Mayor Paul Addresses Southern Gables

Mayor Paul Addresses Southern Gables

Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019, and has always been a friend of Southern Gables. We were honored to have him speak at our 2023 annual meeting. He gave us an update on a number of issues and concerns. 

First, starting with an item of concern that is literally right through the heart of Southern Gables, Mayor Paul relayed some information from our Ward 5 Councilor Mary Janssen. She has been looking into the problem of the weed-choked, overgrown ditch that has plagued the neighborhood for years. The Ag Ditch Company has characteristically refused to maintain it weed-free. (For some background on the history, read our story A Big Improvement from 2019.) She reached an agreement with the Ag Ditch Company that they will mow the east side once during the summer. However, they will not mow the west side. If the ditch company is requested to mow at any other time it will cost the neighborhood $1,800 per side. Residents are permitted to mow the ditch property, but the ditch company and Councilor Janssen did not address the question of liability. The fact that the Ag Ditch Company has legal rights that are senior to the City’s rights makes them hard to deal with. Increased awareness of wildfire  danger has added a layer of frustration with the situation as well.

Mayor Adam Paul. City of Lakewood photo

Mayor Paul discussed the recently approved “Navigation Centers” –  These Navigation Centers will provide transitional housing for persons experiencing homelessness. There are several shelters for animals in Jefferson County, but no homeless shelters in the County for human beings. This past winter there was an incremental step forward, at the Whitlock Center on Colfax which was opened for severe weather sheltering during the most extreme cold. The city also started a day work program. The goal is to put 20 to 30 people a week to work cleaning parks and picking up shopping carts. The Mayor told us how to learn more about the Navigators: here is a link to information on the City’s blog: Navigators Help the Homeless.  (For related information, this is a CBS Denver story about the warming center at Whitlock:  Lakewood focuses on resources for those experiencing homelessness.)

Zoning – Mayor Paul told us about the recent zoning bill, which would take away some of the local zoning control. Each property would allow for an 8-plex to be built on the existing property. It is a hot topic with lots of controversy.

Lakewood has a new Police Chief, Philip Smith – Crime and crime reduction is a focus of the city council. Crime is up in Lakewood, especially on Colfax and particularly with car thefts. The new chief’s goals and the city of Lakewood’s goals are to find ways to better enhance public safety.

Economic Development – On Tenth and Sheridan, in the old Holiday strip center, a developer purchased this location with goal of developing the land into a mixed-use property with housing and businesses. Economic development funds will be given from the City of Lakewood. The city will give the developer a $1 million loan to scrape what is currently on the lot.

Parks – The new park on Wadsworth at  Morrison, Peak View Park, will be open to the public in the next four or five weeks. The City of Lakewood is working with CDOT to reconfigure the Wadsworth and Morrison Road intersection to accommodate increased traffic going to the new park. When Mayor Paul began his term nearly eight years ago, the City of Lakewood had 101 parks and now we have 113 parks. A lot of TABOR dollars, as approved by Lakewood voters, went to the development of the parks.

Questions from the group – On the question of getting CDOT to put a traffic light at Evans and Wadsworth, There has not been any progress. It’s a difficult problem since it would complicate the situation with the light just north of Jewell; it was a bad choice to put one so close to Jewell in the first place, but the fact is that it’s there, and putting another equally close on the other side has been denied several times since it is thought that it would make a bad situation worse. As with any problem that a resident sees and thinks should be fixed, Mayor Paul said that the thing to do is report it. Persistence, and getting your neighbors involved to report problems as well, can pay off in getting attention focused.

An Inclusive Community. Photo from, Living in Lakewood

In response to a question about the new housing on Wadsworth and 13th, they are apartments. To the observation that there is not much parking on the site, Mayor Paul explained the plan of having growth corridors – The City of Lakewood is planning housing projects in areas around transit lines, where many if not most of the residents can easily use public transportation: specifically near Belmar, Colfax, and Denver West.

Question about getting a sidewalk on Morrison to get to the park – it’s a CDOT road. CDOT has offered the road to Lakewood, but this is not a great deal for Lakewood taxpayers. Maybe over time.

Question – plans for mitigation of storm damage in the parks, like downed trees and branches, etc. – the Mayor said the Parks Department is pretty active, but sometimes they do just leave large areas of the parks for natural habitat. In response to a complaint about a specific downed branch in a conspicuous place at the park at Florida and Garrison, the mayor said he would put in a request for that branch to be removed.

Mayor Paul thanked us as a group for “always being friendly” to him during his tenure as Mayor, now nearing the end of eight years’ elected service. We like to think of Southern Gables as a decidedly friendly place, so we’re glad to note the feeling is mutual.

Official meeting minutes of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association Annual  Business Meeting will be published as a comment to this article as a matter of record, within the next week. 

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Meet With an Expert on Xeriscaping

Meet With an Expert on Xeriscaping

Every month our City Council representatives conduct informal public meetings with residents, to discuss, listen, and inform. For April: guest speaker Kathryn Martin on Xeriscaping. This Saturday, 9:00 AM. Details below. 

Last year I had to dig up and replace some of the sprinkler lines in my lawn, and add some new ones to areas that have been in need for years. To dig the new trenches I thought, “No problem, I’ll go over to the Home Depot and see about renting a trench digger.” Put it in the trunk, take it home and rip out a few easy straight lines, get it back with an hour’s rental time. Uhh, no. Those things are huge! They had to be rented with their own trailer. I bought a narrow little shovel instead. It was a hard job, several hot sweaty hours every day for a week. Maintaining my grass turns out to be a pain in the back. Who knew? I grew up with grass all around, green lawns just grew and were always the “default” choice. Now I think not only of the “pain in the back” but the continuing expense of taking care of the pretty green lawn.

