Mason’s Hall Being Pulled Down — Photos

by John Kiljan

April 23rd Demolition

April 23rd Demolition

A bit of Arvada’s history is passing before our eyes. Final demolition began on the Mason’s Hall on Wednesday. Attached are a few photos of the building’s last moments as it is being leveled and what will replace it. Construction on a new upscale apartment complex called Park Place Olde Town should begin soon.

Asbestos abatement has already taken place. The bricks in the building are not being salvaged by the contractor, but the reinforcing steel is supposed to be according to workmen on the site.

Cornerstone Plaque -- click on any image to enlarge

Cornerstone Plaque — click on any image to enlarge

The removed cornerstone plaque is rumored to have been preserved, along with a 1947 time capsule, to be placed in the new replacement apartment building as it is constructed.

Before being acquire for demolition, a study was done to see if the old building could be re-purposed for offices or apartments, but nothing appeared economically feasible and the building would have lost much of its character in the process. Retail was considered a lost cause because of the difficult access.

Arvada Masons Lodge

Arvada Masons Lodge

Working against it were a poor building design (good for the Mason’s secretive meetings, but not for other tenants), needed environmental remediation, limited handicap accessibility, poor street access, and a building that had a lot of deferred maintenance issues.

You can see what a couple of (rejected) re-purposing options would have done to the building by looking at this planning file done by the developer.

Mason Bldg Schemes

Despite that, the razing of building was controversial because of its place in Arvada history. Also controversial are the replacement apartments to be located on that site and extending all the way down to include the Lion’s Club to the south. The adjacent Lions Club seems to have been partly constructed from recycled building materials. It also was not feasible to reuse, and it will soon be pulled down as well.

Park Place Olde Town view from Ralston Road

Park Place Olde Town view from Ralston Road

The City of Arvada and the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) actively encouraged the developer to forgo building conventional two- or three-story walk-up apartments on the site in favor of four stories of apartments sitting atop a ground-level parking garage with elevator and handicap access and a lot of other features intended to make the building more attractive to a variety of tenants.

The 153-unit complex is also consistent with City planners’ design guidelines that say Arvada should have higher-density developments near the new Gold Line commuter rail stations opening up in 2016. But that also gives the new apartment block at total of five stories in height — and that was too much for residents on the other side of the Wadsworth Bypass who wanted a more modest development that also kept the Mason’s Lodge intact.

To offset the substantially increased cost of the requested building improvements, AURA agreed to support the new Park Place Olde Town development by giving the developer much of the land needed to build the new housing for free. The developer is still taking a risk in hoping that future renters will be willing to pay more to be within walking distance of Olde Town and a view that looks out over McIlvoy Park — Arvada’s oldest park.

Removed Cornerstone

Removed Cornerstone

For Olde Town retail merchants, many of whom have been holding their breath waiting for the arrival of the Gold Line, the potential for new upscale customers living nearby is a welcome benefit.

That benefit would be greater if the apartments were for-sale units or condos that tend to attract more long-term residents. But changes in the construction defect laws have effectively made it impossible to build new condos in Colorado. Hence Park Place will be entirely rental units with a population that could see a substantial annual turnover. Legislative relief for that situation seems to be at least a year away — if not much longer.

* * *

John Kiljan
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004


The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Choice ER to Help Schools in the Area

New to the area, the new First Choice ER facility WILL GIVE $10 to Vanderhoof Elem or Hackberry Hill Elm for every adult over 21 who takes a tour between 4/19-5/3.  

The tour is brief and it’s FREE money to our school and you get to learn what all they do there BEFORE

PLEASE feel free to story this email and attached flier to family and friends over 21 so that they can take a tour, learn about the facility AND earn $10 for Vanderhoof Elementary or Hackberry Hill Elementary.  



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Informational: Early College of Arvada

CLRC Friends and Neighbors,

This is a bit outside the normal discussion from our group, however, when something good is happening in Arvada I almost always want to err on the side of more vs. less information.  That being said I want to take the opportunity to tell you all about a school  called Early College of Arvada (  ECA is a 6-12 charter school that is not a part of Jeffco or Adams school district.

This little known school here in our community is turning out some eye popping results. The results that caught my attention first were their ACT scores and college enrollment rates. Last year ECA posted one on the highest composite ACT averages in the state. ECA managed to beat the state average by more than 15% which is astounding for a small school. Also, every single graduate of ECA has enrolled in college.  In fact the average ECA graduate has collected $30,000 in scholarships!!!

It would be easy to dismiss these results as a charter school cherry picking the best students from the area. At ECA, that is far from the truth. More than 50% of ECA students are considered “at risk.”

