Why I am involved in Wheat Ridge 2020 – Janeece Hoppe

I am the President of the Board of Directors for WR2020 and one of Wheat Ridge 2020’s events is the reason my family has invested so much in this community.

In 2010 my husband and I were looking for a new office for our company Compass Construction; we had literally grown out of our office space on 44th and Tennyson. We went from 2 of us sharing an office to 4 of us in a matter of a few months. We had looked into several places around the Denver metro area and found one that we sort of liked. Then we were doing some work for The Family Tree Treasure Trunk and saw the broken down, half built, leaking roof, and mushroom growing building across the street. A nightmare to some, but a contractors dream!

So we started to ask around about Wheat Ridge, the unfortunate story we heard was that the city was hard to work with. Then I asked our friend, a real estate agent, his opinion of Wheat Ridge. He had just gone on the Realtor Tour with WR2020, he said prior to that tour he really had no opinion on Wheat Ridge, but that the tour convinced him that Wheat Ridge would be the new “hot” market in a few years. He shared with us the insight he gained from the Realtor Tour with WR2020; he also shared the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy(NRS). After I read the NRS, I decided to do a little more digging into Wheat Ridge, and I contacted Britta at WR2020.

Britta met with me, gave me a little history on the building I was looking at and helped me set up a meeting with the building department to answer some of our “can we do this” questions. This is all work we did before we decided to buy the property. When we were thinking about the purchase, there were 7 vacant, for sale or lease properties within a few blocks of us. I wish I had a picture, it was very sad looking.

After doing our due diligence and speaking with the building department we decided to purchase our building. We decided to purchase our building, even though the street was looking pretty rough at the time, because we knew the city had a plan for future prosperity for Wheat Ridge via the NRS.  The City also had some good incentive to take the risk, the Building Up Business Loan Program from WR2020 and the Grant Programs from Wheat Ridge Business District (WRBD).  After we purchased our building and worked in Wheat Ridge for a while, we decided to move from Denver and make our home in Wheat Ridge.

Because I agreed with the work that WR2020 was doing, and had experienced it firsthand, I applied to be on the Board of Directors. I was soon asked by the City Council if I would accept an appointment to the WRBD Board of Directors. What have I brought to the community since? I am one of the 3 founding members of Live Local. Live Local Wheat Ridge was created by Wheat Ridge 2020 to help connect community members to each other in person and one on one, and to support our community of small business. The monthly Live Local Dines to meet up at the dinner table together, yoga in the park to connect in nature, cruiser crawls for good times on our bikes, food and film, sharing stories and food, harvest swaps…. It is a long and successful list.

My husband and I also are the ones who spend a weekend in September cutting out giant pumpkins to give to the business on 38th for free, so that we may have an interesting , fun and united (in one thing) holiday spirit in our town instead of having to go to another town to feel that sense of community.  And love them or hate them I was also on the 4 person committee to beautify the repurposed planters from over 30 years ago. The planters were going to get used, and I loved the idea of repurposing them but wanted to help give them a little flair with art panels sponsored by local residents and businesses.

I don’t tell you all this to toot my horn, I tell you all this to demonstrate how what may seem a small program like the Realtor Tour, it is the pebble that started the ripples, that turned to waves of positive change and contribution.  This would not have happened without WR2020. I tell you this because it is my testimony about the good things WR2020 does for our community.

I hope you will consider joining us advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community.