Original Aurora is a section of the city bordered by Yosemite Street on the west, Interstate 225 on the east, East Sixth Avenue on the south and East 25th Avenue on the north (see boundary map). The area includes a number of neighborhoods, along with the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Aurora Cultural Arts District.
Original Aurora Renewal (OAR), a program within the city's Community Development Division, serves as a neighborhood resource center that develops and implements comprehensive strategies that will revitalize the community. OAR helps neighborhoods in Urban Aurora help themselves to increase the quality of life and promote long-term community health, safety and resilience.
OAR Contact Information:
Martin Luther King Jr. Library/Municipal Services Center
9898 E. Colfax Ave., Second Floor
303.739.7929 or 303.739.7930
What We Offer
Community gardens play a significant role in the wellness of a community, meeting the needs of a fresh produce diet, exercise and socialization. Garden sites also foster a sense of belonging and attachment in both the lives of the gardeners and the life of a neighborhood.
Great strides have been made to increase capacity in the number of gardens available to a larger base of resident gardeners in urban Aurora, creating opportunities for residents to participate in cultivating their own food production, working together cooperatively and cutting their food budget costs. This effort is supported by Original Aurora Renewal, the city's Parks, Recreation & Open Space, Water Conservation Division and Denver Urban Gardens.
The Beeler Street, Blue Chair, Fletcher Community, New Freedom, Sanctuary and Spencer Garrett community gardens are growing and thriving in Original Aurora, tended by dedicated citizen gardeners hailing from the United States, Mexico, Nepal, Burmese communities, Africa, Bhutan and Korea.
Find out more about the city's support of community gardens throughout Aurora.
Free Seed and Transplant Program
OAR has participated in Denver Urban Gardens' free seed and transplant program, hosting a distribution site at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library/Municipal Services Center. OAR has directed the distribution of tens of thousands of seeds and transplants since 2012. This community pride project enabled gardeners to grow more fresh produce in more places within Original Aurora.
Community Pride Cleanup Events
OAR has provided staff support to:
- Northwest Aurora Neighborhood Organization (NANO) annual neighborhood cleanup for a dozen years
- Great Colfax Cleanup in April, in conjunction with the city of Denver and Aurora's Neighborhood Services Department
- Aurora Cleanup Day, directing the Lowry Park location
OAR has involved approximately 620 volunteers annually since 2001, engaged in their neighborhoods through community projects such as safety measures, events, the arts, community gardening and community representation.
As a community builder, OAR staff conceives, develops and implements OAR's community art projects within the Aurora Cultural Arts District. OAR has successfully directed six community art projects engaging thousands of people since 2004:
- Art on the Plaza
- Master Pieces
- The Chair Affair
- The Collection
- Masking Tape Masterpieces
- Chalk It Up to Art
OAR staff continues to support the growing arts district, recruiting artists and promoting the district through special events. View past OAR community art projects.
Northwest Aurora Lighting Project
A partnership between the Aurora Public Works Department, Xcel Energy and Original Aurora Renewal, the Northwest Aurora Lighting Project began in 2012 to improve lighting in streets and alleys to promote public safety, beginning with $125,000 from the Aurora City Council.
The project is coming to a close after far exceeding its original goal of 200 lights on existing utility poles in alleys. In all, the project has led to:
Tool Lending Program
- 23 additional mid-block lights
- 7 streetlights along Peoria Street from East Colfax Avenue to Montview Boulevard
- 570 alley lights, with all but 23 in service to date
The Tool Lending Program began 20 years ago and consists of more than 250 tools housed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 9898 E. Colfax Ave. Residents of Urban Aurora (East Sixth to East 25th avenues, between Yosemite Street and Interstate 225) can check out tools for free for up to seven days to make landscape improvements or simple home repairs. There are no electric, gas-powered or battery-operated tools available.
OAR welcomes large group checkouts of tools for community efforts such as school grounds or community gardens.
Tool checkouts are seasonal, from April through October, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Residents can call ahead to make arrangements: 303.739.7930.
Original Aurora Renewal Community Meetings
OAR partners with residents, local nonprofit and faith-based organizations, sponsors and committees to involve them in the planning of programs and projects that shape our community, such as their involvement in OAR's bi-monthly board meetings.
Meetings are held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library Community Room, 9898 E. Colfax Ave. Call 303.739.7930 for meeting topics or to RSVP.