I took a visit to ECA to see how they were managing to succeed where so many other school fail. What I found was a small school environment dedicated to the mission that every student deserves a first class education. That dedication leads to no student being allowed to fall through the cracks.

You might be wondering why they call themselves Early College of Arvada. The early college concept is not new but it is new to our area. With this type of school students are introduced to college level learning while still in high school. There are many benefits to this, not the least of which is that the average ECA graduate has completed 40 college hours of course work. These hours are derived from the University of Colorado Denver and are guaranteed to transfer to any public university in the state. Another huge benefit is the environment in which these classes are taught. Students are taught how to study, how to form study groups, and how to properly prepare for college classes. They are taught these things in a comfortable and safe environment which leads to better long term academic performance.

I was skeptical at first of this concept; however, after spending time at the school and meeting with the administrative staff I have become a strong supporter of their concept. So much so that my oldest child will be attending ECA next year!!

If you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, neighbor, or any child that you think would benefit from a small, caring, community focused, academically challenging school I would encourage you to attend an information night or call the school and set up a tour.

T.O. Owens



Information night occur on 4/30, 5/14, 5/28, and 6/11.

Contact information for the school is as follows


Address:4905 West 60th Avenue, Arvada, CO  80003    Telephone: 720-473-4400                      

Email: Ryan Conrad – Assistant Director




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bob Loveridge — Candidate for the Arvada Fire Protection District Board

Bob Loveridge — Candidate for the Arvada Fire Protection District Board

9105 W 68th Ave, Arvada, CO 80005

1. Why are you running for the fire board?

Bob Loveridge

Bob Loveridge

After 14 years on the Apex Park & Recreation Board of Directors it has come to the point in time that I am term limited. After much consideration I decided that I could be of service to the Fire District with the experience I have gained at Apex and my other government experience. I have always been fascinated with fire fighting which makes this endeavor interesting to me.  It has been said that I am jumping from the pool into the fire. I look forward to be able to help the staff continue to make the District better each and every day. No, I am not a fire expert. The professional staffs are the experts. I want to help provide the staff with what they need with great respect for the tax payer’s dollars. I will represent the citizens and not any special interests or individuals.

2. What skills do you bring that will help you govern the Arvada Fire District effectively?

·         First elected to Apex Park and Recreation District in 1998 will serve till May 2014

·         Have served on the Jefferson County Building Code Board from  1996 to present

·         Arvada Board of Adjustments for 9 years

·         Athletic Booster Club President  for 2 years in local High School

·         Ski Instructor for Blind Skier Program 5 years

·         Arvada Small Business Owner 35 years

·         Sunday School Teacher

·         Apex Foundation Member

·         Volunteer Probation Officer, Jefferson County 2 years

·         Interests include vintage and sports cars, woodworking, gardening and people

 While serving on the Board of Directors of the Apex District these are some of the accomplishments for which I am very pleased.

  • Apex Center: Completed ahead of schedule, under budget, and still profitable

  • Lutz Field Expansion

  • Acquisition & Improvements of Stenger Soccer Complex

  • Indian Tree Golf Renovation

  • Long Lakes Ranch and Pioneer Park

  • Sunset Tax for Indian Tree Bonds

  • Reconstruction of Secrest and Lake Arbor Pools & Centers

  • Improvements to Community Center

  • Instrumental in over $65 million in New and Expanded Recreational Projects

  • Increased the number of Ball Fields from 22 to 92

  • Apex Field House and Simms Street Center built without any debt

  • Reduced the Apex Budget Tax Dollars from 70% to 35%

  • Improved Apex Facilities throughout the District

With all of this that has been accomplished, there are still many needs and areas of the District that need improvement.

3. What are the biggest challenges you see facing the Arvada Fire District?

As a native of Arvada, I have always been proud of the Arvada Fire Protection District and the great service that they provide to the community.  My goal is to help them continue this reputation and help them rise to higher achievements.  With my experience in Special Districts, I bring a wealth of knowledge of how they need to operate and knowledge of the other Government entities that the Board needs to interact with.

As Candelas continues to grow the west area the need for a Firehouse in that area needs to be addressed. Then as the commercial properties begin to develop there could be a need for specialized equipment to protect the buildings that may be built. We will need to be able to find ways to accomplish this need. The ISO rating in that area is not acceptable.

It would be good to take a close look at the ISO rating and see what policies and needs we have to reach the next rating level. This may help the insurance costs of the District residents and businesses.

We need to continually need to be looking better ways for the Fire District to be able to better serve. We should also explore other opportunities to serve the community

There needs to be planning for the replacement of Station 1 as it out dated and needs upgrading as it would help serve the old town area better. Finding the land needed is a challenge in developed areas and then securing it.

