Jefferson County Neighborhoods:
Lakewood – Green Mountain
…a caring community protects the land
Western Lakewood • South of West Sixth Avenue •
Zip code 80228
Between the end of the Civil War and 1869, Jacob Downing acquired 2,000 acres and developed it into a showplace, called Downingdale. He had a racetrack for Arabian horses, housed Hereford cattle and planted alfalfa seed for feed. In the 1930s Thomas S. Hayden Realty incorporated Downing’s 2,000 acres into a ranch of 7000 acres, thus delineating the boundaries of what is considered Green Mountain today: five miles west from Garrison Street to Rooney Road and 3.5 miles from West Sixth Avenue to south of West Alameda Parkway.
Over a period of years, beginning in 1972, the Hayden family donated 500 acres of Green Mountain for a park deeded directly to the City of Lakewood. Meanwhile, within this historical area that was adjacent to the William Frederick Hayden Park, houses were built and one neighborhood developed into Green Mountain Estates. In the 1970s and early1980s, these residents gradually refused to tolerate earth-moving equipment and trucks barreling through their neighborhood every few minutes. Developer Richard Kelley was cutting into the mountain for more home sites.
Saving the mountain became the catalyst, motivating a wide spread neighborhood into action. Dick Plastino, Lakewood director of Public Works, remembers “residents formed a human wall to stop the progression of Kelley’s development.” Kelley had been involved in a lawsuit with the City of Lakewood since 1978 regarding what could be built and where, and how the scarred mountain could be repaired. With the help of the Trust for Public Land, a 1988 lease/purchase agreement between Kelley and the City of Lakewood ended the feud. The top of Green Mountain remains intact and is part of the 2,323.2 acres of Hayden Park mostly above 6,200 feet elevation.
In 1990, then president of Green Mountainside Estates HOA of 1100 homes, Jim Bullecks, gathered neighbors once a week for six years to clean up the mountain. Enthusiastic volunteers encountered litter, barbed wire, and garbage from trash dumps scattered everywhere. He coordinated a helicopter lift with Sheriff Ron Beckham to lift abandoned cars, a commercial refrigerator, and a billboard from the open space area. Volunteers didn’t stop with cleaning up, however. “They did a great job of putting up the park boundary fence in 1994,” Bullecks remembered. As he hikes the trails today, he notices less trash—“people are taking more pride in their land,” he said.
On a recent early morning walk he and his dog came across three fawns. Other hikers have seen an occasional mountain lion, elk, fox, coyote, raccoon, and skunk. One sore point for some residents is that in the winter the deer eat the residents’ shrubs. “I’d rather have the deer,” Bullecks said, “and replace the shrubs.”
Another hiker and long-time resident, Barbara Isaac, differs with Bullecks about the wild life. She found her flower and vegetable gardens decimated by deer when she returned from a recent trip and mentioned that “raccoons are a problem, too.” However, during a wet spring, the joy of finding Lambert’s locoweed magenta blanket covering the top of Green Mountain and seeing blue flax, yuccas, penstemons, lupines and Indian paintbrush scattered throughout, “helps to compensate,” she said.
Richard Myers, another long-time resident, enjoys the huge expanse of views beyond Green Mountain to the Hogback and south to Bear Creek Lake Park. “Of course,” he said, “the major amenity is the legally designated open space nearby.” When people accept a challenge and work together to meet it, good things happen. Green Mountain Estates found its passion when the neighborhood banded together to save its mountain. A genteel neighborhood, which backs up to this open space, has emerged.
Organized: Green Mountainside Estates HOA of 1,100 homes.
Traditions: Picnics, Easter egg hunts, holiday lighting and landscaping contests, neighborhood yard sale in the spring, and cleanup days in autumn.
Real estate values: From the view side (city views/lights): $250,000 to $800,000; From the non-view side: About 10 to 20 percent lower in value.
Schools: Jefferson County Public Schools: Foothills Elementary, Dunstan Junior High, Green Mountain High School.
Amenities: Observing wildlife; easy access to hiking trails with an abundance of wildflowers and birds.
Plus: Easy access to nearly any kind of shopping, restaurants and metro work places.
Minus: Wildlife destroy non-naive plants; snow-covered hilly streets; traffic congestion on Union Boulevard.