Commerce City bets on becoming the next go-to suburb for Front Range families. And it’s putting its money where its aspirations are.
—Courtesy of Amanda Croy
Last year, one of the only places in the Denver metro area to pass a bond measure (read: tax hike) was Commerce City, where residents OK’d $137 million for capital improvement projects city officials hope will help make the sometimes-ignored north Denver municipality an attractive home for more than just the Colorado Rapids. Officials have dubbed the program “Five projects, five years, one penny.” (A one percent sales tax increase is the source of the money.) “It’s a good change for us,” says Michelle Halstead, director of communications and government affairs for Commerce City. “We look at this as transformational.” Behold, the evolving Commerce City.
New RTD station
1. 72nd Avenue RTD station for North Metro Rail Line
Construction begins: 2016
Commerce City can feel a bit, well, isolated. A new station—the second stop on the new North Metro Rail Line that will stretch from Union Station to 162nd Avenue in Thornton—will provide residents 15-minute access to downtown Denver without having to jump in a car.
New Outdoor Pools at Pioneer Park
2. 5951 Monaco St.
Construction begins: 2014
Opens: Summer 2015
Residents have complained that Commerce City lacks a place that provides safe summer activities for kids. The new pools at Pioneer Park will help address that by adding a lazy river, an activity pool, a toddler pool, and three slides to the park, which already contains baseball fields and playgrounds.
Three New Neighborhood Parks
3. Fronterra Park, 10020 Joplin St.
4. Turnberry Park, 10725 Wheeling St.
5. Villages at Buffalo Run East Park, 11698 Chambers Road
Construction begins: 2014/2015
Opens: Fronterra opens fall 2015; Turnberry opens in 2016; Villages at Buffalo Run East opens in 2017
At the turn of the millennium, city officials identified these three parks as keys to accommodating future growth: They all sit within neighborhoods that have seen significant increases in single-family residential construction. In fact, last year Commerce City issued 384 permits for construction of new single-family units—the most in a year since 2007. The new parks will be outfitted with a mix of playgrounds, multiuse grass fields, basketball courts, picnic shelters, and restrooms.
Widening of Tower Road
6. 80th Avenue to 104th Avenue
Construction begins: 2016
The city plans to revamp this thoroughfare by widening the road to four lanes. The project also includes construction of a sidewalk and a running trail and updated lighting and traffic signals. This is a critical economic development area for the city, Halstead says. Officials say widening the road to accommodate more traffic (i.e., customers) will make the area more attractive to larger developers.
New Recreation Center at Second Creek
(and additions to the existing rec center at 6060 Parkway Drive)
7. New rec center, Chambers Road
8. Existing rec center, 6060 Parkway Drive
Construction begins: 2015/2016
Opens: The new rec center has no opening date yet; updates to the existing rec center will be finished in 2017
Commerce City is growing rapidly north of 96th Avenue, but currently, the north side of town lacks a public recreation option. The fix: A new rec center will boast a gymnasium with a jogging track, weights, fitness equipment, and a gymnastics space. In addition to the new building, the city is planning a $7 million renovation of the existing rec center on Parkway Drive. Improvements include a therapy pool, family locker rooms, and an aerobics studio.
49,799 = Residents in Commerce City last year, a number that has more than doubled since 2000. According to the census that year, there were 20,991 residents.
—Embedded images courtesy of iStock