By Janet Spangenberg
Edgewater is bustling. As of this writing, it is possible ground will be breaking on the upcycled 20th and Depew redevelopment before the new environmentally responsible-built Civic Center opens, expected this fall. Qualified developers are showing interest in the city-owned properties that will be vacated after moving to the new Civic Center.
Reviewing codes, plans and contracts takes time to study and consider. The shorter than usual notice for getting this extra service done swiftly put a crunch on our neighbors who serve on the Planning & Zoning Commission as well as city staff, all in addition to their regular service loads. I appreciate the efforts of staff and P&Z to keep all this new development moving and on schedule, avoiding the expense of delays.
Edgewater’s main revenues come from retail sales tax, receiving nothing from property taxes paid to the county. The redevelopment of our commercial properties keeps us on track and budget toward achieving a more sustainable economy, ensuring we will achieve and maintain our city employee wages and services at competitive levels.
Hard to believe barely a decade ago, Edgewater was on the brink of sinking.
An ailing 100-plus-year-old infrastructure, rampant gang/crime activity, bare coffers, and economic recession caused citizens to rally and change our “strong mayor” form of government to a “Council/Manager” form, and acquiring the skill set needed to manage our urban issues and budgeting for long-term city planning.
The city manager works independently as a public servant to the city at the direction of city council-as-a-whole. The city attorney also serves the city independently, ensuring the legislation council passes is consistent with our charter and codes, and lawful for county and state requirements.
There was concern with the change to a Council/Manager government, we might lose some of our small town feel as “spit and a handshake” gave way to stricter professional standards. But the real strength of our small town feel is the up close and personal relationship between citizens and their government. An example of this includes P&Z’s consideration and recommendation to council regarding easing up certain code restrictions on home additions for non-conforming houses.
Staff, council and our boards had noticed an uptick in building permit requests being denied for certain types of additions, suggesting those particular codes might be in need of review. In June, as a response to changing needs and desires of the community, council is expected to vote first reading on a revised building code for these home additions.
Citizens are the government in Edgewater, with the assistance of professional staff fulfilling our vision of an enduring and vibrant city. We are your fellow citizens and neighbors, and perhaps you will one day take a seat at a board table.
Edgewater Councilwoman and Planning & Zoning Liaison Janet Spangenberg can be contacted at 303-954-8649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.