Parker continues to focus on the economic future

The Town of Parker is continuing to invest in its financial growth as the town council approved a $138,000 contract to develop a comprehensive economic development strategic plan Aug. 1.

This is one of several recent moves by the town to prioritize its economic growth.

“The goal of this plan is to create a blueprint for how we want Parker to grow in the commercial space and the job market space,” said Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg.

The contract will allow Progressive Urban Management Associates to begin their three-step process to develop the strategic plan.

The project will look at how to advance things like diverse housing stock, small businesses, downtown development, transportation and social equity and inclusion, said Deputy Town Manager Bo Martinez.

The town expects the planning process to take about six to nine months with it beginning this fall and finishing in spring 2023, Martinez said.

The company selected has also worked in cities such as Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Englewood.

Progressive Urban Management Associates will focus on community engagement throughout their process, with the first step including workshops, roundtables and an online survey. They will also begin by looking at the town’s current market standing, demographics and aspirations.

The next step will look at up to five municipalities in Colorado that have enacted economic development initiatives. The final step will be a combination of the previous two.

The project will conclude with a leadership retreat and development of the plan.

Town Councilmember Josh Rivero said in the meeting when he was first elected he was shocked at all the planning the town does.

“Sitting up here 10 years later, I realize how important they are,” he said. “The best way I can sum it up is ‘measure twice, cut once.’ The plans allow us not to make mistakes.”

Councilmember Cheryl Poage said she would like to see the plan include development of “higher-end jobs” to keep residents in the community.

When Toborg was running for mayor in 2020, he focused on bringing an economic development program to the community. Since he was elected, the town has hired Martinez as deputy town manager and economic development director. Martinez has prioritized retaining local businesses, attracting new businesses, branding and other development strategies.

“It’s really the way we shape and actually kind of pivot from a bedroom community to a community where there are good-paying jobs and people can work and live in the same town,” Toborg said.

The town is also in the process of bringing new developments to five town-owned parcels on Mainstreet. Confluence Companies, which developed portions of downtown Castle Rock and Golden, presented a possible plan for the spaces in April. The plan included more restaurants, retail space, plazas and residential units.

The Mainstreet project, which is still being developed, would take up to 10 years to complete and would cost about $300 million.

“We know we need to have a vibrant downtown and we know we’re missing opportunities with having those plots of land undeveloped,” Toborg said, “We’re hoping that this plan takes us above that and says this is where you can go .”

Toborg said his hope is that the project will allow Parker’s residents to have a say in the town’s growth, that it will provide actionable steps and bring in fresh, new ideas for the community.

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