4. How does the configuration of Ralston Road impact the level of service that the Arvada Fire District can provide?

The configuration of Ralston Road needs to be looked a very carefully as the City does not always consider the impact on emergency services, such as the configuration in old town where they can not take a fire engine down those streets. I find that very concerning and unacceptable. The Fire District would appreciate any support for those issues as they develop. As a Board Member I would do much lobbying with the City to make emergency access a priority.

5. Do you think that the benefits to the community out weighs the costs of having our own ambulance service?

If so, please explain the trade-off between the added cost and new services being provided.

If not, how will you approach liquidating the Ambulances that were purchased and reducing the Arvada Fire District staff?

The information that I has been given to me is that the Ambulances are saving money over the cost that was incurred from Pridemark. As an ambulance service provider,  Pridemark was sold to another company and we were not receiving the same level of service that we enjoyed for many years. That is when the Fire District decided to take over the ambulances. I do appreciate the fact that the Ambulances have a place to go when not in service. It bothered me that they had to sit in parking lots around the city waiting for a call. That must have been hard on the paramedics and I would wonder how fresh their minds would be when arriving on the scene after being cooped up in the Ambulance. The paramedics could not go to the fire house for any reason. If it is truly saving money a good look at how that money saved is being used would be in order. I understand that it is going towards more firemen on the trucks. This may be in order however I would ask if it was not better to put it towards maintenance and capitol improvements. This would be similar to what we have done at Apex and is how we built the Field House at Lutz Fields and the Simns Street Center that was done with out going into debt and without having to raise fees.

6. Did you support the last ballot measure that would have removed term limits for Arvada Fire Board Members?

I understand the frustration at times that term limits can bring, however this community still likes term limits and may have looked at maybe allowing 3 terms if it was asked for in  a regular election not a special election for that one question. It does appear to be sneaky and secretive. I want to communicate better to the citizens on what the board is facing with issues and letting them know of the decisions and why.  Too many things that have gone on at the Fire District have had poor communications. I have always said to be proud of your decisions and let the people know.  A tax or policy question that you want a vote on from the people, the Board should always be proud of and put it in an election that will attract the most voters. These votes are an opportunity to communicate and have a dialog with the citizens. That also means that you may not always get what you may like, however it is a way of listening to the people.

7. Did you support the 55% mill-levy increase in 2010?

I did understand that they needed a mill-levy increase as they were seeing their income depleting as the mill-levy was ratcheting down do to several laws that create that effect. I do not want the District to be under funded so they can not handle emergency situations that may come up. They need to be over prepared. However I have wondered if it was over reaching and they have more money than needed. As I have looked at the budget I do not see an abundance of money. As a Board Member I would always be looking for ways to be more efficient with the tax payers money with out asking for so much that it  puts a tax burden on the citizens.

[Editors note: This is a late submittal by the candidate. It arrived after the initial April 11th deadline for responding to the neighborhood association's candidate questionnaires. In fairness to the remaining candidates who have not responded to the CLRC questionnaires, additional late submittals for both the AFPD Board and the Apex Board will be accepted at up until 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 26, 2014. --JK]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ralston Creek North Solicitation

by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Area Available for Development in the RFQ

Area Available for Development in the RFQ

High-rise apartments, professional buildings, commercial recreation, Belmar-type boutiques, fast casual dining, senior housing, a swimming pool, a relocated Clancy’s Irish Pub — what will the market bear and what will developers want to invest in? The answers to those questions may come with the responses to a development solicitation for the Triangle that has only recently been issued.

Anyone concerned about what happens to this part of central Arvada should take a few minutes to look through AURA’s recently issued Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Ralston Creek North. How the development community responds to this solicitation will do an awful lot to determine what this run-down shopping area becomes in the not-so-distant future and what effect it has on our adjacent neighborhoods.

Here is the link to the 25-page RFQ document itself:

But there are also a slug of area maps and things like demographic information that go with the solicitation. Those can tell you a lot about what many of us still call the Triangle and the neighborhoods around it and about the people that live in this part of the Arvada. If you want to know how much we make, or how old we are, or our ethnicity, and how all that compares with the rest of the State — it’s all there for you and the developers to see.

You can download almost everything the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) is putting out in the RFQ by going to their website for the Ralston Creek North solicitation site at

The RFQ is expected to lead to giving a single developer an exclusive right to develop this area for AURA and for the City by late July of this year. That’s fast — very fast. And it will happen before Walmart even opens its doors across the street.

