When looking for the perfect place to live the search begins by narrowing down the areas that are desirable by criteria that are unique to your needs. That approach can include proximity to parks, school quality, the variety of shopping and restaurants, and cultural program availability and recreation opportunities. One might also add to the criteria list living in a Sustainable Neighborhood.
A western suburb of Denver, Lakewood offers much to be desired. Some say Lakewood has one of the best views of the Rocky Mountain Foothills. Others that Lakewood is one of Denver’s top places for outdoor activities. However, most would agree that Lakewood offers all who live in the region a plethora of benefits.
Parks and Recreation
Lakewood has more than 80 maintained parks including the 2600-acre Bear Creek Lake Park, which offers a large fishing lake, biking and hiking trails, water skiing concessionaire and picnic areas, and for mountain activates the Hayden Park on Green Mountain. For the golf lover, Lakewood has two public courses. For the drag race enthusiast, the Bandimere Speedway offer high-speed entertainment.
Culture and Art
Lakewood offers extensive cultural and art enjoyment activities at the 38,000 square foot Lakewood Cultural Centers theater and gallery, the Lakewood Heritage Center’s ten historic structures and outdoor amphitheater, and the Certified Colorado Creative District. The creative district, 40 West Arts is in the heart of Lakewood and includes over 20 public art installations, performing art venues and many galleries.
Shopping, Restaurants, and Movies
While the downtown Belmar area of Lakewood is relatively new, it has emerged as a go-to area for shopping, restaurants and catching a movie. Additionally, the Colorado Mills outlet mall offers something for anyone shopping for great deals.
In addition to excellent elementary and middle schools, Lakewood has outstanding high schools; Lakewood, Green Mountain, and Bear Creek, the Alameda International High School, and the Colorado Christian University. Close by in Jefferson County is an International Baccalaureate school.
You might be wondering what a sustainable neighborhood is and why it matters? According to the EPA, “Sustainability is a simple principle that all things needed for survival and well-being depend on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions in which humans and nature coexist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic requirements for present and future generation.” All people are responsible for protecting the natural environment.
In 2013, Lakewood developed The Sustainable Neighborhood Program to advance the city’s goals of sustainability and support planning efforts. The program encourages citizens to take action to enhance their community’s sustainability and to reduce its environmental footprint. Once established as a sustainable community, the residents earn credits for participation and for reaching project goals. The neighborhood can gain recognitions as a Participating Sustainable Neighborhood or as an Outstanding Sustainable Neighborhood. The program is a fun and dynamic way to get involved in improving your neighborhood, meet lots of new friends, and participate in creating a vibrant, sustainable community.
The Sustainable Neighborhood Program focuses on five distinct categories. The categories are water, air, land, energy, and people. Each neighborhood can choose from the goal areas and to create programs to fit their aims.
Many advantages that get realized from participating in the Sustainable Neighborhood program. The obvious benefits are neighbors coming together to work toward the common good and creating a lively place to live. Other advantages are that individuals can increase energy efficiency in their home, convert landscaping to water-wise plantings, organize holiday charity food and toy drives and the overall economic, social and ecological environment of the neighborhood gets strengthened.
Lakewood Sustainable Neighborhoods
Belmar District. The Belmar District’s boundaries are South Wadsworth Boulevard, South Pierce Street, West Alameda Ave and West Center Street. The citizens of the Belmar Sustainability District have chosen to focus on the following initiatives.
- Improve air quality by reducing neighborhood emissions and by improving the indoor air quality for the homes in Belmar.
- Minimize the output of waste through green purchasing practices, and by stepped up composting and recycling efforts.
- Improve citizen’s health and wellness by promoting active living, and by providing programs, events and classes.
- Encourage conservation through energy efficiency and better use of natural resources.
- Creation of the Belmar Community Garden and proved workshops to promote local food sources and urban agriculture.
- Build a community network to encourage communication and community building through outreach, events and education.
