City agrees to blight North Aurora area


AURORA | Aurora City Council members voted unanimously Monday to declare part of the Westerly Creek Village in northwest Aurora as blighted, the first step toward redeveloping the area.

No residents attended the scheduled public hearing on the issue at Aurora’s council meeting.

Denver-based Matrix Design Group found the area met five of 11 blight factors, including deterioration, environmental contamination of buildings or property, inadequate public improvements and underutilization or vacancy of buildings.

More than 150 residents and business owners participated in workshops to discuss the future of Westerly Creek Village and Montview Corridor. Public response was generally positive, said Councilwoman Melissa Miller, whose ward covers the area.

“We had a lot of public input on this, the north Aurora community is very excited about this,” she said.

According to city planning documents, future plans for the area includes a neighborhood with varied housing styles, retail and restaurants that would serve Lowry, Stapleton and Fitzsimons. The plan also calls for  enhanced parks, bicycle and pedestrian streets and open spaces.

The area is composed mostly of industrial buildings, retail sites, multifamily housing and undeveloped land, according to the report. It’s unclear how many residents will be effected by the designation and any subsequent development.

The proposed urban renewal area, which covers about 200 acres, is in northwest Aurora near the Stapleton neighborhood, generally bounded by Westerly Creek on the west, East 26th Avenue on the north, Peoria Street on the east and Montview Boulevard to the south, according to the design group’s report. The far western portion of the area extends south to Montview Boulevard, and the remainder of the area is bounded on the south by East 25th Avenue, according to the report.

Council members at their study session meeting also approved a small incentive agreement for Indiana-based City and Towne Air Freight LLC, who is the first business to take advantage of the city’s job reward program, which was created by former Mayor Ed Tauer in 2010.

The purpose of the program was to reward local businesses for creating jobs during the economic downturn.

City and Towne Air Freight has a location in northwest Aurora and filled four new positions to meet the program’s minimum salary requirement, according to city records. The city will give the company a one-time payment of $500 per employee to use toward defraying the cost of new hires.

Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or [email protected]