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Group calls for revitalization on Colfax Ave. through millennials and artists

Our Colorado: Colfax looking at redevelopment
Posted at 10:02 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 17:01:02-04

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AURORA, Colo. -- In our growing Colorado, the increasing cost of living pushes people to look at more affordable suburbs like Aurora. Noticing the growth, community organizations are calling for artists, millennials and revitalization on Colfax Avenue, "the longest street in America," which sometimes gets a bad rap.

Along the busy street, pawn shops dot almost every corner for several blocks.

"You’re not going to come down here and get mugged. It’s safe to be here. We have great theater," said director of the Colfax Aurora Community Organization, Bob Hagedorn.

Hagedorn believes, along with other groups, that now is the time to redevelop.

"We have a very large millennial age population," said Hagedorn.

According to census data: 40,000 millennials live within a two-mile radius of Dayton and Colfax Ave., and he said they don’t have many places to go.

"What we are missing is a nightclub, is entertainment," said Hagedorn.

For many, those are lofty goals. One year ago, the City of Aurora acquired a building and named it the People’s Building and renovated it in the hopes it would bring more art and entertainment, even a restaurant to the area. It’s still appears to be struggling to find tenants.

Artist Rene Farkass has worked in this studio on Colfax Ave. for the last ten years. He agrees with Hagedorn’s idea, as seen in districts like RiNo or the Art District on Santa Fe, that attracting more artists like him will help push things along with redevelopment.

"Artists move in, development is sure to follow," said Farkass.

But the process has been slow.

"The community's changing and the revitalization of some aspects of Colfax has to pick up speed to adjust to the people that are moving in," said Farkass.

They hope as Colfax Avenue evolves it keeps its uniqueness.

"We have a lot cultural activities going on, but there hasn't been the investment yet," said Hagedorn. "We like the cultural diversity that we have here. We want to build upon that and we want people to invest in that."