If you think something is going to be proposed that you are uncomfortable with, now is the time to start paying attention. And if you see something you really like in a developer’s response, it’s getting close to the time to say something about that too. AURA’s proposal evaluation meetings are expected to be open to the public, and each of their regular business meetings has a public comment period.

What’s not in the RFQ is also interesting — and worrying. There is no mention of City Hall, the Courts or the Arvada Police Department relocating in or near the development area. That means those needs will probably have to be met at some other location.

Nor is there any mention of a City-sponsored recreation center — with or without a pool — or the $3.1 million the City has set aside for that purpose in its budget. And that is despite a lengthy list of past and planned public investments in the area that have been put in the RFQ. Some light is shed on that omission with this content requirement in the RFQ on page 23:

“8. Evaluation of Safeway Building & 24 Hour Fitness LOI – Preliminary assessment of whether the former Safeway building should be kept and if it should be incorporated into the development program with 24 Hour Fitness as the primary tenant.”

24 Hour Fitness at 81st & Sheridan

24 Hour Fitness at 81st & Sheridan

LOI stands for Letter of Intent. Apparently, there is an unsolicited offer to re-purpose the old Safeway building by a commercial fitness center. That could also explain why the building was not pulled down several weeks ago as had been planned. The LOI is not listed as one of the available documents on the RFQ’s public announcement web page.

The deadline for developer responses is May 16, 2014.


The results of last summer’s recreational needs survey can be found by following the links on this City website:

Spoiler alert: The survey showed a large majority of respondents supporting the construction of a replacement swimming pool as part of any new recreation center.

ClancysFUNot familiar with Clancy’s? Here’s a link to a recent Denver Post article that talks about how they are being forced out of the development that will house the new Sprouts Famers Market at 38th and Kipling in Wheat Ridge. The Triangle lost two well-patronized bars with the Walmart decision and Arvada is likely to see another bar of some sort located in the area.

And here’s the website for the 24 Hour Fitness center at 81st and Sheridan so you can see what one might look like. There are lots of photos.

And, of course, you can find out more by keeping up with our postings on our website at and on our Facebook page at “CLRC — Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community” (we’re still trying to get Facebook to change the spelling).

Happy Easter!

John Kiljan
CLRC Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004


The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association.

April 20, 2014



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quotes from the State-of-the-City Speech

Quotes from the State-of-the-City speech:

This event was sponsored by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations. It was held on Friday morning, April 18, 2014 in the Arvada Center. All of the quotes are by Mayor Marc Williams, the keynote speaker.

* * *

“We are in excellent shape — financially and organizationally.”

Mayor Marc Williams

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams

“Arvada is not just a bedroom community anymore. . . . Between 50 and 60 percent of the people who are buying brand new homes in the City of Arvada are either existing Arvada residents or people who want to come home — who want to come back to this great community.”

“We have $172 million in financial reserves here in Arvada. . . . That’s probably why we maintain a triple-A bond rating — much better than the federal government. And we’re darn proud of that AAA bond rating. And that gives us the ability, down the road if we need to, to [do] some borrowing — to be in a good position to do that.”

“Now I know there have been some people who don’t like [Park Place Olde Town]. I recognize it. I accept it. People don’t like change. They are worried what we’re going to do as a City Council — and what we’re going to do as a City — is going to destroy Olde Town. I pledge to you, as I pledged to you last year when this project was first being proposed, that your City Council and your City Staff believe in Olde Town, [they] believe in its historical significance, and [they] want to maintain that identity. I also recognize as I talk to the merchants in this great community — particularly in the Olde Town area — that they want these kinds of [Park Place] citizens to be a part of the flavor and mix of the Olde Town neighborhood.”

“. . . it’s 670 spots. About $20 million is what this [Olde Town] parking structure is going to cost. And guess what? It’s paid for. We have the money in the bank. We’re not looking at a loan. We’re not looking at parking fees.”

“I have now acquired the nickname of ‘Walmarc’ — and I accept it [audience laughter]. I recognize it. I’ll own it because it was the right decision. And I’m proud of our City Council for approving that project, because that Walmart is going to be an economic engine — just as the development below Olde Town was an economic engine for the redevelopment of Olde Town.”

“Having that Walmart, which will be breaking ground here very shortly, and will be open in 2015, is creating tremendous interest in the north side where the Chuck E Cheese and that whole development is, where the Safeway store was. . . . I can tell you King Soopers took a very different approach [than Safeway]. . . . Well, when Walmart came in, they said, ‘Bring it on.’ They like competition, just as those in this room recognize how important competition is. Again we have tremendous interest on the north side just as we did with the TOD site [in Olde Town] . . . You’re going to see great restructuring in terms of Ralston Road through that area. I think it is going to be a great, great opportunity.”

