DENVER – Work is now underway on Denver’s first major freeway project in 15 years. The Central 70 Project will eliminate a 54-year-old viaduct while lowering and covering part of I-70 with a park.
Unfortunately, many people living in and around the area where construction will occur have already moved out.
“We know some families are being bought out, some families are having repairs done to their home,” community activist Candi CdeBaca told Anne Trujillo on this weekend’s Politics Unplugged. “But to expand the footprint of I-70, a lot of houses were taken out through eminent domain, so about 5 percent of our residents were pushed out of the neighborhood.”
The project will cost $1.2 billion and will take four years to complete, although CdeBaca calls that a “conservative estimate.”
As part of the plan, the Colorado Department of Transportation has awarded a $2 million grant to the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea (GES) Affordable Housing Collaborative to support affordable housing in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. Much of the money will be used to create a scattered land trust.
“In a land trust model, the community land trust owns the land and the homeowner owns the structure,” CdeBaca said. “We have to find ways to maintain some affordability and the market is not allowing for that right now. A community land trust allows us to purchase land and then subsidize the price of the structure so that the affordability is permanent.”