Ken Schroeppel, an instructor in Planning and Design in the College of Architecture and Planning, is turning his passion for urban infill and design into a financial benefit for the University of Colorado Denver’s student chapter of the American Planning Association.
For the past year and a half, Schroeppel has led tours of Denver’s Union Station redevelopment project for a suggested tour donation of $10 per person. During that time he raised about $2,500 for the Union Station Advocates, a nonprofit formed to promote the project.
With that organization’s financial footing in good shape, Schroeppel, who began teaching at CU Denver this semester, noted that the APA chapter, which doesn’t receive university funds, was running a bit short on cash.
As of his Saturday tour on St. Patrick’s Day — tours are generally held twice a month — Schroeppel is now collecting tour donations for the CU Denver student chapter of the APA.
“I thought here’s an organization that is in need and it’s an organization I’m very familiar with,” he said. “Twelve years ago, when I was a student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at CU Denver, I was president of the APA. So it’s kind of a legacy thing.”
The tours attract an average of eight or nine people, and Schroeppel explains the Union Station project’s four elements: transportation/transit, private sector development, public spaces and the re-use and renovation of the historic building. It is a half-billion-dollar project that will turn the rail terminal into a multi-use transportation hub.
“The Union Station project represents the types of things we need to emphasize and achieve in our cities,” Schroeppel said. “Denver’s doing a good job in investing in transit and promoting infill development. … It’s a great example of what we need to do and what we teach in the planning program as examples of good urbanism.”
Schroeppel said he hopes the additional funds will allow the APA chapter to schedule events — such as speaker series — that promote its mission. He expects to keep the tours going for another year or two.
“I will simply take all the proceeds I receive from the tours and funnel that to the student chapter,” he said. “These are the students I see almost on a daily basis. These are the people that are important to me.”
Schroeppel is the founder and administrator of DenverUrbanism and its companion website and blog, DenverInfill. The popular blogs enjoy about 30,000 (DenverInfill) and 10,000 (DenverUrbanism) visits a month.
He most recently worked at as a redevelopment and urban renewal planning specialist at the Matrix Design Group before joining CU Denver. Schroeppel serves on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Denver Civic Ventures organization and the Board of Directors of Union Station Advocates.
He announces times and dates of upcoming Union Station project tours on his DenverInfill blog at www.denverinfill.com/blog.
(Photo: Ken Schroeppel joined the CU Denver Planning and Design faculty in spring semester 2012.)