It took us a while to find Highline Crossing in Littleton a suburb of Denver. It’s like a little gem tucked in a business park with office buildings and many beige-colored apartments. The community started in 1995 and was built in stages. It currently has 40 homes on 3.6 acres and about 70 people live there.
We were greeted by Leigh Ann who serves on the marketing/communications team. She asked us inside her 2-bedroom home and offered us some freshly made apple muffins made with apples from the community orchard.
It was a warm Sunday morning and several residents were milling about on the sidewalk. She introduced us, they were friendly and open. They shared a few highlights with us about raising their kids here, the proximity to Denver and the overall lifestyle. We then we sat outside of the Common House to start the formal interview.
Leigh Ann has lived at Highline almost 13 years and has seen many changes during that time. Over 40% of the community are entering the “third phase of life” (over 60) and many are women head of household. This shift creates challenges for the community such as needing to outsource more of the community activities. This is an active conversation that many communities are dealing with as they evolve.
The community asks everyone to put in 4 work weekends a year or 4 hours towards community service a month. Many members do much more than that but if you can’t or choose not to participate you pay a little more in HOA fees. If you are 65 or older you are exempt from the recommended guideline.
She then took us into the Common House pointing out the bee hive that had created a nest way above the door. It was the perfect symbol for this meeting place. The dining room had pretty tablecloths and there were small flower arrangements and leftover cake from a “life celebration” for a beloved member of the community the day before. You could still feel the love in the room.
This Common House had a really inviting feeling. It was in the process of getting an “aesthetic” facelift with the guidance of an interior designer who is a resident there. Several of the walls had already been painted and in the kid’s room there was a presentation board showing how the room would evolve. The overall layout of the Common House seemed to work well for the various community celebrations and evolving population.
From there we walked the grounds which is built along the Highline Canal trail giving the residents access to over 70 miles of foot/bike trails. It is also a short walk from a light rail system with easy access to downtown Denver. Like every other cohousing community there was a shared garden that was showing the end of the growing season. Leigh Ann offered us to pick some plums and apples. Tall chick couldn’t resist getting into the tree to reach apples from the higher branches.
Taking our little bounty of plums and apples back to the Guppy, we felt that they had successfully created a sweet blend of condo type living with the best parts of cohousing. When I asked Leigh Ann what they did well there, she said, ” We are great at celebrating Life together.” It felt true.