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On the heels of an especially challenging year, Arvada Mayor Marc Williams delivered his annual State of the City address at Footers Catering on April 15. In his speech, Williams touched on public safety, a memorial for the victims of the Olde Town shooting and the city’s economic state. The event was hosted by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce.

Williams began his speech by stating that 2021 was the most difficult year he has experienced in 22 years as an Arvada City Councilmember and Mayor.

“The last State of the City followed a tough year. When we gathered last May for the first time in this great venue, we thought the worst was behind us. We celebrated that we had made it through the darkest times. We were wrong,” Williams said.

Williams then recounted that a month after last year’s State of the City, the June 21, 2021 Olde Town shooting claimed the lives of Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley and Good Samaritan Johnny Hurley. He said that the city was working on a memorial for Beesley and Hurley.

“Your city is currently working with the families of Gordon Beesley and Johnny Hurley on how best to memorialize those two fine men. So, stay tuned; we will memorialize them,” Williams said.

APD Deputy Chief Ed Brady added that a contingent of APD officer and city team members would be going to the National Memorial in May to honor Beesley.

Williams then pivoted into discussing public safety. He said that the city team is working on a local, national and regional level to address the ‘homelessness issue.’

“We intend to — and we are taking steps to — establish two navigation centers in the county — one here in Arvada and one in Lakewood — to provide shelter and wrap-around services for those in need,” Williams said.

“Chief of Police Link Strate and I were on a call last week with Attorney General Wisner, and throughout our region, there is frustration with our judicial system regarding lax bonding and no jail policies… I call on our legislature to revisit some of their recent actions in this arena, and for the next sheriff to increase the number of jail beds being used,” Williams continued.

Williams added that he’d spoken with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and discussed that region’s success with navigator centers.

Williams then discussed the city’s economic state, which he touted as having weathered the pandemic — due in large part to the Arvada Resiliency Taskforce. He added that exciting developments were coming to town – but didn’t divulge many details yet.

“We currently have 105 development projects in the que. I would love to make some announcements, but our city attorney has reminded me that because these projects have not been approved by council, I have to hold my tongue,” Williams said.

Williams did announce some of the retail tenants that will be coming to Olde Town Station, the development that’s resulted from the ‘$30 Land Deal’ — which Williams said would likely be on his tombstone. Smashburger, Snooze, Perry’s Pizza and Cava are the first announced retail tenants.  

Williams concluded his speech by praising the community’s partnerships and resilience through a trying year.

“A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine a more difficult year than 2020. But that’s what we got in 2021. We got a more difficult year. Because of your work, because of your partnerships and because Arvada is Arvada, the state of your city is stronger than ever,” Williams said.