A mix of forward momentum and old issues for Arvada

A look back at the stories that helped define the city in 2018

Posted 1/2/19

This year was one of growth for Arvada. A brisk housing market, a high quality of life, and ample space for new homes on the western edge of the city have all made Arvada a very desirable place to be …

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A mix of forward momentum and old issues for Arvada

A look back at the stories that helped define the city in 2018

Posted

This year was one of growth for Arvada. A brisk housing market, a high quality of life, and ample space for new homes on the western edge of the city have all made Arvada a very desirable place to be in the metro area.

Countywide issues loomed large for Arvadans this year, from school ballot measures, to the future of Rocky Flats. (Editor’s note: check out our county and school year in review). But just within the city’s limits, there were plenty of other stories that helped define 2018 for those that live here.

G Line fails to open

More than two years after the G Line was supposed to open connecting Downtown Denver to Arvada, the line continues to be in testing.

The G Line is part of Regional Transit District’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan to expand transit across the Denver metro region. It is an 11.2-mile electric commuter rail transit line that will connect Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge, passing through northwest Denver, Adams County and Arvada. There are eight stations: Denver Union Station, 41st/Fox, Pecos, Federal, Gold Strike, Olde Town Arvada, Arvada Ridge and Ward Road.

Though construction for the line was completed in 2016, issues with the gate-crossing technology have delayed the opening.

Now, RTD officials say it’s possible for the line to open during the first quarter of 2019, pending more approvals from both the federal and state level.

Speak Up Arvada offers insight

Speak Up Arvada, a community engagement tool, launched in August.

Created to help give the city council more public input, the online survey collected data from Aug. 1 through the end of October online as well as through eight “community connectors” who met with community members face-to-face. During the three months, input was gathered from more than 900 people, with a special effort made to talk with populations that aren’t usually heard from, including senior citizens and youth.

Ideas around mobility, connectivity, waste hauling and community vibrancy emerged as top issues throughout the city. Arvada City Council started looking at a few of this issues in study session during December.

The issues of waste hauling and affordable housing in Arvada were at the forefront. On both issues council directed staff to develop suggestions on how to move forward.

New businesses around town

Harkins Theatres opened the doors of the brand new Arvada 14 theater on April 26.

They announced the acquisition of the Olde Town 14 in April 2017 when the $14 million remodel began.

The remodel highlights include: lounger seats, reserved auditorium seating, mobile ticketing, laser projection, a birthday party room and curved screens.

Arvada also became home to a new co-working space, Thrive, and welcomed several new stores and eateries.

Some of those include Red Silo Coffee Roasters at 6590 Holman St. in West Arvada; Chuck and Don’s pet-supplies store at 14947 Candelas Parkway; King Soopers Marketplace at Candelas located at the Northwest corner of Indiana and 90th Avenue.

A slew of businesses also opened in the Shops at Ralston Creek located at 58th Avenue and Independence in Arvada. Arvada Liquor, Tokyo Joe’s, Tropical Smoothie Cafe and Wing Stop were the first of seven businesses planned to open this year. Five Guys Burger and Fries, Mod Pizza and Lady Jane’s Hair Cut for Men followed.

Arvada also became home to Archery Games, an action-packed experience that combines archery and dodgeball.

Still to come in 2019 Resolute Brewing Co. has announced a second location set to open in Arvada. Resolute Tap and Cellar will be located on the Southeast corner of Highway 72 and Candelas Parkway.

Arvada elects Brianna Titone

History was made in Arvada this November when the constituents of House District 27 elected Democrat Brianna Titone, the first transgender representative elected to the Colorado House of Representative.

On election night, Titone was down by 355 votes. After almost 24 hours of Republican Vicki Pyne leading the race, Titone took the lead by nine votes. That lead continued to grow and Titone will take office in January.

The HD27 seat was held by Lang Sias, who was tapped as governor hopeful Walker Stapleton’s running mate. (Stapleton conceded to Democrat Jared Polis.) Sias, a Republican, has served in HD 27 for four years. The seat has been held by a Republican since Libby Szabo (now a county commissioner) beat Sara Gagliardi in 2010.

Road projects move forward

Arvada voters gave the city the go-ahead to seek new bond money to fund two large road projects.

