Voting closes tonight for Stapleton property owners in a referendum to change the name of the neighborhood.
Activist groups like Rename Stapleton say residents have been trying to change the neighborhood’s name since development began in the 1990s.
The neighborhood was built on the site of the Stapleton International Airport after it closed in 1995. Developers kept the name, which came from five-term Denver mayor and Ku Klux Klan member Benjamin F. Stapleton.
In 2015, the local Black Lives Matter chapter created the hashtag #ChangeTheNameStapleton to start a discussion about the former mayor’s involvement with the KKK in the 1920s and ‘30s. After the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, community members formed Rename Stapleton to change the legal name of the neighborhood.
Executive director Liz Stalnaker said the goal is acknowledging the history and impact of KKK activity in Denver.
“We see organizing around the name issue is just one piece of a much larger puzzle that we want to do the work with, with other folks in our community,” Stalnaker said.
The Stapleton Master Community Association, which distributed the ballots, says a local accounting firm will tally and validate votes. If property owners agree to a change, the next step would be gathering community input and support for a new name.