It is with great pleasure that I highlight the many accomplishments for the City of Thornton in 2013. The city is seeing significant advancements with the creation of the 144th Avenue Redevelopment Area and opening of Cabela’s as the anchor tenant. The demolishing of the former Target Store at 104th Avenue and Washington and subsequent sale of the properties to three new businesses, including the first Cheddars Restaurant in the north area, was a long awaited development for this part of Thornton. The South Thornton Redevelopment Implementation Plan is moving forward and will be used to guide future investment of public funds in pursuit of commercial revitalization.
Thornton successfully attracted a number of new primary employers to the City in 2013. Businesses such as U.S. Engineering, Verizon, Intrex, and Corinthian College, Inc. bring opportunity and dollars to the City’s economy. These four employers provide nearly 500 new jobs to the City. There is also an effort to support the expansion of existing primary employers. A primary employer is a company that exports over half of their goods or services out of the region, essentially adding money back to the community. These primary jobs are important to the health of the local economy.
Following years of advocacy Thornton is pleased to see announcement of construction for the FasTracks North Metro Line by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). This commuter rail line will travel from Denver Union Station and have stops serving Thornton residents at 88th Avenue, 104th Avenue, 112th Avenue, and 124th Avenue. Construction will begin in 2014 and it is anticipated that the line will be completed and running by 2018. RTD indicates the contract will include an option to complete the line to the end-of-line station at 162nd Avenue in Thornton as funds become available.
Thornton took the lead in working with RTD and the other communities along the North Metro Corridor (Denver, Adams County, Commerce City, Northglenn) to develop the intergovernmental governmental agreements needed to ensure coordination among RTD, the contractor and the communities as construction of the project moves forward. This new transit option provides an alternative to Interstate 25 for Thornton commuters and allow residents to travel to downtown Denver and beyond without getting in a car. Community outreach meetings and recommendations started in 2013 and more will be forthcoming in 2014. In addition, the design of the on-and off-ramps at E-470 to Quebec Street commenced this year with construction expected to go to bid in 2014 and completion of this important connection in 2015.
The completion of improvements at the Margaret W. Carpenter Park and Open Space is a big highlight for 2013. The opening was celebrated in May in conjunction with ThorntonFest. The new park improvements include an amphitheater, splash pad and play ground, skate park, tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, paddle boat rentals, and a carousel. The carousel was salvaged from the former Biggs Department store and refurbished for use at the park. The popularity of the Margaret W. Carpenter Park and Open Space improvements has surpassed initial expectations and the park is an amenity that brings the entire community together. In November, Thornton residents passed an extension of the existing parks and open space tax by an overwhelming majority of 69 to 31 percent. This measure leaves the dedicated 0.25-percent sales and use tax for parks, open space, recreation, arts and culture in place through 2038 and provides a significant funding source to meet the needs of the community well into the future.
Overall, Thornton has experienced much success as a city! Thank you for all your support in 2013. I wish you all the best in the coming year!