Mayor receives apology letter from ink! Coffee; debate over gentrification continues

DENVER -- Protesters shut down ink! Coffee in the RiNo/Five Points area Monday as the debate over a controversial sign the coffee chain posted continues.

The sign appeared to brag about being part of the gentrification process, which is viewed by many as controversial.

On Monday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock weighed in after receiving an apology letter from ink! over the weekend.

“I think ink! Coffee needs to truly look at itself,” Hancock said.

Hancock stressed the need for balance when neighborhoods transform.

“We have to have the audacity to believe we can move in and publicly improve the public space without involuntary displacing people -- it doesn’t have to be either or,” Hancock said.

The RiNo/Five Points area is not the first Denver neighborhood to experience the debate.

Neighborhoods such as LoHi and LoDo previously have been through what most would consider gentrification -- and now the neighborhoods are crown jewels of the city.

Tay Anderson, an organizer of recent ink! protests, said he knows people in gentrified areas that have been forced to move.

“Look how many people of color and Latinos do not live in those areas,” Anderson said.

Kim Rash, who works nearby, said RiNo’s development has been a positive.

“It’s a good tourist attraction,” Rash said.