DENVER — The Master Community Association (MCA) announced on Sunday it is taking steps to remove the "Stapleton" name from the community and its operations.
"The current conversation regarding racism and social injustice has increased awareness and education within our community," MCA said in a statement. "It has become more clear that continuing with the current name is hurtful to many residents of all backgrounds and life experiences. As a community that aims to foster inclusivity, diversity and respect, maintaining the current name only serves to divide us."
Stapleton's namesake is a former Denver mayor who was a member of the KKK. The neighborhood has put the decision to change the name to a vote in the past, but the votes have failed.
Denver Public Schools Board of Education member Tay Anderson is one community leader who has said one of his goals is to change the name of the neighborhood. He tweeted Saturday that protesters would begin marching in the area if Stapleton did not change its name in the next week.
On Monday, the removal of the physical name had already begun. Community signs that would normally read "Stapleton" in bold are being removed, covered up or painted over.
MCA said 11 elected community delegates will meet on Wednesday to begin the process of removing the name. MCA's Executive Director Keven Burnett told 9NEWS, Wednesday's meeting is not a vote, but a chance for the board to set a date on voting the Stapleton name out.
MCA plans to work with Stapleton United Neighbors, the registered neighborhood organization, and the community to get input on what the new name should be.
The renaming process must also include the city and county of Denver and Brookfield, the community's developer, according to MCA.
MCA said the community delegates will vote to recommend the following actions to the board:
- Remove the name Stapleton from all branding, marketing and community outreach materials including signage.
- Update governing documents to remove the reference to Stapleton as the community name.
- Support Stapleton United Neighbors efforts to identify a new community name as quickly as possible, while permitting engagement with the community.
- Send a resolution to the city and county of Denver and Brookfield requesting the replacement of the Stapleton name with the new community name as the neighborhood identifier.
"It is our hope that by changing the name of the community, we will send a strong message that we are an inclusive neighborhood that does not support racism, hatred or bigotry," the statement reads.
Denver City Councilman Christopher Herndon, who represents District 8 which includes Stapleton, said in a statement he supports the community's efforts to change the name.
Herndon said he asked Mayor Hancock's office to remove Stapleton as the neighborhood identifier from City systems moving forward.
"I am encouraged to see the neighborhood coming together to work toward creating significant, lasting change," Herndon said in the statement. "I hope this step will be a first and not a last on the path toward practicing our values and ideals more fully."
Ultimately, MCA said, Brookfield Properties, the owner and developer of the Stapleton neighborhood, will have the final say on a name change.
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