Lower Downtown District, Inc.

Who Speaks For LoDo?

Jul 18, 2000

In the beginning (pre-Historic District) there were three competing neighborhood associations in Lower Downtown. Once the Historic District was established, the three organizations called a truce, merged and formed the Lower Downtown District, Inc. (LDDI). Residents, business and property owners joined LDDI to discuss, debate and (sometimes grumpily) cooperate as they guided the neighborhood. For a while there was no question about who spoke for LoDo. Today, as Lower Downtown evolves, becoming more and more diverse, there are again three organizations claiming to speak to its needs. And that creates confusion in our mixed-use ecosystem where, like it or not, one life-form can not exist independent form cannot exist independent of the others.
At a recent liquor license hearing, the St. Charles Neighborhood Group, and exclusively residential organization, identified itself as THE registered neighborhood association of Lower downtown. The participants at that proceeding heard an organized voice and it was not the voice of LDDI, nor was it the voice of mixed-use. The applicant, a business person, experienced just now influential a group of citizens can be when it chooses to involve itself in the business of the community. This business person, like most, intends to affiliate himself and his establishment with those who have influence-who have intention, passion and wherewithal to make things happen?…or not let things happen. In this particular instance, LDDI, unsure of its role, was missing in action. Only a few individuals showed up to speak on behalf of mixed-use.
It appears from this confusion that with a single neighborhood organization with a broad membership base and Board of Directors devoted to understanding the unique challenges of LoDo can surely accomplish more on behalf of its members and users than three competing and overlapping groups. LDDI, which has taken the lead so often should look to its roots, call a truce and lead a community forum to explore a merging of all the diverse interests of our neighborhood into one central organization that maximizes resources (both financial and human) and respects, understands, promotes, preserves and protects what our neighborhood is all about-mixed use.

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