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Severe Weather Resources for Jefferson County's Homeless

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from November 20 until December 9

We are well into severe weather season for Jefferson County’s homeless and many of the providers who try to keep them warm and safe. Severe weather is defined as when the temperature is below 32 degrees and wet or below 20 degrees and dry. Last year, on a very cold night in January, 1,435 people were counted as homeless in Jefferson County; 72 percent of those households were families with children (2012 Point in Time count, Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, MDHI). Homeless residents end up sleeping in cars, living on the street or staying in shelters when they are available. Other options for the homeless are limited.

The Severe Weather Network, a program of Plan to End Homelessness in Jefferson County, is a collaboration of non-profits, churches, government organizations and others, finding more options for homeless residents. Finding the financial resources for cold weather shelters are often challenging. However, thanks to the faith community, three churches have recently opened their doors through April 30, 2014, with many more congregations providing supportive services and financial help. We are sincerely appreciative for all of their efforts.

The Plan to End Homelessness in Jefferson County was created by Heading Home, a collaboration of individuals and public service organizations from the community determined to end homelessness in Jefferson County, and endorsed by the Jefferson County Child and Youth Leadership Commission in April of 2013. Jefferson County has had, and continues to have, one of the larger homeless populations of the suburban areas surrounding Denver. The Plan shifts our paradigm from one that reacts to homelessness to one that prevents and ends homelessness.

Communities with plans have seen significant savings in the areas of public systems including reduced use of emergency medical systems, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and acute psychiatric services. The community is invited to join this partnership to end homelessness. Contact Heading Home c/o Linda Barringer ( or 303-467-2604.


Economic Impact of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in 2013

by Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Director
comments open from January 8 until January 27

The Rocky Mountain Metro Airport is a part of Jefferson County and located in Broomfield. Every year the Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division conducts a statewide economic impact study. The study includes Rocky Mountain Metro Airport’s impact from on-airport activities (administration, operations and maintenance, and activities of airport tenants that provide aviation services or support airport customers), off-airport spending (by visitors that arrive in Colorado through Rocky Mountain Metro Airport) and various other impacts such as annual taxes.

The annual economic benefit includes the “multiplier effect” which captures the recycling of initial economic impacts in the economy, and spending associated with the airports operators, tenants, capital investment, air visitors, and non-aviation businesses that rely on cargo, support of additional jobs, and payroll and economic activity.

Below you can find the impacts:

Annual Tax Impacts of the Rocky Mountain Metro Airport
Local and State taxes linked to the operation of the airport total $12.7 Million.

The Rocky Mountain Metro economic contribution to the communities it serves is $460.5 Million in output and 2,670 jobs with an annual payroll of $153.9 Million.

If you would like more information about the 2013 Economic Impact of Rocky Mountain Metro Airport, please visit the CDOT Economic Impact Study page for RMMA.

If you would like more information about the 2013 economic impact of Colorado Airports, please visit the CDOT Economic Impact Study of Colorado Airports webpage.


What Our Youth Need is You!

by Jacki Paone, Jeffco's CSU Extension Director
comments open from January 6 until January 25

Consider 2014 to be the year you get involved in 4-H as a mentor to area youth. In collaboration with three area elementary schools, Jefferson County CSU Extension is recruiting mentors to participate in afterschool programs that will teach life skills, encourage creativity in youngsters as well as enhance the personal development of the mentors.

Schools where the 4-H “Youth and Families with Promise” program will be employed are Pleasant View Elementary in Golden; Molholm Elementary in Lakewood; and Parr Elementary in the Arvada/Westminster area. Twenty students will be participating from each school and pairing one mentor to each child is ideal.

By committing one hour a week to meet with youth ages 8-13 in an after school setting, you will open doors to interests in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as help them develop life skills such as self-esteem, responsibility, problem solving, cooperation, sharing and teamwork. Modeled as a 4-H club, your leadership at meetings will include club business once a month and project work at the remaining meetings. The first projects that the youth will work on involve robotics and rocketry. Projects thereafter will be shaped by 4-H curriculum based on the youth’s interests and suggestions. Training will be provided for the projects the youth are interested in.

