Outgoing Aurora Councilman Bob Broom: Government ‘gets in your blood’

407

AURORA | Outgoing Ward VI Councilman Bob Broom has seen plenty of change since he moved to Aurora with his family in the 1970s.

“The city had around 90,000 people,” he remembered. “Chambers Road was a two-lane road that ended at the Cherry Creek spillway.”

on Monday Nov. 09, 2015 at Aurora Fire Station #14. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
on Monday Nov. 09, 2015 at Aurora Fire Station #14. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

Broom came to Aurora in 1972 to serve as the city’s finance director. He was recruited from Ocala, Florida, where he also served as a city finance director at the time.

“It gets in your blood,” said Broom, who was also Aurora’s city manager from 1972 to 1983 before his time as a councilman.

Broom, who grew up in a rural Illinois town close to Decatur, Illinois, holds a bachelor of science in accounting and economics from Millikin University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver. He said he’s worked 21 years in municipal government.

Following his time serving the City of Aurora, he worked in the private sector, underwriting municipal bonds, where his clients were cities, counties and school districts.

As he reflects on 12 years of serving the city in a council role, he said he is most proud of the transportation projects he has helped compete. Those have included the widening of Interstate 225 and building the interchange at Colfax Avenue and East 17th Avenue near the Anschutz Medical Campus.

For years Broom served on the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), which mediates growth and transportation issues throughout the state.

“Everybody on the DRCOG board, from all over the metro area, is in competition for the funds that come in,” he said. “There’s roughly 50 people on the DRCOG board from all over the area. You have to convince a majority of those people your project has the most merit, which is not an easy task.”

Broom said the booming Anschutz Medical Campus has been a primary driver for transportation improvements in Aurora.

“Public safety was one of the biggest arguments you could make,” he said.  “You don’t want ambulances headed for Children’s Hospital being in gridlock on 225.”

Combined with its affiliated hospitals — the University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado — the Anschutz medical campus contributed more than $5.4 billion to the Colorado economy and supported more than 40,000 jobs in 2014, according to an Anschutz report.

Broom also used his seat on DRCOG to successfully fight against toll lanes on Interstate 225, an issue he says is important to his Ward VI constituents, who also have to deal with E-470 tolls.

He said a future task for Ward VI Councilwoman-elect Francoise Bergan and future council members will be widening and improving Gun Club Road.

As he reflects on 12 years of serving the city in a council role, he said he is most proud of the transportation projects he has helped compete. Those have included the widening of Interstate 225 and building the interchange at Colfax Avenue and East 17th Avenue near the Anschutz Medical Campus.

This summer’s Rocky Mountain Air Show at Aurora Reservoir left thousands snarled in traffic on East Quincy Avenue and on South Gun Club Road. But funding road improvements, such as those that are direly needed to accommodate a growing population in the southeast part of the city, has been a struggle for years.

Broom said another of his proudest accomplishments as a city councilman was fighting for the money to open Fire Station No. 14 at 22298 S. Aurora Parkway, near E-470 and Gartrell Road. That station opened in 2006, three years after it was finished, due to budget cuts.

Broom remembers he also had to fight for funds re-open Mission Viejo library, which was one of four public libraries that closed in 2009 in an effort to close the city’s $15-million shortfall in 2010.

Broom, who spent eight years in the Air Force National Guard and Air Force Reserves, said one project he would like to still see completed is a facility for homeless veterans near the Anschutz campus.

He said he will be following the issue with the over-budget Aurora VA medical center set to be completed by January 2018.

But at this point, he said he is looking forward to having Monday nights free to follow the Broncos, his favorite NFL team.

“I will take it easy for a while. I’ll find out, I guess,” he said of what will come next after leaving council.

Barb Cleland, another longtime Aurora City Council member, said Broom will be sorely missed on Monday nights. 

“Bob has been my  go-to person on financial stuff and how finances work because he gets it, he understands it,” she said.  “He has a lot of knowledge that’s going to be missed.”