gazette logo rev 500

By Adam Paul

When residents get involved and work with the city to make changes in their community, the impact of their efforts can sometimes be hard to see. But years of collaboration among residents, business owners and others to transform the West Colfax Avenue corridor in Lakewood and to benefit from the W Line have brought genuine changes to northeast Lakewood.

The impact of this collaboration is reflected in a high-profile award the city received recently called the Impact Award. Given by the Urban Land Institute of Colorado, the award is kind of like the Oscars for land-use, planning and development efforts, and Lakewood was picked to receive the first-ever award given in the “Inspire” category, which picked the project in the state that has most inspired the community and has a lasting impact in the public realm. You can get details about the award at Lakewood.org.

Awards are nice, but the results of this community effort are much more tangible than a trophy. It has resulted in the creation of the 40 West Arts District, which is flourishing with a performance theater, galleries, exhibits, the MuralFest event and new local businesses. The next great addition to 40 West will be the ARTline, a community-envisioned walking and bicycling experience marked by innovative art that will open in the summer of 2018. What I love is that this work is bringing the arts to all walks of life and incomes, and for the first time in a generation it’s reversing the long decline of what had been Lakewood’s “main street.”

Of course, much more work needs to be done on West Colfax. We all know that. But the momentum is really rolling. New residents are moving to the area, businesses are making investments such as at the Lamar Station Plaza, the long-standing home of Casa Bonita that now has a brewpub as a neighbor, a farmers’ market, new landscaping and other improvements.

As mayor, I also want to have an impact, and this year I’m focused on listening to our children and youth. As I emphasized in my State of the City speech, I want to hear directly from our kids about what they think of Lakewood. They can send me their thoughts and ideas at Lakewood.org/YouthVision. Visit the website to see what some kids have already told me, and please be sure to ask the children in your lives to reach out to me with their comments.

This is important to me because I believe that what we can do to make Lakewood better for our kids is what we can do to make Lakewood better for everyone. Please stay active and involved with Lakewood and your community because it really does have an impact.

Contact Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul at 303-987-7040 or apaul@lakewood.org.