On the morning of May 17, many of the most prominent people in Littleton gathered in the Bloom Room at The Hudson Gardens & Event Center.
From city councilmembers to law enforcement officials and school board members to non-profit leaders — all gathered to learn about the progress Littleton has made since 2022.
Mayor Kyle Schlachter took the podium to deliver his second annual State of the City address.
“I’m glad you’re all here to hear about some of the great things that are going on in the city,” he said.
2022 ballot measures
Schlachter’s address began with a reflection on the ballot measures voters approved in the November election, which permitted the city to implement a lodger's tax and to form a downtown development authority.
Revenue from the lodger's tax will support arts and culture in Littleton, Schlachter said. Half the funds will go toward “tier 1” institutions, including the Littleton Museum, Bemis Public Library, Town Hall Arts Center and Hudson Gardens.
“We're really looking at really investing in our community and making sure our citizens and people that visit Littleton really see the great amenities that we have here,” he said.
A quarter of the lodger’s tax revenue will go toward an arts and culture grant program for organizations that serve Littleton. Applications for these grants are open until June 11, with funds to be distributed at the start of 2024.
Other portions of revenue will fund public art, historic preservation and a tourism campaign, including a new “Visit Littleton” website, Schlachter said.
The downtown development authority, Schlachter said, will be a great partnership and opportunity for the city.
“We are joining a host of other cities in Colorado that have downtown development authorities,” he said. “It’s a great mechanism to increase revenue and invest back in our downtown.”
The city council recently approved the authority’s plan of development, which outlines the goals of the authority.
Economy, developments and businesses
Schlachter said Littleton’s economy is in great shape, thanks to the work of the city’s economic development team.
“Our development team is working to bring new businesses to Littleton, working with our partners at Littleton Public Schools, especially with the EPIC campus, working with Arapahoe Community College, and (Arapahoe/Douglas Works) to develop this really strong workforce pipeline for the whole south metro area and the whole Denver area,” he said.
The city is embarking on a comprehensive economic development strategy project, which will include upcoming think tank workshops and community feedback sessions for community members to share what’s important to them in regards to economic development in Littleton.
Schlachter said he’s excited about the Littleton Brewing Company, Denver Beer Company, Cherry Cricket and Black+Haus Tavern, which are all opening in the city in the coming months.
He also highlighted the new Social Bar and Lounge in Littleton Village, and the pub eats and drink spot, Number Thirty Eight, which will soon come to the same area.
“I know the residents of Littleton Village are really eager to have some more options to visit in that location,” Schlachter said.
In addition to new restaurants and bars, he highlighted several new development projects that are bringing new apartments, an assisted living facility, single family homes, townhomes and mixed-use areas to Littleton.
“It will be a good mix of new property stock that we all so desperately need,” he said.
Housing and homelessness
On the topic of housing, Schlachter highlighted the work Littleton, and its neighbors are doing to address homelessness and create more housing options across the region.
“We've had a period of rigorous discussion about housing and land use in our state in our individual communities,” he said. “I can assure you all of our cities are working hard to do a lot of stuff to address these issues.”
The Tri-Cities Homelessness Action Plan, a partnership between Littleton, Englewood and Sheridan, is taking steps to assist those who are unhoused.
He praised their partnerships and programs that assist unhoused veterans and help people achieve employment.
He specifically called attention to the Crosspurpose career school, which offers professional and career development. He also recognized AllHealth's PATH outreach team, the Ready to Work program and the Tri-Cities Homelessness Navigation Center for the work they have done or will soon be doing related to mental health and homelessness.
City council also approved an agreement with AllHealth Network to begin a dedicated trauma-informed, client-centered response team for 911 calls related to mental and behavioral health.
Schlachter also celebrated the inclusionary housing ordinance, which the city council passed in November.
Under this ordinance all new residential developments in the city with five or more units are required to make at least 5% affordable based on area median income data. If they fail to reach this requirement, a developer could face fines.
“It's really important that we don’t brush (affordability) under the rug, we keep talking about it, keep pushing forward to make sure that we can make Littleton a place where people not only want to live here … but they can live here,” Schlachter said.
He said the city has reached out to Gov. Jared Polis’ office since housing bill 23-213 failed in the legislature to see how cities and the state can work together more collaboratively towards future housing solutions.
Ballot measure 3A, passed in 2021, increased sales and use taxes for capital improvement projects in Littleton.
“This year alone, the city will treat over 50 lane miles,” Schlachter said. “That’s over 14% of our entire street network.”
One of these projects will be improving the intersection of Santa Fe Drive and Mineral Avenue, which is set to be finished in 2025, according to the city’s website.
The city is also involved in the Broadway Corridor Study and is preparing to embark on the Downtown Mobility Infrastructure Improvement Project, which will align with a large water main replacement downtown.
Schlachter said the city will also be embarking on other public works projects, including a forestry master management plan and a water resources master plan.
“It's great that our city is really thinking, you know, how we're going to look to the future to make sure that our resources are still there for future generations,” he said.