DENVER — One day after Denver Public Schools announced the decision to close Fairview Elementary School, residents living near the school in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood are bracing for the impact.
“I was born and raised here in Denver. I've lived in Sun Valley for two years. I've served as a city employee for the last 10 years," Dominic Diaz said. "Unfortunately, I was priced out, and it's only because of the affordable housing that was brought to the neighborhood that I'm able to return to Denver. So for me, Sun Valley represents my new home community."
Diaz, who’s daughter attends Fairview Elementary, says the school and neighborhood offer diversity not found in other parts of Denver.
“It's rich, and I feel like that is part of what makes Denver so beautiful, is there's vibrancy in this community. It's a melting pot of culture, and I think this is what the rest of Denver can look like,” he said.
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But Diaz says Fairview's closure has the potential to change the family-feel of his neighborhood.
“The commute is literally across the street. Now, we're going to have to find a new school — potentially merging with Cheltenham — concerns about transportation and getting our kids to school safely. Federal Boulevard is one of the most dangerous intersections in the city,” the father said.
Soon, hundreds more residents will call Sun Valley home.
The Denver Housing Authority (DHA) has two developments planned for the neighborhood, Thrive and GreenHaus. Thrive will begin leasing out units in a few weeks.
Before the final vote, Denver City Councilwoman Jamie Torres said in a statement:
"It is incredibly disheartening that Fairview Elementary School remains on DPS’s list of schools to close. [denvergov.us20.list-manage.com] It is deeply unfair and shortsighted— please reach out to the board before they vote at 5pm today to remind them there is still time to do the right thing.
The plan to close Fairview Elementary [denvergov.us20.list-manage.com] was poorly planned and executed, lacking understanding of how schools provide and build networks in neighborhoods like Sun Valley.
The Sun Valley Community has been historically neglected, sidelined, and dumped on for decades. DPS’s proposal perpetuates that unjust history.
We have been advocating and fighting for better resources for a long time and have recently made headway. The proposal to close Fairview Elementary does not make any sense considering the millions of dollars of investments that we have fought for (and already secured) to make this a stronger community for Sun Valley families. This decision creates further harm and pressure for families in already precarious positions. Further, it reinforces the mistrust people in distressed communities have in the systems that are supposed to support them."
“Sun Valley has borne the brunt of inequity in the city. This is poised to be Denver's next up and coming neighborhood,” Diaz said.
Diaz believes it’s a neighborhood that deserves a strong school.