DENVER — A newly-formed neighborhood association representing residents in Denver's Upper Downtown neighborhood hopes to tackle issues of safety and cleanliness.
Long-time residents Rob Squire and Lisa Pope founded UpDoNA, or Upper Downtown Neighborhood Association, in December.
"Our mission is to make Upper Downtown one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in which to live and work," Pope said Tuesday.
The group is focused on giving residents in the neighborhood formerly known as Central Business District a voice they haven't had before.
Its boundaries stretch across West Colfax Avenue, Speer Boulevard, Lawrence Street, 20th Street and North Broadway.
"Our vision is to work with our neighbors and business leaders, alongside city council, Mayor Hancock, the police department, social services, homeless agencies, to start addressing some of the issues that we now face," Pope said.
Upper Downtown's image has been plagued recently by an explosion of crime and a growing homeless population. Data from the Denver Police Department shows violent crime offenses increased nearly 110% between 2017 and 2021.
"We want to get smart. We want to understand what's the basis for the problems that we're hitting so we know where to focus our efforts," Squire said.
Since starting its membership drive last month, the association already has 80 members. Squire and Pope hope to increase that number and represent more than 20 residential buildings to get the strength in numbers they need to make a change.
"We're vested in Downtown. We love it. We're not going anywhere. We want to make it great," Pope said.
The group has already met with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and a Denver Police commander.