(Ed: Chris lives in and loves Ruby Hill. He calls it “The Other Washington Park” because it has some of the same amenities and is much more affordable!)
We chose to buy a home in the Ruby Hill Neighborhood in May 2009. We didn’t know the name of the neighborhood when we moved in, but my wife works downtown and refused to drive more than half an hour, so we found one of the closest homes to downtown under $175K. She had commuted on Santa Fe previously, so we knew a neighborhood on that route would be convenient. Of course, there were closer homes, but we wanted a brick house with 2 bathrooms that was already updated and close to parks for walking the dog.
The neighborhood, mostly built in the early 50’s, was drastically different than the southeast Aurora suburbs I grew up in and the Parker covenant controlled communities my friends and family were moving to. We got a lot of comments like “you better lock your doors”. However, trading HOA rules and fees, an expensive mortgage, and long commutes for a smaller and an older home in an economically diverse neighborhood seemed like a positive move. Plus, with nearby neighborhoods like Wash Park and the Highlands in full fledged gentrification, I secretly hoped we had found the next hot spot in Denver.
Since moving in we never once regretted our choice. People have proven to be very friendly and we’ve always felt safe. Kids play games and ride bikes on our block. People walk their dogs, bike to work, push their strollers, and jog down the trail. You don’t always stop to get their names, but you feel as though you know all of them.
Additionally, as the economic downturn has lingered I’ve come to believe that our neighborhood will be a prime destination for people looking for a simpler life: people who buy a home that is LESS than what they could afford, people who value spending more time with family and less time in the car, people seeking out ways to have one parent home with their kids, people who want culture and flavor in their neighbors, streets, and restaurants.
I write this in the hope that people with a background similar to mine will hear that there is a choice that is different than long commutes, HOA rules and bills, and buying the biggest and newest house they can afford. We can start valuing our life by the time we have with our families and communities rather than over-extending ourselves trying to keep up with the Joneses.
About the Ruby Hill Neighborhood:
Nearby Parks: Ruby Hill, Overland Pond, Platte River Trail, Huston Lake, Godsman
Technical Boundaries: S Platte River Dr (east), S Federal Blvd (west), W Mississippi Ave (north), & W Jewell Ave (south)
About me: Chris Gibson