When Jill Chen moved to Denver from China and became a U.S. citizen 10 years ago, she started Zume Asian Cuisine near Chambers Road and Interstate 70.
“I said, ‘I’m young. I can own the business, I can get some money,'” said Chen. “To support my family, the kids and my parents. It is very important to me.”
The single mother of three says it has been a success thanks in large part to the neighborhood the restaurant is in. Her customers love to come in for a succulent Chinese meal.
“The people, they are very nice and they help me a lot,” said Chen.
Recently she learned the City of Aurora bought the Crowne Plaza Hotel across the street to build a shelter for the unhoused. She says initially she thought it was a great idea.
“Oh, obviously, of course is very good for the homeless,” said Chen.
But then she started thinking about how it might affect her livelihood.
“I’m worried about my business going bad or something,” said Chen.
The City of Aurora says they will work with residents and business owners near the site. In a statement they say:
“Some outreach about this project has been ongoing and is in its beginning stages, with more outreach anticipated. We will connect with nearby businesses, residents, and other stakeholders, including those in Denver, to create good neighbor plans. We will use a variety of methods such as public meetings, calls, social media, and traditional media. We encourage people to visit EngageAurora.org/NavigationCampus and sign up to receive updates on this project.”
Jill says she hopes that she doesn’t lose the business she spent a decade building.
“I hope the government can help me somehow. And if they don’t. Okay. I cannot do the restaurant here anymore,” said Chen.