Happy New Year Lakewood!
We are fortunate to live in a diverse, dynamic community with compelling amenities, a strong economy, and engaged active residents – like you. You are what makes Lakewood great. 2018 presents our burgeoning community with many exciting opportunities, and we have much to look forward to in the coming months.
Overall, the City of Lakewood is in excellent shape. We were able to weather the temporary closure of our largest sales-tax generator – Colorado Mills Mall, after a catastrophic hail storm last summer - in part due to our bountiful “rainy-day” fund. You’ll see our city’s strong economic position reflected in this year’s budget. We will be adding police officers to the streets; improving our parks; and expanding the city’s already plentiful open space. These and other strategic investments will ensure that the legacy of what has made Lakewood great, will continue long into the future.
Opportunity, of course, brings its own set of challenges. With Colorado’s popularity, thousands of people are moving to the metro area. Part of that means Lakewood’s sought-after quality of life, has left some fearful of what lies ahead for our city. As a lifelong Lakewood resident, I know first-hand the concerns this current boom is causing. I drive our streets. I shop at our stores; and have many friends and acquaintances who are feeling the pinch of increased rents and the lack of attainable, for-sale homes. Like you, I also have heard the very real stories of those who have been left behind, with no home at all. We are all feeling the squeeze.
There is no magic bullet for the challenges that these issues present. What is certain, is that your City Council is listening, and the folks that you’ve elected are committed to addressing the concerns of all the residents of Lakewood. Your phone calls, letters, e-mails, as well as your participation in the Lakewood Development Dialogue, will help us find solutions that work for everyone. Your input is integral because, it’s worth repeating: What makes a great city, are its people. We can only succeed when we come together – from all corners of our community – to work toward a set of shared goals. I’m confident that together, we can find solutions that work for everyone.
I am eager to collaborate with the newly elected City Councilmembers. In 2018, we will work to address what is required to maintain and build new infrastructure, work on solutions for traffic and congestion, purchase more land for open space, further our sustainability goals, and continue to make Lakewood affordable, livable, and safe for all. These issues require out-of-the-box thinking, and with your help, and a shared vision, we will accomplish these goals.
In many community conversations, I have been asked about the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) proposal for a 59-acre development south of West Sixth Avenue that is part of the Federal Center. What is absolutely clear, is that this is a federal process, and unfortunately, a process that the City of Lakewood has no role in the outcome. That’s why I am encouraging both CCH, and the federal government to host a series of public meetings to inform Lakewood residents about this proposal and the process as it moves forward. The impacts of this project on our city needs community participation and feedback before it moves forward. While I wholeheartedly support Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ mission in our community I am not comfortable with the project as it is currently conceived, in part because of the lack of public input and notification.
With everything that Lakewood is facing this year, let’s have courage. Let’s be bold in 2018. Let’s figure out how to embrace the change that’s coming, and not make knee jerk reactions, or take impulsive actions that we may regret later, but instead frame our thoughts about what we want Lakewood to be today, tomorrow, and 50 years from now.
Thank you for allowing me the tremendous privilege to serve as your mayor, I wish you and your families all the best. Lakewood is my hometown and in that way, many of my friends and neighbors are like family. As much as 2018 will be about being bold, it will also be about taking time to reflect on what matters: Spending time with our loved ones, getting to know our neighbors, and showing compassion to someone in need. After all, that’s what makes Lakewood so special.
Please join me in celebrating our city’s accomplishments in 2017, and looking ahead into 2018 and beyond!
It's important we keep Lakewood moving forward. Will you help me keep our momentum? An investment in our message is an investment in Lakewood's future. $25, $50, $75 or $100