As I sit and write this article, I look out my window and see the progress of the new Bottles and Bitters across the street on 25th Avenue. I can smell the delicious food from US Thai and a food truck in front of Joyride Brewing Company. Edgewater is undergoing another transformation and we can see it from our office on 25th Avenue. New businesses are sprouting up and meeting the needs of a new demographic moving into Edgewater. 25th Avenue is a constant hub of activity from moms with strollers walking to Sloan’s Lake to bikers riding through Edgewater on their way to Golden and back.
The nonprofit that I lead, Edgewater Collective, has a mission of cultivating partnerships for thriving Edgewater families, schools and community. Lately I feel as if we are being pulled in two different directions. As I see it, there are two storylines in Edgewater: one is the new development and the other is the families and individuals working hard every day to overcome some significant roadblocks.
We all see the rising home prices in Edgewater due to a number of different factors from a limited supply of houses for sale to Edgewater being more affordable than the Highlands. We purchased our house in the summer of 2013 and already it is worth $100,000 more than we paid for it. The east side of Edgewater is seeing older homes being scraped for bigger, newer homes. Development isn’t just happening in the housing market, it is happening with businesses as well. Just in the last few months three new businesses opened up near Target. Coda Coffee, Joyride Brewing Company and Yawp Cyclery have attracted new customers to the 25th Avenue Business District. There are so many people coming to visit businesses along 25th and Sheridan, that the City of Edgewater is currently figuring out how to deal with an increase in parking.
The other storyline is that there are those in our community who are struggling every day to overcome the roadblocks of a limited income. Apartment complexes like Terra Village that were once affordable for families are no longer in reach of those on a limited income. Rents have increased in many of the apartment complexes and homes across Edgewater. Many of the children who attend Edgewater Elementary, Lumberg Elementary and Jefferson Junior/Senior High come from families that are facing these economic challenges. They continue to attend Edgewater’s neighborhood schools because of the academic programs and the relationships built with teachers and staff.
As I see it, we as a community have two options. We can either focus on the first storyline and not concern ourselves with those who are struggling right here in Edgewater. Or we can use the assets that are currently in our community to reach out and empower those who need a hand up. Edgewater Collective is focused on empowering families and children within our community with resources and relationships. We are also focused on connecting the assets here in Edgewater with the needs that are developing.
How can we as neighbors make sure that we create a community where every person has a chance to thrive?