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Lakewood Neighborhoods

 

 

 

Jefferson County Neighborhoods:
Lakewood – Two Creek & Eiber

 

Two Neighborhoods Share Common Issues

Two Lakewood residential areas have abutted each other for more than a hundred years, but it’s only in the last decade that they have become “official” neighborhoods. After working diligently with the city of Lakewood’s Planning Department to develop their neighborhood plans, Mulholm (1996) and Eiber (2001) residents became better connected and more active. The neighborhood plans are named after the respective elementary school areas, but Mulholm residents call their neighborhood Two Creeks, because Dry Creek and Lakewood Gulch are within its boundaries. The Eiber area has adopted Eiberhood as its identification.

Both neighborhoods are bounded by West Colfax Avenue on the north and West Sixth Avenue on the south and divided by Wadsworth Boulevard. Two Creeks stretches east to Sheridan Boulevard (Lakewood’s boundary line with Denver) and Eiberhood extends west to Oak Street. Two Creeks and Eiberhood share a common transportation link, RTD’s 12.1-mile light rail transit corridor between downtown Denver and the JeffCo Government Center in Golden. This first RTD FasTracks project is to be completed in 2013.

A great source of debate during the 1990s planning years has been about the dubious distinction of the West Corridor as the only one in the FasTracks system to course through neighborhoods. It reaches Lakewood at Sheridan Boulevard and enters Two Creeks and then Eiberhood when it crosses Wadsworth Boulevard. In contrast, on the Denver side, the West Corridor travels through industrial and park areas. Neighbors have spent countless and often contentious hours during the planning and design phases with RTD staff.

Construction began in May 2007 when the historic interurban trolley tracks were removed along 13th Avenue. In progress are the relocation of utilities by Xcel Energy, Consolidated Mutual Water Company and Lakewood’s Sanitary Sewer Department. Work on the Kipling Street Bridge, which will span Kipling at 13th Avenue, has also begun. Neighbors are now involved in discussions about sound and retaining walls. Art work on the walls will coordinate with designs for neighboring light rail stations and local entity plans along the corridor.

Two Creeks will have a neighborhood station at 13th and Lamar Street and the major Park-n-Ride stations at Wadsworth and Sheridan. Eiberhood’s neighborhood stations are at 13th and Garrison and Oak streets. Again, a great deal of discussion has occurred. The loudest protest has come from a business owner/resident at 14th and Wadsworth where RTD plans to acquire the land for staging of construction equipment for the Park-n-Ride.

Families can find affordable housing in both neighborhoods. The Lakewood Housing Authority owns Belmont Manor at 14th and Independence, two sites at 13th and Lamar and 14th and Vance, as well as scattered duplexes and single-family homes. Apartment owners, who have tax credits for affordable housing, have properties at 13th and Vance and 14th and Garrison. A development of owner-occupied Habitat for Humanity homes is within each neighborhood. Bill Lunsford, Lakewood’s Housing Development Manager, thinks that the development “along the light-rail corridor will tend to be more mixed-income housing.”

Two Creeks, Lakewood’s Oldest Neighborhood

http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/twocreeks

Two Creeks is the home of the original Lakewood Subdivision platted in 1889 by William Loveland, a well-known Colorado pioneer, and two business partners, his wife Miranda Loveland and Charles Welch. The name stuck. Loveland built his home at 1435 Harlan (then Ann Street) in 1890. The house still stands and has been used as a boarding house for many years. The area has changed from primarily farms and orchards to a diverse community of residents as well as commercial and industrial businesses.

In 1907 the Colorado Golf Club began near Pierce and Tenth. Later its name changed to Lakewood Country Club. At least three clubhouses have graced the spot; the latest was built last year. The initiation fee is $40,000,which attracts wealthy members. (See history of LCC in Views Spring 2007, page 24)

Two Creeks homeSharon Vincent, a 26-year resident, likes the character different homes create, including several diverse pockets of older homes. According to a survey of architectural styles, there are at least six: pre-1920, vernacular; 1920-1930, craftsman style and Spanish Colonial Revival; interwar decades, Tudor Revival; 1930, Art Modern; and post-WWII, ranch style. Some infill with new homes is apparent as well.

Carrie Mesch sees a need for more parks and organized youth programs, which the association plans to work on. She’s proud of Two Creeks because the residents stay informed and active. She and Kathi Hasfjord love the many aspects of their neighborhood’s diversity: age, ethnicity, economic ranges, housing and the residential, countryside atmosphere. “This is why we moved here,” Hasfjord said. “There’s a big economic swing from Lakewood Country Club to rental units,” she said.

