We will start off with a free taco bar sponsored by Sustainable Southern Gables at 6:30, and the annual meeting of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association will begin at 7:00 PM. Location: Green Gables Elementary School.
Mayor Paul will speak, there will be a special presentation by Sustainable, and we will report on the past year’s neighborhood activities and coming events. Nominations will be taken and election of Association Board officers will be conducted. Members of the Association you will have a vote, one per household. Non-members can attend the meeting as well, to learn about what’s coming in the next year with the Southern Gables neighborhood. If you want to join us as a member and haven’t yet paid the voluntary Association dues, you can do so at the meeting and have a vote.
A link to the meeting minutes will be posted as a comment to this post.
In other news…
How About Those Boy Scouts?
The Boy Scouts of Troop 527 did a great job for the Association in filling our familiar green tote bags with the promotional items, brochures, discount coupons and information from our Business Supporters. They gathered our materials, sorted them and set up an assembly line at the church hall where they meet, and put it all together. There were some Cub Scouts that stopped in to help for a bit, and the Scout leaders played a big part by demonstrating the principle of “Leadership by example.” Then, using a detailed map so that no one would be missed, they sent crews out to cover the neighborhood’s 9 miles of streets and lots of running up and down sidewalks and steps with youthful energy.
If you live in Southern Gables and didn’t get a tote bag for some reason (maybe a rabbit nabbed it!) let us know with an email to [email protected]
And thanks to our Local Business Supporters. Many of them will have booths with games and prizes on our Neighborhood Night Out on August 25. More on that later!
If we missed you in our door-to-door newsletter distribution, or maybe it accidentally got into the recycle bin, you can read a copy of our spring newsletter online. To read, print, or download: click here.
Either way, don’t miss the lead article:
FREE TACOS AT THE ANNUAL NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING MAY 2
Our partners at Sustainable Southern Gables starting to revive their events, classes, seed exchanges, and other activities after having slowed down for the last few years. They are marking that turn with a celebration featuring a taco bar provided by El Fogon, the taco truck that operates from a corner of Southern Gables. Incidental to the tacos, we will also hold the annual business meeting to inform neighbors about what the Association has done over the past year, what is planned, and the election of officers.
Annual Neighborhood Meeting
Tuesday May 2, 7:00 PM
at Green Gables Elementary School
All Southern Gables neighbors are invited.
Back to the subject of the newsletter, thanks are due to our contributors: Christy Cerrone, Marci DeMott, Marcel Guajardo,Judy Whitten,Jenn Withee, Joe Woelkers, Carolyn Wolfrum, Robert Young, and me. The coverage of our 9 miles of streets, delivering to over a thousand homes, was handled by Marnie Crowe, Marci DeMott, Marcel Guajardo, Roger Hanson, Liza Patty, Michelle Tovrea, Elizabeth Wilson, Carolyn Wolfrum, and Dave Wood.The weather was nice, the neighbors were friendly, and it was a good experience all around.
Since Frank Bontrager moved, one of our areas is in need of an Area Representative for Southern Gables Area 8. You can see a map with the area description here. The Area Representatives serve as points of contact for their part of the neighborhood, notice when new neighbors move in and greet them on behalf of the Association. It involves a nice little walk once in a while for passing out our semiannual newsletters and an event flyer once a year or so, and a chance to get to know people. Can you do it? Contact us.
Whew! Remember way back, when the end of 2020 was such a relief? We thought that pandemic thing was almost finished. Then we thought the same thing again at the end of 2021. Going into 2022 we were aching for a full return to “normal.” (Remember normal? We don’t either.) All things considered, in 2022 the Neighborhood Association had a near-normal, busy and productive year. Let’s take a look at how that came about.
In January the Association Board started working to revive our Local Business Supporters program, which was comatose in 2020 and barely breathing during 2021, with so many of our valued business supporters hurting, damaged, and some even closed. Local business supporters participate in our Tote Bag distribution, promotion on our website and social media, and can have booths at Neighborhood Night Out.
During the winter months we started contacting our local business partners, gathered information and prepared articles for the spring newsletter, and started planning for the Tote Bag program. Our Green Gables Girl Scout troop proposed a project to prepare and distribute a safety flyer, and we had it put together with the newsletter. The girls helped with the delivery, covering part of our 1,000 homes. Soon after the newsletters went out, our local Boy Scouts took on the job of assembling and delivering the Tote Bags to all those homes. It’s so great to have our young people involved in these projects, making for long-term growth of community spirit and cooperation.
