By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Families living in the neighborhoods around Mile High Stadium are excited about how the new Master Plan could help them to start a business. Awes Hussein and his wife, Hamida Bashir, have lived in Colorado for more than a decade.

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“They create an opportunity for us,” said Hussein, translating for his wife. “Then if we can get opportunity, that’s how we can use it.”

Originally from Somalia, they hope to open a restaurant cooking the food they love from their native country. Bashir cooks at the Sun Valley Kitchen. It creates a sense of community for the neighborhood and provides jobs for residents.

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“It’s a good neighborhood,” she said through her husband. “Everything is going to change.”

The couple spoke before the city council on Monday night to approve the plan. Council members voted unanimously in favor of the draft. City planners want to create a new neighborhood in the space south of the stadium.

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“Right now it’s a lot of space that’s not being used. It’s empty,” Hussein said.

Parking lots occupy the area for now, largely unused on most days of the year. The city argues it can keep the space dynamic during game days, even more engaging for Broncos fans. But the lots can go to better use the rest of the year, every day.

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The plan calls for housing and businesses in a mixed-use zone. It would also create a bike-friendly and walkable development. Improving transit and access to the water would also be included.

There is no timeline for the project but the city says implantation will now require the partnership with private investors to design the development.

“It’s very important because you have to take the first step,” Hussein said.

Shawn Chitnis