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Friday, March 13, 2015

Volunteer Spring Kick-Off


Extreme Community Makeover is kicking-off our volunteer year in style. Join us for our Spring Into 2015 on Saturday, March 21st, at Converge Denver at 6 p.m. Coyote Gold Margaritas, Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ, and Jake’s Food & Spirits are providing food and drinks for the kick-off. 

2015 is going to be a great year! Check out this year's volunteer opportunities and sign up
 

  • April 11 - Barnum neighborhood
  • April 25 - Westwood neighborhood
  • May 2 - Villa Park neighborhood       
  • May 16 - West Colfax neighborhood
  • May 30 - Barnum neighborhood
  • June 13 - Swansea neighborhood
  • June 27 - Elyria neighborhood
  • July 11 - Westwood neighborhood
  • July 25 - Globeville neighborhood
  • August 8 - Barnum neighborhood
  • August 22 - La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood
  • September 12 - Westwood neighborhood
  • September 26 - Elyria neighborhood
  • October 3 - Swansea neighborhood
  • October 17 - Villa Park & West Colfax neighborhoods
  • October 31 - Multiple neighborhoods


We are making a huge impact in Denver, one block at a time.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Neighborhood Spotlight: Villa Park

The Villa Park neighborhood is located in West Denver about two to three miles west of downtown Denver. The neighborhood is bounded on the north by Lakewood Gulch, on the east by Federal Boulevard, on the south by the 6th Avenue Freeway, and on the west by Sheridan Boulevard.

According to Wikipedia, the neighborhood contains three small creeks: Lakewood Gulch, which provides the northern border for the neighborhood, Dry Gulch, and Weir Gulch. The confluence of Lakewood and Dry Gulches is located in the neighborhood near the intersection of 10th Avenue and Osceola Street. Martinez, Paco Sanchez, Lakewood/Dry Gulch, and Barnum North parks straddle the creeks as they meander through the neighborhood.[1] Much of the areas around the creeks have a typical riparian environment and are more natural than many other areas of the city as a result. Several bike and pedestrian paths also follow the creeks and connect the neighborhood with the rest of the city. Because of the creeks and a general elevation gain towards the west, Villa Park is a very hilly neighborhood. 

When Extreme Community Makeover began in 2008, Villa Park was one of the first neighborhoods where we began working, going block by block to assist residents with exterior home and neighborhood improvement projects. Over the years, hundreds of projects have been completed in this community. And a lot of changes have been witnessed. One of the most notable being the inclusion of the new W Line of the RTD Light Rail line, travelling directly through Villa Park.
For more information, check out our website - http://www.extremecommunitymakeover.org/About/VillaPark.aspx. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Home Inspection Checklist for First Time Buyers


Owning a home is big responsibility. It is a large investment and the homeowner is responsible for all the maintenance issues. So, when you are looking into purchasing a home, make sure to do a thorough inspection before purchasing it. If any major issues go unrecognized, you may end up spending a lot of money to repair them.

Personal Inspection


A personal inspection will help you identity issues to mention to the professional inspector. Here are some important things to take notice of.

Foundation and Lot

Look for obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation and look to see if there are any trees encroaching on the foundation. When checking out the lot, look to see if the drainage goes away from the house. You can do a quick eye test by looking for any obvious soggy areas around the house.

Roof

The roof is responsible for over one third of all homeowner’s insurance claims. A leaky roof, can lead to all sorts of problems. For example, dampness and mold growth caused by a roof leak will threaten your home’s structural soundness, as well as your physical health.

Paint and Siding

Look for peeling paint and signs of rotted wood. Paint is meant to protect wood surfaces. It’s common to find rotted wood siding when the paint job is not kept up. Rotting wood on the outside of a home can be responsible for water intrusion. If moisture is allowed to creep into house, it can cause walls to rot and destroy the house’s basic structure.

Gutter Systems

Gutters divert water away from the the home. They need to be securely fastened, clean, and clog-free. Poor quality or poorly installed gutters will cause leaks and eventual water damage. It’s important that the gutters are in top condition.

Windows and Ceilings

Check for signs of leaking water inside the house around windows and ceilings. Leaking water into the home can cause mold and other structural issues.

Appliances

Look at the age and condition of the dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, etc. 

Plumbing

Find out whether the waste goes to a municipal sewer or a specific septic tank. If your home is equipped with a septic tank, find out where it’s located and when it was last emptied and/or serviced. Leakage or odor surrounding the septic tank is evidence of a septic problem. Also, make sure that the kitchen and bathroom faucets, as well as toilet and shower, are in working condition and free of noticeable leaks.

