Commentary: District 4 Residents Face Unique Challenges


by John Kiljan

[updated October 25, 2015]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

It’s sprawling. It’s growing. It needs water. It’s rich in open space. It has unique recreational opportunities. Its residents are well off financially. They tend to be conservative and vote that way too. They also tend to have large houses and they must be paying the highest property taxes in the City. They like their lower density housing and open views of the nearby mountains and the possibility of seeing horses and wildlife as they commute to work.

Arvada/Blunn Reservoir

Arvada/Blunn Reservoir

Its major arterials, such as Indiana, Simms, Ward, 72nd, and other approach roads are becoming increasingly congested with not much relief in sight. Its residents want to see the beltway finished, but they can’t find an investor willing to actually build it. They have terrible broad-band cable service. They don’t have much in the way of retail outlets or restaurants. Many live far from where they work and face long commutes through Arvada or northward toward Boulder. And they are about to decide what may well be Arvada’s closest City Council race in this election.

Arvada City Council Districts

Arvada City Council Districts

There are a lot of things – and a lot of problems – that make life in District 4 west of Ward Road different than in the rest of Arvada. The district lies just west of the CLRC’s “official” central Arvada boundaries, but many of the followers of our neighborhood association live in that district. They’re interested in us and central Arvada because they often grew up here, or they have relatives that still live here. And they enjoy the cultural amenities offered by the Arvada Center and Historic Olde Town.

I purposely left this commentary to late in the City Council election coverage because it’s not so much about the candidates who are running as the need for those of us who live in “old Arvada” to take a figurative peek over the fence from time to time to see how our neighbors to the west are doing.

From what I can see, the biggest challenge for the district has to be planning for its growth. Some of its problems are just annoying, but some are more profound. Without the completion of the Jefferson Parkway and new water from an expanded Gross Reservoir, the new growth in the district needed to fund infrastructure improvements may be stifled. Both of these projects keep getting put off year after year. And the list of needed infrastructure improvements is not just for roads and restaurants, but also includes new schools, new parks, and development of the available land north of the Arvada/Blunn Reservoir.

BlunnMasterPlan[update:  This graphic is a little hard to see and doesn’t say too much, but the City put out a six-minute video last May that is well worth watching and shows in detail what plans are being considered.  Here’s the YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StgYv3aOtts&feature=youtu.be  ]

The nascent residential and commercial development projects at Candelas and Leyden Rock seem to be at particular risk. I’ve read that the cost of putting in sewer lines for Candelas alone came to $40 million. Someone is holding those construction bonds, and others like them, and if Candelas can’t service their debt with new residential or retail sales, the fallout from a default might affect the entire district’s ability to deal with its infrastructure needs.

And that fallout could, in turn, affect those of us living in old Arvada who would otherwise be benefitting from the tax revenues that new developments would bring to the whole city.

Bob Dyer

Bob Dyer

The incumbent in this race, Bob Dyer, has rock-solid credentials for a Council member and holds advanced degrees in urban planning and public administration to boot. His roots go deep into central Arvada. He spent much of his childhood near our own Triangle shopping center. However, his reelection campaign got off to a slow start, due to the death of a close family member.

And his campaign spending has only been a fraction of his opponent’s.  As of October 8th, Mr Dyer had spent only $607 on his campaign. During the same period his opponent had spent $14,108. That kind of funding will buy a lot of yard signs.

David Jones

David Jones

Bob Dyer’s challenger, David Jones, is not a “reform” candidate by any means.   This is his first run for office, but he has pretty respectable credentials as a local business owner and employer. His family also goes back a good way in Arvada and he credits much of his values to his religious faith. I, for one, cannot see a large philosophical difference between either of the candidates, and they both seem well suited to their district’s constituents.

But there are some differences. Readers who vote in District 4, are encouraged to follow the candidate links below. Councilor Dyer would like to set up “neighborhood councils” in Arvada to get more citizen involvement in deciding how the City will be governed. Mr Jones seems to have an emphasis on trying to lure more retail to the more lightly populated parts of the district.

Mr Dyer’s long experience and name recognition may well overcome David Jones’ funding advantage in this race. If that happens, considering how well he has run his campaign so far, I fully expect that Arvada will see David Jones again on a future ballot.

Whatever District 4 residents decide, their Council representative is going to need a lot of smarts to deal with the area’s challenges and plan for its future. And how the winner of this race decides to deal with those challenges will probably affect all of us in the rest of the city.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The responses to the CLRC’s own candidate survey for this race can be found at

https://ralstoncommunity.org/2015/10/12/bob-dyer-versus-david-jones-council-district-4/

You can find the links to another survey conducted by the Arvada Press (along with the questions asked, and lots of other information about all the Council candidates) at this link:

https://ralstoncommunity.org/2015/08/25/11-candidates-vie-for-5-arvada-city-council-seats/

[update:  There is another CLRC article that is somewhat about this race and it can found at

https://ralstoncommunity.org/2015/10/18/commentary-district-4-residents-face-unique-challenges/

I should have appended the link earlier, but I just forgot. October 25, 2015 –JK ]

As always, “The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community does not endorse candidates for public office. However, we often post candidacy announcements, press releases, interviews and questionnaire responses for those running for office. And we encourage our members to actively support whatever candidates they choose during elections.”

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from the Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

You can read all of our articles on our main website at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

October 18, 2015

 

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2 Responses to Commentary: District 4 Residents Face Unique Challenges

  1. Pingback: 11 Candidates Vie for 5 Arvada City Council Seats | Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community

  2. Pingback: Voters Say ‘NO’ to Reform Candidates, Ford Takes District 1, Jones Leads in District 4 | Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community

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