Does absence make the heart grow fonder? It has been over a year since writing about my new duty with Colorado Main Street and a lot happened in 2018, just not so much blog writing! I am sorry for such a lengthy break. The move to Colorado was a challenging transition for my family, and spending time acclimating and adventuring together has taken priority.
Moving is like uprooting a plant and putting it somewhere new. Our life-connections (the people and places in our daily lives) are radically altered, and we have to adjust and figure out our place again. We know we need to find a dentist, map out this silly grocery store, navigate downtown (to avoid parking tickets), remember people’s names, make new friends, see new things, and then finally allow our hearts to mellow and feel at home in a new place.
Moving is a big adventure for any person and more so for any family. Clinging to each other and embracing the adventure together has strengthened mine.
We love living in Lakewood (which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary)! Although it was established as a suburb with no historic downtown we live close to the historic Main Streets of Morrison (home of Red Rocks Park National Historic Landmark) and Golden (the home of Coors beer). We identify these places as our downtowns. We first fell in love with with this area during our Golden Summer Trip in 2017 and we decided we were ready to move.
Now here 14 months our support network is coming together. Since our arrival, my wife has found meaningful work, our kids are into their second semester of preschool, and we are starting to feel some tangible connection to the Centennial State. We have gotten to know most of the people on our block and have become members of the Lakewood Vineyard church.
A bonus of living here is that Denver is an easy place for others to visit. Many of our friends and family have come to stay with us already. Our home is a bi-level design and the first project we completed was renovating the basement guest quarters to add a shower. We love having a full house! In fact, we have seen more old friends during the past year than all 8 years we have been married.
We have also loved being so close to beautiful places. Within easy biking distance from home we have shopping, parks, community rec centers, trails, and a community garden. We have been camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, attended Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, been ice skating on a frozen lake and taken lots of hikes. There is a lifetime more to explore here, and we are glad to be home!
The unique history and cultural heritage of Colorado Main Street communities is my business to understand. From my previous six years experience with Oklahoma Main Street the transition to operations of the Colorado program has been a fun challenge. Although my desk is located at the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), one block south of the State Capital in Denver, I am not in the office too much. My work involves frequent travel, assisting Main Street programs across the state through professional architectural and historic preservation technical assistance, education and advocacy work. Within the first six months of 2018, I visited all of our designated programs (currently 20) along with many Affiliate communities , logging over 3,000 miles on the road.
This initial tour helped me find the pulse on each Main Street program, learn about their resources and connect with the local program Manager, public officials and volunteers. Because of the wide-ranging influences that bore the state’s many historic Main Street districts, every community has been a treat to explore and research. Ranging from Spanish colonization and traditional agriculture, to silver and gold mining, to western expansion and railroads, to modern outdoor recreation, and others, Colorado has a pretty eclectic range key influences that shaped it.
Even though the history that brought Main Streets to life in Colorado differs significantly from Oklahoma, the people that love these places are the very same . They are the wonderful sort that cares about the places they live and want to leave it better for the next generation. As I was in Oklahoma, I am blessed to serve this body of people. I already count them as family and think of them when I picture the inner place I think of as Green Heart Town. Being part of any Main Street organization connects you to a greater family. I look forward to sharing more about them with you!
Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.