Rolling it out

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The W Rail has been a long time coming, and after its opening on Friday, April 26, Lakewood will be ready to party.

On Saturday, April 27, there will be events going on at almost all the stations along the line to celebrate the line. Just like the actual W Rail, these events have been a long time coming.

Each station has a unique theme or idea they will be showcasing.

According to Rachel Griffin, economic development specialist with the city of Lakewood, RTD gave the city the opening date last summer, and in January of this year, planning began for the events at the station.

“The city has served more of a facilitation and coordination role,” Griffin said. “We reached out to people we knew would be interested, and it kind of grew from there.”

Griffin said that each station appointed a “station champion” who would run the event, and if they had any questions or problems, they would contact Lakewood and the city would get in touch with RTD. This was done to keep the lines of communication clear.

One of those station champions is Cynthia Vitale, who has been organizing events for the Sheridan Station. The theme of the station’s event is Working Together: Denver, Lakewood and Edgewater.

“I live very close to the station, and wanted to have an event that brought at many communities as possible together,” Vitale said. “Sometimes Sheridan goes under-represented, and we wanted to make sure we brought a lot of energy to it.

There will be about 40 vendor tables set up at the station, around half nonprofit groups and the other half building developers. There will also be car and motorcycle shows, and a Michael Jackson tribute band.

Vitale said the West Colfax Community Association (WCCA), Urban Land Conservancy, 9 to 5 Winning Justice for Working Women, Two Creeks Neighborhood Organization, Villa Park Neighborhood and the office of Denver Council member Paul Lopez all came together to get the event going.

It’s not only residents who are getting in on the excitement, however. Schools like Green Mountain High School are helping, and so are some of Lakewood’s largest organizations.

St. Anthony Hospital is organizing the event at the Federal Center Station, with help from the West Chamber’s Union Corridor Professionals group, and West Metro Fire Protection.

“The theme we’re going with is ‘Walk this Way’ which not only encourages people to walk the corridor to see the businesses, but promote health and wellness,” said Teresa Daniels, marketing manager with St. Anthony. “We’ll have a lot of health groups - stroke awareness, physical rehab and first aid — set up.”

There will also be a “meet your physician” and free chair massages at the station.

While every station along the line is going to bring something unique to the celebration, they are all united in their excitement for what the w Rail line will bring to the city.

“It’s been decades in the works, and we’ve worked through all the challenges and concerns,” Griffin said. “Now we’re just ready to party.”

For more information, go to www.lakewood.org/W.

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