Mentor candidates must be at least 19 years of age, may apply online and will be subject to a background check and interview. Consider partnering with a family member or colleague to share the experience and bring more value to the interaction with these youth. Initial training prior to leading the afterschool activities will be provided as well as follow-up training offered throughout the year. Scheduled to begin January 14, applications will be taken until the mentor positions are filled.

Being a mentor changes lives.

COLLEGE STUDENTS: Putting academics into practice, college level teaching candidates get valuable experience. Students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math programs may find fulfillment in sharing their interest in these areas with young people. Additionally, volunteer activities, particularly with youth, are attractive to future employers.

TEACHERS: Build upon the relationships you have established with students and enrich their learning experiences by providing quality time under the 4-H program umbrella. Retired teachers also bring unmatched experience into the learning environment and make wonderful mentors.

PROFESSIONALS: Workplaces that encourage volunteer activity by their employees will see great value in allowing time away from business as a contribution to the future of our community. In tandem with the personal satisfaction of the employee in giving to others, mentorship from professionals helps youth dream about their future careers.

NEIGHBORS and PARENTS: Schools are a hub of activity in neighborhoods. Become a mentor at one of the participating schools and be more aware of activities, programs and events happening at the school. Connect with others in your neighborhood and build relationships with youth that may struggle in school and need adult support.

Apply today on the 4-H section of the CSU website. For additional information, contact Barbie Garnett or Claire Dixon at Jefferson County’s CSU Extension office, 303-271-6620.

Participating Schools:
Parr Elementary, 5800 West 84th Avenue, Arvada, CO
Pleasant View Elementary, 15920 West 10th Avenue, Golden, CO
Molholm Elementary, 6000 West 9th Avenue, Lakewood, CO

Jefferson County CSU Extension empowers county citizens and enhances their quality of life through education, innovation and excellence in service. 4-H is a national youth development program that has been in existence for more than 100 years. The primary goal of 4-H is to assist youth in developing life skills that help them live productive and satisfying lives.


Forest Wood Slash RFP

by Mark Danner, Facilities and Construction Management Director
comments open from December 18 until January 6

Jefferson County has experienced many wildfires over the last several years. Unfortunately lives have been lost and property destroyed. In an effort to minimize these natural and human error caused fires, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has managed a Slash Collection Program for over two decades. County residents have taken advantage of several slash collection sites per year through this program.

In an effort to significantly increase the amount of forest slash collected and processed, Jefferson County will soon be releasing an open RFP to solicit proposals from commercial industry. We will be looking for creative ideas such as curtain burning, mulching, composting, generating bio-mass energy generation, using biochar, etc.

Proposals will include requested information for potential slash collection site identification, processing methods and possible collaboration with the existing Jefferson County Sheriff's Office slash collection program. Jefferson County will collect all RFP responses and determine which proposals if any, are acceptable to the county.

Follow our website (, industry publications, social media feeds, etc. for the actual release date and details of this RFP.


Team Weight Maintenance Challenge

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from December 10 until December 29

Here at Jeffco many of our employees are again participating in our annual 'Hold the Holidays' event. This event is a TEAM weight maintenance challenge designed to keep teammates from packing on the pounds during the holiday season. Teams will choose a “captain” and consist of 2-8 members.

By participating, teammates help keep each other accountable and motivated to make healthy choices during the season. This enables everyone to enjoy the holidays without having to lose weight after they are over!

This is an easy program to implement in your own workplace or even with your family. You will be less stressed, more rested and more active during the holiday season, all of which will make your season brighter.


Winter Driving Tips

Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from November 21 until December 10

When the weather becomes snowy and icy, there are several things motorists should do to be safe.

1. It is incumbent on motorists to not overdrive the road conditions.

2. Motorists should ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy for adverse road conditions, have good snow tires and are in good operating condition mechanically.

3. Check weather and/or road conditions before venturing out.

4. It's always a good idea to let someone know where you are going, what route you plan to take and your expected arrival time. A follow-up phone call to make sure you made it to your destination is usually appreciated.
• As a backup, if you do not arrive, law enforcement has a route to start looking.

It's also good to equip your car with the following items:
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Flares or reflective triangles
• Jumper cables
• Cell phone with extra batteries
• General First Aid kit
• Rags or paper towels
• Gallon jug of water
• Non-perishable food items
• Blanket and extra set of clothes
• Winter formula window washer solvent
• Non-clumping kitty litter
• Ice-scraper, snow brush and snow shovel
• Tire chains
• Extra car fuses

See the CDOT Winter Driving web page for additional winter driving information. Thanks to Captain Manwaring from the JCSO for contributing to this article.


