Proposed Westminster Center dubious venture

Bill Christopher, Crosscurrents
Posted

There is an old song lyric that goes, “Time you’re a villain. Time you’re a thief.”

And time is a growing villain in the apparent stagnant progress on the former Westminster Mall site known as “Westminster Center.”

We keep being told by Westminster officials that there is an announcement forthcoming on an agreement and major anchors for the mixed use development plan envisioned by Westminster staff. The “game” of expected announcements on a deal with a master developer has been ongoing for about two years now.

The latest missed date was in May when the buzz among the development community and city officials was that details would be unveiled at the annual International Shopping Center Convention in Las Vegas. It’s OK to tell the public that things aren’t going according to plan. A little transparency would go a long way.

CREDIBILITY IS BEING ERODED

The lack of substantive progress by the city and the current developer about reaching an agreement and announcing the first phase of development is damaging the credibility of Mayor McNally and all city council members, City Manager Brent McFall and those city staff involved in the project.

I know they will not appreciate my statement, but this issue needs to be raised now before the November election. City Council and the mayor should be held accountable for having spent approximately $35 Million in taxpayer money to acquire the mall property — along with the demolition — and still not have an executed agreement with some developer. What gives?

The start of first phase development plans is overdue by the city staff’s own earlier pronouncements.

CANDIDATES SHOULD GIVE THEIR IDEAS

I would suggest that the current mayor and the four mayoral candidates — Herb Atchison, Bob Briggs, Mary Lindsey and Scott Major — each explain to the public where things stand, what is the likelihood of development taking place at 88th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard, when and at what cost. Furthermore, the four candidates need to tell Westminster voters their respective plans about the stagnant development if he or she would be the next Westminster mayor and a “Plan B” is needed if negotiations fail.

Westminster has some critical issues and all four candidates need to stand tall, express their plans, show their leadership capabilities and convince us who deserves the nod for mayor in November.

DROP THE THIRD TERM IDEA

The Thornton City Council has unveiled four potential ballot issues for this coming November’s election. One of them would add a third term of office (an additional four years) for city council representatives if elected. Currently, all city council members are term limited after two, four-year terms just like Northglenn, Westminster and other area city councils. Thornton voters overwhelmingly rejected the same proposal in 2005 by a healthy 75 percent margin in voting.

What makes the council think it would be any different this time? Since when does it matter what the length of term of office is between two governmental bodies?

Mayor Heidi Williams’ comment of “we want to be sure the city is aligned with the county and is able to make decisions for long-term planning” falls way short of a sound justification.

It looks quite self-serving to me. I would suggest you torpedo that idea!

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.