Becoming A Landlocked City
There’s not a whole lot of room for Westminster to expand; it’s essentially a land-locked city fast approaching build out. That means in the near future, city officials have to make crucial decisions that will leave the city prospering for years—or not. This means council members need to subsidize the right redevelopment projects and ensure its transportation needs are met in an increasingly competitive arena for RTD FasTrack attention and CDOT’s road improvement funds.
City Council Seats (pick three)
Christopher Dittman, Bob Briggs, Faith Winter over Americus Kalmar, Todd Squillante, Jane Fancher and JoAnn Price
Most malls have a 20-year shelf life. The Westminster Mall is no exception as it has taken a huge chunk of Westminster’s sales tax base away as it has floundered over the past few years. But there’s hope on the horizon, and when the nearly vacated retail center is redeveloped, Christopher Dittman, a 50-year resident of Westminster, wants to make sure the new development lasts a bit longer. The incumbent plans to work with the developer in building a transportation-oriented centerpiece for the city. One problem, RTD is far from guaranteeing a FasTracks stop at that location, which he deems the best piece of real estate in the North Metro area. Dittman is willing to do whatever it takes (read, use city funds) to ensure the train does stop there. He’s served his first term on city council and has helped the city spread its tax base to the point that revenues are approaching pre-2001 levels. But there’s a bit more work to be done. In his second-plus term (he was originally appointed in 2001), he’ll continue to champion for open space until the city reaches its 15 percent goal, wants to push CDOT and the Feds for a hybrid toll/HOV lane on Highway 36, and continue beefing up code enforcement.
When you wear out three pairs of sandals walking the city, knocking on 10,000-plus doors, you show a dedication to listening to the community that automatically makes for a strong city council candidate. Faith Winter did just that, and she has shown throughout her life that she is dedicated to democracy. Most recently, she led an effort in 2004 that helped turn out 94,000 voters and participated in the Westminster Citizen’s Police Academy among other civic activities. Beyond that, she understands the issues facing Westminster. Priorities include beefing up a code enforcement department that has just seven officers for a city of more than 100,000 residents, making sure FasTracks pulls into the Westminster Mall, and offer incentives to lure more primary jobs to the city. Her list is actually much longer than that, and she can offer concrete solutions for many of them. Even if her plate fills, we suspect she has the work ethic to get through it all. Even if it requires buying a few more pairs of sandals.
Bob Briggs likes trains. And that’s a good thing for Westminster as it heads into the final stretch of planning for the FasTracks line that will have up to three stops inside city limits. To take full advantage of the line, stations need to be serviced by other modes of top-notch transportation. Briggs, who has been a member of the Colorado Rail Association for decades and sat on the RTD board from 1998-2002, has some grand ideas for that. He’d like to see trolley cars running in conjunction with the mass transit rail, a worthwhile idea, even if it may be hard to pull off. But if he can garner support and find about $1 million per trolley mile, Westminster could see benefits of mass transit as far as five to 10 miles away from any station. It’s this grand concept that will make the train line even more successful. It’s also the kind of idea that edges Briggs ahead of incumbent JoAnn Price, who has served the community well in her first term, for the final seat on council. Briggs is also a huge proponent of open space and has a plethora of experience in statewide politics serving as county commissioner and state representative (1978-1982) that will help his lofty trolley idea take off.?