Residents deciding whether to shun Stapleton name with KKK ties

217
A Stapleton resident rides his bike through the neighborhood, July 15, 2020.Those in the neighborhood will be voting from a choice of nine names to rename the neighborhood.
Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

DENVER  |  The Stapleton neighborhood will vote on a list of nine names to replace its current association with a former mayor known for his Ku Klux Klan connection.

The available options are detailed on the site run by the neighborhood organization, Stapleton United Neighbors.

The neighborhood was named for former Denver Mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton and was built beginning in 2001 on the site of the former Stapleton International Airport.

Stapleton served as mayor for a total of 20 years between 1923 and 1947 and was a member of the KKK.

More than 65% of voting property owners opted to retain the Stapleton name in a referendum last summer. However, the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, and ensuing unrest in Denver and across the country, renewed discussion of a name change for the neighborhood.

Potential new neighborhood names include Mosley, to honor John Mosley, a Tuskegee airman during World War II, and his wife, Edna, a former Aurora City Councilperson and civil rights activist; Meadowlark, for a species of bird native to the area with ties to indigenous history; and Peterson, in memory of Helen Peterson, who advocated for civil rights for American Indians and was tasked with reorganizing the National Congress of American Indians at the request of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Owners and renters of Stapleton property can vote until Saturday. That recommendation will be followed by a vote by a community board of directors. Brookfield Properties Development, the community’s master developer, and the city and county of Denver need to approve a name change.

Former gubernatorial candidate and state treasurer Walker Stapleton, the great-grandson of the former mayor, said in June he supported a name change if it “brings more equity, fairness and opportunity” for Denver residents and Colorado residents of color.