A Fresh Coat

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As Stapleton celebrates a decade of development, several residents are commemorating the occasion with a fresh coat of paint.

“It has been 10 years, and I’m sure we could squeak by for another few years … but we wanted to spruce things up and change colors,” said Krista Azer, a Stapleton resident who is painting her house and found a company that would paint another 30 homes in the community for a group discount. “Our neighbors went from light blue to a really bright yellow. It actually makes my backyard look very bright and sunny. I think most people are changing color.”

Eight homes will be painted on Azer’s block, alone, and she said it’s common for her neighbors to stick together.

“We have our own block party … a progressive holiday party … and I help co-host for Halloween,” she said.

The neighborhood is in the East 29th Avenue Neighborhood, which was one of the first areas to be redeveloped after Stapleton’s residential construction began in 2001.

Azer said that many of the same neighbors still live close by.

“It’s a great block – we love it,” she said. “I was in Park hill for six years before, and while I knew and liked my neighbors, it was never going to be what you would get with a brand new neighborhood … this was like a bomb exploding: Everyone was moving in together and we all had babies and similar stages of life.”

Azer said that’s not the only thing that kept her family in Stapleton.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people … I don’t think you can go wrong. The schools are fantastic because the people actually work on making them good … trying to get things done,” she said. “When there’s a problem, people get together and make their voices heard, and I think that’s what it takes to sustain a really good neighborhood.”

This year also marks the first time that Stapleton students have gone through kindergarten to fifth grade together at Westerly Creek Elementary School.

The school recently celebrated the academic transition as many of the students prepare to become the first middle school class at McAuliffe International School this fall.

Westerly Creek Principal Jill Corcoran said the graduating class had focused on one of Stapleton’s founding principles: sustainability.

“They were able to choose an area that they wanted to embrace, and they wanted to embrace sustainability,” Corcoran said. “We started composting in our school. We switched from plastic over to silverware. It’s all about being a partner with the parents and the children.

“It’s about a life-long journey … we’re not just teaching them for tomorrow – we’re preparing them to be citizens of the world.”