Around Town 8

Great Western Bank Among 
the Best

Despite the growth of online banks with their competitive rates and low fees, traditional brick-and-mortal institutions still appeal to many Americans. In fact, nearly 30 percent of consumers cited convenient branch locations near where they live and work as the top reason for staying with their bank, according to a 2015 survey by consulting firm Accenture. Great Western Bank ranked as one of the top ten best banks in America for 2016 based on criteria such as “yields, fees or other terms on check, savings and one-year certificate of deposit accounts” and “products offered, including auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, investment services and insurance services.” Great Western Bank is one of only two banks in the current top ten to offer free checking. Not only that, but Great Western Bank is the only bank on the list to have the highest BauerFinancial Star Rating possible (5). The bank also offers free online banking and bill pay, with 24-hour phone banking and free mobile banking. Its savings account has an APY of just o0.01% and its 12-month CD has an APY of 0.15%. So although it only has branches in seven states, Colorado should be thrilled to be home many of those branches.

Triumph for Ethical Fair Trade Nonprofit

To kick off their 35th year, longtime Cherry Creek North tenant, Ten Thousand Villages Denver (Villages), made a move in early February 2016. After 14 years in its current location, over two years of construction, road closures and difficult times the Fair Trade 501(c)3 relocated to 275 Clayton Street. Built on the idea that all people are entitled to a fair wage, Villages, works to create a sustainable income for artisans in developing countries and right here in Denver, CO. The local nonprofit showcases home decor, personal accessories, gifts, and Fair Trade goods from 38 developing countries and seven Colorado based Fair Trade organizations. Having moved just 225 feet around the corner, the new location offers 500 more square feet, a huge addition for the small retailer. March 2, 1981, in an old gray schoolhouse the prequel to Villages, More For Less Gift and Thrift Store, was opened to carry lightly used and beautifully crafted products from around the world. Out of the old schoolhouse grew the current 100% Fair Trade retailer. In 1997, the gift and thrift moved to Cherry Creek North and dropped the thrift section of their operations changing their name to Ten Thousand Villages. Since then the organization has grown the number of artisan groups they work with, the variety of product they offer and the global and local impact they are making.

Denver Kids Inc. Celebrates 70 Years

Since 1946, Denver Kids, Inc. has worked in partnership with the Rotary Club of Denver and Denver Public Schools (DPS) to support kindergarten through 12th-grade students in higher-risk environments – homelessness, poverty, attendance and behavioral challenges, single-guardian households– to help them graduate from high school, pursue post-secondary education and contribute to their communities. Seventy years later, the organization continues to serve as a leader in youth intervention and dropout prevention, connecting more than 1,300 students in 144 Denver Public Schools with Educational Counselors and volunteer mentors each year. The 70th anniversary of Denver Kids is an opportunity to reflect on the organization’s history and take stock of its seven decades of enduring achievements in “Accelerating the Potential in Every Child.” To commemorate this significant milestone, Denver Kids is launching a call to action for community-wide support to address their waitlist that currently grows by 20 students per month. The annual cost to support one student in the Denver Kids program is $2,750. “The long-term goal is to empower our young people to become contributing members of the community, and end the cycle of generational poverty one family at a time,” explained Denver Kids Board Chair Billy Brown. “It is a critical mission for them and for our local economy.”

Boulder Philharmonic in Denver

April is a big month for the Boulder Philharmonic with the premier of Boulder Philharmonic: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on Sunday April 24 at 2pm at Central Presbyterian Church in Denver. Bach never wrote and opera, yet his St. Matthew Passion is as theatrical and dramatically paced as anything ever presented on an operatic stage. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Boulder Phil, along with Central City Opera, Boulder Bach Festival and the CU college of Music present a semi-staged realization of this masterpiece. It is, without a doubt, a very human drama that examines core matters of faith, spirituality and life itself.

Investment and Redevelopment Continues

The newest Cherry Creek Area Development Report, sponsored by The Kenney Group and produced by the Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance and the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District, shows impressive numbers with seven projects completed in 2015 and another 15 projects announced or under construction as of February 2016. In summer 2012 the Cherry Creek Area plan was adopted.  The new area plan outlined a vision for a connected, distinctive, green and prosperous Cherry Creek, a vision that required updating outdated zoning rules for the one square-mile area, bordered by Colorado to University Boulevards and 6th Avenue to Cherry Creek South Drive.  The new zoning was unanimously adopted by city council in 2014 and has since paved the way for development and growth in the area. When planned and under construction projects are complete, Cherry Creek will see a 225% increase in residential units, 300% increase in hotel rooms, a 33% increase in square feet of office space and a 25% increase in square feet of retail space. “The Cherry Creek Area development report tells a unique story about the Cherry Creek area and the effectiveness of long-term place making efforts,” said David Steel, Chair of the Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance and President of Western Development Group.  “For decades, we saw minimal redevelopment activity in the area.  Now, with the new zoning in place, the area is one of the most desirable mixed-use, walkable urban nodes in the country.”