I have always said, “You can’t build paradise and expect no one to move here.” Parker is rated in the top 10 most safe communities in the country, in addition to our award-winning parks, and our amazing public, private, and school of choice schools. People want to move to Parker for a simple reason. Parker reminds them of the town they grew up in, the town they dreamt of growing up in, or the town they want their kids to grow up in.
The best part of Parker is that Hometown Feeling that we all have felt as we interact in and around town. We are a friendly, open, and caring community. A Hometown Feeling is not bound to any amount of citizens but simply to how we treat each other regardless of population.
We can maintain that feeling while effectively planning for the future. During my time on Town Council, we have efficiently and proactively controlled growth by enacting provisions that ensure that any new growth in Parker is right for the town and our residents.
When a new apartment project is brought before the Town Council, we have a list of requirements that need to be included in the project. These requirements may include ample parking spaces, exterior surfaces that align with the aesthetics of the surrounding area, and condominium mapping. Some apartment developers may not want to make these enhancements or concessions, and the Town Council does not want to renege on our promise to our residents. In turn, the developer either accepts our conditions, or they choose to build in a different location outside of Parker.
The Town of Parker’s 2035 Master Plan was originally created in 2011 and approved in 2012 and is a living document. The plan calls for 80 percent single-family homes, and 20 percent multifamily living within the Town of Parker boundary. At this point in time, we are within our 20 percent threshold of multifamily housing.
We, as planned, will be revising our 2035 Master Plan in 2021.
Multifamily housing includes not only for-rent properties but owner-occupied products such as Condominiums, Townhomes, and Rowhouses.
Rate of Growth
Yes, Parker has grown exponentially since the 1990s. However, in the last decade, our town of 57,000 residents, was the slowest growing town in Douglas County, with a growth rate of 25 percent.
With the current plans our community will be built out at 72,000 citizens, much less than some of our neighbors.
Over the last 10 years, Castle Rock grew by nearly 30 percent and Lone Tree grew at 35 percent. In the years between 1990 to 2000, Parker grew from a town of 5,500 to a town of 23,500, which accounts for a 332% growth rate. From 2000 to 2010, we grew from 23,500 to 45,300 for a growth rate of 92%. Again, a managed growth rate from 2010 to 2020 of 25%.
With the shift from a bedroom community to a town that our residents are able to live and work in, we must begin to attract the right kind of retail and service businesses to serve our daytime economy.
What does this mean for Parker? It means that office workers who once commuted to the Tech Center or Downtown Denver and had access to restaurants and retail nearby are left without the variety of lunch and retail options they were used to.
As a town, Parker can responsibly recruit retail, restaurant, and service businesses to infill and provide options for our residents. This will further increase our sales tax revenue and help the town of Parker provide much-needed services for our residents.
Transportation & Infrastructure
While traffic in Parker can be challenging, it functions incredibly well for a town that built its thoroughfares on top of old wagon trails and dirt roads. Parker has always been a bedroom community. Our roads were built for easy access in and out of town.
If 2020’s pandemic has taught us anything, it is that as a town, we need to rethink our transportation and infrastructure development. With the shift to “work-from-home” the town’s entire traffic pattern has changed. With what was once an ebb and flow during the morning and evening commutes, has become a plateau. More residents are moving around the town during all times of the day, then the previous time period last year.
This shift has created a few unintended consequences that have positively affected the sales tax revenue for the town, and also raised a few questions on how our Town Council moves forward and adapts to our new patterns. Serious consideration has begun and needs to continue on adaptive traffic systems.
Traffic in an existing mostly built out system is best lessened by limiting crosstown trips. This can be answered by giving citizens what they need closer to their homes, neighborhood retail centers.
Parker's Aging Population
In the recent decade, we have seen an increase in the senior citizen population in Parker.
This has created the need for dedicated senior living and affordable housing options for senior citizens on a fixed income.
As Parker ages, I want to see more recreational activities, affordable, and dedicated senior living options for our residents. We need to be ready for the shift in demographics as our town matures.