Sometimes I feel a twinge of guilt when I think of the chronic long-term drought we’re in, and how much water goes into keeping my green grass green. And more twinges too, when the water bill comes every month. It seems wasteful, and being wasteful is not generally in my nature. Some of our neighbors here in Southern Gables have done something about it.


Saves water, looks great, and the bees and butterflies love it.

Removing thirsty plants and replacing them with landscaping such as plants that don’t need much water, if any at all. Xeriscape. Funny word, that one. Sounds like “zeriscape.” It came from two Greek words and just means dry landscape. The word was made up in 1981 by our big-city neighbors at Denver Water. Instead of using grass lawns and plants that need lots of water to thrive, xeriscapes conserve water by using drought-tolerant plants.

Switching from turf grass to xeriscaping can be beneficial in our dry climate for several reasons:

Water conservation

Colorado is a semi-arid state, and water is a scarce resource. Xeriscaping can significantly reduce outdoor water use because it requires less watering than traditional lawns. According to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, xeriscaping can reduce water use by 60% or more.

Drought tolerance

Xeriscaping is designed to use plants that are adapted to Colorado’s dry climate. These plants are more drought-tolerant than turf grass, which means they can survive and thrive with less water.

Cost savings

Xeriscaping can reduce the cost of maintaining a lawn because it requires less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Additionally, many xeriscape plants are perennials, which means they don’t need to be replanted every year.

Environmental benefits

Xeriscaping can benefit the environment by reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, which can pollute waterways. Xeriscape plants can also provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

Overall, xeriscaping can be a smart choice for homeowners in Colorado who want to conserve water, save money, and promote environmental sustainability.

Learn About Xeriscaping: This Weekend, Free

The April Ward 5 meeting will cover this important topic. The meeting is free as always, and will feature Kathryn Martin, an expert on the subject. When and where? 

Saturday, April 1 (No foolin’), 9:00 – 10:30 AM — Ward 5 Meeting at Westwoods Community Church, 7700 West Woodard Drive. Visit with Ward 5 City Council members Wendi Strom and Mary Janssen in an informal setting, share ideas and learn more about your community. The April meeting will feature a discussion of xeriscaping and an optional visit to the Kendrick Lake Park xeriscape garden with a member of the city’s greenhouse staff.


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Lakewood Loves Trees

Lakewood Loves Trees UPDATE: SORRY, SOLD OUT

[UPDATE 3/3/23] Lakewood apparently loves trees too much… they sold out early on the first day. This article is also about volunteer help, and an educational workshop for residents who bought trees. If that’s you, skip down to the bottom of the article. 

[ORIGINAL POST] What’s a park without a tree? Let’s not go there.  Lakewood is blessed with fertile and welcoming soil, a beautiful climate, and lots of trees. Tree-lined streets are plentiful in our suburban area, and generations of memories have grown from kids’ tree houses, kids worrying their moms with tree-limb acrobatics, and backyard swings under leafy canopies.  

The City of Lakewood is big on parks and outdoor recreation. With 113 parks and 240 miles of trails, we have over 7,400 acres dedicated to parks and open space. That’s over one fourth of the city’s total area. Most of us are familiar with parks near where we live, but the list of choices for enjoying public park space is so much wider than we could take in without making it a serious pursuit. Fortunately Lakewood has a whole group of people whose work is just that serious pursuit, on our behalf, caring for and maintaining our parks so we can enjoy them: the Lakewood Department of Parks, Forestry and Open Space.

Not Just the Parks…

… but trees in our yards have important benefits that come together across our lot lines and add up to a better neighborhood and a better world. They improve the air quality, absorbing pollutants and harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. They reduce the amount of heat absorbed by our concrete and asphalt. They cut down on ambient noise, absorb and filter stormwater runoff, and provide habitat and food for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. And they look good. To a large degree, well beyond where we are now, you just about can’t have too many trees. Almost everywhere around us, when it comes to trees, more is better.

Opportunity Knocks: Lakewood Tree Sale

Buying and planting trees can be expensive. We are happy to announce a new program from the City of Lakewood Department of Parks, Forestry and Open Space, offering trees which could otherwise cost hundreds of dollars… for $25.00. Trees can be ordered online during the month of March. Pickup will be one day only, April 15 at the Lakewood Greenhouse. Ten varieties of trees will be available. There are resources on the Lakewood website to teach you about choosing the right variety for your home, and about planting and care of the trees. And – this is big – for Southern Gables residents, Sustainable Southern Gables stands ready to help.

Sustainable Southern Gables

Sustainable Southern Gables will offer a workshop on tree planting and care at the Gables School/Community Garden at Green Gables Elementary. In addition, they will provide volunteers to help Southern Gables residents in ordering the best tree species for your home and in transporting and planting the trees bought through this program. We’ll help as many people as we can based on the number of volunteers that we have. Please email  ​[email protected] to sign up for assistance. And speaking of volunteers, if you’d like to help out on April 15 with picking up and helping plant the new trees in our neighborhood, let us know at that same email address. The more helpers we have, the more trees we can plant.


Read all about it here: Lakewood Tree Sale. You will also be able to order from that website, or by phone at the number shown there, on or after March 1, 2023.


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