Dear family, friends and community,
Every month I/we witness the city of Denver, my birthplace, change and not necessarily for the better. The homeless rate is going up, the arts become more limited, and inaccessible and staple businesses in the community have closed their doors due to increasing rent. The Five Points District is truly the heart of Denver and it is getting bought out by hotels and corporations that have demolished the historic and rich culture. If Five Points or "RiNo" is not revitalized I fear that what makes Denver truly special will no longer exist. With the community's help, we will create a hub to showcase the many artists and tastemakers in Denver and sustain the rich culture to keep this extremely historical district intact. The building located on 27th and Welton will be an emporium for local goods, performances, and acts of service to the community.
Why save Five Points?...
"Five Points came to historical prominence from the 1860s through the 1950s. The neighborhood was home to a number of Denver's leaders, housing mayors, governors, and prominent business people, as well as middle-class laborers.
It developed as a predominantly African-American neighborhood because discriminatory home sale laws in other areas excluded black people. African Americans migrated to the city, many first working for the railroad, which had a terminus here. They were part of the Great Migration of the 20th century out of the rural South to northern, midwestern and western industrial cities for jobs and other opportunities.
Welton Street was also home to more than fifty bars and clubs, where nationally known jazz musicians, such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and others performed. Black performers excluded from other hotels in Denver stayed at the Rossonian Hotel, built in 1912. They also performed there and it became known as a famous music venue.
"Five Points is a vibrant multicultural area with cool dining and nightlife. Soul food eateries, relaxed cafes, and lively pubs line Welton Street, also home to the Roxy Theatre and Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, with hip-hop and indie acts. Nearby, the Black American West Museum tells the story of African-Americans in the pioneer era. Families enjoy the playgrounds and summer outdoor pool in Mestizo-Curtis Park."
From the late 1950s through the late 1990s, the Five Points community suffered changes and decline as wealthier residents moved to newer housing in the postwar suburban boom. In addition, the growth of drugs was associated with crime and urban flight. Suburban housing and retail development drew many people out of the neighborhood. As the population declined, so did businesses, and many properties were abandoned. The redevelopment took place in other areas, as the larger market found local business conditions unappealing. Attempts at redevelopment were made, but there were many hindrances to reinvestment."
Five points was/is considered the "Harlem of the West" a place where free black people could be successful entrepreneurs and live safely in a community built by and for the community. It was a sufficient society including all cultural needs such as; a bank, restaurants, clubs, a billiard, and even a mortuary (just to name a few). The street was lined with all successful black-owned businesses and thrived. This is not the case anymore. Gentrification is buying Welton st., raising rent prices and demolishing businesses to build huge hotels that seem to lack character and pay homage to the historical street. Welton st. is Denver's Burbon st, Broadway st., Hollywood Blvd. Without this street, Denver would not be the place that so many seek to come to. It was an El Dorado, not only for gold but for safety and freedom for many. I believe that Five Points is one of the many wonders of our world and it desperately needs to be restored and vitalized. As the city of Denver grows it is my hope that the culture will too grow and not be erased.
What will the funds go towards?...
The funds will go directly toward the lease($4000+mo)/initial renovations($10,000+) of this building in the Five Points Historical District in Denver. The money will be used to open a local goods emporium in the heart of Denver to keep the cultural heritage intact and vibrant. The money will also be used to highlight/pay
local tastemakers and provide resources to those in need (food, health testing, wellness services)
What is the vision?...
People will be engaged with the arts and history of The Five Points District. Local businesses will collaborate together to host neighborhood events and offer volunteer services to the community and those in need such as free food, clothing drives, health & wellness services, job fairs. People will frequently visit the Five Points District to engage with the community and have a safe place to explore the culture of Denver.