The Denver Tech Center has been relatively quiet of late as businesses and residents work to adapt in the wake...
Three candidates are vying for two seats on the board of directors for South Suburban Park and Recreation Dist...
The last parcel of land on West Side of RidgeGate community, it continues the expansion of Sky Ridge Medical C...
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BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On Feb. 24, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) released its assessment of the...
SUBMITTED BY HEALTHONE HealthONE announced the opening of a dedicated Women’s Unit at their Behavioral Health...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On Feb. 14, the economic development and health and wellness groups of th...
SUBMITTED BY GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., a lodging real estate investment trust...
Keener Pledges to Take Chamber and its Members to “New Level of Service” The South Metro Denver Chamber (SMDC)...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER On Jan. 23 representatives of Arapahoe County held a public workshop at t...
The Denver Tech Center has been relatively quiet of late as businesses and residents work to adapt in the wake of statewide closures.
The mood was particularly subdued last Thursday, with the typical bustling afternoon crowd having worked from home, and others being driven back inside by the snowstorm. But the scene wasn’t dead.
At MidiCi on South Newport Street, delivery drivers came and went, and the occasional patron would stroll by the restaurant to pick up a pizza. Inside, owner Blaine D’Argonne sat typing away under the restaurant’s olive tree.
“Social distancing isn’t exactly a term that excites anyone in the restaurant industry,” said D’Argonne, leaning into an elbow bump. “But it’s important to do what we can.”
MidiCi opened its doors in March of 2019. Though like all restaurants currently closed for in-house dining — a recent state mandate to help avoid large gatherings — the charming little pizzeria is facing uncertain times. I sat down with D’Argonne to discuss the changing environment.
Villager: Restaurants and bars are closing down around the state, while others like yours are still operating through takeout and delivery. What has this experience been like?
D’Argonne: Things happened a lot faster than a lot of people anticipated. This was an unforeseen thing, and of course we knew we were going to be impacted. But it was also important for us to remain open to the community if we could.
It certainly would have been easier to throw in the towel and sit on our hands, but that strategy doesn’t exactly help the livelihood of our employees, which I take extremely seriously.
Villager: How do you operate a business in this climate?
D’Argonne: It’s difficult, but you have to focus on the things you can control. My team members and myself have already placed flyers on doors and dropped off catering menus to local businesses.
I also think we have a responsibility to the community. I know that sounds weird, we make pizza. But people are at home, some are scared, and they want the comforts they’re used to. At a time when everyone is telling us to separate, when we really want to be together, those little comforts can go a long way.
Our motto is ‘People are the best thing that can happen to anyone.’ It’s important for us to rise to the occasion and remain a place of friendship, inclusiveness and optimism.
Villager: When this is all said and done, what kind of impact do you think it would have had on the industry?
D’Argonne: It’s a little scary. There’s still a lot that we don’t know, but we definitely see ourselves being here for the long haul. I love this community, and it’s always a blessing to be able to call on your friends and neighbors for support during uncertain times.
This is a special place with special people, and we ask your readers to do what they can to support us and other small businesses still trying to serve the community.
Three candidates are vying for two seats on the board of directors for South Suburban Park and Recreation District. The District-wide polling place election will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. The candidates submitted self-nomination and acceptance forms for inclusion on the ballot.
The order of names appearing on the ballot were selected by a lottery drawing on Tuesday, March 3 at the South Suburban Administration Building (6631 South University Blvd.). For information about the candidates, visit ssprd.org/board-election.
The ballot order is as follows:
The five-member board of directors is elected at large on a non-partisan basis. Two board positions will be filled for three-year terms each. Regular elections occur in May of even-numbered years. Beginning May 2023, all District regular elections will be held every two years.
The board of directors meets on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings of each month at Goodson Recreation Center. Additional study sessions or special meetings are called as needed.
The election will be a polling place election, with the option of obtaining an absentee ballot. This is a District regular election and will feature only the election of board of director’s candidates.
Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Locations include:
To request an absentee ballot, click here.
