Parker continues to focus on the economic future

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The City of Parker continues to invest in its financial growth as City Council approved a $138,000 contract to develop a comprehensive economic development strategic plan on August 1.

This is one of many steps the city has taken recently to prioritize its economic growth.

“The goal of this plan is to create a model of how we want Parker to grow in the commercial space and in the job market,” Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg said.

The contract will allow Progressive Urban Management Associates to begin their three-step process to develop the strategic plan.

The project will look at how to advance things like diverse housing stock, small businesses, downtown development, transportation, social equity and inclusion, Deputy City Manager Bo Martinez said.

The city expects the planning process to take about six to nine months, beginning this fall and ending in the spring of 2023, Martinez said.

The selected company has also worked in cities such as Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Englewood.

Progressive Urban Management Associates will focus on community engagement throughout its process, with the first stage including workshops, roundtables and an online survey. They will also start by looking at the current market position, demographics and aspirations of the city.

The next step will examine up to five Colorado municipalities that have adopted economic development initiatives. The last step will be a combination of the previous two.

The project will conclude with a leadership retreat and the development of the plan.

City Councilman Josh Rivero said at the meeting when he was first elected that he was shocked by all the planning in the city.

“Sitting here 10 years later, I realize how important they are,” he said. “The best way to sum it up is ‘measure twice, cut once.’ The blueprints keep us right.

Councilor Cheryl Poage said she would like the plan to include the development of “high-end jobs” to keep residents in the community.

When Toborg was mayoral candidate in 2020, he focused on setting up an economic development program in the community. Since its election, the city has hired Martinez as Deputy Managing Director and Director of Economic Development. Martinez prioritized maintaining local businesses, attracting new businesses, branding and other development strategies.

“It’s really how we’re shaping and actually pivoting from a bedroom community to a community where there are good paying jobs and where people can work and live in the same city,” Toborg said.

The city is also in the process of bringing new developments to five city-owned parcels on Mainstreet. Confluence Companies, which has developed parts of downtown Castle Rock and Golden, presented a possible plan for the spaces in April. The plan included more restaurants, commercial spaces, plazas and residential units.

The Mainstreet project, which is still under development, would take up to 10 years and cost around $300 million.

“We know we need to have a vibrant downtown and we know we’re missing out on opportunities with these undeveloped plots of land,” Toborg said, “We hope this plan takes us above that and says it’s is where you can go.”

Toborg said he hopes the project will give Parker residents a say in the growth of the town, provide concrete action and bring fresh new ideas to the community.

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