City looks to future

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Lakewood planning staff, City Council members and citizens gathered at the Cultural Center Sept. 18 to kick off the process for updating the city’s comprehensive plan and creating its first sustainability plan.

The process — called Lakewood 2025: Moving Forward Together — will reexamine what works and what needs to be changed in the city’s 10-year-old comprehensive plan.

Meetings will be spread out through October and into November, and will look at a variety of topics.

“Tonight is the first step, and we’re really looking at trends of the past, and trying to gauge what Lakewood will look like in the future,” said Holly Boehm, a planner with the city.

“We think of this as our vision meeting, where we take a look at what we’ve accomplished with our last comprehensive plan, and see what the residents want to do next.”

Boards were set up all over the lobby of the Cultural Center that provided a timeline of Lakewood’s achievements, from Colfax Avenue becoming an enterprise zone in 1990, to the city commons area opening in 2000 and W Rail opening in 2013.

There were spaces for visitors to answer questions like, “In 2025, Lakewood will be...” and “One thing I would most like to change or improve in Lakewood.”

The open house also featured two speakers, Terri Whitmore, from Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and Christopher Duerkson, with Clarion Associates.

Whitmore spoke about DRCOG’s regional planning and Metro Vision Plan, as well as the growth and aging issues that will need to be considered when updating the comprehensive plan.

“It’s extremely important to look at aging, and consider how many of those residents will want to remain in the community for their retirement,” Whitmore said. “In 2035, we’re forecasting the population in Lakewood will be around 4 million. Where are those people going to go?”

Duerkson focused on the importance of creating a sustainability plan. He said that Lakewood is already a leader in the region for showing how to do in-fill and development like Belmar.

He said it is time to integrate that kind of thinking into a plan that can measure and monitor sustainability progress.

“There are all kinds of issues we’re facing, like fuels, food, health, climate and biodiversity,” Duerkson said. “In the new comprehensive and sustainability plan, you’ll have all kinds of new topics and issues you’ll have to consider.”

Mayor Bob Murphy told those in attendance that this was the first step in a very important process for the city.

“The comprehensive plan is really a guiding document, and gives us a vision for what the community should look like,” Murphy said. “The community is always evolving and we need to keep updating along with it.”

For more information, visit www.lakewood.org/movingforward.