The approved ballot measure grants the city the ability to reauthorize bond debt in the amount of $79.8 million with a repayment cost of up to $125 million for the completion of the Ralston Road project and the 72nd Avenue project. The bond reauthorization does not impose any new tax or increase the city’s tax rate.

The city will likely issue bonds during the second quarter of next year with construction starting with the Ralston Road project in 2020.

The Ralston Road project focuses on the completion of design from Wadsworth Bypass to Kipling Street, which includes widening traffic lanes and adding bike lanes.

The other road project focuses on 72nd Avenue and would complete the expansion and railroad grade separation from Kipling to Indiana. It is estimated at $97.5 million over more than five years and is split into four segments.

Apex opens new, improved centers

Apex Parks and Recreation District celebrated the opening and redesign of several new spaces this year.

The newly renovated Apex Tennis Center, 6430 Miller St., opened in February with a four-court indoor facility. The $6 million Apex Tennis Center project also included renovating eight outdoor courts with post tension surfaces, new lights and fencing which will be open this summer.

This long-awaited upgrade was approved by voters in a 2016 bond election and broke ground in May 2017.

The new Fitzmorris Recreation Center opened in June.

The 8,500 square-foot recreation center and pool, located at 6340 Independence St. adjacent to Fitzmorris Elementary School, represents a long-term partnership of three entities: the Apex Parks and Recreation District, the city of Arvada, and Jefferson County Public Schools.

Arvada contributed over $3 million towards the facility, and Jeffco Public Schools shared the land to become an integral part of the Fitzmorris Elementary School campus.

In October, Apex also celebrated updates to the Secrest Recreation Center.

The site, 6820 W. 66th Ave., has been home to Apex for more than 50 years, and the new 21,512 square foot facility is the latest of many renovations and upgrades over the years. The new facility includes a small weight room, community/aerobics area, teen center, small gym, locker rooms and a warm water wellness pool.

In November that center got another asset with the opening of a blood pressure kiosk, a joint effort of the American Heart Association, Lutheran Medical Center and Apex.

Arvada addresses homelessness, affordable housing

Arvada participated in its first severe weather shelter season this year.

The network is an extension of The Severe Weather Shelter Network, a Christian nonprofit working to help safeguard Jefferson County’s homeless residents. The model utilizes a network of churches that open their doors on a one-week rotation when the overnight temperature drops below 32 degrees with wet conditions and below 25 degrees with dry conditions.

Arvada churches that donated their buildings for shelter space are Mile High Vinyard Arvada and The Rising Church in the Olde Town area, and Arvada Covenant Church, located on Ward Road in South Arvada.

Arvada ran a short season for the first year and recently opened its door again for this winter.

The Point in Time count conducted in January recorded 577 people in Jefferson County living in a homeless situation. That’s almost 200 more people than the 2017 count recorded.

An increased amount of residents experiencing homelessness is something all communities in Jefferson County and the surrounding areas have experienced over the last couple years. At a November forum, mayors were asked about the best solution for tackling the issues and whose responsibility it should be.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams Williams expressed concerns about the invisible homeless — people living in cars and couch surfing — and said that Arvada will be working with Wheat Ridge to determine if a transitional housing opportunity exists between the two cities.

As part of a distribution of grants from Arvada Human Service, city council agreed to give funds to Jeffco Action Center for rental assistance and family stabilization programs. Fund were also given to Community Table and Family Tree, Inc. — both of which work with families experiencing homelessness.

Addressing homelessness and affordable housing in Arvada both came up as top issues on the Speak Up Arvada community survey.

City council began to examine the opportunity and need for affordable housing in Arvada at a December study session.

The next step is to start a comprehensive market study for Arvada’s affordable housing needs.

City gets new police chief, station

Link Strate was named as Arvada’s new police chief in July. Strate has spent his entire 30-year career in Arvada.

Former Arvada Police Chief Don Wick retired in December of 2017 sparking a nationwide search. However, the top two candidates were both members of the Arvada Police Department — Strate and Deputy Chief Ed Brady, who had been serving as interim chief of police since Wick’s retirement.

Arvada Police also broke ground on a new community police station in northwest Arvada. The Whisper Creek Police Community Station, also referred to as the Delta Sector police station, is now under construction following a formal groundbreaking held in June.

Completion of the Whisper Creek Community Station is associated with the Arvada Police Department’s Sector Based Policing philosophy. Under this model, Arvada police officers are assigned to, and responsible for, specific areas of the city.

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