The Southern Gables Neighborhood Park
Do you think we should modernize the Southern Gables Neighborhood Park?
What? We have a park??
Back in 2019, and continuing through the dark days of the 2020 COVID year, several of our community leaders came up with an idea for a long-needed neighborhood improvement. They started working on plan. Then in March of 2021 they submitted a proposal to the City of Lakewood, and in August it was approved by the City Council. The Council agreed (and so do we) that it’s about time for us to update and improve the Southern Gables Neighborhood Park.
Southern Gables Neighborhood Park?
If you are surprised to hear about the park in our neighborhood, you’re not alone. Technically, there isn’t one! Lots of neighbors go to the Green Gables Elementary School campus though, to walk pets or jog, let their children play on the equipment, toss a Frisbee or just enjoy the shade trees — but it’s not really a park. This project will give us an improvement to the school grounds to make it much more park-like, and available for better community use. As the proposal described…
Part of the current walking track. Other sections have disappeared entirely.
“In partnership with volunteers from the neighborhood community, Green Gables Elementary School and Green Gables Parent/Teacher Association (PTA), we [The Southern Gables Neighborhood Association] plan to create, utilize and maintain updates to the school fields and play space. This over-all plan would include a closed loop asphalt trail which would measure 1/3 mile (three laps = one mile), with… resting spots or areas where families might watch their children play on the playground… Outdoor seating (six outdoor picnic tables with connected benches) will be placed on the asphalt on the north side of the school and near the current playground.
Doug Whitten, standing on a surviving section of the old track
The updated school grounds will be used by neighbors for both exercise and leisure outside of school hours as well as the students and staff at Green Gables Elementary. The Southern Gables neighborhood… does not currently have a neighborhood park and we believe this could serve as a community park area outside of school hours if it is updated. The walking trail could be used for walking and running, bike riding and scooters for small children, as well as dog walking. The school’s running club would also benefit from the one-third mile trail. [There will be space for] younger children and their families to play basketball and other games painted on the asphalt. As children play, the additional seating would also give families a place to sit and supervise or a place for senior citizens to take their visiting grandchildren. This would also be a place for families to bring a picnic.”
Proposed Closed Loop Track project at Green Gables Elementary School. The part next to the school is along existing pavement.
City and District Support
The amount approved for the project was $60,000. Jeffco Public Schools will be the Project Manager. As is usual with “Community Participation” projects, the City of Lakewood grant does not cover the full cost, but it provides the basic authorization and the bulk of the funding. The rest is to be provided by “community participation.” The community has to be a stakeholder, with some “skin in the game.”
The project is assured of support from City of Lakewood Planning Department and Jeffco Public Schools. In a letter from Jeffco Schools Facilities & Construction Management, Executive Director Tim Reed wrote, “We believe the improvement funded by this grant and other donations, will be beneficial to the students and community by providing additional amenities and recreational opportunities. The school district will maintain the trail, playgrounds and equipment and continue to irrigate the existing green space.”
You can help: there is plenty of room for participation
About that community participation: with current material costs, there is plenty of room for us to participate in bringing this project to completion, for the benefit of everyone in the neighborhood. The $60,000 grant will barely cover the cost of the asphalt paving for the central feature, the paved walking track. The seats, benches and tables, signs, and provisions for shade or shelter will have to be covered by fundraising.
The Green Gables PTA has made an initial pledge, and other sources will be sought. The project falls under IRS Section 501(c)(3) guidelines so contributions are tax deductible. The school has set up a page for donations, with the project name #1 Outdoor Space Improvement Project.
To make a donation, CLICK HERE. The contact person for donation questions is Jennifer Seltz, the Business Manager at Green Gables Elementary, 303-982-8314.
View of the school looking across the basketball courts.