“Legislation, Vision” (9/16/13)

From: Aaron Harber
Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 5:22 PM
To: Mark Gruber
Subject: Legislation, Vision


Dear Mark,


To answer your question, I have been speaking with several legislators and there already is a proposal being formed which will severely limit municipalities TIF opportunities.  It already is expected to be proposed in the upcoming session and, if passed, would be effective July 1st.  If we are to proceed together and take advantage of what you described as one of the most important tools available for Economic Development, we will need to work closely together on this right away.  I know you appreciate the immediacy of the situation and hope you can help convey this reality to the other Trustees and the rest of the Town.


I really enjoyed our discussion about “vision” and believe Golden Run truly is visionary.  I realize it may seem by some to be too different to have an urban core in the middle of a suburban community but, when you look at how we should be creating neighborhoods, this approach is what is needed everywhere.  It will take leadership to get people the information they need to understand this.  This is why, in part, our plan includes an intense community outreach over the next half year --- i.e., from the beginning of October to the end of March.  Our goal is to get everyone in town excited about Golden Run.  We want Erie citizens to see their leadership --- those supporting Golden Run --- as visionary and being the people most committed to a successful future for the entire community.


In terms of being visionary, your comments forced me re-focus on what Golden Run can bring that no other project planned for any point Erie’s future will accomplish.  I say this even with the I-25 corridor in mind because, in reality, that corridor is removed from most of Erie and does not have as great a potential to positively impact the majority of the community simply because of its distance from the center of Town.  It also begs the question of Erie creating an economic geographic center.  This is one of the goals for the Four Corners area which only Golden Run can achieve.  So your comments generated many thoughts.  Here are just some of them.


  1. 1.Being visionary often means involving people who are recognized as such.  Creating the Sustainability Council and having the person many people believe is the world’s foremost environmentalist (Les Brown) or the President & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation (Larry Schweiger), among others, should contribute greatly to our involvement in Erie of national and international leading thinkers.  It should be exciting to interact with these people and should help us become more visionary ourselves.

  2. 2.Understanding the power of Economies of Scale as an advantage to achieve visionary goals is something we have to do a better job of communicating.  It is the numbers we have proposed which will allow Erie citizens to have the amenities they want, the job opportunities they seek, and the facilities few communities ever even consider.  People who understand this will seek to maximize --- not minimize --- the numbers we are proposing.  I realize this seem counterintuitive but, if you think about it, it makes sense as long as you can mitigate the impacts.  One has to be visionary to understand this possibility.

  3. 3.We need to convey to people the extraordinary Economic Development implications of having 1 Gigabit service throughout Golden Run and how doing that for Golden Run then potentially opens up the entire community to having access to 1 Gb service.  It is difficult to explain to people what it means to create a community whose Internet speeds are 25 to 100 times faster than 99.99% of the rest of the country and how entrepreneurs and businesses will flock to Erie simply to have access to some of the fastest speeds in the world.

  4. 4.Explaining how Golden Run may be the Town’s only opportunity to help businesses in Historic Downtown Erie prosper will solely be a function of the population numbers we have proposed because only a minority of Golden Run residents will patronize downtown businesses.  Given our numbers, however, I would expect Golden Run would have a 100 to 200% impact on increasing downtown business activity.  No other project in Erie’s long-term plan will or even can accomplish this.

  5. 5.Of course, you can imagine the positive Economic Development impact Golden Run will have on the County Line Road corridor.  With a visionary design, we can connect Golden Run in creative ways which bring people to County Line Road businesses.

  6. 6.My sense is another visionary perspective is to look at what can be done when Highway 7 is moved to connect earlier with Arapahoe Road.  If we can get that done at the County Line Road intersection, Golden Run more easily can be an employment, retail, and other commercial gateway for Erie.  The volume of vehicles on Highway 7 already is significant and the traffic counts are expected to triple over the coming years.  Even if the Highway 7 connection is pushed west, there can be many opportunities for Erie which we could explore together.

  7. 7.The plan for what could be the nation’s most sustainable community will require all of us to be visionary in the sense that we are proposing to diversify the housing stock and population of the Town in a way no one else has considered.  Notably our emphasis on mature citizens with high disposable incomes remains a key part of our vision from both an Economic Development perspective and, simultaneously, from the perspective of having a resident strategy which minimizes the demand for government services (especially schools).

  8. 8.It will take vision and a great degree of understanding and articulateness to communicate to people why the negative impacts they assume will occur can be reduced and, in some cases, even eliminated.  This is the key to getting people to understand why Golden Run, as imagined, can fit so well in Erie.  Hence, if the negative impacts can be mitigated, the benefit-cost ratio becomes enormous.

  9. 9.This is a very long-term project and that makes it different than anything else Erie has undertaken.  It will take vision and a lot of work to make Golden Run as successful as we both want.  This will include being creative producing solutions to mitigate problems.  What is different than discussions 20 years ago or even just 10 years ago is there are many new approaches which now allow us to mitigate problems.  It should be exciting to explore and discuss these but, just as importantly, we need to make certain that information gets to all Erie citizens, too.


To be candid, as we discussed, I do think there are many people who are not visionary when it comes to Erie.  They cannot see beyond the type of development which already has occurred and which is planned for the majority of the remaining sites available for development.  There is nothing wrong with this and, in fact, it is understandable how people living in the status quo want it to be maintained “as is.”  Others, however, have different expectations.


There are people who have high hopes for the I-25 corridor but the reality is it could take decades for anything to happen there and even when it does, its connection to the rest of the community could be tenuous, at best.  And even that development, as proposed, could not be described as visionary.  Rather, it, too, fits a more traditional mode and will be solely dependent on market forces in which communities up and down the I-25 corridor compete with each other.  Golden Run is a singular opportunity which gives Erie the opportunity to set a standard higher than everyone else and, as a result, intentionally position itself for success.  By being better, Erie can do better.  By setting the standard, Erie can leave the competition behind.  Again, as we discussed, it will take truly visionary people to appreciate this and make it a reality.


I do hope you will support Golden Run on September 24th, just as you did last month on the Substantial Compliance Resolution and several months ago for the Pre-Annexation Agreement.  The majority of work to be done will be on the Golden Run PD process and that is likely to begin in mid-2014 and take a year or more to complete.  This will give all of us the time to make certain we can address any outstanding issues while simultaneously maximizing the benefits of Golden Run to the Town.  With your support, I would very much look forward to working together with you to make what can be an extraordinary vision a reality.



Board and Community Correspondence

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