By David Crowder and Celeste Smith
At Centerra, the 3,000-acre master-planned community in Loveland, giving back and supporting impactful community engagements are key principles that help strengthen its connection to the broader Northern Colorado region. McWhinney, as the master developer of Centerra, continually looks for opportunities to support those in need while engaging local residents in fun and safe ways. This spring, Centerra’s community-building efforts have focused on sustainability and healthy living, engaging with Northern Colorado residents for events geared toward environmental stewardship and supporting those in need.
Sustainability is a core value at Centerra. This Earth Day, and throughout the spring season, Centerra is supporting several events aimed to spark a passion and focus on conservation within the community as a whole.
Centerra recently hosted a Spring Clean Up event, in partnership with High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) and The Lakes, inviting volunteers to clean open space areas along the trail system, canal and lakes. Volunteers of all ages supported the effort, including Centerra and Loveland residents, HPEC staff and McWhinney associates. The group covered HPEC’s 76-acre site and collected a full truckload of bags with debris from the open space and waterways around Equalizer Lake and Houts Reservoir.
HPEC, located within Centerra, is also currently hosting its annual Native Plant Sale to kick off the spring season. The sale is open online through September 6 and consists of a wide variety of native plants–priced between $5 to $6–that help conserve water and support native wildlife, especially pollinators. Sales benefit the nonprofit organization and its effort to conserve and restore Colorado’s unique native biodiversity through the use of native plants in landscaping and open space.
Recognizing the conditions of the past year, Centerra has also wanted to help residents and guests celebrate health-conscious lifestyles. As such, Centerra is partnering with the UCHealth Garth Englund Blood Center and has hosted three community blood drives at its Railway Flats, HPEC and The Promenade Shops locations. The Front Range has seen a drop in blood donations due to recent snowstorms, exacerbating the shortages already felt across the nation during COVID-19. The blood drives, adhering to COVID-19 safety and social distancing protocols, collected a generous amount of units that equated to saving 51 lives. On June 1st and July 2nd, McWhinney will continue the blood drive efforts with UCHealth by hosting two additional community drives at the Trails at Timberline and Cycle Apartments located in Fort Collins.
During the blood drives, Centerra sought ways to help local community groups and retailers who were impacted by the pandemic. After a challenging season of cookie sales due to the impacts of COVID-19, the master-planned community supported a local Girl Scout troop in Loveland by purchasing cookies and gifting a box to each blood donor. In addition, each donor (21 and older) received a complimentary beer pint coupon from local Loveland breweries, Grimm Brothers and Loveland Aleworks.
Centerra also sponsored the annual Loveland Classic 5k/10k Race, which raised funds for the Thompson Education Foundation. McWhinney associates hosted a table handing out Boxed Water to the participants. The Boxed Water, donated by McWhinney’s multifamily division, allowed for convenient and safe single-use consumption and the cartons are made with 100% recyclable materials.
The Sounds of Centerra concert series will also be returning for its thirteenth season on July 9. Residents can register for the free concerts, to be held each Friday in July in Chapungu Sculpture Park, providing an opportunity for the community to gather safely again.
Through these intentionally and carefully planned community engagement events, McWhinney sees first-hand the strong impact toward bolstering the community’s spirit. Providing leadership in the community has always been part of the Centerra legacy and continues to be a heightened priority through the challenges that remain as we recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Crowder is the vice president of community development for McWhinney and general manager of Centerra. He manages and oversees the strategy, vision and execution, as well as the development and management of the 3,000-acre master-planned community.
Celeste Smith is the senior marketing director at McWhinney. Through her marketing and community engagement efforts across McWhinney’s properties, she helps to build a sense of community and craft memorable experiences for which the developer’s communities are known.