DENVER — The Athmar Park Neighborhood Association is changing how residents overcome transportation barriers thanks to the support of a $200,000, two-year grant from Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
Southwest Denver’s Athmar Park is a diverse and dynamic community, in need of more active and healthy transportation options. The Athmar Park Neighborhood Association recognized this need for change and formed an Active Living Coalition of community members and stakeholders. This work was supported by an initial $75,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente.
The vision of the coalition is to encourage neighborhood residents to participate in community and transportation planning. The coalition engages residents in community planning aimed in part at improving active transportation and encouraging the use of healthy mobility options.
Last month, the Athmar Park’s Active Living Coalition received a 2018 Metro Vision Award from the Denver Regional Council of Governments. The Metro Vision Award program recognizes exemplary projects, plans and initiatives that significantly improve the quality of life in the Denver region and its communities. The regional council has been honoring outstanding achievements for more than 30 years.
“These grants from Kaiser Permanente will help Athmar Park become a healthier community,” said Ken Knoblock, Athmar Park Neighborhood Association president. “Receiving an award from DRCOG for our efforts validates our work to make our neighborhood an even better place to live, work, and play.”
Last year, the coalition conducted more than 90 outreach events, with a focus on engaging Spanish speakers, to understand the perspectives of more than 1,500 residents and identify the area’s most pressing transportation priorities.
The coalition completed an assessment of the existing community transportation options, collecting more than 1,000 data points, and presented a range of recommendations to community members of Athmar Park including:
- Slowing traffic
- Improving the streetscape along major intersections
- Upgrading lighting
- Facilitating bicycle and pedestrian access
The Coalition will also increase safety, accessibility, and the appeal of walking and biking through simple projects, including new vibrant murals along vacant walls, improved street lighting, bike parking stations and bike-maintenance workshops.
“If we can make these changes to the community, parents and their children will be able to safely walk or ride their bikes to work, the park, and community events,” said Knoblock. “The benefits are endless. All our neighbors will be safer, healthier, and better connected to the community around them.”
Kaiser Permanente awarded four nonprofit organizations $75,000 in 2016, to increase access to safe and accessible mobile routes to neighborhood destinations so more residents would walk, bike, or even wheelchair roll for transportation.
The grantees used the funds to build local coalitions, conduct neighborhood assessments of the infrastructure to support active transportation, and develop an active living plan.
All grantees — Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, Athmar Park Neighborhood Association, Bike Fort Collins and Localworks — received an additional $200,000, two-year grant to implement their plans for improving transportation access in their local neighborhoods.
About Athmar Park Neighborhood Association
The Athmar Park Neighborhood Association (APNA) is a Registered Neighborhood Organization and has official 501-c3 status. APNA has been in existence since 1991, is located in the city/county of Denver, and serves the people within the following borders Alameda to the north, Mississippi to the south, Federal to the west, South Platte River Drive to the east.
About Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for 49 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group—one of the state’s largest medical groups with more than 1,200 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our 660,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 31 medical offices across the state—from Pueblo to Greeley and in Summit and Eagle counties. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2017, proudly directed more than $122 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/share or follow us @kpcolorado or like us facebook.com/kpcolorado.