“I am confident that the House and the Senate will pass a long bill that includes funding, as is being proposed right now, for a 40,000 square foot expansion of Red Rocks Community College at Kipling Ridge. The opportunities this creates for this community and for this region are absolutely wonderful. When you look at what they want to do with that expanded campus, in the arena of nursing [and] physician’s assistants, a true growth industry and the possible spinoffs that we as a community can benefit in terms of medical office buildings, other uses that are compatible with that type of expansion, that site is primed and I appreciate the work that Red Rocks has done and that the House and Senate will do in making sure that funding goes through.”

“Ralston Central Park, which it seems like is taking forever — and I have conversations on a weekly basis with the City Manager — we are looking at opening that at the end of May this year — certainly by summer. And that Ralston Central Park . . . in conjunction with Apex is going to have a great splash pad, gazebos, playgrounds. It’s really going to be a great Ralston Central Park and we’re excited about that.”

“Now as I talked about Park Place, as I talked about Walmart, those have been controversial issues. And in addition to being called Walmarc — and a few other things I won’t repeat — I recognize that not everyone is happy with the decisions we are making. But I can tell you that this City Council and this City Staff are doing what they think the citizens overall wish to see happen, and they are seeing what is important for their community the long term and they are taking those actions.”

“And I recognize that change is difficult and visions are not always the same, but I can commit to you that no member of City Council, no member of Staff — none of us — are lining our pockets for doing these projects. It’s because we love this community and because we think that these are appropriate actions to take to better, and to move forward, and to keep Arvada so truly so very, very special.”

* * *

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Geoffrey Gardella — Candidate for the Arvada Fire Protection District Board

Geoffrey Gardella — Candidate for the Arvada Fire Protection District Board

7002 Grandview Avenue, Arvada, CO 80002 /application
720-933-4420 /application


Geoffrey Gardella

Geoffrey Gardella

1. Why are you running for the fire board?

I love Arvada, and believe our community is leading the way in defining the suburban community of the 21st century . I am looking for a way to be involved with and give back to this city. I hope to be a community voice on the board.

2. What skills do you bring that will help you govern the Arvada Fire District effectively?

I see my role on the board as trying to help the professionals on the force to implement their vision for the District in a fiscally responsible way. I am a team player, and would look to work together with other board members, the chief and firefighters to keep the District strong and responsive to the community’s needs.

3. What are the biggest challenges you see facing the Arvada Fire District?

The development at Candelas in the North-West will necessitate the building and staffing of a new station. That will mean growing the force by more than 10%. The district was forward-looking by securing the tax revenue for this, and now the work remains to begin the development process.

The district is working with the police department on an active-shooter response program, to bring rescue personnel in to assist shooting victims sooner. Arvada’s initiatives are at the cutting edge of response programs for this type of emergency. Some might say that they are “writing the book” on this subject

Currently the district does not extend into the part of Arvada which falls in Adams County. One of the biggest decisions in the coming years will be whether or not to absorb this area into the district, and how to implement such a change.

4. How does the configuration of Ralston Road impact the level of service that the Arvada Fire District can provide?

Arvada is changing rapidly, and this will affect the traffic patterns on numerous arterial roads in the city. I am not a traffic engineer, and would need more information to answer this question.

5. Do you think that the benefits to the community out weighs the costs of having our own ambulance service.

If so please explain the trade-off between the added cost and new services being provided.

If not how will you approach liquidating the Ambulances that were purchased and reducing the Arvada Fire District staff?

Yes, I strongly support the District’s choice to take over emergency transport. The department just celebrated one year of providing this service to the citizens of the district. It is paying for itself, so will not be an added cost for tax payers. I personally, would rather put my life in the hands of an Arvada career EMS team, than a for-profit company.

6. Did you support the last ballot measure that would have removed term limits for Arvada Fire Board Members?

I did not support this measure. I think it is vital to public boards that new perspectives are brought in on occasion.

7. Did you support the 55% mill-levy increase in 2010?

Yes, I support the current mill-levy. The district has needed more money to respond to the rapid changes that are coming to Arvada. With the advent of a professional force, and the growth of the district, there has been lots to do. Specifically, I think the new maintenance and training facilities were needed (the old burn building could no longer be used for active burning). Nobody enjoys paying taxes.

[Editor's note:  The CLRC received a note from Mr Gardella saying that he had submitted a response to the CLRC steering committee's questions before the Friday deadline, but his email service provider had not been sending out all of his emails.  Hence the reason for this late posting.  --JK]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment