Rising rent cost and housing prices have overburdened many of our residents and some families are being displaced because of rising rent costs. Local leaders have to think of creative ways to address the affordable housing shortage. Some options that the city is looking at is developing a housing policy, looking into community land trust options, and looking at options within our opportunity zones that could be used for housing. Another option is to look at properties that city owns from tax foreclosure and work to rehabilitate those properties with federal and block grant funds to support more affordable housing options. If we reduce some of the regulatory hurdles for developers and cut costs builders face during construction, developers may be more willing to work with the city to build more affordable housing options that can be passed on to buyers and renters. The city's goal is to create a healthy, quality, affordable, sustainable housing environment that works together with the private sector to produce homes that meet the diverse incomes in our community.
It is important to encourage economic development that serves the interests of citizens by enhancing the prosperity of those who now call Aurora home. Economic development begins with promoting Aurora to businesses and talent as a top location for living, working, and developing an exceptional career, or even starting a small business. The entire city is our “front yard” and it matters to residents and businesses what happens throughout our city. Like every city, we need economic growth and we also need economic diversification that will protect our economy from periodic downturns. We are near a world-class airport with a commercial community around it. This has a huge potential for national and international business development. We need to ensure that small businesses have the support they need to flourish and stay long-term in our community. The key to economic development is to continually enhance the livability of the city, making it attractive for employers to locate here and for their workers to live and work here.
The road toward building a successful city ensures everyone has a voice in the city’s decision-making process. I see divides in the community and believe members of the younger generation need to be involved in city government. I want to bridge those divides so their voices can be heard on issues that are affecting them. I want all voices in Aurora to help foster and encourage the city's growth. We may all be different, but we all want to live in a city where we feel connected to our leadership and programs, such as the one that I created called the Aurora Civic Engagement Academy. The Academy was designed to connect residents with leadership so they can be more informed and involved with the cities business. We need to ensure that our government puts people first and is one that is open, inclusive, transparent, and accountable.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Streets represent the main infrastructure focus of the city, with the repair of potholes and general street maintenance a top priority to ensure we can meet the demands of the current population and future growth. We need to develop a balanced transportation system that is tied to our housing agenda. As the city grows, congestion is going to be an important subject. We need to provide modes of transportation other than cars, like an interconnected network of pedestrian walkways and trails with a special emphasis on safe access to schools. I would also propose an interconnected network of bike paths, on and off-street. A comprehensive plan will not only make sure that we’re getting people where they want to go, but think about where we want to see people go and the best transportation methods to get them there. It’s a balancing act of providing greater connectivity, increasing the housing opportunity so people can get off the road, and putting in place more efficient bus service and an extension of our light rail system to other growth areas in the future.
Aurora is growing fast, and as the city is planning for future growth and approving development, a public safety plan should be included in the strategy. The plan should include the resources and infrastructure required to address response times to the businesses and current and future residents that will be living in these new neighborhoods, and also include how current calls of service are impacted throughout the city as the city grows. It is important that public safety keeps pace with growth. It’s also important that infrastructure and capital adapts to the growth and the safety of our residents.
SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH
Businesses, small and large, serve as the foundation of our city’s economic engine. The role businesses play in the economic foundation of our city is vital to creating jobs and employing local residents. It is important that the city continue to find ways to streamline the regulatory processes that many business owners feel are burdensome. City leaders need to examine how they can contribute to an entrepreneurial environment by partnering with business owners in order to make doing business in Aurora easier, creating collaborative workspaces throughout the city where entrepreneurs can come together to create jobs and reinvest in our neighborhoods and city. We want Aurora to be a place where the city and entrepreneurs are working together through public private partnerships to ensure that we diversify our businesses and job market so that we can continue to have a strong economy.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Aurora is a great place to live. It is rich in culture, has great parks, open spaces, bicycle paths and community centers. Aurora’s diversity is what sets it apart from all other surrounding cities. Our community needs good jobs that pay a living wage, business development and growth, safe communities, good schools for our children, nice streets to drive on, parks and enhanced recreational opportunities for our families and those who visit us. Part of being a great city is to embrace the things that set us apart from other cities like our diversity. We have to embrace our diversity and the richness of all the cultures that make our Aurora unique from any other city in the state. We have to work on understanding, listening and being open-minded. We have to work on being willing to learn from the differences between ourselves and our neighbor, and why that difference makes for a stronger community. We also have to foster inclusiveness, meaning we need to make everyone in Aurora feel like a part of the community.