2021.01.31 – Month in Review

/ January 31, 2021

January has come and gone — here’s a look at what we’ve been up to!

No One Should Be Hungry, Period

On MLK day I joined several of my colleagues, members of our state legislature, community organizations, local businesses, and community members in distributing over a thousand meals to the needy throughout Aurora. You can read more about the event here.

Complete Streets Update

There has been an uptick in interest for completing the sidewalks along south side of E Yale Avenue and the west side of S Peoria Street due to accessibility issues and safety concerns from our neighbors in that part of the ward. This area was annexed into the city back in 1967 and at the time code stated that sidewalks were only required on one side of the street. After sending your comments on to staff and asking for options to fund these requested improvements, staff came back with a few options that we can pursue.

One option is to create a General Improvement District (GID). This would be a self-taxing district and requires a majority vote to create. Since these areas are abutting communities with HOAs the recommendation is for the HOA to add this topic to their agenda for discussion from the residents. If a majority of there residents are in favor of moving forward, city staff will work with the HOA to move forward the creation of the GID.

Another option is to use some of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) grant monies we were awarded for 2022-2023 to close gaps of missing sidewalks and ramps. The area we’re discussing was included in a list which the city put together back in 2015, but as you can imagine it is a long list and there are a number other areas all over the city in the running for these grant monies. Staff advises that HOAs and neighborhood groups discuss these grants and take a vote to demonstrate majority support among the residents for these improvements to be prioritized. In terms of cost, we’re looking at somewhere in the range of $480,000 to $720,000 for design and construction per half mile of sidewalk, and we’re discussing about 1.6 miles of sidewalk in total.

Our next steps are for interested HOAs/neighborhood organizations to meet and gauge broader neighborhood interest in getting these improvements built. I’ll be reaching out to those of you who I’ve heard from on this to see how we want to move forward. We will also be discussing this subject from a city-wide perspective at the March meeting of the Transportation, Airports, and Public Works policy committee.

Park Amenities and Improvements

At our January Parks, Foundations, and Quality of Life policy committee meeting we discussed the city’s updated trail map, as well as the amenities offered at parks throughout the city and whether or not they are keeping up with the changing needs and interests of our neighborhoods. What this might look like for Ward IV based off the comments I’ve received from our neighbors would be the addition of some basketball courts at Utah Park and/or the addition of an off-leash dog area at Horseshoe Park.

Do you think your local park could use some updates or is in need of new features? I’d love to hear from you on this topic so I can bring that to our committee when we discuss park amenities in more detail later this year.

Safety Tips from APD

We’re still undergoing a nation-wide increase in motor vehicle thefts and motor vehicle break-ins that kicked off last March, in addition to an uptick in porch piracy that is still lingering after the holiday season. The Aurora Police Department put together this list of tips to help keep you, your neighbors, and your belongings safe during this time.

While being a victim of crime is still a rare occurrence in Aurora, one of the most frequent questions posed to the Aurora Police Department is what people can do to help minimize the risk. Here are a few safety tips from our police department to help prevent incidents at home, on the road or in other situations.
Around home:
• Install brighter bulbs in your porch lights that better illuminate the front of your house.
• Leave your porch lights on all night.
• Create a nighttime routine that incorporates locking any vehicles parked outside, turning on lights, making sure your garage door is closed, and locking your doors/windows.
• Consider installing surveillance cameras or video doorbells.
With your vehicles:
• Lock your doors! Leaving car doors unlocked is a quick and easy way for a criminal to gain access and steal your belongings.
• Do not leave anything of value inside of your vehicle. If you must leave something inside your car, remember, “Stow it, don’t show it.”
• Never leave your car running unattended. A remote start is OK, but leaving your car running is a quick and easy way for it to be stolen.
Personal safety:
• Plan ahead and become familiar with the area that you are traveling to if you have never been before.
• If visiting somewhere for the first time, make sure you have a full charge on your cellphone in case you need to use GPS or make an emergency call.
• If someone produces a gun or demands property, don’t put up a fight; it’s never worth risking your life. Property can be replaced; your life can’t.
• If meeting someone to conduct an online merchandise exchange (Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, etc.), meet in a public place and try to do it during the day. If meeting at night, consider somewhere that is well-lit and has cameras. A police station is always a good place.
Walking back and forth to your car, your home or even the park can seem like a normal, everyday thing. Here are some things to watch out for:
• If walking somewhere at night, try to have a flashlight with you.
• Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid unfamiliar places.
• Make sure your cell phone is charged in case of an emergency.

February Ward IV Meeting

Our first meeting of 2021 will be on Wednesday, February 10th at 6:30 PM. We’ll be having a presentation from staff on HOAs, followed by a discussion with Rep. Iman Jodeh (House District 41) and Rep. Mike Weissman (House District 36) about HOAs from the state’s perspective. We’ll also have open Q/A following the presentation. You can join us via WebEx here, or on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/marcanoforaurora.

As always, you can reach me via email at jmarcano@auroragov.org or by phone (text preferred) at 720.634.6927.

In solidarity,

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