Highlands Ranch starts Citizens Academy

Program will teach residents about unusual form of local government

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The Highlands Ranch Metro District is now accepting applications for a Citizens Academy program aimed at getting residents involved in local government.

This is the first year that the metro district — which functions as the unincorporated community's government — will offer the free program, which seeks to illuminate issues in Highlands Ranch for residents.

“Our goal is to help develop a better awareness among residents about how our community operates,” program coordinator Sherry Eppers said. “We'd like to see people more involved and engaged in their local government in this great community.”

The deadline to apply for the program, which has a limited class size, is 5 p.m. on Dec. 4. Applications and detailed information are available on the metro district's website at highlandsranch.org — go to the "Community" tab and click on "Highlands Ranch Citizens Academy.”

There will be seven sessions, each three hours long and focusing on different topics such as parks and open space, public safety, history, financial stability, water and public works.

The sessions will also seek to clarify the roles of various community partners like the Highlands Ranch Community Association and Centennial Water & Sanitation.

Those teaching the courses will include subject matter experts who work in the various services in the community. This includes staff from the metro district, HRCA and Centennial Water & Sanitation.

Networking opportunities will be provided along with ways to get involved in local government, Eppers said.

“Our hope is that this program inspires participants to get involved in leadership and community service roles,” she said.

The 2020 sessions will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30 and Feb. 6, 13, 20. There will be graduation and reception Feb. 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

All participants must be over 18 and Highlands Ranch residents or property owners. They will receive recognition at a Metro District board meeting.

“We're looking forward to engaging them in opportunities that fit their interests and goals,” Eppers said.

Questions on the program and completed applications can be directed to Eppers at seppers@highlandsranch.org.

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