For questions about voter eligibility, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-483-7011. For election information visit ssprd.org/board-election.
Current board members are Scott LaBrash, Jim Taylor, Susan Pye, Pete Barrett and Dave Lawful. Scott LaBrash cannot seek re-election due to term limits, while Jim Taylor is seeking re-election for a second term.
The RidgeGate community in Lone Tree, announced March 3 that HealthONE has purchased a 10.75 acre parcel of land on RidgeGate’s West Side for the continued expansion of Sky Ridge Medical Center and to meet ongoing demand for new services and programs at the award winning hospital.
“We are pleased to have Health
ONE acquire additional land in RidgeGate for the continued growth of the Sky Ridge Medical Center, which was RidgeGate’s kick-off land sale in 2001, and a top area employer beginning in 2003 when it opened,” said Keith Simon, Executive Vice President and Director of Development for Coventry Development Corporation, the master developer for RidgeGate. “Sky Ridge Medical Center has transformed the quality of health care available to residents of the region and has grown to be one of the top medical centers in the entire Denver metro area and we are so very proud that they selected RidgeGate and the City of Lone Tree to locate within.”
The property is immediately south of the current Sky Ridge Medical Center Campus and is the second-to-last parcel for sale in RidgeGate’s West Village. Sky Ridge Medical Center will use the site for future growth opportunities.
“While there are no immediate development plans for this parcel, this purchase gives us the flexibility to grow with the community,” said Kirk McCarty, Sky Ridge Medical Center’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. “RidgeGate and the City of Lone Tree have been excellent partners, and we look forward to sharing our plans whey they are finalized.”
HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with more than 11,000 employees. As part of the HealthONE system of care, The Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Rose Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital work together to provide a higher level of care. In addition, our family of services includes eight hospital free-standing emergency departments and numerous ambulatory surgery centers, CareNow urgent care and occupational medicine clinics, physician practices, imaging centers, and AIRLIFE-DENVER, which provides critical care air and ground transportation across a 10-state region. And, as the #7 corporate philanthropist in the metro area, and the only hospital system in the top 10, HealthONE contributed more than $1.5 million in 2018 and supports more than 150 organizations through cash and in-kind donations.
RidgeGate is a mixed-use, master planned community in Lone Tree, Colorado that is currently home to 6,000 residents. The community began taking shape in 2003 with the Sky Ridge Medical Center and is nearly fully developed on the west side of I-25 with expansion now beginning on the east side of I-25. RidgeGate encompasses a total of 3,500 acres, or six square miles, and is designed to seamlessly integrate urban amenities and residential neighborhoods with beautiful natural open spaces, parks and trails. It is home to three light rail stations, dynamic shopping, dining and wellness as well as several large employment campuses, all joined by a highly connected and walkable UrbanScape®.
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On Feb. 24, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) released its assessment of the top 50 job markets in the United States. Although Austin, TX topped the list for the second consecutive year, metro Denver (Denver-Aurora-Lakewood) came in third, up from ninth in 2019.
The rankings were based on data that WSJ got from Moody’s Analytics. Denver ranked number one in the nation for cities with over one million people on its labor force participation at 71 percent and number four in wage growth at 5 percent. The metro area’s unemployment rate of 3 percent put it at number eight for all cities ranked. Labor force growth ranked 4th and job growth ranked 26th. Both were just under two percent.
Three Colorado cities were listed in the top ten for those with less than one million people. Boulder topped the list, followed by Greeley at number six and Fort Collins at number seven, out of 328 cities reviewed.
Boulder jumped to number one from 20th position in 2019, led by its 7 percent wage growth, 73 percent labor force participation, and unemployment rate of less than 3 percent.
Fort Collins moved up four positions from 11th in 2019, while Greeley fell from number two in 2019 to number six in 2020. Both cities were reported to have unemployment rates of less than three percent, labor force participation exceeding 70 percent, and wage growth of more than four percent.
