Urban Renewal Project Gives Blocks a Makeover for a Day
An empty store becomes a restaurant. This building becomes a bicycle rental business, where people make fruit drinks. This is 25th Avenue in Denver, Colorado, an older part of the city where few people live. Community activists have changed the area, but only for a day. They are taking part in a national effort called the "Better Block Project." Volunteers worked for months to show how some neighborhoods can be brought back to life. GOSIA KUNG: "This is a kind of low-budget way to create this environment without asking for a million dollar grants." Gosia Kung heads a citizen's group that is working to improve some Denver neighborhoods. Volunteers have added benches and plants. But only for a day. GOSIA KUNG: "Actually everything has been borrowed to us. So it has to go back . The trees, the flowers -- it will all go back on Monday." This food truck sold pizza. People ate on sidewalk tables. WOMAN: "I'm going to take my pizza into one of these cool, little sitting spaces, and that'll be like a European Cafe!" Francisco Bustamente, a store owner, is pleased with the changes. FRANCISCO BUSTAMENTE: "I like this project. I like the party." Mary Mackey has operated an art studio in the neighborhood for twenty years. She liked the changes, but she is not sure if others will. MARY MACKEY: "It'd be nice to get out of our cars and be able to bike and walk more places, but we're just not that dense of a population like in Europe, so, it's a little more difficult." Mary Mackey thinks any changes would only be temporary. MARY MACKEY: "The trees, yeah. Benches, I don't think they'd last very long -- they'd either get graffitied or stolen." Activists are seeking full neighborhood approval of the changes. GOSIA KUNG: "We're working with local business owners on establishing a business improvement district, to raise funds and raise support to make these improvements permanent." I'm Shirley Griffith.