Two Creeks homeHowever, Hasfjord said, “We’re not taken seriously. We have no grocery, no drugstore, no rec center. Our pool was closed because of age, we have very few parks, and the ones we have are small. RTD isn’t responsive. We didn’t want three light rail stations and two parking lots and that’s just what we have.” Two Creeks is experiencing growing pains as it emerges from its history into the 21st Century.

Organized: Eiber Neighborhood Association; Population 7,486; Households: 3,193; Owner-Occupied 41%; Renter-Occupied, 55%; Vacant, 4%. President, Paul Ditson; VP, Beth Wicht; Secretary, Anna Little; Treasurer, Les Stevens, Jr.

Real estate values: $173,200/owner-occupied.

Public JeffCo Schools: Molholm Elementary School, Lakewood Middle School, Jefferson High School and Lakewood High School.

Amenities: Active neighborhood organization, newsletter, holiday lighting contest, mature trees, coming of light rail, easy access to downtown Denver and mountains, opportunity for real estate investors, incentives to develop West Colfax Avenue; good police cooperation.

Minus: Graffiti, no grocery store or pharmacy; many rentals with transitory residents place burden on schools; dance hall/bar at Sixth Avenue causes traffic/parking influx into neighborhood; property crimes, such as burglaries and car break-ins, because of access into the neighborhood from Sheridan, a major artery and transitory neighborhoods; scattered industrial sites.

Eiberhood, a Country Atmosphere

www.eiberhood.org

One of the earliest families in Eiberhood, the Guebelles, lived at 13th and Hoyt. Their 10-acre apple orchard stocked the Cider Hill roadside stand run by the family. Unfortunately, their stately two-story brick home was torn down in 1944. More change in the area was inevitable. At the peak of WWII, the former Remington Arms Plant became the Denver Ordnance Plant (DOP) with 19,500 workers that needed housing. After WWII, the DOP became the Denver Federal Center, and its working population stabilized at today’s 6,000 workers. This part of Lakewood experienced a building boom again when former DOP workers decided to stay in the area. The primarily brick, ranch-style homes still exist in well-manicured neighborhoods with tall cottonwoods and a variety of evergreens.

Since 1964 Paul Ditson has lived in the home where he was raised. Built in 1925, this farmhouse is still remembered as Spykstra’s to some of the neighbors. He’s enjoyed the quiet and subrural feel of Eiberhood, even though he lives on Garrison, an increasingly busy thoroughfare. He said that once there was an Interurban station on Garrison. He shares concerns of others about what light rail will bring to the area in terms of transit-oriented development (TOD). Because of his strong interest in history, he “views it as a real shame to wipe out” some of the history of the area. He said that change can be “a tipping point—it could degenerate with more crime or become a good investment of home ownership.”

Eiber homeFran Yehle, a 40-year resident of Eiberhood, who has been actively involved for years, enjoys the diversity of its residents and homes. She’s been pleased with Eiberhood’s efforts to place electronic speed signs along Garrison and affix neighborhood entrance signs. “The city (Lakewood) has been great to stand up for us as we’ve worked with RTD’s West Corridor staff.”

Tom Slabe and David Rothenburger, both newcomers to Eiber, live along the light rail line. Slabe said “FasTracks is a good thing for Lakewood.” He is pleased with the City of Lakewood for offering “other options” for dealing with the light rail sound issues. He’s looking forward to the TOD that will accompany the West Corridor. “It will make a more livable community,” he said.

Rothenburger is excited by the “big changes” that the neighborhood is undergoing with “light rail, West Colfax redevelopment and the Sixth Avenue/Wadsworth Intersection improvements.” He thinks that the area could “become a Wash Park in a few years” because of the positive changes it’s undergoing.

Eiber homeOrganized: Eiber Neighborhood Association; Population 7,486; Households: 3,193; Owner-Occupied 41%; Renter-Occupied, 55%; Vacant, 4%. President, Paul Ditson; VP, Beth Wicht; Secretary, Anna Little; Treasurer, Les Stevens, Jr.

Real estate values: $214,250/owner-occupied.

Public JeffCo Schools: Eiber Elementary School, Creighton Middle School and Lakewood High School.

Amenities: Easy access (15 minutes to downtown or mountains), rural neighborhood with farm animals and minimal sidewalks, newsletter, holiday lighting contest, annual ice cream social, two grocery stores and pharmacy, mature trees, good police cooperation, adopt-a-street program on 14th Avenue.

Minus: Graffiti; many rentals with transitory residents place burden on schools.

Sources: Survey Report of Historic Northeast Lakewood, Preservation Publishing, Cathleen M. Norman, Principal; Lakewood, Colorado, An Illustrated Biography, Pat Wilcox, Editor; and historic photos, Lakewood Heritage Museum.

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