Holidays Are a Time for Giving

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from November 20 until December 9

You Can Help Jefferson County Families in Need Through The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program

Holidays are a special time of year, especially for children. But the holidays can be hard for many people for many different reasons. Jefferson County Human Services is looking for generous donors to join in making the 2013 holiday season a little brighter for some of our families in need.

The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program serves children and families who are dealing with issues of child abuse and neglect and may not receive any gifts this holiday season. There are still over 100 families are in need. The deadline to sign up is November 27 and gift drop off takes place December 2 - December 4.

There are two ways you can help:
Sign up using the online form to sponsor a child or family
• Donate items especially needed at this time: gifts for teens, non-perishable food items, diapers, and children's books.

The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program matches community members and businesses with children and families that are involved in the child welfare program at Jefferson County Human Services. Each individual is asked to provide needs and a wish list. Even though a child may need winter boots, he/she may also desire the latest toy or gadget. It is up to the giver what they wish to buy.

The program is also accepting any general toys and gifts, especially gifts and gift cards for teens, as there are many children and families that won’t be matched with a donor. Simply fill out the Holiday Program Donor Form and an email will be sent with further instructions and a list of requested items. You may bring gifts wrapped, but please label them CLEARLY with the family members name and family number.

General gift donations, food and diapers will be accepted until December 20.

Gift drop off will take place December 2 - December 4 from 8am - 5pm at the Jefferson County Human Services Building Cafeteria, located at 900 Jefferson County Pkwy Golden, CO 80401 near the north building entrance. There will be assistance in unloading your vehicle if needed. Donors are welcome to join in the cafeteria for refreshments during gift drop off week.

For more information and to see a list of frequently asked questions, visit our web page or contact the program coordinator.


Information Meeting will Address Open Space Flood Recovery

by Tom Hoby, CPRP, Open Space/Jeffco Parks Director
comments open from November 13 until December 3

The September storms that swept across the front range not only damaged homes, property and roads. The historic flooding also caused severe trail damage and the subsequent closure of several trails, and two Jeffco Open Space Parks in their entirety. As extensive repair work has taken place and volunteer efforts have aided in the recovery, only one park (Apex Park) will remain closed into 2014. Additionally, specific trail segments will remain closed at White Ranch Park, North Table Mountain Park and Alderfer Three Sisters Park into 2014.

There’s good news, too. Damage has been repaired at Matthews Winters, Mount Galbraith, South Valley Parks and popular Lair o’ the Bear Park along Bear Creek was reopened on November 9 after extensive work to reroute and rebuild trails and picnic area were completed through staff diligence and volunteer support. One pedestrian bridge deemed unsafe will need to be repaired and the remainder of the Park is available for visitors to enjoy.

To learn more about the status of flood recovery efforts by Jeffco Open Space, please attend a public information meeting on Tuesday, November 19, from 6-8pm, at American Mountaineering Center located at 710 10th Street, Golden, CO 80401, in the conference rooms.

The presentation will include our plan and project strategy, as well as involvement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Following the presentation, staff experts will be available for one-on-one questions regarding trails and repair work occurring in the three parks. Information on how individuals and groups can participate in flood recovery efforts will also available.

Apex Park suffered the greatest flood damage and will require an in-depth recovery process. Apex trail, the main artery for the Park, has gullies up to 8 feet wide, mounds of boulders, and long stretches where all the soil has been washed away. View photos of the flood damage at Apex Park. The work to reopen portions and later, the entire park, will extend into 2014.

To sign up for Apex Park updates, please email: To receive a monthly electronic newsletter with the latest information from Jeffco Open Space and Parks including features, programs and events, subscribe to Panorama, using either your smart phone QR scan application on the code below or use this link Panorama Subscription.


Evaluate your Benefits Needs During Open Enrollment

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from Oct. 29 until Nov. 17

If you are among the millions of American’s who receive health insurance through an employer, you will probably receive your 2014 open enrollment material shortly. It’s important to take this opportunity to review all of the information in order to avoid costly mistakes.

