Speak Up Arvada gathers input from community

Conversation continues as council begins visioning plans

Posted 12/5/18

Ideas around mobility, connectivity, waste hauling and community vibrancy emerged from Arvada residents during the Speak Up Arvada community outreach initiative. The initiative, which was born out of …

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Speak Up Arvada gathers input from community

Conversation continues as council begins visioning plans

Posted

Ideas around mobility, connectivity, waste hauling and community vibrancy emerged from Arvada residents during the Speak Up Arvada community outreach initiative.

The initiative, which was born out of city council’s request for more community input, 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.

A focus was reaching populations that aren’t usually heard from, including senior citizens and youth. To do so, connectors did outreach at local high school civics classes, the skate park, silver sneakers classes and senior living centers.

Community connector Brittney Coffey said she was intentional about reaching the senior population in Arvada.

“Seniors are feisty and they have a lot of input,” Coffey said. “I feel like they are a voice that hasn’t been heard very well in the community.”

Another connecter also focused on the Spanish and Russian-speaking populations.

During the three months, connectors talked with more than 150 people and conducted 700 hours of outreach. In addition, 750 people used the online engagement tool.

Engagement was tracked by zip code and age demographic with 80004 having the highest participation with 28 percent. Charise Canales, neighborhood engagement coordinator for the city of Arvada, notes that this is also the highest density zip code in the city.

The 30-39 year old age range had the highest participation with 19.3 percent of the total with ages 40-60 not too far behind. Participants over 70 years of age accounted for 11.1 percent of the total, while participants under age 19 accounted for 10 percent.

“That was amazing to see our young people appreciating having their voices herd,” Canales said. “Which for a lot of them, it was their first time.”

Some open-ended comments from participants included a desire for affordable and attractive housing; safe walking and biking routes; more visual communication from the city; city-wide recycling and single-hauler trash; addressing homelessness; and the desire for murals and other public art throughout the city.

“It’s great to hear from our citizens,” said Arvada Mayor Marc Williams. “I think it is very consistent to where council has been trying to put its focus.”

The biggest concern city council raised after being presented a high-level overview of the results Nov. 26 was not knowing what people mean when they said they want a “small town feel” and “character of Arvada.”

“People have a very different opinion of what a small town feel is,” councilwoman Nancy Ford said.

There were questions about if varying zip codes described this differently and if new residents had different ideas than long-standing residents.

These are things council requested more clarification on moving forward.

According to city staff, the overview report will be available at speakup.arvada.org in the next couple weeks. The conversation will continue with a Speak Up Arvada community open house on Jan. 8, followed by a final report published in January or February.

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