Denver’s ritziest suburb, Cherry Hills Village, is still rated highly in the list of Bloomberg News’ “Richest 100 places.” Although the only city in Colorado that made the list, it is number four (down from number three in 2019), with average household income a little bit higher than last year at around $400,000. California was the most highly represented state on the list of 100 cities with 23, followed by New Jersey with 16 and New York with 12. The City of Atherton, CA in Silicon Valley was number one.
SUBMITTED BY HEALTHONE
HealthONE announced the opening of a dedicated Women’s Unit at their Behavioral Health and Wellness Center. The first of its kind unit, located at The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) North Campus, is focused on caring for women throughout their journey to emotional well-being.
TMCA’s Behavioral Health unit for women ages 18 and up provides individualized treatment in a safe, comfortable, spa-like environment. With 20 beds, the inpatient portion of the unit will offer intensive therapies for a host of conditions. In addition, a robust outpatient program will provide expansive options with flexible hours and unique offerings.
“This unit is staffed by women who have been trained in women’s health,” said Cynthia Meyer, chief operating officer at TMCA. “Patients can rest assured that they will be met with understanding and specialized care tailored to meet their unique needs.”
Research shows that 1 in 5 women in the United States experiences issues coping with daily life, and often do not seek treatment. TMCA’s behavioral health and wellness programs can help women with:
“Women have unique life experiences that require specialized care on their road to mental wellness and resiliency,” said Meyer. “Our brand new women’s behavioral health unit is designed to meet the unique needs of women in our community—the strongest people we know.”
Women needing immediate support should call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 844-556-2012. Walk-in services are also available 24/7.
Contact HealthONE Behavioral Wellness Programs at The Medical Center of Aurora North Campus for more information by calling 844-556-2012. Or visit the campus at 700 Potomac St., Aurora CO 80011 or online at auroramed.com/mentalhealth.
On Feb. 14, the economic development and health and wellness groups of the South Metro Denver Chamber presented an important program on the economics of health care in Colorado. In addition to representatives of two of the state’s large hospital systems, the program included Simon Lomax, policy adviser to the Partnership for Affordability and Transparency in Healthcare (PATH). Lomax is also a former congressional fellow of the American Political Science Association and Bloomberg News reporter.
Lomax reported that 93 percent of Coloradans have health care coverage, slightly higher than the country overall, according to the United States Census Bureau. Most believe that the large percentage of Americans with coverage is attributable to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. It has not come without a cost. Nationally, over the past ten years, health insurance premiums have increased 54 percent while deductibles have gone up 162 percent.
In Colorado, within the 93 percent who are insured, two-thirds have private insurance, 90 percent of which is employer provided. The other one-third of Colorado residents who have health care are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. That also comes with a cost because the combined number of people on Medicare and Medicaid has grown in the past ten years from 20 percent of all those covered to 33 percent, and Medicare and Medicaid only pay hospitals 69 percent of what it actually costs them to provide health care services. If this trend continues, hospitals will lose more money caring for those patients. Those losses can only be recouped by increasing the rates charged to private insurers.
Still, the overall condition of Colorado’s health care industry can only be described as strong. Colorado has the 9th lowest-cost for premiums for employer-provided health insurance for single people and the 13th lowest for family coverage. In 2018, the employee’s share of the cost of health insurance as a percentage of median income went down five percent in Colorado while it went up five percent nationally.
Better still, as costs have been contained, the quality of health care services remains high. Colorado ranks in the top ten states in almost all levels of health care, especially the hospital sector. Three Colorado hospitals were just announced as having been included in Healthgrades’ list of America’s Top 50 Best Hospitals for 2020. According to Healthgrades, Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins “are in the top 1 %
of hospitals in the nation for consistently providing overall clinical excellence across a broad spectrum of conditions and procedures year over year.” Lutheran also won the award in 2018 and 2019. Good Samaritan also won it in 2019.
