Mayor looks to future in State of City

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Connect, collaborate and catalyze change.

That was the theme for Mayor Bob Murphy’s annual State of the City address at the Denver West Sheraton Hotel Feb. 28.

“This is the one chance we have to gather as business, government, education, nonprofit and faith-based communities to focus on and celebrate Lakewood,” Murphy told the audience.

In his speech, Murphy celebrated the city’s accomplishments in 2012, while looking ahead to the future, especially in relation to all the changes that the W Rail Line will bring.

Murphy began by examining both the positives and more difficult moments of 2012.

“2012 was, in part, a year of exhaustive, roll-up-your-sleeves, legislative work,” he said. “2012 was also a year of unimaginable tragedy within our organization. On Nov. 9, Agent James Davies, a six-and-a-half-year department veteran, lost his life in the line of duty.”

Financially, Murphy said that Lakewood has never been stronger. In 2012 the city’s savings account reached its highest point in the city’s history, and it was the eighth year in a row that more money was added to the reserves.

Some of the other changes Murphy touched on was the increase in graduation rates for Lakewood’s high schools, as well as Colorado Christian University’s new increased campus plan.

When it came to discuss the future, the light rail was the keystone.

“The West Line, or what RTD now calls the W Rail, is the place where our vision for Lakewood’s future begins,” he said.

Murphy said the W Rail Line will not only increase residents ability to easily travel to Denver, but perhaps more importantly, will make it easier for others to travel to Lakewood.

“Our real estate will be more accessible, adding to its value. We will have new options for shopping, entertainment, work and housing,” he said. “We’ll have more choices for where and how to live.”

Some large, and international companies have been investing in Lakewood, like Terumo BCT, DaVita Clinical Research, EMP and Weston Solutions have all set up in the city, many near St. Anthony’s Hospital.

The Lamar Station Crossing and Village at Oak Street are two examples Murphy listed of housing developments being built near the W Rail Line

Putting more effort into areas now open to development thanks to the recently passed zoning code update is also a priority in improving the city’s future.

“Let’s encourage live-work units, office, restaurants and housing along these busy corridors,” he said. “Not only will it bring new life, but it will also help preserve our single-family neighborhoods by steering this new urban-style development to more appropriate locations.”

For Murphy, connecting residents with their neighbors, city officials and organizations is still a crucial aspect, and he spoke again about how the internet is helping put people together.

“As I told you last year when introducing our Lakewood Linked concept, we want to help our residents and businesses connect to each other,” he said. “We want to link everyday heroes in church congregations and service organizations with those who need help, or simply link neighbors with each other.”

Executive director of the Lakewood-West Colfax Business Improvement District Bill Marino said that hearing about the opportunities that are coming to the city was extremely exciting and inspiring.

“Anyone living in Lakewood couldn’t help but be excited to be a resident after that,” he said.

The text and video of the speech can be found at www.lakewood.org.

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