Guest Column

Changes and challenges leading to a very bright 2017 for Wheat Ridge

Posted

This last year has been the year of the community! What a great year we've had.

This year we really came together and talked about the things most important to us. Community events, district meetings and chats over coffee were in abundance throughout 2016. We also held many City-sponsored public meetings, where we asked questions and shared our thoughts.

We had bike racing and bike touring, parades and fireworks, scary creatures lined up handing out candy from the trunks of cars, and Frosty the Snowman leading a sing-along as he helped switch on our holiday lights. When it came to the serious work, our community came out in large numbers for the big decisions. You helped determine the future of our parks, our developments, and our policies. We also saw a strong showing at the voting booth - our community made a clear statement about their investment in the future of our City.

What about 2017 and beyond? Investment brings new opportunities for development beginning as early as next year, and we can expect many public discussions. Improvements to Anderson Park will probably be first on the list, followed closely by Clear Creek Crossing. Planning for Wadsworth Blvd is well under way and property owners will have opportunities to review significant changes that will strengthen their businesses. Two new developments are slated for early 2017. These include The Corners at Wheat Ridge located at the southwest corner of 38th and Wadsworth and the West End 38 project at 38th and Upham. Watch for updates on those projects.

We've seen some delays due to the computer issues with the A Line, however, RTD assures us that the G Line commuter rail will open and our community will enjoy the freedom of access to downtown or to the airport while leaving cars parked in Wheat Ridge. The area around our commuter rail is planned as a center for innovative development designed for companies seeking access to a strong workforce and the I-70 corridor.

There will be new apartments built that appeal to young professionals and those creating the next generation of core families. Residents are more focused than ever on community and "place making", which makes our biking and walking trails, green belts, retail and local restaurants even more important.

Wheat Ridge will continue to be a place for everybody, the young and the not-as-young, and long-time residents as well as newcomers. Seniors will benefit from all the changes occurring in our City as they choose to sell their large-lot homes for something smaller and more manageable.

We will continue to work hard to maintain our small town feel by retaining family-owned businesses while working toward bringing more stores and services to meet the demands of our city. We will also continue to host local events, enhancing main street and the area's walkability. In 2017, while we'll see new developments, neighbors and experiences , it is up to all of us to make it ours by being a part of its ever changing framework.

This is a prime time for the City to invest in its future. My wish for all of you, and for the city, is for a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay is a former photographer and small business owner. She served on city council from 2009-2013 before being elected mayor.

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