Business Owners, Residents Discuss 16th Street Mall Future

By Dominic Garcia

DENVER (CBS4)– Business leaders teamed up with the public to give their opinions on what needs to happen as the campaign to revitalize the 16th Street Mall moves forward.

Sheila Cassil has operated the IT’SUGAR candy store on the 16th street mall for three years. If anyone is invested in the future of the mall, it’s her.

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(credit: CBS)

“It’s my home, it’s my livelihood, it supports my family,” she told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

On Thursday, business leaders like her met with city leaders, RTD officials, and members of the Downtown Denver Partnership to discuss the future of the 16th Street Mall.

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IT’SUGAR store manager Sheila Cassil (credit: CBS)

Brea Olson with the Downtown Denver Partnership says the mall was designed to have a 30-year life span… it’s now 35 years old.

“We’re here tonight to engage with the community and see what they want to see in terms of the 16th Street Mall,” said Olson.

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(credit: CBS)

The group discussed ideas like which material to use to replace roads and sidewalks, and the possibility of changing where the buses run. The Mall Ride currently runs in each direction along the 16th Street Mall.

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The free mall ride shuttle on the 16th Street Mall (credit: CBS)

“We could see those configurations shift in order to make it easier for pedestrians, to serve as a public space while still maintaining the transit corridors,“ said Olson.

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Brea Olson with the Downtown Denver Partnership (credit: CBS)

Olson says funding for projects like that is available from the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. She also says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has suggested funding be included in the general obligation bond that will go to voters in November.

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16th Street Mall (credit: CBS)

These groups have come together in the past to tackle issues like crime in the area, something that has plagued the mall for years.

But business owners like Cassil say increased patrols have made a difference. She’s able to stay open later because customers feel safe. In fact, she says her business is up 20 percent over the past year.

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(credit: CBS)

The hope is that by bringing all these players to the table, they can pay out a plan to give new life to the area.

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.

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