AURORA | Businesses along Colfax Avenue in Original Aurora could be eligible to join a new business association in the fall.
Fax Aurora, a business association created specifically for the diverse, small businesses scattered throughout Northwest Aurora, received the OK to move forward at an Aurora city council study session July 28.
The association would operate as a nonprofit under the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and would include around 1,200 businesses according to a proposed agreement between Aurora Chamber of Commerce and the City of Aurora. The association would include businesses from Yosemite Street on the west to Chambers Road on the east, and Montview Boulevard on the north to East 6th Avenue on the south.
Under the agreement, the city would provide $65,000 over three years so that the association could attract businesses without having to charge them for membership. That money would go toward two part-time staff members and business expenses,
including a website.
Bob Hagedorn, president of the Aurora Cultural Arts District proposed the idea and said the association would function similarly to business improvement districts that have been created farther east along Colfax, such as the Bluebird BID that runs between St. Paul Street and Colorado Boulevard in Denver.
Councilwoman Molly Markert was skeptical that a business association could attract northwest Aurora business owners.
“In general, the businesses along Colfax are very small. They don’t have a lot of money for overhead,” she said. She said investing in more police officers for the area would be a better use of resources.
Hagedorn said there would be time to convince the businesses that the association would benefit them while they didn’t have to pay for membership.
Councilwoman Barb Cleland said she saw the association as a way to create a central identity for the businesses that are right now, situated among three distinct urban renewal areas. Those include The Fitzsimons/Anschutz Medical Campus, Westerly Creek Village and the Aurora Arts District.
She pointed to the success Aurora has seen with the Havana Business Improvement District.
“When you have businesses that start talking to each other and they have meetings together, they get to know one another,” she said.
Later in the evening, the council gave initial approval for the city to purchase the Vintage Theatre at 1468 Dayton Street for $775,000 as part of its efforts to revitalize the Fletcher Plaza neighborhood.
Councilman Bob LeGare voted for the measure but questioned the city’s efforts to attract and keep businesses in original Aurora through subsidies and tax incentives.
“We have put a lot of money into the Fox theater. We purchased a building for Kim Robards Dance,” he said. “In my mind, we’re not really attracting these venues, we’re buying them. We’re buying the facilities so we can give the nonprofit entities a place to plant the roots. I’m willing to give that a try for maybe another year or two. The bottom line is we have to start seeing some results. There comes a point where you have to stop pouring taxpayer dollars into an effort that isn’t producing results.”