With 2013 on the books, three Windsor officials shared their thoughts on what residents can expect to see in town in the new year.
WINDSOR MAYOR JOHN VAZQUEZ
Windsor Mayor John Vazquez said some of the big projects for the year include construction of quiet zones for Windsor’s train traffic, securing more water independence for the town, the Community Recreation Center and the upcoming April election for three new town board representatives.
“If you look at some of the goals and objectives we set for 2013, we certainly had a great year,” Vazquez said, citing gains last year in economic development and jobs, train horn regulations and overall enhancements to town residents’ quality of life.
Vazquez said one exciting thing coming to fruition this year will be the implementation of train quiet zones, which the town secured a TIGER grant to construct, that aim to cut down on horn noise.
“There will be a little pain while were doing those improvements as far as traffic control and construction, but at the end, quality of life will be enhanced, certainly, by the reduction of noise,” he said.
He said work will also need to be done managing train traffic to get the east connection done.
“We don’t know what that looks like, it’s an ongoing conversation,” Vazquez said. “If I’d like to see a goal in 2014, I’d like to see us find that solution because I believe if we could get that connection on the east side of town, the vast majority of the train traffic would actually not even come into town.”
He said the town’s acquisition of the Kyger Pit was important for it’s immediate benefit to the town. He said the town’s augmentation requirements require them to put water back in the river that they take out to use for water features around town. The pit will allow the town to store water to be easily put back in the stream to meet those requirements.
In terms of potable water, he said the town gained more information last year about possibly partnering with neighboring communities to construct a water treatment facility to serve all of them. He said more information will be gathered in 2014 to find out more of the details.
“What we learned in ’13 says that it’s a good idea and a lot of people are interested. What we’re going to learn in 2014 is where do we do it, what is it going to cost and how do we fund it,” he said.
On the topic of the Community Recreation Center expansion, he said the town board has learned a lot about the wishes of the community, and found a lot of support for expanding the center and adding improvements. He said he thought it was a good decision by the board to decide to send the question to voters.
“If the community wants to tax themselves, if they approve this on the ballot, we’ll build a dynamite facility out there for the community to enjoy for many, many years,” he said.
“I’m excited about 2014. I think there’s going to be a lot of exciting things happening, and I hope that we can continue to sustain the same momentum that we’ve built up over the years.”
DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STACY JOHNSON
Director of Economic Development Stacy Johnson said Northern Colorado continues to be an attractive area for businesses looking to relocate or open new facilities, and Windsor has benefited from that interest.
“Northern Colorado as a whole has become more attractive and is getting on the radar screen, specifically because Vestas put us on the map for clean energy, and those kinds of industries have started to take a look at this area,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the town has 60 active prospects that she has been working with to try to draw their business to the town, however not all of the prospects eventually materialize.
“I’m working on a few now that will probably come out in the next six to twelve months,” Johnson said. “I’ve toured them through the facilities a couple of times and some of the areas around Windsor, and that’s usually a good sign.”
Some of the major economic development projects that came through for the town in 2012 and 2013 include: Plasma Process Group, Titan Machinery, Tolmar, Woodward, the Army National Guard, Blue Water Resources, Althoff Chiropractic, Foundations Counseling, Columbine Commons, Halliburton, The Summit, 7-11 and most recently, Cargill.
“I think for us to have as much success as we’ve had is huge in the economic development arena,” she said. “I think we’re getting a wonderful mixture of all kinds of manufacturing and industry. That’s one of my goals, is to keep our industries diverse.”
In 2014, Johnson said she anticipates seeing more residential development done in the new year.
“I think we’re doing pretty good,” she said. “If we can keep plugging away, I think 2014 is going to be a stronger year than 2013. I don’t think there’s going to be any big surprises in 2014, but I think we’ll continue to be strong and land some deals. It never really slowed down through the holidays, I continued to get calls about prospects. It usually does.”
WINDSOR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MICHAL CONNORS
Windsor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michal Connors said after the local business environment struggled in 2011 and 2012, things seemed to calm down last year. She said many local businesses have been working closely with the chamber and the Small Business Development Corp. about its plans for the year, and she said overall business owners seem to be optimistic.
She said The Summit development is scheduled to open this year, bringing more entertainment options including a two-story laser tag facility and a bowling alley to Windsor.
“That something, from my perspective, that will be very exciting for the families and everyone in town here to be able to use,” Connors said. “We’ve all wanted a bowling alley for so long.”
Vestas’ change from having to lay off employees to ramping up its hiring is also a trend that Connors said has been good for the town, and she hopes continues.
She said construction numbers for the town are higher than they were in 2006 and 2007. She expects to see more residential growth, which she said will in turn spur on commercial growth.
“We’re really doing well on new growth in our community,” Connors said. “I see that continuing as well.”
She said shopping locally will be a big focus of the Chamber’s in 2014 with their Shop Windsor First program. She said the Chamber plans to use its mobile app as a source for residents to find events, specials and deals locally, to encourage spending that keeps dollars within the local economy.
“We want to incorporate not just our events, but community-wide events that people will want to go to. That’s going to be a priority for us this year,” she said.
Overall, she said the town is doing well and sees that trend continuing.
“I do think it’s going to be an exciting year. Everyone’s getting together to work on projects together,” she said. “I don’t know how it can’t be a positive year, because that’s one thing our community has that many don’t have — where everyone works together.”