Erica Rossitto, chief nursing officer, HealthONE, explained to South Metro Chamber members that HealthONE sees 1500 to 1600 patients in its six acute care hospitals, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital each day. In the interest of being “responsible stewards in terms of not duplicating services,” HealthONE has developed specialty areas in its facilities. Swedish Medical Center in Englewood contains a specially-equipped comprehensive stroke center, Medical Center of Aurora has well-developed service lines in cardiac surgery and a 120-bed inpatient behavioral health unit, and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children receives young patients from areas in and outside of Colorado because of its level 4 newborn intensive care unit.
Leanne Naso, chief operating officer, Parker Adventist Hospital, said that Centura Health, which includes 17 hospitals across Colorado and western Kansas, is the largest health care provider in Colorado. It is a faith-based not-for-profit organization.
Both hospital systems report that they face challenges in workforce development. In response to the nursing shortage, HealthONE is collaborating with Regis University in a new program to train health care workers in a stairstep approach to allow students to spend more time in a hospital setting during their training. Centura providers speakers at local schools to encourage students to choose a profession in health care.
Looking toward the future, Lomax pointed to the well-known demographic trend in Colorado: we are an aging population who will need more health care in the next decade. According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, our state’s population that is over age 65 was 555,000 in 2010. It will balloon to 1,243,000 in 2030, a 125 percent increase.
SUBMITTED BY GAYLORD ROCKIES RESORT
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., a lodging real estate investment trust specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets, and RIDA Development Corp., announced plans for an $80 million, 317-room expansion of Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado.
Opened in December 2018, Gaylord Rockies was the first Marriott property to begin operations with more than 1 million net room nights on the books for all future years. Since that time, the 85-acre resort has experienced strong demand and closed the third quarter of 2019 with nearly 1.2 million net group room nights on the books for all future years, a 7.4 percent increase compared to the third quarter of 2018.
Colin Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said, “The initial performance at Gaylord Rockies has exceeded our expectations for a property in its first year of operations, and feedback from both group and leisure customers has been tremendous. These early results, combined with the demand we are experiencing as large group supply remains constrained nationwide, reinforce our belief that this is the right time to increase the capacity of this hotel.”
Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020, and the expansion is expected to open in early 2022. Once complete, the expansion will bring the total room count at Colorado’s largest combined resort and convention center to 1,818. Ira Mitzner, President and Chief Executive Officer of RIDA Development Corp., said, “We take great pride in Gaylord Rockies creating a best-in-class large meeting destination for the state of Colorado. To date, nearly 80 percent of the groups at Gaylord Rockies had never met in Colorado before. We are truly growing the pie for this state.”
Reed added, “We value the strong partnership with RIDA Development Corp. and the city of Aurora, and we are pleased to see our shared vision for Gaylord Rockies continue to take shape. Similar to recent projects at Gaylord Texan and Gaylord Palms, this expansion will allow us to accommodate the additional demand for this property in a way that seamlessly integrates into the existing hotel infrastructure.”
“Since the very beginning of this project we have said that the Gaylord Rockies would be an incredible economic development catalyst for the City of Aurora, Adams County and the State of Colorado,” said Wendy Mitchell, President and CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council. “The quick timing of an expansion further proves that this has come to fruition and means even more positive impact for the region as we see significant development being catalyzed in the surrounding area. We appreciate the continued leadership and forward-thinking approach of all the stakeholders involved and look forward to the Gaylord Rockies delivering even more value to our community.”
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman added, “The Gaylord Rockies is one of Aurora’s most significant accomplishments to date and a major driver in our growing economy. The project has put Aurora on the map and I’m proud to see so many new visitors coming here to experience all that our community has to offer. When we look at the economic development success story here, it’s clear that it is a win-win for everyone involved especially for our residents who now have the opportunity of more than 1,500 quality jobs and counting that were created through this deal. RIDA Development Corp., the Company, the City of Aurora, Adams County, and the Aurora Economic Development Council, and all others involved came together to make the Gaylord Rockies a reality and this partnership exemplifies how we like to do business here in Aurora.”
The planned expansion will be financed by the joint venture that owns Gaylord Rockies with additional borrowings from its term loan, which is set to mature in July 2023. The Company owns 62.1 percent of the joint venture.
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