Electrical

Any electrical issues can be a huge headache. Look for exposed wiring, outdated breakers, flickering lights, overheating switch plates or outlet covers and other signs of electrical problems.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems have evolved over the years. The more complicated or outdated the system, the more expensive it is to maintain and repair. For example, the cost of a new furnace, including duct work, can run between $5,000 and $7,000.

Basement

Look for signs of water damage, dampness, flooding or if there is adequate insulation in the home’s basement.

Odor

Is there an odor in the house? Musty odors could signal a wet basement, etc. and is a red flag for mold damage.

Professional Inspection


Once you’ve assessed the home, you can then hire a professional inspector to cover any areas that you may have missed. Ask the inspector how long they have been performing inspections, if you will receive a detailed written report, and what type of certifications they have. During the inspection, you should follow the inspector around the home to ask questions and take notes.

Additional Testing

The usual inspection does not include additional testing for things like radon gas, house mold, lead paint, pest infestations, etc. If you or the inspector feel like these issues may exist in the home, contact a specialist for testing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Extreme Endeavors: Right Around the Corner

Extreme Community Makeover
Extreme Community Makeover Newsletter 
March Extreme Endeavors
March 2015
In This Issue
Spring Kick-Off: Sat Mar 21
Go: Westwood: Sat Apr 25
Extreme Teams
Community Forester Training
Quick Links
Donate

In spite of all the snow currently on the ground, ECM projects are right around the corner! We are looking forward to another great year of ECM projects that connect neighbors and make a tangible difference in the neighborhoods where we work. Take a look at the different ways you can get involved and let me know if you have any questions because these efforts are only possible through the partnership we have with each of you.
 
Angela Bomgaars, Executive Director 
Volunteer Snapshots
Danger...Don't Step in the Paint
2015 ECM Work Day Dates
Check out the dates for Saturday ECM Work Days this year below or on our websiteRead more about getting a group involved with this doc and then sign-up your group here.
 
  • April 11 - Barnum neighborhood
  • April 25 - Westwood neighborhood
  • May 2 - Villa Park neighborhood
  • May 16 - West Colfax neighborhood
  • May 30 - Barnum neighborhood
  • June 13 - Swansea neighborhood
  • June 27 - Elyria neighborhood
  • July 11 - Westwood neighborhood
  • July 25 - Globeville neighborhood
  • August 8 - Barnum neighborhood
  • August 22 - La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood
  • September 12 - Westwood neighborhood
  • September 26 - Elyria neighborhood
  • October 3 - Swansea neighborhood
  • October 17 - Villa Park & West Colfax neighborhoods
  • October 31 - Multiple neighborhoods
Spring Kick-Off: Sat Mar 21
Spring Kick-Off  
Go: Westwood: Sat Apr 25 
Go...and make a difference in the Westwood neighborhood on Saturday, April 25.  Our annual project (formerly The Big Day of Serving) will include community-based projects such as alley cleaning, garden planting, graffiti removal, tree planting, and other projects that arise.  We'll wrap up the day with a block party to celebrate all the great projects accomplished in the neighborhood that day, while cheering on the Colorado Rockies at the baseball game that night. For more information, check out this flyer. Hope you can join us to make an impact in Westwood!
 
Extreme Teams
We had a great Extreme Teams kick-off meeting last week, but there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved.  Teams that can use additional team members include:
 
Supplies Team      Survey Team      Video Team
  • Supplies - this team helps establish connections with local businesses to get free and discounted materials and supplies for our projects.
  • Survey - this team helps communicate with our Spanish-speaking neighbors with team members who are bilingual. Check out this video from someone currently on the team.
  • Video - this team tells stories from our projects through video clips.
     
If you would like to learn more about these teams, or any of the other Extreme Teams, click here and fill out the form on our website and we will be in touch with you soon.

Community Forester Training
The Park People
Have you ever wanted to learn more about trees, advocate for our urban forest, educate others, or help improve your community's tree canopy? Now is an excellent time to do just that. The Park People, in partnership with Denver Parks & Recreation, hosts the Community Forester training program to teach volunteers to become stewards of the urban forest and to help build a strong network of skilled and knowledgeable volunteer foresters!
 
Register today by calling The Park People at 303.722.6262 
 
COMMUNITY FORESTER TRAINING SCHEDULE:
Trees 101
Sat, Mar 21, 9am-1pm
Tree Planting & Health
Sat, Apr 11, 9am-1pm
Pruning
Sat, May 02, 9am-1pm
Identification & Inventory
Sat, Jun 06, 9am-1pm
Volunteer Leadership & Community Engagement
Sat, Jun 20, 9am-12pm
Thank you for partnering with ECM to make a difference in Denver neighborhoods!
  
ECM Tagline
  
Sincerely,
 
Extreme Community Makeover

Monday, March 2, 2015

Neighborhood Spotlight: Swansea

If you live in Denver, you are probably familiar with the sight, or the smell, of the Purina plant located on the south side of I-70 as you're on your way to the airport or going out and about.  Surrounding this plant is the neighborhood called Swansea.  Another non-profit in this neighborhood, The GrowHaus, provides a great summary of the history of this neighborhood.

The Swansea neighborhood is a historic working-class community, first developed in the 1880s. For its first half-century, the area was home to residents of Eastern European origin. Swansea’s location near downtown, the Platte River, and the railroad made it an attractive site for warehouses and factories, and as a result the residences in the neighborhood eventually became surrounded by manufacturing and transportation infrastructure.

In the 1960s, the area began to shift to being predominantly Latino, which it remains today. At around the same time, the construction of I-70 placed a imposing barrier directly through the community, adding to the mounting pollution from sites such as the nearby Asarco smelter and water treatment plant. By the 1990s, the neighborhood had earned the dubious distinction of being the most polluted zip code in the state of Colorado, and was used as a textbook example of environmental injustice.

Swansea today is a neighborhood of contrasts, with both significant opportunities and challenges. The lack of services and geographic isolation has created a tight-knit community, with many neighbors attending the same church and looking after each other’s children. At the same time, air and soil pollution remain pervasive problems despite decades of activism and cleanup efforts, and neglect from the city has lead to a dearth of public amenities, unpaved alleyways and sidewalks badly in need of repair.

Extreme Community Makeover started working in Swansea in 2012.  And while we have adopted a number of blocks, we have many more yet to adopt and we would like to invite you to join us to make an impact in the lives of our neighbors living in Swansea.

For more information, check out our website - http://www.extremecommunitymakeover.org/About/Swansea.aspx.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Extreme Teams: Survey Team


Meet Gina. One of our volunteers.

Extreme Community Makeover offers Extreme Teams as a way for volunteers to get more involved. We have our typical Work Days and we also offer opportunities with our Extreme Teams.

One of our Extreme Teams is our Survey Team. The Survey Team initiates relationships with community residents and is a resource to the volunteer groups as they do their door to door surveying to identify projects. Currently, we are looking for more Spanish speaking volunteers to join this team. 




Monday, February 23, 2015

Neighborhood Spotlight: Barnum

The Barnum neighborhood in Denver (6th Avenue - Federal Boulevard - Alameda Avenue - Sheridan Boulevard) is home to a unique part of Denver's history.  Read on to see how accurately this neighborhood reflects its namesake though.  On March 21, 1878, the American circus mogul Phineas T. Barnum bought 760 acres for just $11,000, and a few years later, the Barnum subdivision was platted.

Many myths and legends exist about Barnum’s interest in Denver. He did not buy the property to house his animals during the winter. Barnum’s involvement with his namesake’s development has become part of Denver folklore, especially in the durable legend of the showman’s plan to establish a winter home for his circus in the city. In fact, Barnum never wintered his animals anywhere other than Connecticut or Florida, and the entertainment entrepreneur made just four documented trips to Colorado.

Barnum’s history is one of a quiet development over more than a century, although not for lack of a strong sense of community. As the journalist and historian Robert Autobee observes, Barnum’s struggle in the shadow of Denver’s often different priorities, and its corresponding sense of community occasioned by the city’s neglect of older neighborhoods, has shaped the neighborhood’s identity.  In spite of challenges, Barnum has developed as a haven for working-class families.

Today’s Barnum remains a neighborhood of families, with more than two-thirds of Barnum’s housing being owner-occupied, making it a great fit for Extreme Community Makeover.  Our first Work Day is scheduled in Barnum on Saturday, April 11. Contact Angela for more details about getting involved...and check out some of the best views of Denver while you're there!

Read more about Barnum in the Denver Public Library's article here - https://history.denverlibrary.org/barnum-neighborhood-history

For more information, check out our website - http://www.extremecommunitymakeover.org/About/Barnum.aspx