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The City of Arvada Celebrates Economic Development Week

In honor of Economic Development Week: May 8-14, 2016, the City of Arvada is celebrating by reflecting on ten of the most significant projects that have supported the City’s economic development efforts over the past few decades.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) created Economic Development Week in commemoration of its 90-year anniversary as the largest professional organization for economic developers. The projects listed below highlight the diverse nature of economic development activity in Arvada; where civic leaders and community members have come together and agreed on a common vision for the City. It was these efforts, and the efforts that continue today that creates Arvada’s vibrant quality of life. As you read the list of projects below, reflect on where Arvada may be today had these projects not been accomplished.

Arvada Center

In 1974 Arvada voters approved a $3.6 million proposal to build the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.  The proposed civic complex included a historical museum, community meeting rooms, exhibit area for paintings and sculptures, an indoor theatre and an outdoor amphitheater. The Arvada Center opened on July 4, 1976 and has expanded twice to include banquet facilities, a small theater, and other amenities.  Today, the Arvada Center is one of the nation’s largest multidisciplinary arts centers.

Arvada Parks System

In 1974 Arvada voters approved a $3.4M proposal to build 32 neighborhood parks, an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, a recreation center with an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor swimming pool, and the expansion of the sports complex on W. 58th Avenue.   This expenditure created a foundation to allow the City of Arvada to create and maintain a 3,400 acre system of parks, open spaces, and trails. Today, the parks system includes 90+ neighborhood parks, one within a ten minute walk of every residence in the community.

Van Bibber Flood mitigation project

In 2004, the City embarked on the long-awaited Van Bibber flood control project.  The project removed a large portion of central Arvada from the 100-year Van Bibber flood plain.  It took many years to acquire the $7 million of Federal funds and $2.5 million from both the City of Arvada and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District.  The two-year construction period was extremely difficult for local businesses and residents, who endured the excavation of one mile of the Creek channel with an average depth of 25 feet and an average width of 100 feet.  When completed in 2006, the Van Bibber project allowed for the revitalization of many homes and shopping areas. This project has allowed for the new Ralston Creek development plan and the completion of Ralston Central Park.

The Gold (G) Line

Long before FasTracks was approved, City leaders were thinking about the benefits and impacts of commuter rail linking Arvada to Denver Union Station and beyond.  Transit-oriented development (TOD) plans began sprouting up in the Olde Town and Kipling Ridge areas, creating denser populations that supported the early revitalization of Olde Town.  When FasTracks was approved by voters in 2004, the City launched a Transit Station planning process to ensure that our community would reap all the possible benefits of having three transit stations in Arvada.  Before it has even opened, the G (Gold) Line is having significant economic benefits for Arvada, not just in the vicinity of the stations but in enhancing Arvada’s image as a great place to live, work, and play.

New Town

In the 1980’s the southeast corner of Arvada was in need of revitalization; the area was underutilized and consisted of used car lots and decaying lumber yards.  The Arvada Urban Renewal Authority’s (AURA) focus was to create a retail corridor along Wadsworth Bypass just north of I-70.  With development partners, AURA attracted large users such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s and Home Depot.  Numerous mid-sized retailers, small shops and restaurants also occupy this corridor.  Once the 25-year urban renewal area ended in 2006, all tax revenues reverted back to the City and other government agencies. This regional power center generates $14.7 million a year in sales and property taxes to help fund City services such as police, parks, and street maintenance. The area also provides much needed products and services to the community.

Kipling Ridge

The Ridge Home Hospital was a large 68-acre campus located in the vicinity of Interstate 70 and Kipling Street. The first buildings were constructed in the 1920s, eventually growing to over 50 structures before closing its doors in the 1980s.  The campus was vacant for over 20 years.  The dilapidated buildings became an unsafe haven for crime and an eyesore to one of Arvada’s key gateways.  In the early 2000’s, with assistance from AURA, the site has been transformed into a transit-oriented, mixed-use development centered around a new commuter rail station.  380 multi-family units occupy the site with another 200 units under construction.  The development also contains 43,000 square feet of neighborhood shops and restaurants.  This effort transformed a blighted and grossly underutilized property into a safe center of activity, services, and residences – all within a short walk to the future commuter rail station. 

Arvada Economic Development Association (AEDA) Programs

In 1992, AEDA - a private sector Board composed of business leaders;  developed custom loan and grant programs to help create a positive business environment in Arvada. Over the years, AEDA has leveraged over $2M in City funding to support tens of millions of dollars in private sector capital investment. AEDA’s programs make the difference for many businesses which hope to move to, stay in, or expand in Arvada.

Police Community Stations

Safety is consistently rated one of the most important factors in business relocation.  Arvada already enjoys a low crime rate and we know that strong communities are an important factor in maintaining it. In 2014, Arvada built two Community Police Stations – one to the northeast and one to the west – to complement police headquarters at centrally located Arvada City Hall. Officers are assigned to one of the three sectors, allowing them to know the related businesses and neighborhoods and continue building strong relationships.  By working directly in the neighborhoods it serves, the Arvada Police Department “polices like we live here,” ensuring that Arvada remains a great place to live, work, and play.

Olde Town Redevelopment

Olde Town Arvada, Arvada’s historic downtown with buildings dating back to 1870, had become tired and neglected over the years.  Starting in the early 2000’s, AURA invested in the preservation, protection and enhancement of Olde Town through new streetscapes, façade grants, a new town square, and monument signs.  AURA worked with developers to construct four two-story mixed use buildings, a Hilton Garden Inn and over 1,100 new residential units to the area.  This once sleepy downtown is now a thriving hub of restaurants, bars, and eclectic shops.

W. 64th Avenue

In 2001, W. 64th Avenue Parkway between Easley and State Highway (SH) 93 opened, changing what had been a narrow, twisting country road into a four-lane arterial.  The construction of this road was key in opening up western Arvada for residential and business development, as well as access to the Long Lake Ranch sports complex and Jefferson County School District’s North Athletic Stadium.

The projects listed are highlights of the significant investment or economic development the Arvada community has made to improve its quality of life. Email bizinfo@arvada.org if you have an Arvada project that could be considered for this list. To learn more about the City of Arvada and all of its initiatives, visit www.arvada.org.