MARC WILLIAMS — CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR
September 14, 2011
by John Kiljan
Background: This interview was held September 13th and is one in a series of interviews with candidates for the Arvada City Council. The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community offered each of the candidates an opportunity to review a list of local CLRC issues and concerns and to comment on them in an informal discussion. The candidates were also invited to talk about any other subjects they thought were important. The interviewers were T.O. Owens and John Kiljan.
The Candidate: Councilor Marc Williams is currently a term-limited at-large Arvada City Council member. He is a practicing attorney and a 26-year resident of Arvada who raised his family in the City. He has been on the Council since 1999 and has an extensive record of public service and involvement in civic organizations.
That record includes the Arvada Chamber of Commerce (then the Northwest Metro Chamber), the Colorado Bar Association, Jefferson County Libraries, the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority, the Community Corrections Board, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), Colorado Municipal League, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, the Arvada Economic Development Association (AEDA), the Apex Park and Recreation District, the Arvada Fire Protection District, and the Arvada DARE program.
On Ralston Road: The road runs past my office window across from City Hall. I’m seeing more pedestrian use along the central corridor over the years and I recognize the need for safety improvements. The lanes are too narrow and most of the sidewalks are too close to traffic. I’ve witnessed first hand the hazards caused by the narrow lanes — particularly when maintenance lane closures are put up. The central corridor plan needs to move forward, but not in a way that takes a lot of businesses and residential properties away. There have to be some compromises.
It’s my personal opinion that I don’t want to see dramatic changes to the turn lanes along Ralston Road. I’m not sure that there are that there are that many accidents caused by having the turn lane in the center of the road. I’d have to see some more data before I am convinced that’s the case.
I really don’t favor on-street parking on Ralston Road. It’s too much of a through street, and we would get too much criticism if we did that. We got huge criticism for the traffic calming on Wadsworth in Olde Town. And there it made sense. We wanted traffic calming for that short section to maintain the feel of Olde Town. If we mess with Ralston Road in that regard, it’s going to have some real negative impacts. Ralston Road is the main drag through the area
On the Redevelopment of the Triangle: It’s crucial that the Triangle shopping district be redeveloped and we’ve been trying a long time to do that. It’s a very tired area and it will continue to decline unless something is done. I would like to see some higher-end residential units move into the area. You have to have residential rooftops to support retail. But the new residences must also come with adequate on-site parking. The same goes for needed retail parking — so that there are as few off-site parking impacts as possible. The Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) has done a good job in positioning the properties to make them attractive for the time when the economy recovers and a developer can step forward.
On Recreation and the New Central Park: There are discussions going on with Red Rocks Community College concerning the potential for a recreational facility in or near the Triangle to deal with the increased demand for local recreational facilities that new housing in the Triangle is likely to generate. Yes, we lost the pool, but that was an Apex decision, not a City decision. I do believe that the new splash park facility will be an attractive amenity. This is a nice feature to have. I’ve seen their popularity in other towns that have them and even in the small splash pad we have outside of the new Arvada library. I recognize that it’s not a pool. We’re losing the indoor turf field, but it won’t be moving that far away and it will be a much classier and nicer facility than what we have now.
My role as Mayor will be to continue to work with Apex on their long-term plans which also include needs in southeast Arvada at Secrest and potentially here in central Arvada as well. The idea of adding a wintertime ice rink to the new central park is still a possibility. I don’t know what we’re going to call the park — perhaps Central Park, perhaps something else. Between the splash facility, the volleyball court and the horseshoe pits, I believe it will be an attractive amenity when we get done with the flood-plain work.
On the Role of Neighborhood Associations: I live in a covenant-controlled neighborhood with a homeowners association. Some HOA’s are very effective in dealing with neighborhood issues, but older neighborhoods typically don’t have HOA’s. I think the neighborhood associations are an effective way to address neighborhood concerns and issues in those older neighborhoods. We can work with them using these small grant programs that encourages people to meet their neighbors.
Unfortunately, we’re in a society where people often don’t want to talk to their neighbors. But having the opportunity to meet your neighbors and find common interest and goals is a good way to work on them. I think it is important to foster them and I give credit to Shelley Cook and Rachel Zenzinger for pushing the agenda to support neighborhood associations.
On the Impacts of the Gold Line: I think it will be a true asset to the overall community. We’re already seeing the impact in the Olde Town area. Younger couples with higher incomes are moving in. The Gold Line raises the tide for the community. I am expecting to see Olde Town come up when the line arrives and that it will have a ripple effect along Ralston Road.
People will take pride in the development and start making investments in the area. I don’t think there is going to be much impact right away in the Triangle area because of the distance from the stations. That’s why urban renewal effort in the Triangle is important. As to Independence Street and the worries that the Arvada Ridge developments will increase the traffic up that hill, I don’t know how much traffic is going to actually use that road, but it might a good spot for radar displays (permanent or temporary) if speeding again becomes a problem. Those radar signs have worked well for us on Simms.
On Stabilization of Declining Neighborhoods: I truly do believe in the broken window theory. If one property goes downhill, it tends to pull the others around it down. I’m not sure what the solution is — perhaps pressure on the rental property owners or public forums to deal with the issue. Wheat Ridge’s program to buy, fix up and sell houses that are pulling the rest of the neighborhood down is a good program, but I don’t want to see the use of eminent domain to do that. Nor should the City buy homes and end up being a landlord. The Wheat Ridge effort is not unlike the Habitat for Humanity model. The Wheat Ridge City Council members I’ve talked to seem pretty pleased with it.
I’m also working with Ed Talbot and Christine Jensen on ways to spend some of our federally funded Community Development Block Grants to pull up the neighborhoods near the KMart. We do something similar now with the City’s essential home repair program.
On Other Issues: You see people who say we need a lot of change and that Arvada is not going in the right direction. I don’t really agree with that. I think that we’ve got a great foundation. And, yes, there are certainly things that we could do better and we will do better. But in terms of a place to live, in terms of quality of life and in terms of reputation, I think Arvada is really going in the right direction. But I also think it is important to tweak that direction somewhat.
I think it is important to be involved with other communities because you get good ideas such as what is going on in Wheat Ridge so we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel and we can adopt the best practices from other communities.
It’s important to have good working relationship with other elected officials. For example, I work with Lakewood mayor Bob Murphy, Nancy McNally up in Westminster. I’ve already established what I think are excellent working relationships with people like them that allow me to hit the ground running. I think I’ve already established some credibility and it was nice to be recognized by the Jefferson Economic Council as Elected Official of the Year. Part of that is because I am out there working on these things on behalf of the City.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Councilor Williams has a re-election website at
and his campaign contact information is
You can also view a short video of all the candidates for mayor at this link:
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