The Project Begins
The Strawberry 1 at HeatherRidge community in Aurora, Colorado understands the need for water conservation in the Front Range Metropolitan Area. As the semi-arid Denver area continues to grow, currently in concurrence with prolonged drought, it is clear that consumption of the precious resource needs to be reduced in the aging development. Working in conjunction with the City of Aurora and the team at CAP Management, the Strawberry HOA has launched a series of meaningful initiatives that will reduce the community’s water consumption by up to 60-percent. The project consists of three major components: retrofitting homes with new high-efficiency toilets, replacing turf grass with drought tolerant plant species (xeriscaping) and building a community garden to highlight the need for environmental sustainability while at the same time promoting community togetherness.
After a series of meetings to create a plan for implementation, it was decided that preparing the garden site would be the first major action on the property and it would include community members. On the last weekend in April 2013, residents gathered along with representatives of CAP Management, the Strawberry Board of Directors and a film crew at the garden site to ‘get the shovels in the ground.’ The garden site, across from their Family Pool, was that morning simply a vacant plot of land adjacent to the property line. By days end, the soil was tilled and organic fertilizer was added so that the planting of fruits, vegetables and flowers could take place just after Mother’s Day. To the satisfaction of participants, the soil was rich in color and not too sandy or clay filled – what would typically be found in Colorado. Soil testing revealed that vital nutrients were abundant. Delighted by the perfection of the chosen sight, a garden committee consisting of community members was formed on-spot to assist in the development of the garden and oversee its future. Throughout the gathering, film crews recorded soil amendment and interviewed participants to document the excitement surrounding the project.
It was decided that the following week all present participants would reconvene at the Community Clubhouse to decide exactly which plants should be a part of the garden. An invitation to the meeting would be extended to all Strawberry residents that as well. Consideration of shading, nutrient levels and proximity to existing trees will be discussed. It certainly is expected to be a high-energy and productive meeting! The indoor water audits that will determine the exact number of new toilets needed and identify leaks will begin the same week. The project is moving fast and our goal of major water conservation is in sight! More information will come as the project moves along.