Metro North mayors tout partnerships over rivalries

12 communities gather for first State of the Region event

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For 12 metropolitan communitiesall vying for new businesses and economic development dollars, there’s a lot of cooperation going on, according to a group of mayors and government officials.

“What you see here is a group of partners,” Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison said at the Metro North Chamber of Commerce State of the Region discussion April 13 at Broomfield’s 1st Bank Center. “This is not one group against another. We partner with each other on many things.”

The first annual roundtable brought elected officials from 11 cities and towns and Adams County in the northern section of Denver’s metropolitan area together, giving each an opportunity to brag about their city’s accomplishments and tout plans for the future.

The event also provided a showcase for area businesses, development groups, and governments to host informational booths and provide information about what they have to offer.

Organizers said the event drew 300 business owners from around Denver to hear the mayors talk and visit the information booths.

Every official took the chance to point out what makes their community special.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams touted his city’s 2.5 percent unemployment rate and low retail and office vacancy rate.

“We are a city of 115,000 people, something of a bedroom community,” Williams said. “But even so we added 450 net new jobs last year and 50 net new businesses last year.”

Broomfield Mayor Randy Ahrens took the opportunity to brag about the success of the 1st Bank Center itself.

“It’s a great venue for the area,” he said. “This is one of our crowning achievements.”

Ahrens lauded his city’s $650 million in new business investment and$200 millionin new residential development last year.

“We have 16 projects coming with more than 2,300 jobs and 1.7 million (square) feet that will be added in the next 18 to 24 months,” Ahrens said. “In the past two years, 28 companies have chosen to relocate to Broomfield.”

But as proud as they were of their home communities, they were just as proud of their region.

“All of us work remarkably well together,” Arvada’s Williams said. “There are a lot of parts of the country that are envious at how well we do work together.”

Williams cited last month’s opening of Clear Creek Park, an 81-acre park on the eastern border of the Arvada city limits but a mile south of where Westminster and Denver meet.as one example. That involved city, county, recreation and local businesses to happen, he said.

Westminster’s Atchison referred to a multiple-city attempt to get federal transportation money.

“Most recently, Aurora, Arvada, Westminster all competed and are still competing for a national endowment for smart growth for transportation,” Atchison said. “We are a finalist and if we are lucky enough to be, it will be the first time a consortium of this type has been awarded in the U.S. This is the kind of partners that we have sitting at this table. We work together on many things.”

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