The project of getting a walking track built on the campus of Green Gables Elementary, for which the Association had proposed and received a grant in early 2021, stalled out due to huge increases in building materials. The benefit of getting it done would be to make up for the fact that we don’t have a park in the neighborhood. The delay was frustrating, but Doug Whitten kept quietly working in the background to find solutions. In another improvement project, the residents along a stretch of Evans Avenue had petitioned the City for speed bumps to be installed. The way it works is that if a certain percentage of the affected residents sign the petition and Traffic Management concurs, the City pays half of the cost and the residents pay the other half. They asked for the Association to chip in half of the residents’ half. The request was voted on and approved, carrying out the wishes of our neighbors.
In the spring we started planning for our two summer programs: encouraging and sponsoring individual block parties, and then our big annual Neighborhood Night Out. The block party sponsorship idea started in 2021 when it looked like COVID would prevent us from having the Night Out, then at the last minute we got the go-ahead to use the school property. We went ahead with both ideas, and the block parties proved popular and successful, bringing neighbors together and making new people feel welcome. We like to do that.
In May at the annual business meeting of the Association, Mayor Paul and City Council Representatives Mary Janssen and Wendi Strom spoke on current City issues and status of ongoing programs, and fielded questions. The fiscal year Treasurer’s Report and a summary audit report were presented. The new Board officer and director nominees were announced and voted in. A notable change was with outgoing president Doug Whitten, who was recognized for having served in that position for eight years. Although he declined a petition to accept the position of President for Life 😉 he did agree to stay on the Board as a consulting Director. We met the new Green Gables Elementary Principal, Jennifer Withee, and she told of having lived down the block as a child, and starting kindergarten in the room next to where we were meeting.
The June Board meeting covered details for block party stipends, raffle prize budget for monthly luncheons, and extensive Neighborhood Night Out details and assignments. The shopping lists, volunteer recruitment, and other behind-the-scene coordinating tasks are huge. With over 700 neighbors attending, it is so gratifying when it all works out and we all have a good time.
The block parties took place in July and early August, and then our big Night Out was on August 26. We chose that date, as we have each year, because it is soon after the school year starts so families are back from vacation. It makes a fine “end-of-summer” social occasion for the neighborhood. With 700 people in attendance, the businesses and organizations that had booths and concessions had lively traffic, the DJ kept things going with music and fun interviews, and six lucky winners turned in their free raffle tickets for a $50 gift card win. The free hot dogs and lemonade were popular as always, paired up perfectly with Magill’s Ice Cream for a nutritional win-win. (Well, many of the kids and former kids thought so.)
In September we supported the Carmody Middle School Chili Cook-Off, did a critique and lessons-learned session on the Night Out, and made assignments for getting out the fall newsletter. We nominated Joy’s Kitchen, the food pantry located in Southern Gables, for the Lakewood Mayor’s Inspiration Award, and attended the award ceremony on behalf of the neighborhood. Planning for Leaf Collection Day in November started last year with discussion of how to keep it from getting out of hand again, with people drawn by word-of-mouth publicity and coming from far away. It was addressed at just about every Board meeting and we gradually came to the solution of making it neighborhood-only, others pay a fee. Even with a snow day throwing things off this year, neighbors pitched in to get it all done. Community spirit!
At the December Board meeting we discussed resuming the practice of having a neighborhood garage sale weekend. We used to do that but interest died off even before the pandemic; still, several neighbors have asked if we would do it again. We will try it, on a Friday-Saturday in April or May. We also saw a big step forward in the Walking Track project, with the construction actually getting started a few weeks ago. Completion will have to wait until the weather warms, but the foundation is literally set in. We also accepted nominations and awarded our year-end donations. It is a central aspect of our charter to support local organizations that benefit our community. Recipients were as follows (amounts are recorded in the meeting minutes). Westwoods Community Church for community support programs, Lakewood Police Toy Fund, Green Gables Elementary School Community Support, Cub Scout Pack 419, Denver Christian School and Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms both for Leaf Day support, and Joy’s Kitchen. Earlier in the year we donated to Carmody Middle School for their Chili Cook-off fundraiser, and we conducted a Chipotle fundraiser for Green Gables Elementary.
It was a good year for Southern Gables. We love our neighborhood, and look forward to fostering an even higher level of community spirit in 2023.
For full detail and transparency, the meeting minutes and reports of the Association can be found here: SGNA Records. We encourage neighbors to get involved and join us, actively working for a better community. If you are not a member of the Association, you can join by paying dues of $20 a year. That step is a step toward supporting a better community for all of us.