One of they keys to the success of the Local Foods Campus and the reason it is slated to be built at 72nd and Sheridan in Westminser, Colorado is because that intersection is in the Southwest Urban Redevelopment Area. While many have heard of a URA, how they work is somewhat of a mystery, a mystery that the organizers of the Local Foods Campus have just recently begun to understand.
A URA is established to renew and revitalize a part of the community to
- Enhance mobility in the area
- Renovate or redevelop the deteriorated and/or outdated retail…buildings
- Enhance the aesthetic appearance of the area
- Reduce the retail vacancy rate
- Improve property values…and
- Improve the tax base of the City
Sounds like great goals for this part of Westminster, right? We agree!
Since 2004 when the SWURA was established, tax revenues generated within the SWURA have been used to help develop the southwest corner of 72nd and Sheridan, bringing area residents a Walmart megastore. On the northwest corner a retail strip center with a Starbucks, sandwich shop and cell phone store as well as a nearby housing development have benefitted from the SWURA’s bonding and taxing capabilities.
With the opening of the large Walmart retail store, sales tax revenues increased, and have been used to repay bonds to develop the sites. But according to city documents, nearly $5.2 million in incremental sales tax revenues have gone back into the City’s general fund, spent on projects such as the light rail station and new city center mall.
The City of Westminster has no further plan to develop projects to meet the stated goals of the SWURA which has 13 more years of capacity to fund innovative, community-building projects. Our Local Foods Campus is a perfect fit, meeting five of the six goals of the SWURA!
The Local Foods Campus fits with the agricultural heritage of the Shoenberg Farms site, will build local small businesses in food growing/raising/production, provide new jobs, keep local money circulating in our local economy, help local families to get healthier and reasonably priced foods, and redevelop and revitalize the SWURA in exactly the way it was intended to function.
Bringing public policy to a tangible result that benefits the residents … that’s the goal of LFC.