Here’s why: Health insurance has undergone major changes since the 2012 Affordable Care Act was passed, including: the elimination of annual and lifetime coverage limits and preexisting conditions exclusions; preventative care has been expanded to be free; and children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ plans.

Be sure to check with your employer to see if your benefit plans have been altered. If your employer offers flexible spending accounts and you are not participating, you’re leaving a valuable tax break on the table.

Common changes include:
• Increased monthly premiums, deductibles and copayment amounts
• Revised prescription drug formularies
• Favored doctors or hospitals in the network may vary from year to year
• Changes to the annual limits on care/medical equipment (physical therapy, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, etc.)
• Additional services offered (clinical trials, obesity counseling, etc.)

Compare your employer’s plans alongside those offered by your spouse’s employer when deciding which options will best benefit you and your family.

It’s worth taking the time to review your benefit coverage options for next year, especially when you consider the potential financial consequences.

Pay attention to spousal surcharges. It’s becoming more common for employers to impose a spousal surcharge if the spouse has access to healthcare at his or her workplace but elects to be covered under their spouse’s plan instead.

Don’t forget to cover the kids! Make sure you and your spouse talk over who is going to cover the kids so you don’t forget to add them mistakenly thinking the other one has covered them on their plan.

Be sure to carefully compare all costs and features of the different plans offered and what’s changing for next year.


Living with Construction and Best Management Practices

by David Douglas, Engineering Inspector in Jeffco Transportation and Engineering
comments open from October 17 until November 5

As a new resident to a neighborhood that is still under development, you may be experiencing some challenges that go with living near a construction site. Not only do you have abundant traffic, but the dust and debris that comes with it can be frustrating. You will probably also see some features installed around your neighborhood that you may not recognize or understand their purpose. The Jefferson County Transportation and Engineering Division would like to help you identify and appreciate the value and function of some of these features.

What are Best Management Practices?
Also known as BMPs, Best Management Practices for construction stormwater management are the procedures and features that contractors and builders use to control erosion and sediment transport off of their project sites. Using these procedures and installing these features is a State and local permit requirement for contractors to help minimize the impact of earthwork activities on waterways and water quality of the local environment. These procedures and installations can include easily recognized black silt fencing, street cleaning activities, erosion control blankets, and installation of sediment barriers around storm drain inlets.

Recognizing BMPs and their Function
Sediment barriers at stormdrain inlets are referred to as Inlet Protection. The purpose is to slow sediment-laden stormwater flows and allow for filtration and settling. Once installed, contractors are required to inspect and maintain these features. A design function of these features is that some pooling of water will occur, so do not be alarmed if you notice this.

These installations should not be modified or disturbed, as they will not function as intended. Opening the ends will allow sediment to enter the stormdrain.

In lieu of final landscaping for home lots, builders will often install erosion control blankets and silt fencing to help prevent surface erosion and keep sediment from flowing into the streets.

While a goal of a new homeowner is to install your own selection of landscaping, it is important to preserve these erosion control features in the interim until you are ready to complete landscaping.

Jefferson County is committed to enhancing and protecting the quality of life for our citizens by ensuring that future development continues in a manner that balances social, environmental, and economic needs. If you have questions about the features in your neighborhood or the effectiveness of those features, please call 303-271-8495. Please help us protect our most important natural resource.


Rocky Mountain Air Show Coming to RMMA

by Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Director
comments open from July 23 until August 11

The Rocky Mountain Air Show was voted “one of the top nine airshows to see this summer” by Popular Mechanics, July 2013.

The Rocky Mountain Air Show has been scheduled for Friday, August 16 to Sunday, August 18 at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County.

The Rocky Mountain Airshow is excited to announce that they are going to be the first show that will have a Large Sport Rocket. United Launch Alliance has worked in conjunction with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to establish guidelines for the never-before-seen demonstrations at airshows and we are the first to launch a rocket in front of fans.

Additional acts include Greg Shelton and his F-4 Wildcat. Greg Shelton will also perform with Ashley Battles -“Wing Walking” a Stearman. You will enjoy the Friday night twilight airshow, balloon glow and pyrotechnics along with many other acts throughout the weekend. This year’s grand finale is going to be a “Warbird Spectacular” with the biggest warbird show in the region.

