Wheat Ridge is laying the groundwork for a sustainable economic future by focusing on development opportunities that attract companies who hire top talent, while investing in physical infrastructure in creative ways – ultimately making our community more attractive for residents and businesses. I believe there are five key elements Wheat Ridge focuses on that sets us up for success:
1. Public Investment in Infrastructure
Public investment in our infrastructure communicates to our residents that we are willing to invest the capital required to make a safer, more beautiful community for our residents. An example of this is our partnership with CDOT in the rebuilding of the bridge over 32nd Avenue at Youngfield Street. Funding for improvements in the area, including bike lanes, will come from a DRCOG $890,000 grant and funds from the Renewal Wheat Ridge bond issuance of 2021. Additional infrastructure improvements utilize the 2016 voter adopted 2E initiative which generated over $30 million in bonds for construction work, like Wadsworth, throughout Wheat Ridge.
2. Private Capital Investments
An increase in public infrastructure by itself raises the productivity of private capital, as public capital is a complement to private. Two examples of this are Clear Creek Crossing on the city’s western edge, which will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity and create valuable jobs for our community. The second is the redevelopment of the Gold’s Center at Kipling Street and 26th Avenue. While Renewal Wheat Ridge provided about $2.7 million in capital to the project, the owners are investing well over that amount in private equity, attracting new tenants, creating new jobs, and bringing renewed life to the center.
3. Financial Incentives
This is where the public and private sectors work together to ensure a small business can thrive in our city. The City of Wheat Ridge has incentives for businesses which create additional sales tax, employment and square footage. Two examples of this are sales tax rebates for a new seating area at Grammy’s Goodies on Harlan Street and the remodel and rebranding of Applejack Wine and Liquor in the Applewood Shopping Center.
4. Strong Social Capital
Our success is cultivated on a strong social fabric with relationships that are deep and durable over the long-term. Identifying and engaging residents to help craft and implement a long-term vision is key to sustaining long-term financial health for the city. We’ve done this through “What’s Up Wheat Ridge” and “Wheat Ridge Speaks” – engagement tools which allow residents to make their voices heard on projects and developments proposed in their neighborhoods. This feedback helps to inform city leaders as they determine priorities moving forward.
5. Dedication to Progress
To have a thriving city we need to proactively move forward, no matter how small the step. We’ve done this in several ways, including through the implementation of the Sustainable Neighborhood Program, which works to equip residents with the tools they need to lead grassroot efforts toward sustainability in their own neighborhoods.
While we still have many great things to do in Wheat Ridge, I believe we have many of the right tools in place to promote positive and responsible growth within the city for generations to come.
Contact Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-235-2800.