I am very proud to serve on the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority Board, which is a volunteer board made up of local individuals who work selflessly on addressing the important work of urban renewal—removing blight and restoring areas to be a valuable part of our community. Without urban renewal, we would not have the successes of “New Town”—the area along Wadsworth south of Grandview. Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowes and the other businesses and restaurants in that area provide tremendous sales-tax revenues to Arvada in an area that struggled for years. The same is certainly true for the Target Center on Kipling.
Olde Town is the very example of the successes of AURA. When I first came to Arvada in 1979, Olde Town was comprised of few successful businesses and certainly was not the dynamic, energetic, exciting part of our City that it is today. It took the investments in infrastructure that AURA made to attract the private sector to invest their time, energy and money into making Olde Town the very special place it is today.
AURA has long recognized the importance of transit-oriented development, which is why we have successful residential projects at both the Olde Town and Kipling G Line Stations. These residential developments have, and will continue to offer, a mix of residential options and are crucial to utilizing appropriate density versus urban sprawl.
No discussion of AURA would be complete without a discussion of the old Arvada Square/Arvada Plaza. While some viewed the coming of Walmart as the end of the world, in reality it has been part of the kick start for the whole Ralston Creek area. Sales-tax revenues have been excellent, and the attractive and successful Shops at Ralston Creek North have revitalized this area. Current plans and projects include Senior Housing and for-sale townhomes to add vitality and additional energy to this important area.
Tax increment financing (TIFs)
Tax increment financing is an important tool in the tool box for economic development. There is a misconception that TIFs are simply a payment to businesses to attract them to the community. In fact, the businesses pay for the infrastructure that the City would otherwise have to construct and pay for, and then these businesses are reimbursed over time if they are successful with a portion of the sales-tax receipts up to the level of their initial expenditures for that project. Without the use of TIFs, much of this investment from businesses would not occur, at a tremendous loss of tax revenues, jobs, and shopping and dining opportunities for our residents.
The tax revenues Arvada has received as a result of TIF projects are multiple million dollars, which have given your City Council the opportunity to put additional funding into our streets, parks, trails, police and infrastructure without raising taxes—while maintaining a balanced budget with healthy financial reserves. In no small part, AURA and the utilization of TIFs has assisted Arvada in maintaining its AAA Bond rating.