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Aurora advocates working to increase access to healthcare, generational wealth through community hub

Two advocates involved in the Aurora Community Health Commons project said they want community voices to be at the center of the coming developments.

AURORA, Colo. — Twenty-seven acres on the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Airport Boulevard, in Aurora, could soon become a source of healthcare, affordable housing, childcare and more. The Aurora Community Health Commons (ACHC) is a partnership between community members, Salud Family Health and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The project is centered on the promotion of health, wealth and overall wellbeing of the people who live in Aurora. 

Dianne Myles, an Aurora community member and ACHC's creative content organizer, said the vision is for this project to become a space where people can access healthcare and wealth opportunities for the people who have lived in the area for years, as well as for generations to come. 

"We’re not doing this unless community is involved and then for a development to be led by the community, I think this is one of the first of its kind," said Myles. "I don’t know of a lot of projects that really let community members really be the deciding factor." 

Shalelia Dillard is another community member in Aurora who is serving as a student ambassador for ACHC. She spent part of the morning on Tuesday talking to people who live near the site about what they would like to see developed. Childcare and a safe space for kids to play was a common answer. 

People have also expressed a need for more grocery stores and healthier food options. 

"Especially if health is a priority, like a large part of health is food, access to healthy food," Myles said. 

"This is how it should be done, there should never be a time when the developers come in and tell the community what they want," Dillard said. 

Myles said even the name of the commons will be up to the community and that "ACHC" was temporary name.  

"Community voice is the most important voice that we need to be listening to," Myles said. 

Myles, Dillard and others working on this project are currently seeking public input from people who live in Aurora. You can take the survey up until Nov. 15. They hope to begin developing plans for what the site will look like in 2022. 

There are also in person round-tables that happen once a month. You can RSVP for them here.

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