Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood renamed to Central Park

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DENVER (KDVR) — Leaders in northeast Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood announced its new name Saturday morning: Central Park.

In June, the Stapleton Master Community Association voted unanimously to change the name following the in-custody death of George Floyd and the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

Residents submitted more than 300 names. That list was eventually narrowed down to two: Central Park and Skyview.

In the final election for the new name, 63% of neighborhood residents who voted chose Central Park.

Central Park is the current name of the largest park in the neighborhood, an RTD commuter rail station, a recreation center and a boulevard that runs for 4.5 miles through the community.

“Historically, with the monuments and stuff, I think America should have to live with its past. But in this case, I think a Klan member representing the community is not a good thing,” resident James Paul said. “I’m all for the change. I think Central Park is a good name.” 

Rename St*pleton for All, the group that led the renaming effort, says Saturday’s announcement is a huge step in the right direction but the group’s work is far from over.

“Changing the symbolic name is important, symbols are important, symbols have meaning. But the real work begins now and that is really changing the culture, changing the implicit biases, changing the policies in place,” said Michael McMurray, a board member of the group.

As part of the change, Stapleton United Neighbors plans to change its name to Central Park United Neighbors.

References to the Stapleton neighborhood will be updated in the City and County of Denver’s maps and planning documents.

Updating documents will likely take months and in some cases, they may need to be re-adopted by City Council.

The neighborhood is one of the city’s newest and sits on land formerly occupied by Stapleton International Airport, which was replaced by Denver International Airport in the 1990s. Portions of Aurora are considered part of Stapleton.

Benjamin Stapleton served as Denver’s mayor for five terms during the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

Stapleton was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He was one of several politicians who helped the KKK seize control of Denver and Colorado politics during the ’20s, according to The New York Times.

In August 2019, Stapleton residents and business owners rejected an initiative that would have changed the neighborhood’s name.

In 2015, Black Lives Matter 5280 also pushed for the renaming of the neighborhood.

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