Over 2,000 Adams County residents dialed in to the Board of Commissioners’ telephone town hall on Tuesday, Sept. 18, to air their views and concerns on issues such as parking, open space, and road maintenance.
Commissioner Eva Henry thanked the participants on the call and their involvement in their county government. “Adams County encompasses a huge area,” she said. “If you have an issue, don’t assume we already know. Contact us and let us know what’s going on so we can help.”
Multiple callers into the town hall expressed concerns about parking and traffic in their neighborhoods. One caller had issues with cars parking and blocking driveways in her neighborhood while another resident spoke of a recurring issue where cars waiting to visit a business were lined up into a busy street and blocking the flow of traffic.
“As the county grows, traffic and parking are becoming a bigger issue,” said Commissioner Steve O’Dorisio. “Cars are not allowed to block private driveways or public rights of way, and you should call the Adams County Sheriff if that is happening. But we do need a more formalized and comprehensive parking plan.”
Another caller asked about the amount of open space in Adams County. Parks and Open Space director Nathan Mosley said there was over 3,000 acres of open space owned by the county and significantly more land for recreation within the county but administered by cities and towns.
“All open spaces in municipalities in the county belong to everyone so enjoy parks in Brighton, Bennett, Westminster, and Aurora, as well as the ones in unincorporated Adams County,” said Commissioner Henry. “Twice a year, the county gives grants funded by the Parks and Open Space sales tax to municipalities and community partners to improve and purchase more open space in the area.”
In addition, Riverdale Regional Park alone contains 1,100 acres and will be expanded over the next couple of years to include land south to 120th Ave. and north to Willow Bay. A new master plan for the park includes partnerships with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Denver Botanic Gardens, a new indoor arena, and the new Riverdale Animal Shelter, which broke ground earlier this month.
“Adams County places an emphasis on open space, and it’s a big part of our goal to make this a community where everyone thrives,” said Commissioner Chaz Tedesco. “Within the county, we’ve been connecting all the trail systems, and you can now ride your bike from Adams County to Denver and all the way to Chatfield. We’d like your opinions on the directions we’re taking our parks and open spaces.”
Some callers from the eastern portion of the county asked about the gravel roads program and when specific stretches of road would be improved. Commissioner Tedesco discussed the 1,700 miles of gravel roads in eastern Adams County.
“We have increased spending on gravel roads from just $50,000 per year a few years ago to over $3 million,” he said. “With so many miles of road under our jurisdiction, we have to prioritize where the greatest need is. Please contact our Public Works Department with any concerns, and they will take everything into account.”
Another caller asked about adding services for Spanish speaking residents of the county. Commissioner Tedesco said the board has made this a priority to connect with residents in both Spanish and English. The Human Services Department has bilingual interpreters on hand, and Rebecca Zamora, the Neighborhood Liaison in the County Manager’s Office, speaks Spanish and is available to meet with members of the Spanish-speaking community.
Finally, many of the specific concerns raised by residents were out of county control, with specific streets or lots located within city limits and not in unincorporated Adams County.
“We firmly believe in local control,” said Commissioner Henry. “So if you live in say, Westminster, you’ll need to contact your city councilperson or mayor to resolve issues within the city limits.”
“We are all Adams County, so if there is anything we can do to pass along your concerns to municipalities, we are happy to do that,” added Commissioner Tedesco.
As the call ended, Commissioner O’Dorisio emphasized again the importance of contacting county officials. “Please let us know your concerns,” he said. “We do log every call and every email and follow up with an answer. Once we know about it, we can address it.”