Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vote for 40 West Arts District

 
The 40 West Arts District showcases what happens when vision, investment, and community and civic leadership converge. Just over three years ago, the idea of an arts district was a fledgling thought suggested during a community planning meeting for the Lamar Street Station Area Plan as a way to revitalize an older, eclectic neighborhood and commercial corridor. Because of the strong partnership between the Two Creeks neighborhood, Metro West Housing Solutions (formerly Lakewood Housing Authority), the Lakewood – West Colfax Business Improvement District, the West Colfax Community Association, the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and the City of Lakewood, the vision became reality. The 40 West Arts District formed as a non-profit and was named an Emerging Creative District by the State of Colorado. The City of Lakewood received a 2012 Gold DRCOG Local Government Award for the 40 West Arts District and related collaborative planning efforts. Since forming, the 40 West Arts District has held a number of highly successful events including INSPIRE! Lakewood’s Arts Week, The 40 West Arts RIOT, the Arts Along Colfax Program, and the 40 West Arts Fall Festival. 
In addition, several projects and investments have been completed, are underway, or are scheduled for the near future to capitalize on light rail, support affordable housing, promote economic health, and support existing neighborhoods. The projects further implement Metro Vision 2035 by encouraging infill and redevelopment and supporting compact development and a mix of uses that support live, work and play. The following are just a few examples of the ongoing investments and achievements in the 40 West Arts District neighborhood: 
• A 160-unit mixed-income housing project is being constructed by Metro West Housing Solutions, just steps from the Lamar Street station. 
• New mixed-use zoning has been adopted to promote high-density residential, retail, live/work units, and art studios. 
• The 40 West Arts District Urban Design and Mobility Concepts Plan was adopted as an amendment to the Lakewood Comprehensive Plan to further promote and enhance the Lamar Street landscape experience and to redefine the West Colfax Avenue corridor. 
• Funding has been secured, and plans are underway, to construct a traffic-calming roundabout in the intersection of West 14th Ave. and Lamar Street and to construct an eight-foot sidewalk from Lamar Station to West 14th Ave. The sidewalk will include an enhanced amenity zone to implement the vision of the Lamar Street Station Area Plan and the 40 West Urban Design and Mobility Plan. 
• A Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment grant, funded through the Environmental Protection Agency, was received, which provided recommendations for sustainable re-development in the 40 West Arts District neighborhood. The 40 West Arts District encompasses the area within approximately ½ mile of the Lamar Street Station, on the W Rail Line, opening in April 2013. It includes the Two Creeks neighborhood, the commercial corridor of West Colfax Avenue, and the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design.

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