Ten Years of Urban Renewal Changes Face of Brighton
Targeted Public Efforts Attract $420 million in Private Investment, 1,200 jobs
Brighton, CO--Look around Brighton these days, and you’ll see the work of the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority (BURA). The Pavilions lifestyle center, the Armory at Brighton Cultural Center, the Brighton Learning and Resource Campus and new downtown restaurants and businesses were all built in part through urban renewal investments.
This week, BURA released a 10th anniversary report documenting its achievements.
“Urban Renewal has been a major tool to support reinvestment in key areas of our community,” said Manuel Esquibel, City Manager and Executive Director of BURA. “Our small but targeted public investments help ‘prime the pump’ for private sector partners to get a project underway.”
In 2001, 2010 and 2011, the Brighton City Council approved urban renewal plans that encompass much of downtown Brighton and targeted areas to the north and south. The Brighton Urban Renewal Authority is an economic catalyst for these areas, using its authority to leverage funds and forge creative partnerships with private developers, businesses and other investors. BURA may assist in property acquisition, development financing, public improvements or development approval.
Today, these targeted public investments have attracted more than $420 million in private investment, creating or retaining over 1,200 jobs. And new tax revenues are being shared with Adams County and two school districts, to spread the public benefits further.
“Ten years ago, we had old empty buildings downtown left by the lumberyard and the hospital was leaving Downtown; we had whole vacant blocks and aged, worn store fronts; we had no new housing for our seniors and no real entertainment options,” said Alan Lemons, BURA chairman from 2001 to 2010. “Today, we have the cultural center, new healthcare and educational center, modern housing for seniors and new businesses with clean new faces downtown. If not for urban renewal, I’m not sure people would even recognize our community as a vibrant place. Our downtown would be dead.”
BURA has won nine local and state awards for urban renewal projects, including recognition for Brighton Pavilions, downtown planning, a façade improvement program and the Armory at Brighton Cultural Center.
The report showcases a wide range of projects and initiatives:
· Platteview Landing Apartments, Brighton Village and Hughes Station have added nearly 400 affordable housing units in Brighton.
Arts and Culture
· Thousands of citizens each month visit the Anythink Brighton Library, the Armory at Brighton Cultural Center and Main Street Creatives art co-op and gallery.
· 33 buildings have gotten facelifts through façade improvement grants
· Improvements to Fourth Avenue and Cabbage Street enhance and provide better access to downtown
· Year-round events and beautification projects make Downtown more inviting.
· Urban renewal played a role in the Adams County Government Center, Kaiser Permanente offices, Big Lots store and Greenleaf Wholesale and Kitayama Brothers headquarters, as well as the attraction of new firms related to Vestas.
· Brighton Pavilions lifestyle and entertainment center, Platteview Farms Retail Center, and downtown restaurants such as Pinocchio’s, Flood Stage Ale Works and The Copper Rail.
Education and Training
· The Brighton Learning and Resource Campus is now home to Front Range Community College and CSU, in addition to healthcare, early childhood education and small business support services.
“Having grown up here, I always felt the Highway 85 corridor gave people a negative impression of Brighton, said Candace Black, BURA Trustee. “Now you see the AMC Theater and restaurants in The Pavilions and Mi Pueblo Market and Big Lots in the former grocery warehouse area. We’re a progressive city committed to reinventing what we have, while other communities let their older areas deteriorate.”
More information about BURA is at www.brightonura.org.