DENVER -- Cathy Prieto’s family has owned a home in La Alma Lincoln Park since the 1960s.
“It is a good community. It gets better with every year,” said Prieto.
It's a home she didn’t think she’d spend most of her life in.
“I never planned on staying here forever, but when my mother passed away, she said try to keep it as long as you can,” Prieto said.
As years passed, her home became an important piece of her family, one she knew she couldn’t let go, especially with the construction of new homes in the neighborhood.
“I was getting cards every day, every single day, people wanted to buy my house, and they were piling up and piling up and it was starting to bother me, because I was getting scared,” Prieto said.
Prieto decided to join a group of residents fighting to make La Alma Lincoln Park a historic cultural district. A district to pay tribute to Denver’s Chicano movement and preserve its history. The only other neighborhood in Denver to receive such designation is Five Points.
“The district designation would mean that the homes get to remain intact. The character remains intact, and it also honors the cultural heritage, the cultural history that is here in this neighborhood,” said Shannon Stage with Historic Denver.
The proposal would protect buildings from Denver’s early development days in the 1870s through the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Homeowers could still make changes to the existing structure.
These protections are also important to Felix Herzog. He moved to the La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood from Sloan’s Lake, a place he says lost its charm after new builds took over.
“Things started to change. You had people buying and selling small corner lots, and suddenly the house was gone, and then it was two houses, gone. And soon the entire block was just two-story, new mass-produced just condos and row homes,” said Herzog.
Gaining historic cultural designation would also allow for plaques to go up near areas of importance to help keep the stories of the community alive.
They're stories that Prieto is a part of, and stories that won’t disappear for decades to come.
“It is the soul of the neighborhood. La Alma has always been the soul,” Prieto said.
On Monday night, Denver City Council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance designating the La Alma Lincoln Park Historic Cultural District as a district for preservation.