Anna Jones is the new Executive Director of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, a collection of six major redevelopment projects in Denver’s Corridor of Opportunity. Since its creation in 2013, the NDCC has achieved notable milestones including completing design for Brighton Boulevard redevelopment, completion of the National Western Center master plan, and having neighborhood plans in place for Globeville and Elyria Swansea.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
The projects that fall within the NDCC portfolio are not small or timid – they are big and visionary. Being part of an effort that is borne of the understanding that the tremendous opportunities that come with the rapid growth facing Denver also create many challenges and pressures that can destabilize neighborhoods – is a big responsibility. I am passionate about Denver, its character and history, and I think this position gives me an opportunity to help shape a place that is better for every one of its residents. The plans Kelly Leid and his team have created in the 3 years have created a thoughtful and exciting framework and I consider myself lucky to be part of the team involved with implementation those plans.
What is your first priority?
Listening first and foremost to the residents of Elyria, Globeville and Swansea to ensure their priorities are being heard. These neighborhoods have been underinvested for such a painfully long time that getting them to par with the rest of Denver in terms of basic infrastructure: curb, gutter, maintained roadways – is a heavy lift in and of itself. In addition to establishing a “base level” of infrastructure investment, I’m excited to work with the communities to facilitate better access to the South Platte, improve parks, and look for near-term strategies to address rising housing costs, provide greater access to fresh food, and leverage opportunities to provide more workforce and job development opportunities.
What would you like people to know about the NDCC or a specific project (particularly that you think is not well-known)?
Watching efforts unfold that will physically reconnect the neighborhoods of G/E/S to the City of Denver via better bike, ped and vehicular access. I am excited to watch planning unfold for Washington Street through the Globeville neighborhood. Washington Street is many things to many people, and addressing all the needs – from industry, to kids walking to school, to business development – will be a challenging and rewarding effort. No matter what the outcomes, I hope creative strategies can be implemented in the near term.