By Karla Florence Smith
Centennial Wal-Mart is open for business
City officials are pleased about the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in town, which opened for business on January 26. Located just south of East Arapahoe Road on Briarwood, between Havana and Lima, the new store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has created approximately 475 new jobs for the area.
“We have a diverse group of employees,” said Angie Acosta, store manager. “Our associates come from a lot of different places.”
The store, which is 206,000 square feet in size, includes departments such as automotive, electronics, lawn and garden, banking, hair care, back therapy, pharmacy, groceries, bakery and delicatessen. Also included are a portrait studio, a vision center and a McDonald’s.
“Centennial citizens have showed support for this new Wal-Mart,” said Mayor Randy Pye. “Wal-Mart picked a location that is low impact on citizens; they’ve been great corporate partners.”
Roger Thompson, who is a real estate manager with the Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville, Ark., said “There’s no other retailer that can generate the type of sales tax that Wal-Mart does.”
Pye added that Wal-Mart is a generous company that donated $50,000 recently to the Food Bank of the Rockies when the State of Colorado was having trouble processing claims after converting to a new computer system.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates over 1,300 stores internationally, employing over 1.3 million associates. In March 2003, the organization received the 2002 Fortune magazine No. 1 Most Admired Company in the United States.
City council expresses concerns with C-470/Colorado Boulevard study
Bryan Weimer, Arapahoe County engineer and C-470 Task Force member, presented a C-470 corridor study report and project update that assessed environmental impacts and express lane feasibility to Mayor Pye and city council at the January 3 meeting. The report specifically focused on the proposed T-Ramps at Colorado Boulevard and C-470 and the benefits and detriments of this access.
Councilman Bart Miller voiced his concern that the study drops to the south about three miles to Lincoln Avenue to look at the traffic pattern impacts as they feed onto C-470, but to the north, the study stops only after a mile at Dry Creek.
“They’re implying that traffic is not going to change much on Colorado north of Dry Creek with the inclusion of an express lane,” said Miller. “We’re not just concerned with moving cars from Lincoln Avenue; we’re concerned with moving cars from east to west and north to south.”
Councilwoman Betty Ann Habig, who has been vocal about her concern of the impact this project will have on residents living along Colorado Boulevard north of C-470, said her preference is that the option be taken off the table.
“I would like to see more research with slip ramps,” she said.
Councilwoman Andrea Suhaka said slip ramps would be more cost effective. Weimer noted that his job was to present the facts of the study to the council and that the Colorado Highway Division will be making the final “sign-off.”
Miller added an additional concern that the C-470 and Colorado Boulevard project is making it difficult to leverage federal funds to accelerate the re-building of the sidewalk from Colorado Boulevard to South Dexter Street on the south side of Arapahoe Road.
“The fact is that this stretch of road lacks a sidewalk, and is extremely dangerous,” Miller said. “It causes safety problems for the students at Newton Middle School and other citizens.”
Pye suggested that the C-470 Task Force hold at least one more town meeting to share information and findings with citizens.
Council reviews ordinance liquor tastings in retail liquor stores
At the January 10 city council meeting, City Attorney Robert Widner briefed the mayor and council on a proposed Alcohol Beverage and Tastings Ordinance that would amend the city’s liquor code to allow in-store liquor tastings under certain conditions. This potential amendment is in response to Colorado passing a bill in 2004 that would allow local jurisdictions this option to its retail liquor stores. Members of the council discussed some initial thoughts and points of view.
“I loathe the idea of providing greater access to alcohol,” said Habig. “I would prefer to take a wait-and-see approach like the City of Aurora.”
“Would we be putting our liquor stores at a competitive disadvantage?” asked Councilwoman Becky Lennon, in the event the city doesn’t adopt the ordinance at this time.
Pye noted that while some liquor store managers/owners in the city have asked the mayor and council to adopt the ordinance, other liquor stores in the city aren’t in favor of the ordinance. After a brief discussion, the mayor and council decided to delay the first hearing of the ordinance, combine it with a public hearing, and see “what kind of public outcry there is.”
City helps homeowners dispose of hazardous waste
The City of Centennial and Arapahoe County are working together to fund a household hazardous waste curbside pick-up for residents. Residents can safely discard of unused paint, old motor oil, spent aerosol cans, cleaners and car batteries. Residents pay a $20 co-pay to discard of as many items that will fit into a big plastic trash bag supplied by the pickup company.
“This is a bargain for our citizens,” said Nancy Reubert, director of media and community relations for Centennial. “The $20 co-payment is actually much less than the actual cost of the service. It’s a great way to keep toxic nasties out of groundwater and out of our landfills.”
To request a pickup or for more information, call (800) 449-7587 or go to www.curbsideinc.com, and click on Residential Customers, then Arapahoe County. Items not covered in this service include ammunition, old computers and biological waste.
Community pride stickers available to Centennial businesses
Centennial businesses are asked to show their community pride by displaying a Centennial business sticker. The stickers are free and may be picked up at several locations. The stickers contain the city logo in blue and yellow and say “Centennial Business; Invest Locally.”
Habig came up with the idea for the stickers to give the city and its businesses more visibility and promote a sense of community.
“Our city is still very new, and I think it’s important to help establish a feeling of community identity and pride,” she said. “We have a terrific business community in Centennial and we are hoping they will want to help by showing their pride in the city and helping to promote that sense of community.”
The stickers can be picked up at the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce offices, 6840 South University Blvd. (in the Cherry Knolls Shopping Center); at the Aurora Chamber of Commerce offices, 562 Sable Blvd.; and at the City of Centennial offices, 12503 E. Euclid Drive, Suite 200.
South Suburban simplifies recreation center fees
South Suburban Parks and Recreation has announced that customers will pay one fee and have access to all facility amenities and fitness classes at South Suburban’s Lone Tree and Goodson recreation centers. Previously, customers were charged an admission fee and a fee for fitness classes.
All one-time admissions, multiple-use passes and punch cards will now include drop-in group fitness classes such as spinning, step and regular aerobics, sculpting classes, morning stretch-n-tone, cardio classes and aqua fitness classes.
Additionally, South Suburban will offer a new auto-debit service for annual passes. For more information, visit www.sspr.org.
Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Regional Park announced
On January 7, the Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners unveiled a sign to officially mark the future home of the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Regional Park. Members of the community joined county commissioners for cider and cookies at the event.
The planned multiuse property, at 25000 E. Quincy Ave., just east of E-470, will be developed in six phases. It will provide year-round access to open space and multipurpose buildings for use by county residents, and will include livestock, maintenance and exhibit buildings; an indoor and outdoor arena; horse barn; and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office.
“We’re thrilled to move forward on this much-anticipated project that will eventually provide many valuable community services and resources to residents of all ages,” said Commissioner Marie Mackenzie, District 3. “The Fairgrounds and Regional Park have been designed based on input from several local community and focus groups, and we’re confident it will meet their expectations and those of generations to come.”
The Centennial City Council holds its regular meetings, at which public comment is heard, on the first and third Mondays at 7:00 p.m. at the city offices, 12503 E. Euclid Drive, Suite 200. Council study sessions take place on the first three Mondays of the month beginning at 6 p.m. For those holidays that fall on Mondays, the council meeting will be rescheduled to Wednesdays. For more information, please visit [http://www.centennialcolorado.com/] or call 303-734-4567.