A look at the five priorities Arvada council had in 2018

OpEd by Arvada Mayor Marc Williams
Posted 12/31/18

In the 2014-2019 Council Strategic Plan, City Council identified five priority areas on which the City should focus its efforts: Infrastructure; Safe Community; Vibrant Community and Neighborhoods; …

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A look at the five priorities Arvada council had in 2018

Posted

In the 2014-2019 Council Strategic Plan, City Council identified five priority areas on which the City should focus its efforts: Infrastructure; Safe Community; Vibrant Community and Neighborhoods; Growth and Economic Development; and Organizational and Service Effectiveness. Following are some of the many achievements for 2018 pertaining to these areas:

On Nov. 6, voters approved Ballot Measure 3F to allow funding for two major transportation improvement projects, paving the way for solutions to traffic congestion along two east-west corridors. In May, the W. 72nd and Indiana intersection project broke ground and is on target to be completed summer of 2019, and the completion of the intersection at W. 55th and Kipling now provides ready access to Red Rocks Community College. Major milestones have been achieved toward the Jefferson Parkway project. Through partnerships with the school district and the Arvada Fire Protection District, we continue to achieve the goals set out in Arvada’s Fiber Master Plan. To date, 33 miles of conduit are in place — the infrastructure for future SMART City initiatives to connect schools, fire stations and city facilities and assets such as traffic signals.

Arvadans have always been assured the highest level of public safety. To continue to provide residents with that assurance, in June, we began construction on the Whisper Creek Community Police Station, to open in April 2019. We selected a new chief of police following a national recruitment; not surprisingly, the two finalists were our deputy chiefs. Since 2017 we have added six new police officers and have increased the number of vehicles and other equipment necessary to support our well trained and dedicated police department. Arvada continues to have one of the lowest crime rates for cities our size in the nation.

In an effort to encourage community engagement, we launched Speak Up Arvada, and in the month of October, Speak Up Arvada was the busiest engagement site in the nation according to Bang the Table Engagement HQ. Recognizing the important role health and recreation play in the lives of Arvadans, I am pleased to report that trail segments have been added to Leyden Creek and Barbara Gulch trails. Arvada’s first buffered bike lanes are in place and two neighborhood parks were renovated. We also completed the renovation of the West Woods and Lake Arbor clubhouses; and through a partnership with the Apex Park and Recreation District, opened the Fitzmorris Recreation Center. Responding to citizen support for the arts, the city adopted the Arts and Culture Master Plan, ensuring we continue to be a thriving place where people can enjoy the arts. The city’s partnership with the nonprofit Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities also continues to thrive as the stage productions, gallery exhibits and educational programs received dozens of awards and acclaim this year.

On the economic front, nearly 900 jobs were added this year to the Arvada workforce by new businesses in urban centers/corridors and targeted industries. We continue to support the development of commercial real estate and growth of industries, promoting diverse employment opportunities and a broad range of products and services for our residents. Additionally, we are about halfway through our Land Development Code Update Project that ensures future growth is consistent.

Holding true to our mission “to provide superior services” to our community, city staff continue their journey to become a high-performing, highly efficient workforce using the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework as a guide. In April, Arvada was named a “High Performing City” in an Equipt to Innovate national survey conducted by Governing magazine. When it comes to our budget, Arvadans can feel secure in the city’s financial stability: We maintain the very solid AAA financial rating, which reflects its strong and conservative financial management practices. In November, for the 34th year, the city’s Finance Department received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

We are proud of these accomplishments and celebrate them enthusiastically; however, we are not without our challenges. Continued high levels of growth are challenging housing availability/affordability and the city’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, national challenges such as homelessness are affecting our community and require regional solutions which we are working on in collaboration with other local governments, nonprofit organizations and the faith community. And while the yet-to-open G Line continues to frustrate us all, we keep our eyes on the goal as we continue to pressure RTD and State and Federal regulatory authorities to safely finish the testing of the commuter rail line and begin public service. As your mayor, I assure you that we see the challenges before us and we will continue to rise to them.

2019 promises to be an exciting year in Arvada. During the city council annual retreat in January, council members will look to the future as we chart the course for our community in 2019 and begin discussion for the next decade beginning in 2020. In consideration of future direction, we will review feedback provided in the Citizen Surveys, through Speak Up Arvada, and at events such as council meetings, neighborhood meetings, and open houses. Combined with the recommendations of our talented and experienced city staff who understand the intricacies of budget, work force, resources and partnerships, we will devise a strategy to navigate growth and change in a way that maintains what is integral to Arvada — the small town feel that has kept long-time residents here and brought new residents to us.

On Jan. 8, your city council is holding an open house at Arvada City Hall to hear more about your vision for Arvada’s future. Come share your ideas. Together, we can keep Arvada strong and make our community even better.

On behalf of the city council and the entire city organization, I wish you and your families a blessed holiday season and offer many well-wishes for the coming year.

Marc Williams is the mayor of

Arvada.

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