Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) was established in 1981 by City Council to remediate and prevent blight throughout the City of Arvada. To carry out this responsibility, AURA acts as the City’s redevelopment agency, working with City Council, City Staff and citizens to identify urban renewal areas and define the types of land uses best suited to the neighborhood.
AURA’s mission is not economic development; Arvada has several agencies responsible for attracting business and promoting our amazing City. However, AURA is often asked by community members about the economic benefits and the return on public investment from the agency’s projects over the past three decades. The AURA board of directors commissioned an independent, third-party review of AURA’s activities by economic-research firm Development Research Partners (DRP).
DRP presented its preliminary findings at a City Council work session in January and released its final report in February.
Do you know the positive impacts to Arvada from urban renewal? Learn more through this quick video about the recent economic-impact report on Arvada Urban Renewal from Development Research Partners: Economic Impact Video
Read the “Economic and Fiscal Benefits of the AURA Projects and Activities” report here: AURA Impact Analysis Report
DRP’s report focused on four urban-renewal areas—Olde Town, Ralston Fields, Village Commons and City Center. The study found that urban renewal has provided significant benefits above and beyond remediating blight. Most striking was AURA’s ability to turn public dollars into private-sector investments. According to the report, for every $1 invested by AURA, Arvada has received the following private-sector investment:
Impressively, City Center, AURA’s oldest urban-renewal project, now provides 27 percent of all sales tax dollars for the City of Arvada. More than one-quarter of the City’s sales tax revenue—used to maintain roads, parks, cultural facilities and many other City amenities—comes from one former urban renewal area.
The report also found that AURA’s work, combined with private investments, has led to far-reaching benefits for the City—infrastructure investments, public amenities and new tax revenue—including:
So how does AURA leverage public dollars to address blight and attract this private investment?
AURA utilizes tools such as tax-increment financing (TIF) to provide financial assistance for projects that remediate blight. TIF investments are made possible by utilizing new taxes generated by urban-renewal projects that are above the existing tax base. The difference between the total taxes collected and the existing base of taxes results in a new tax increment that would not exist without AURA’s involvement in the project.
AURA’s projects over the past three decades include cleaning up environmental contamination, demolishing vacant and deteriorating buildings, improving roads, installing sidewalks, creating streetscapes and many other public investments. These improvements now belong to Arvada and generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue for the City.
To learn more about AURA’s project, please visit the Development Areas and How Urban Renewal Works tabs on this web site. The Development Areas tab includes descriptions of each urban-renewal project completed or still underway. The descriptions include infrastructure work and the private investments into Arvada. The site also shows AURA’s impact on blight across the City.