What is it like moving into a brand-new house in a neighborhood still being built?
Chris Englert loves it. She and her family moved from Tampa, Fla., to the new Conservatory Green neighborhood north of I-70 nearly a year ago. She has yet to miss Tampa.
“I love it here. I love Stapleton. I love my neighbors. I can’t get enough of this area,” she says. She finds her neighbors’ young, active mentalities refreshing.
While she loves her family’s new home, there are downfalls to being some of the first residents. She has discovered living in an emerging neighborhood brings certain quirks, as well as perks.
Dumpsters—Every street has a dumpster so throwing away trash is easier than ever. People from the surrounding area regularly come to dumpster dive—the dumpsters have all the leftover construction materials one might need for a project.
Tacos—Each day at lunchtime there is a cacophony of horns as taco trucks enter the neighborhood. The trucks came to sell tacos to construction workers, but residents have become regulars as well. Englert says there is nothing better than cheap and at your front door. Her favorite is a vegetarian burrito.
Recycling—Because there is currently no recycling service in the neighborhood, many neighbors sort items in garages and make regular trips to Waste Management to drop off recyclables. Neighbors hope a resident will start a recycling service soon.
Dust—Englert laughs thinking how she hired a window cleaning service the first week they moved in. After that first clean, her windows have consistently been dirty due to dust from construction.
Construction debris—Moving into a brand-new neighborhood, Englert knew she would encounter construction issues and feels inappropriate complaining, but cannot help feeling frustrated. Trash and construction materials are common on sidewalks. She says she would not let young children outside to play. She would like to roller blade but knows she cannot for a while, at least until construction of the last three houses on her block is complete.
Friendliness—Englert relates the early days of the move-in to moving into her college freshmen-year dorm. With few people all experiencing the same thing, quick friendships were inevitable. She and 19 other neighbors who were the first to move in call themselves the “Pioneer 20.” The group bonded immediately. Topics like finding a maid or hanging blinds suddenly became of interest to all and fun to discuss.
At the first signs of a new move-in, members of the Pioneer 20 would stop by to welcome the neighbor. It felt like a small town within Denver—the “bring-baked-goods-over-to-say-hello” kind of community, she says.
Having a dog added to the friendliness factor because nearly every dog walker stopped to chat.
Isolation—Conservatory Green advertised being a part of the greater Stapleton community, but neighbors have felt isolated. Even though Central Park in the south part of Stapleton is only a few miles away, I-70 is a mental and physical barrier, according to Englert. She has found it difficult to make friends with people in the south part of Stapleton, which is why she believes it’s so important for Conservatory Green to own its identity and create community as it grows.
Parks—Last November, residents had a “bring-your-own-ball” gathering on The Green of Conservatory Green. With an abundant supply of footballs, baseballs, Frisbees and more, the group spent time getting to know one another. Sprinklers interrupted the meeting, and they had to leave. They didn’t know this was the one time they would spend on The Green.
The Green has been fenced off since November, and other parks are not complete—a major concern for residents. Englert luckily lives on a courtyard owned and shared by nine neighbors, but the green space is not open to other residents. Neighbors were told springtime for park completion, and Englert hopes that means soon.
Northfield—Conservatory Green neighbors joke you will always see someone you know at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos or Target across the street in Northfield. The mall is not always a preferred shopping choice, but Wahoo’s and Target are popular among residents.
GPS—The neighborhood is so new, it only recently existed on GPS. Previously, resident Deanna Landers’s house at Northfield Boulevard and Uinta Street pinpointed a location a few miles east on GPS.
Postal service and FedEx have had no trouble finding addresses in the neighborhood, but delivery food and friends visiting have struggled, according to Landers. Marco’s Pizza on Northfield Boulevard—only a few miles from her home—told her each time she called she is out of the delivery area. Not a chance, she thought.
Landers called Google Maps and got the neighborhood added to its GPS service.
Parking—Construction trucks park every direction on the streets, which has become normal to residents, but Landers recently got a parking ticket for parking her car “against the flow of traffic” (facing the wrong direction).
Landers, who moved to Stapleton from the north Parker area in November, laughs at the oddities that come along with having a construction zone for a home. Like Englert, she hopes parks will get finished this spring and looks forward to the pool being built a few blocks from her house.