Eiber Neighborhood. Eiber’s boundaries are Oak Street, Wadsworth Boulevard, West Colfax and West 6th Ave, and this community earned the Outstanding Certified Neighborhood award in May of 2013. The citizen of the Eiber Sustainability Neighborhood has chosen to focus on the following initiatives.
- Create a school community garden at the Eiber Elementary School.
- To develop a resilience circle by hosting monthly potlucks that include sustainability speakers.
- Focus on preserving the neighborhood’s heritage through promoting Eiber’s history and identifying historic properties.
- Promote good land stewardship and native landscaping by encouraging wildlife habitat, protection of gulches and streams, noxious weed education, and with the Community Garden create a permaculture project.
- Create a volunteer literacy outreach program by partnering with students at Eiber Elementary School.
- To advocate for the Bike the West Rail Corridor with the goal of encouraging the use of bicycling as an alternate form of transportation.
Lake Lochwood Village. Lake Lochwood Village is the residential condominiums at the corner of South Kipling Parkway and West Florida Avenue and got honored as an Outstanding Certified Neighborhood in May of 2015. The citizens of Lake Lochwood Sustainability Village have chosen to focus on the following initiatives.
- To enhance the environmental quality by promoting environmental stewardship and sustainable landscaping through workshops on native plantings, harmful pesticides, and by touring relevant gardens.
- Focus on waste reduction and recycling through education about composting opportunities and by collecting hard to recycle items.
- Conservation of water and energy and therefore reducing the citizen’s ecological footprint through workshops, energy audits and upgrades.
- Develop a safety and resilience watch group for the health and security of the residences by providing emergency preparedness and by enhancing safety features in Lake Lochwood Village.
- Celebrate and build the community through exploring the areas heritage, maintain a neighborhood website for enhanced communication, and promote healthy living through group activities such as croquet, horseshoes, clubhouse photos and a lending library.
The South of 6th Neighborhood. The South of 6th Neighborhood boundary is Kipling Street, Wadsworth Blvd., West 6th Avenue, and West Alameda Avenue. Included is Green Mountain Heights, Mid-Lakeland Civic Association, Bonvue Neighborhood Association and West Alameda Heights. The citizens of The South of 6th Sustainability Neighborhood have chosen to focus on the following initiatives.
- Promote connecting the youth to nature, the neighbors, community, and the wider world around us, through park cleanups, bike workshops, fire station tours, nature nut event and summer movies.
- Protect the air, water, and natural ecosystems for the health and safety of the community through promotion of recycling and to provide zero waste stations at annual neighborhood picnics.
- Promote community sustainability through communication and outreach through a partnership between businesses and churches, create new resident flyers, and keep an up to date neighborhood Facebook page.
- Host monthly potlucks that offer education and discussion of various sustainability-related
Southern Gables Neighborhood. Southern Gables borders are South Garrison Street, South Wadsworth Boulevard, West Jewell Avenue, and Morrison Ave and got honored as an Outstanding Certified Neighborhood in May of 2014. The citizens of the Southern Gables Sustainability Neighborhood have chosen to focus on the following initiatives.
- Promote water wise practices by reducing consumption through replacing water wasting landscapes with native species that need less water.
- Reuse, reduce, and recycle through good neighbor practices to slash the trash.
- Promote a natural, healthy and sustainable life through G.A.B.L.E.S.: (Good health, Active, Beauty, Living Well, Eating Well, and Simplicity).
- Neighborhood book club to meet and discuss educational and entertaining subject areas of sustainability.
- Empower Southern Gable to make efficient, affordable and eco-friendly energy choices.
- Community connection for businesses and resources in the Greater Lakewood community to share ideas and information and to connect with other Sustainable Neighborhood Groups.
It can take a lot of work to find the perfect place to call home. My advice to any home buyer is to do your homework and learn all the relevant information that you need to know and that you want to have in a new community. Looking for a home in a sustainable neighborhood can offer added benefits beyond the walls of your new house. It might become your new perfect neighborhood as well. For more information about Sustainable Neighborhoods and for help finding your next home in Lakewood or the metro area, contact me today.