Church leaders call on 'higher power' in fight against I-70 expansion project

The latest in on-going ‘Ditch the Ditch' effort

DENVER – Members with the Shorter Community AME Church and those living along the planned I-70 expansion route spent their Sunday morning at a special worship service.

The congregation and their guests called on a "higher power” to help in the fight against the Colorado Department of Transportation’s project that would expand the highway to ten lanes and get rid of the old viaduct.

The plan involves a 10-mile stretch of I-70 from the National Western Complex, East to Chambers Road in Aurora.

“We're connecting because we understand. Because we've been there in our history,” Senior Pastor Reverend Doctor Timothy Tyler told Denver7. “We understand the issues of gentrification. We understand the issues of people being forced out of neighborhoods.”

His church opened its Park Hill doors to Globeville and Elyria-Swansea families.

“That community has suffered greatly already,” Slavica Park said. Although she doesn’t live along the planned route, she works there at Focus Points Family Resource Center.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the community. First and foremost, how -- personally -- they’re going to be impacted with the construction,” she said.

The fight against development continues. Many who attended Sunday morning’s service hope it isn’t too late for CDOT to change direction.

Others asked where they are supposed to go when they’re eventually forced from the only home they know.

“This is not about what the mayor or the council will do, this is about believing what God can do,” Dr. Tyler said to church-goers.

He added, “We believe there's a higher power that can do better work than we can do... and that's the God that we serve.”

Several lawsuits have already been filed against the project.

Both developers and people along the planned route have argued environmental impacts and Civil Rights violations.

CDOT, however, has made it known they plan to move forward with construction. They said in a July statement that they are confident it will stand up to any legal challenge.

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