Saying Goodbye as Your Mayor
"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave but not our hearts."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
I became Mayor because I love being a part of a thriving community that remains a warm, welcoming place with a hometown feel even as together we’ve embraced a new direction for Wheat Ridge. I love that we are in the middle of one of the most up-and-coming, bustling cities in the country, and yet I can run into my neighbors at Sprouts or a community event, and feel very much at home. Serving as Mayor for this community for these past few years has been a labor of love as well as an honor and a privilege and I want to thank you for your time, your words, your ideas, and for allowing me to represent you as we worked together to create a very bright future for Wheat Ridge.
A Mayor’s job is to be the “Face of the City”, showing up for ribbon cuttings, regional discussions, community-wide events, and City Council meetings. My responsibility for representing the interests and concerns of residents and business owners is something I have taken very seriously and it has also been fun! I have met so many dedicated and creative people from all walks of life. This has been by far the best thing about being Mayor, hearing all the stories from the past and discussing ideas for the future.
The need for communication has been a growing need throughout my term, the rise of social media and lighting fast information has changed local government as we know it! I have worked hard to strengthen our two-way communication with the community. I established the “Community Exchange” several years ago as a way to hear fresh ideas and concerns and some of my greatest memories are from my “Coffee with the Mayor” events. Thank you to everyone that came to formal meetings and these informal chats about our City! I have made an effort as Mayor to expand my listening avenues to hear from as many of you as possible, and I hope this trend continues with our next Mayor so more people are able to have a voice in our community.
I particularly want to thank our City Manager, Patrick Goff, department heads, and our many outstanding employees for their unwavering energy to keep our City running like a well-oiled machine. I have been witness to what it takes to run a city behind-the-scenes and we are lucky to have these folks working so hard for Wheat Ridge. Our City continues to shine brightly as new residents move into the area and commercial hot spots are upgraded or even created like our Investing 4 the Future projects. Our community has been recognized as having a strong focus on “healthy practices” like walking, biking, and rolling on wheelchair-accessible routes, and next steps include establishing safer routes for walking to school. This past year, environmental awareness found its voice in Wheat Ridge when I proudly appointed members to the Wheat Ridge Environmental Sustainability Committee. These amazing, highly-qualified volunteers have already established a direction for the City, and I’m hopeful a part-time environmental officer will be included in a future budget.
With all the progress, we have seen in the past few years alone, we are claiming our place as an attractive, forward-looking community. Our own Cultural Commission can take a blow for creating our artful awareness. I suggested we need a specific art plan, and they embraced that idea and are ready to introduce a formal plan for the arts in our City.
Wheat Ridge has also seen more restaurants and grocery store alternatives come onto the scene. We added a Natural Grocers, a Sprouts Farmers Market, and a new Lucky’s Market is breaking ground at The Corners at 38th and Wadsworth. King Soopers has also committed to its future in Wheat Ridge by remodeling and expanding both of its stores. We have at least six eateries now on W. 38th with Bardo’s coffee shop planned to open this fall, and a new gathering place offering books and brews planned for next year. Hacienda Colorado is also on board to join the dining options at the Applewood Shopping Center, which has already seen the opening of a new drive-through Starbuck’s. In addition, we are seeing work begin at Clear Creek Crossing and at Basecamp, the Transit-Oriented Development near the new Wheat Ridge · Ward Station, which will bring new employment opportunities, increased housing options, and I would expect, even more restaurants.
I’m also thrilled with the momentum along the W. 38th corridor between Upham and Pierce Streets, activity that is having an impact on businesses as well as the community. Not only is the Ridge at 38 a special place where we hold community events, but this area will soon emerge as the center of our downtown with the development of The Corners at 38th and Wadsworth and the addition of the West End at 38, the new apartment and retail space at 38th and Upham St. Sales tax revenue has also spiked significantly along W. 38th and we expect that trend to continue. For those traveling through Wheat Ridge or neighbors meeting up to have a beer, a meal or to shop, we are sending a clear message that Wheat Ridge is a community with a lot to offer.
I have been thrilled have been a part of the changes in our City over the past four years, and I believe we are headed in a positive and exciting direction. Thank you to all of you for allowing me to be a part of it. Thank you passionate residents and business owners. Thank you to a great City staff. And thank you to my fellow dedicated elected officials for your continued hard work to create a future for this great City that we all love. As Mayor, while my feet may be leaving the office my heart will always beat with love for Wheat Ridge.
Joyce Jay, Mayor
City of Wheat Ridge