Top five stories setting Arvada apart in 2019

City gained statewide attention for good news last year

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/31/19

With the last year of the decade came plenty of new and ongoing Arvada stories as infrastructure changed, election season occurred and neighbors rallied together for a variety of causes. Included in …

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Top five stories setting Arvada apart in 2019

City gained statewide attention for good news last year

Posted

With the last year of the decade came plenty of new and ongoing Arvada stories as infrastructure changed, election season occurred and neighbors rallied together for a variety of causes.

Included in that list of stories were those that brought statewide attention to the strides Arvada has made this year, and the different ways the community has worked to set itself apart.

G Line finally opened

After more than a two-year delay, the G Line commuter rail running from Union Station in Denver to Arvada and Wheat Ridge opened in April.

A commute along the line takes approximately 27 minutes for a $3 fare. RTD created the line with the goal of guiding growth in the Denver area and reducing traffic congestion, RTD board member Shelley Cook said in a previous interview.

The line was delayed by setbacks in establishing crossing gates and obtaining Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approvals. However, with approvals issued in early 2019, the line opened to the public April 26.

RTD's latest data, taken in August, showed weekday average ridership of the G Line at almost 7,000. The projected number was around 9,000, but Cook added that it typically takes a few years for lines to build to projected averages.

At the time of the line's opening, Mayor Marc Williams told the Arvada Press that he was looking forward to the train bringing new visitors to Arvada.

“This is so exciting to finally have this train open and have folks be able to get around our community,” he said.

Arvada PD featured in Super Bowl ad

During this year's Super Bowl on Feb. 3, football fans across Colorado watched as Arvada police were featured in a regional Ford ad.

The ad was a partnership with Colorado nonprofit SHIELD616, which provides protective equipment and community support for area first responders. The nonprofit's vice president, Chris Brown, said Ford asked SHIELD616 to select a Denver metro area police department to star in the commercial.

SHIELD616 reached out to the Arvada Police Department (APD), to which it had previously donated protective gear.

The ad highlighted Ford's mission to work with SHIELD616 to protect police officers, in part by providing 17 new armor kits to APD.

Sergeant Christopher McCoy, the officer featured in the commercial, told the Arvada Press that the ad sparked plenty of positive feedback from the community.

“A huge component of why I love to work in the city of Arvada is the Arvada citizens,” he said. “The people are what makes this community great and I love being part of it.”

Vietnam War memorial tour stops by

This year, Arvada was selected as the metro-area location on a national 33-stop tour of the Wall that Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, chapter 1071, applied for the opportunity to host the wall. The exhibit stayed in Arvada for about five days in June, arriving in town alongside a police escort and going up at Arvada's Faith Bible Chapel.

Anyone was invited to attend and see the exhibit, which included the wall as well as objects left behind at the full-size memorial in Washington, D.C.

“This wall is special because of how closely it resembles the wall in D.C.,” Tim Tetz, outreach director with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said in a previous interview, “and because it's in your community.”

Nonprofit opens new teen center

Local nonprofit Hope House of Colorado significantly increased its capacity to serve teen and young adult moms as it finally completed a six-year-long endeavor to build a resource center.

The organization celebrated the center's grand opening on Sept. 5, hosting an estimated 350 community members, representatives from multiple news organizations and the mayor as the ribbon-cutting signified the nonprofit's step into a new chapter.

Hope House runs a residential program for young mothers as well as community programming, such as educational and self-sufficiency classes, which will now take place in the 15,000-square-foot facility at 6475 Benton St.

The new facility will allow Hope House to serve about 450 moms every year, whereas the organization's previous building in Westminster saw the nonprofit serve about 250 moms each year, said executive director Lisa Steven.

The project came to fruition with the donations and support of several groups, Steven said, including Fellowship Covenant Church, HomeAid and Meritage Homes, who sponsored the project, and the city.

She added that the goal is for the new center to serve women from all over Colorado, with many participants already coming from cities across the area, including Lakewood, Aurora, Denver and Arvada itself.

Olde Town named a Great Place in APA Colorado contest

The city of Arvada looked back on numerous accomplishments as staff put together an application and video for the Great Places in Colorado award - and, in October, won the award for Olde Town Arvada.

The award was presented by the Colorado chapter of the American Planning Association (APA), which is a forum for urban planning professionals. APA has run a Great Places program for 12 years, but over time, state chapters began running their own local awards. 2019 was the first year that the Colorado chapter gave out an award, making Olde Town the award's first recipient.

The chapter chose to recognize Olde Town because of its “thoughtful development, smooth transitioning between surrounding areas and the unique preservation and reuse of historic buildings and structures,” Great Places Colorado program chair Robin Becker said.

The video submitted by the city highlighted multiple ways in which Olde Town stands out, including the charm of its historic districts and the successful implementation of the G Line.

“It is an honor for the community to have been recognized in this way,” community and economic development director Ryan Stachelski said in a media release. “The things that make Olde Town and other Arvada neighborhoods truly great are the people and businesses who live and work there.” 

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