Local leaders commemorate Steve Hogan on the anniversary of his death; praise new development in Eastern Aurora
AURORA | An exposed smile was visible in Aurora’s eastern flank on Thursday as politicians from across the metroplex gathered next to a 30-meter-high clock tower to celebrate the spread of development in the region.
Governor Jared Polis joined developers, town levers, and a few legislators and candidates from Aurora and Adams Counties to sever the proverbial latest evolutionary bond for Aurora Highlands, the massive new community slowly emerging on the northeastern edge of Aurora.
The project, which turns to dirt after about four years, is expected to create around 23,000 homes over nearly 3,000 acres in the first phase of the next decade. In the long term, the project could have up to 60,000 new residents on an area of 5,000 hectares.
“People are thinking about what the Highlands Ranch did for the southern subway area, and the Aurora Highlands can do that for Aurora,” the late Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told Sentinel when the project was im March 2017 was first announced.
Hogan, who served Aurora in state parliament and city council for more than four decades, died in 2018 after being diagnosed with cancer. He was a firm believer in Aurora’s eastern expansion.
“If you want to see some of the most likely areas in Aurora, go east my friends,” he said in his final address for the state of the city in 2017.
Thursday marked the three-year anniversary of Hogan’s death.
“It was clear that Mayor Hogan always thought of Aurora,” said current Mayor Mike Coffman. “… Everywhere you look in Aurora you can see its influence. You can see his impression and the resulting growth continue at this moment … May our combined efforts meet the standard set by one of Aurora’s most dedicated leaders, the late Mayor Hogan. “
Developers unveiled a plaque on Thursday commemorating Hogan’s tenure in the city.
“Mayor Hogan has been a driving force behind Aurora’s long-term commitment to capital projects, focusing on strengthening infrastructure and improving transportation for better access and mobility across the region,” a spokesman for The Highlands wrote in a statement .
Hogan’s widow Becky Hogan is currently a candidate for Aurora City Council. She and his children attended the meeting yesterday.
For years, Hogan campaigned for Aurora as development around Denver International Airport skyrocketed. Happy Thursday was the last public turning point in these negotiations.
Hogan was completely at a loss about Aurora’s part of a 1988 deal that governed land use around the airport for nearly two decades. In 2015, Denver and Adams County voters signed an amendment to the original pact that gave Denver the right to develop up to 1,500 acres of land around the airport after paying $ 10 million upfront to Adams County’s cities. It has also mandated that Denver share tax revenues from new businesses evenly with surrounding communities.
Several Aurora City Council members now sit in the Aerotropolis Regional Transportation Authority, a board of directors that was established in 2018 and is charged with overseeing the funding and implementation of infrastructure on a 3,000-acre property that includes the new Highlands Development.
The entire Aerotropolis region, located on 21,000 acres south of DIA, is expected to create 74,000 new jobs, million square feet of commercial space and 75,000 residential units over the next two decades, Polis said at the event.
He used the Highlands Project to promote a recently launched transportation package that is currently being implemented by state lawmakers.
“The basis of this project is the infrastructure. These investments are an important catalyst in creating a good economy for Aurora, but also for the entire region, ”said Polis. “Right now we’re working with Colorado lawmakers on the historic transportation and infrastructure package that is truly in tune with the needs of making the communities and employment opportunities available to Coloradans in our state. Here in the Aurora Highlands, I am delighted to speak for many of us when I say the possibilities are endless with the success of this project. And in the years to come, the fellowship will take shape. “