Come out and enjoy the extensive range of static displays, hot air balloons, aerobatics, formation demonstrations and the rocky mountain regional fly-in. You can even enjoy a ride on the worlds only flying CAF (Commemorative Air Force) B-29 "FIFI." There will be a wide variety of food vendors for your appetite. The kids will enjoy the “Adventure Zone and Space Pavilion,” where they get to experience the excitement and fun of aviation hands on. We hope to see you there!

For more details on the event and to purchase tickets, please visit


Planning and Zoning Moves Toward Paperless Processing, Paperless Office

by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from June 27 until July 16

Over the last two years, the Planning and Zoning division has put great effort into creating a “more electronic and less paper” environment. By the end of 2013 the Division’s goal is to be 75% electronic.

For some, going paperless is all about speed, efficiency and savings. For some, it’s about conservation. Whether for efficiency or conservation, going paperless benefits the bottom line.

As of January 1, 2013, Planning and Zoning ceased processing paper applications once an applicant drops an application (big or small) at the door. From that point forward, applications are scanned, assigned a case number and become “electronic.” All referrals and correspondence between other Divisions, Departments, Outside Agencies, Homeowner Associations and Umbrella Groups are sent via email. Emails with a link are sent to the above groups directing the recipient to the Planning and Zoning website in order to view the application and pertinent documents. Recipients are encouraged to respond electronically through email or other internal systems available to county divisions and Departments. All applications, referral responses and citizen comments are then stored in electronic files for Planning and Zoning employees to access at any time. As we move forward, electronic files will be accessible to all through the county’s electronic file storage system.

We have spent a great amount of our "down time" scanning paper files and making them "electronic." Starting with the most recent year’s files and moving backwards, we are rapidly completing the task of converting all documents to an electronic file. This has improved our ability to research and deliver information in a matter of minutes, providing an extremely high level of customer service to each other and those that we serve each day.

Moving to an electronic format hasn’t been limited solely to Planning and Zoning. With roughly two years “under their belts,” the Jefferson County Planning Commissioners have been receiving hearing materials via county owned iPads. An application allows the case packets to be uploaded for each hearing. A single application packet can sometimes have hundreds of pages as well as 24x36 inch sized documents for review. With multiple cases in any given evening, being able to view these packets on the iPad saves time and money. Once cases are uploaded, a Planning Commissioner can open and review their electronic case packet from anywhere, either by iPad or logging into their account. The savings of not mailing bulky packages to nine commissioners two to three times per month has more than paid for the iPads and at the same time has drastically cut Planning and Zonings mailing costs.

As we continue to move toward our 75% paperless goal by the end of 2013, I am continually looking for feedback on our electronic endeavor. Please feel free to submit comments or suggestions by responding to this blog or emailing me at


FasTracks West Line, Final Update

by Public Information
comments open from Febraury 21 until March 12

The new W Line, the first line of the FasTracks program —featuring 11 new stations, six Park-n-Rides, three Call-n-Rides and updated bus routes—took decades of planning, engineering and community outreach to complete. This is the final newsletter for the W Line, and the final shout out to say thank you to stakeholders, community members, businesses and local jurisdictions. Thank you for your time, patience and commitment to the success of the line.

W Line Grand Opening
Thank you to everyone who joined RTD in the Grand Opening weekend of the W Line. Nearly 5,000 patrons joined in on the festivities on Friday, April 26 and thousands more enjoyed the station parties along the line on Saturday, April 27. A special thank you goes out to our community members, stakeholders, and local jurisdictions who worked tirelessly to plan and organize their respective station parties along the line. We hope all enjoyed the event as much as we did and didn’t a get a sunburn!

If you would like to share any stories, pictures, or feedback about the event, please submit to Lindsey Smith at We would love to hear from you! To see highlights from the weekend, please visit our Flickr webpage.

Community Outreach
The success of the W Line is a testament to the dedication, patience, and communication put forth from the community, businesses and local jurisdictions. Through this coordination, RTD built community relations to ensure safety, keep the public informed, and minimize construction impacts throughout the project. The outreach efforts were impressive and include the following:
• Organized 142 public presentations, including “Safety Roadshows” (photo above).
• Held more than 600 external meetings at schools, neighborhood associations, senior centers, government offices and other locations.
• Distributed nearly 15,200 informational door hangers/fliers about construction, safety, tree removal and other issues.
• Sent more than 51,000 email blasts describing construction impacts.
• Coordinated nearly 100 public tours for the media, residents, businesses, elected officials and other stakeholders.
• Disseminated more than 8,000 fact sheets detailing best safety practices, environmental impacts and business access.
• Wrote more than 60 news releases with project overviews, goals, timelines and expected impacts.
• Delivered a monthly e-newsletter to more than 5,000 subscribers for the past 84 months – since June 2006.
• Fielded more than 5,200 public comments.
• Curated a database of 10,531 individuals who requested W Line updates.

