East Central Area Plan


City Council adopted the East Central Area Plan in 2020, the culmination of three years of hard work by community members in Capitol Hill, North Capitol Hill, Congress Park, Cheesman Park, City Park and City Park West, whose efforts and input resulted in a truly community-driven long-term vision for these neighborhoods. 

Now in the implementation phase of the plan, Community Planning and Development is measuring and tracking outcomes related to the plan goals, policies, and strategies in the plan. 

The Plan in Action: East Central Area Plan

Adaptive Reuse

Through the East and East Central neighborhood planning efforts, community members identified adaptive reuse as an important piece of their community vision and priorities, particularly for older commercial buildings along East Colfax. Reusing an existing building, rather than demolishing the building, can help keep tenant rents lower than in a brand-new building, is more sustainable for the environment, and helps retain a neighborhood’s look and feel. The East and East Central area plans emphasized the need for dedicated technical assistance, among other tools, to support future adaptive reuse projects along Colfax. In response to this public input, Community Planning and Development began budgeting for an adaptive reuse program in 2022.

The East Colfax Avenue Pilot Program targets the conversion of underutilized commercial buildings into a variety of new residential and commercial uses along Colfax from Broadway to Yosemite.

Learn more about adaptive reuse in Denver

Apply for the East Colfax Avenue Pilot Program

Plan Documents

The plan addresses key neighborhood needs—supporting the local economy, housing affordability and services, safer streets, historic preservation and quality design, and the impacts of climate change—by providing policy recommendations that will guide city decision-making over 20 years.

Key plan recommendations

  • Strengthen the local economy by providing training for jobs in local industries, improving access to employment, and supporting locally-owned, independent businesses.
  • Make housing more affordable and make more options available to a wide range of families and individuals.
  • Improve services for residents experiencing homelessness and take steps to prevent more people from losing their homes.
  • Make streets safer and more comfortable for everybody by improving walking, bicycling and public transit infrastructure.
  • Increase historic preservation by making it easier to reuse existing buildings, creating more historic districts, and ensuring new buildings fit in with surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Reduce carbon pollution and create more climate-resilient neighborhoods by providing more opportunities for people to live and work near transit, adding shade trees, and taking a green approach to storm water management.

Planning Process

After three years of work and input by thousands of residents, neighborhood groups, local business owners and community leaders, the East Central Area Plan was adopted by City Council in 2020. This followed review by Council's Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Denver Planning Board and community members, who provided more than 10,000 comments over three years of collaboration, including 3,000 comments on three versions of the draft plan, helping refine and strengthen the vision for these neighborhoods. 

Background and Phases

The East Central Area Plan was the second plan adopted under the Neighborhood Planning Initiative (NPI), which was launched in 2017.

The Denver City Council adopted the East Central Area Plan on Monday, October 5, 2020, after a multi-year community engagement process that involved five planning phases:

  • Summer 2017 - Summer 2018: Existing conditions research and community listening
  • Spring - Fall 2018: Community input analysis, draft vision statements and community priorities
  • Winter 2018 - Spring 2019: Confirm community vision and priorities
  • Spring - Summer 2019: Share and gather community input on draft recommendations to achieve vision and priorities
  • Summer 2019 - Winter 2020: Updates to draft recommendations based on community input
  • Spring - Fall 2020: Community review of draft plan and legislative process



Public Meetings and Engagement

  • 6 community-wide workshops
  • 14 focus group meetings with local subject matter experts on key issues, such as small business
  • 11 online surveys and activities
  • 27 steering committee meetings open to the public
  • 24 RNO and other community group meetings to which we were invited to present on the plan
  • 6 office-hours sessions
  • 11 field surveys with community members
  • 27 newsletters to the plan email list
  • 3 informational items presented to the Denver Planning Board and broadcast on Denver 8
  • 81 locations and pop-up events provided with fliers and other printed materials advertising how to get involved in the process

Throughout the planning process, planners sought to engage the community in each of the East Central Area neighborhoods in a way that offered multiple convenient and accessible avenues for participation—in person at traditional meetings, at events where community members congregate naturally, as well as online. We surveyed participants and conducted research to ensure we were reaching every corner of these neighborhoods in all their geographic and demographic diversity, and when we have noticed gaps, we took specific steps to address them. Outreach was done at senior living communities, supportive housing for residents experiencing homelessness, an independent living center, schools, resources fairs, libraries, rec centers and other common destinations in the area. Spanish language interpretation, food and childcare were provided at every community workshop.

We also sought to be responsive to the substance of community concerns. At each point that community members asked for more time and outreach to comment on the first draft of the plan, we provided it, lengthening this process by a total of a full year and culminating in more than 3,500 individual participants and more than 10,000 comments.