Horse barn is part of Denver's past and future

The worn and weathered red brick fa├žade has stood witness to 120 years of Denver history. It has seen days when the building served as a busy horse barn for the Denver City Railway Company. In those days the intersection of 33rd Street and Arapahoe bustled with horse drawn street cars.

The building has also seen the decline of the Curtis Park neighborhood. Now, it is witnessing a rebirth of the community.

"We have a plan to turn this 19th century horse barn into a 21st century headquarters. A common command post for groups that do work all over the world," Andrew Romanoff, founder of the project, said.

The horse barn was purchased by the Denver Housing Authority in 2002. It was rundown and blighted at the time and there were discussions about leveling the old building.

When neighbors expressed a strong desire to preserve the historic structure, the Denver Housing Authority started looking for a way to use the building to reinvigorate the Curtis Park Neighborhood.

"We're hoping that we create vibrancy, a community amenity. There are going to be neighbors of all different walks of life coming and walking down the street," Melissa Rummel, development program manager for the Denver Housing Authority, said.

The renovation of the building is scheduled for completion in June 2013. It will then become home to 29 international organizations and Denver Urban Gardens.

"These are groups that do microfinancing, education, healthcare, community development, sanitation, agriculture, water, women's empowerment, leadership training, all in Africa, Asia or Latin America," says Romanoff.

The building will also feature a large meeting space for community meetings, lectures, films and cooking classes.

The project organizers have plans to name the building The Cunningham Center in honor of the late Noel Cunningham, a noted Denver philanthropist.

Once completed, the old building will have a chance to be a part of Denver's future.

"This is in some ways a portal to the world, a portal to the past and a portal to the future," Romanoff said. "This is a chance for us to celebrate Denver's history and to make a little history of our own."

For more information about the project, you can visit their website at:


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