In Arvada the Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) is not about 'renewing' genuinely blighted and unmarketable sites ... it is about using the power of government and the dollars of taxpayers to make development deals. In Arvada, AURA is all about manipulation of the free market by government for the private profit of special developers; it is crony capitalism plain and simple.
And it is unaccountable government -- you have no voice in these deals -- all of the arrangements are made in secret Urban Renewal Authority meetings. By the time these deals get to the city council for final approval, the deal is done.
Arvada Urban Renewal has ceded $6 million in sales tax revenue for the Walmart Supercenter at Ralston and Independence; it made a sweetheart land deal with Hilton; it gave-up millions of dollars for the traffic-congesting-inducing Solana apartment complex at 57th Avenue and Wadsworth Bypass; it subsidized the ugly apartment building at Ralston and Wadsworth; it is planning to displace and/or drive out thriving small businesses in the Arvada Square; etc. etc. etc.
Littleton is moving in the direction of more free enterprise and more accountability for the citizens and residents. They've got the right idea.
The Littleton City Council will consider Tuesday whether to dismantle its beleaguered urban renewal authority after 36 years.
The authority, which saw its power severely restricted last year after residents passed a ballot measure requiring any urban renewal activity to first get approval of voters, oversees four areas that the city is trying to redevelop.
Those four plans would be abolished if the measure is passed.