill. In its entirety, 303 ArtWay will be a 4 mile loop. The project is led by Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), a Denver-based nonprofit organization that uses affordable real estate to create equitable communities throughout the Greater Denver region. To date, ULC has 34 real estate investments ranging from affordable multi-family housing, early childhood education facilities, community centers, nonprofit office space and additional community serving spaces across. 303 ArtWay was first conceived in 2014 following ULC’s multiple real estate investments in Northeast Park Hill names at the Holly and at 40th and Colorado. The trail’s three main themes Art, Health and Heritage - originated from the community’s expressed desire for improved connectivity and increased cultural expression to highlight, preserve and expand the area’s local heritage.
As ideas for 303 ArtWay gained momentum, ULC was awarded a $250,000 planning grant from ArtPlace America in 2015. This grant launched the original conceptual design and community engagement processes for the future urban trail. That same year, ULC partnered with PlatteForum and Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC) to conceptualize and conduct early planning for the trail. The organizations worked with local residents and community organizations to determine how 303 ArtWay should be developed. We hosted multiple community events and collected over 1,000 surveys from local residents. Residents indicted the following top priorities as it relates to 303 ArtWay: health benefits, bringing public art to the community and connection to transit. Over 92% of respondents referred to 303 ArtWay as moderately important to extremely important.
In summary, 303 ArtWay will:
o Increase connectivity and mobility between 40th and Colorado and Holly Square, allowing Northeast Park Hill residents better access to the entire metro Denver region through the region’s expanding light and commuter rail network.
o Highlight local artists while focusing on Northeast Park Hill’s rich history, heritage and culture.
o Encourage walking, biking and transit use.
o Improve sidewalks and bike infrastructure, creating safer routes throughout Northeast Park Hill.
o Promote a healthy and active lifestyle. According to the 2014 Health of Denver Report, Northeast Park Hill residents experience a higher risk of medical conditions, including childhood obesity. Increasing activities such as walking and biking positively impacts a person’s health.
Where did the idea originate from?
The idea behind 303 ArtWay was originally sparked in 2014 following discussions Urban Land Conservancy had with the surrounding community around the long standing need for increased safety and connectivity in the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. As the idea of a pedestrian and bike trail gained momentum, local residents also expressed their desire for culturally inclusive art to highlight, preserve and celebrate the local heritage of Northeast Park Hill.
Who is Urban Land Conservancy?
Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) is a 16-year old Denver-based nonprofit with a mission to acquire, develop and preserve critical community real estate assets in urban areas for a variety of community needs such as schools, affordable housing, community centers and nonprofit office space.
Over the pasts 10 years, ULC has made significant real estate investments in Northeast Park Hill. These include the acquisition of the former Holly Square Shopping Center where ULC worked with the community to develop the Vickers Boys & Girls Club and the Roots Charter Elementary School. In 2013, ULC purchased ArtWay North (formerly known as Park Hill Village West) near 40th and Colorado. ULC partnered with Delwest to develop 156 units of affordable housing, which opened in 2016. Future development of the remaining 7 acres will include mixed income housing, commercial space and other community resources.
When will the 303 ArtWay be built?
The completion of 303 ArtWay is reliant upon ULC’s ability to raise funding for the infrastructure related costs of the trail. In 2019, the 303 ArtWay team will focus primarily on community engagement, art installations, pop up events, wayfinding, grant applications and establishing partnerships at both a City and neighborhood level. We hope to leverage our momentum this year for the implementation of sidewalks, bike lanes and additional art installations in 2020.
What amenities, businesses and destinations will be a part of the trail?
While the Northeast Park Hill community will help decide the exact route of the 303 ArtWay the following destinations are expected to a part of the trail: The Dahlia Campus for Mental Health and Well-Being, Vickers’s Boys & Girls Club, the Park Hill Golf Course, Prodigy Coffeehouse, the 40th and Colorado Transit Station and the Park Hill Station Apartments.
Why did ULC choose to focus solely on Northeast Park Hill?
303 ArtWay was originally envisioned as a 9 mile loop connecting various Northeast Denver neighborhoods. The trail was a multi-phase development, with the first phase targeted in Northeast Park Hill. Of the many communities that make up Greater Park Hill however, the northeast portion experiences the most significant lack of pedestrian infrastructure. For that reason, ULC decided that moving forward we will focus our efforts on the 4 mile loop connecting 40th and Colorado to Holly Square. This is also a neighborhood with a vibrant historical past, which we plan to capture in its entirety through a variety of artistic mediums, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of its residents both past and present.
Who will fund the trail?
Funding for the implementation of 303 ArtWay will primarily come from philanthropic organizations, city/state/federal funding and private donations.
Will this use existing sidewalks/bike lanes?
303 ArtWay recognizes the importance of leveraging partnerships and taking advantage of preexisting infrastructure. While 303 ArtWay will certainly utilize preexisting sidewalks and bike paths, a primary issue in Northeast Park Hill is the lack of pedestrian and biking infrastructure, creating the need for new infrastructure.
What benefit will 303 ArtWay provide?
Once completed, 303 ArtWay will increase connectivity, improve safety for pedestrian and bicyclists, promote health and wellness and celebrate the rich cultural history of Northeast Park Hill through artistic installations.
Who will decide the art that is included in 303 ArtWay?
Residents and local community stakeholders will be active decision makers for every public art piece. The 303 ArtWay team will hold regular community meetings in 2019 to ensure any person that wants to have a participatory voice in the art projects will have one. This process was in place for 303 ArtWay’s premier art installation beneath the 40th & Colorado overpass. Birdseed Collective led the design and installation of the mural, and was chosen through a public “call for local artists” process. This particular art project was funded through grants provided by both the City and County of Denver Arts and Venues’ “P.S. You Are Here” program and by ArtPlace America.
Where can I learn more about 303 ArtWay and stay up to date with community events?
To stay up to date with 303 ArtWay, please visit our website: www.303artway.org. You can also find us on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), a real estate based nonprofit serving Metro Denver communities, conceived of this idea based on long-standing community desires for better connections and more cultural expression to highlight, preserve, and expand the local heritage of neighborhoods in light of changes occurring across NE Denver. The 303 ArtWay seeks to fill existing gaps in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and create safer ways for communities to connect to transit, businesses in various neighborhoods, and ultimately the rest of the city by way of transit—while also being used as a forum to showcase Denver artists/public art and local history and heritage.