Construction Update
Work continues on the Sheridan Garage and will be complete by early summer. Crews will work to finalize the remaining items including:
o Complete elevator installation
o Complete painting scope of work
o Continue landscaping
o Continue installation of security
o Signalization of the 10th Ave. and Sheridan Blvd. intersection
o Curb, gutter and asphalt constructed on 10th Ave & Ames St.
There may still also be a few construction items that will take place, and we will keep you informed via email notices and the website.

Final Farewell
We appreciate your support and understanding during the construction of this monumental project and hope we provided accurate and timely information during this time. To submit comments/inquiries or for service information regarding light rail, buses, or the addition of the call-n-Rides, please call 303-299-6000 or visit RTD’s new and enhanced website. It has been our pleasure to work with each and every one of you, and we wish you the best!

Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter.


Deck Safety Awareness

by Becky Baker, Building Safety Division Director
comments open from May 7 until May 26

In 2006, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) declared May as Deck Safety Month. Decks are popular structures used frequently as a gathering place for friends and family. Decks are designed to support the weight of people and objects on it as well as forces of Mother Nature. While decks look relatively simple to build, many do not realize these structures need to be designed to adequately resist certain stresses.

Life expectancy of a deck can be as short as 10 to 15 years. Decks are exposed to elements, which can cause damage. It is important that decks are regularly inspected and maintained. To prolong the life of your deck, check for things like loose boards or protruding nails. Over time metal connectors, screws and nails can corrode or become loose and weaken the structure of your deck.

Five Warning Signs

Missing Connections: A deck should be built using a series of wood members, nails, screws and metal connectors to create a continuous load path.

Loose Connections: Look for wobbly railings, loose stairs and ledgers that appear to be pulling away from the home.

Corrosion of Connectors and Fasteners: Look for red rust and other signs of corrosion that can weaken the deck.

Rot: Overtime wood can rot and degrade due to exposure to the elements.

Cracks: Large cracks or excessive cracking overall can weaken a deck.

To determine if repairing or replacing is in order, professionals such as structural engineers or contractors are an excellent resource. In some situations retrofitting your deck by applying new or additional hardware to existing framing members may extend the lifespan.

The Building Safety Division is available to answer questions you may have on repairing or replacing your deck.


Think Before You Park

by County Commissioner Casey Tighe
comments open from May 6 until May 25

Recently a member of Jeffco community contacted me about a very important issue for our citizens with disabilities, which is parking and access. Often times, in our busy lives and the rush to get things done, we don’t think too much about parking. We forget how important it is to make sure everyone in our community has access to stores, restaurants and other businesses and offices. But, for those who have disabilities that limit their mobility, parking and access is an important aspect of their everyday life.

When a person with a disability needs to shop, visit a government building or simply stop by a local park they have to be able to find a place to park that accommodates their needs or they will go home empty handed. What might be a minor inconvenience for some, can result in the inability to access a building, a store or doctor for a person with a disability.

Unless you have a current disabled parking permit, please don’t give in to the temptation to use a parking spot marked with the familiar blue sign with the white figure in a wheel chair, even if you think it will be “just a minute.” And when you park next to these spaces, leave a little extra room so individuals in wheel chairs can easily get in and out of their specialized vehicles. These vehicles need much more clearance than the average vehicle and we applaud those parking lots that offer special spots for them.

Not only is it considered bad manners to park in one of these spots if you are not a person with disabilities, but it is also illegal. Violators can face fines of a minimum of $350.

Next time you are parking, please don’t disable those with disabilities. Remember not to park in the spots designated for persons with disabilities and if you park near one of those spots, park a little further away from the line to give them the extra space that they may need.

For more information on Colorado’s parking program for persons with disabilities, please go to and type “persons with disabilities” in the search box.

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