Maintaining our quality of life, today and tomorrow
Anita knows it is our responsibility to make sure future generations still have access to the exceptional quality of life we all enjoy. She wants to ensure that every decision we make as a city promotes environmental, social, and economic long-term resilience. Anita has pushed to make sure we look at the big picture and long-range impacts of our programs and projects. Beautiful, vibrant cities don't just happen; they are envisioned and planned. Challenges that arise from Colorado's unprecedented growth must be anticipated and dealt with head-on. Policy decisions we make today should have a long-term, positive impact on our city. When Anita and her husband decided to make Westminster their home, to have and raise their children here, they did so because of the amazing and accessible quality of life they found. Anita wants to ensure that, when her little ones are grown, they have that same opportunity. Sustainability is about our responsibility to be stewards of this great community; to ensure residents of today and tomorrow can continue to experience widespread economic opportunity, a high quality of life, and a beautiful natural environment.
Open Space & Trails
When people are asked why they love living in Westminster, the most common response is our open space and trails. These aren’t just amenities, they are community assets. Anita wants to see us continue to protect and maintain our open spaces. Anita has a plan to not only protect our open space, but expand the program through strategic acquisition. As Westminster continues to grow, it will be important to maintain the natural places that we all enjoy.
Managing and Planning for Growth
Colorado has seen unprecedented population growth, and the Front Range, including Westminster, has been impacted. Without planning, growth will lead to soaring housing prices and congestion. Anita has fought to ensure we plan for our community's expansion in a way that minimizes negative impacts and enhances our quality of life, adding jobs, restaurant, shopping, and entertainment options. If growth continues, without a strategy for management and urban planning, we stand to lose what we love about this community.
Under Anita’s leadership we have seen the old Westminster Mall site, which languished for many years, transform into the first phase of our new downtown: with the Alamo Drafthouse already open and enjoyed by residents, and other exciting projects opening throughout the year. Downtown Westminster will have a true downtown vibe--unique, vibrant, and genuine. There will be a mix of great restaurants, parks, shops, offices, and residential facilities: both rental and for-sale. Our innovative work creating a new Downtown has been so successful that other communities have come and toured the site, and met with our staff to see how they can replicate what we have done.
Investing in Infrastructure
Westminster is over 100 years old and many of our facilities and systems are in need of repairs and maintenance, including our roads, bridges and water treatment facilities. Anita understands it is our responsibility to ensure that we invest in our city, and protect the quality of life, health and safety of our residents. Ignoring issues that need to be addressed only adds to the cost of addressing them: as anyone who owns a car, or a home, would tell you. While it isn’t the most glamorous way to spend our dollars, it is ultimately the most responsible.
Transportation and Transit
Throughout Colorado, our roads and streets are congested and in rough shape. Every unnecessary moment you are stuck in your car lessens your productivity, adds an increase to our carbon emissions, and is frankly, an inconvenience. During Anita's term on the council, Westminster has pursued bold and innovative steps towards addressing our transportation and transit needs. Westminster invests millions of dollars every year on our roads. Therefore, Anita is an advocate for the completion of FasTracks. RTD has given an unacceptable timeline for the FasTracks project, which we voted for in 2004 and have been paying for ever since. She has testified with regional partners at RTD: asking for new and innovative approaches to bring the rail to our community, such as the recent Peak rail study. Under Anita's leadership, Westminster has accelerated the implementation and expansion of our bike program, and has improved the timing of our street lights to enhance safety and efficiency. We are founding members of Smart Cities Colorado, which is an organization that explores new and integrated technologies to improve transportation. Anita was asked by the Colorado Department of Transportation to serve as a stakeholder in a statewide committee that will guide Colorado in anticipating and planning for emerging technologies in transportation: such as driverless cars. Anita serves on the US-36 Mayors and Commissioners Coalition by working on regional strategies to improve transportation and to advocate for wise usage of federal and state transportation dollars. Because of Anita’s leadership, Westminster has a seat at the table, and as statewide solutions are discussed, our needs and concerns are heard.
Anita is a climate champion, having served as President for Colorado Communities for Climate Action: a coalition of 27 local governments pushing for state and federal climate policies. Under Anita’s leadership, the group had a tremendous year working to pass historic climate change legislation. Anita was also on the steering committee for the Compact of Colorado Communities which assists communities with setting local goals and providing local governments with the knowledge and tools they need to promote climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation in their communities. In Westminster, Anita has championed a city-wide commitment to environmental stewardship. She has led the way in increasing recycling and composting, protecting our open-space, promoting zero waste events. Within her term, she had pushed for the completion of our first Green House Emission Inventory and undertaking a community-wide Sustainability Plan. She is seen as a regional and national leader on environmental stewardship, and is regularly asked to speak on how local governments can make a real and meaningful impact. After a four year lack of leadership on this issue at the federal level we are finally seeing climate change and other environmental concerns getting the attention they deserve. It is more important than ever that we have local leaders who are proven environmental stewards.
Every resident in Westminster should feel safe in their homes, at their place of business, on our trails, and on our streets. A safe city gives our residents the freedom and opportunity to enjoy and thrive in our community. Under Anita’s leadership we have invested in public safety and maintained a high level of support for our first responders. We have staffed up our police department, and enhanced pay and benefits for our police and firefighters, among others who protect our community. We have increased the allocation of resources our first responders receive from our city budget: providing these departments with the tools they need to do their job and to be safe.
Vibrant and inclusive neighborhoods
Anita believes in the power of community. Strong and vibrant neighborhoods lead to a happy, engaged, and dynamic community. This goodwill is a community asset, measured in the number of volunteer hours Westminster residents donate to the city. But neighborhoods need support, investment and communication to thrive. Anita knows it is the role of City Council to make sure we eliminate barriers that prevent or limit community engagement. This city serves all residents. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, all residents should feel, safe, welcome, served and valued. As a Council, we established the Inclusivity Board to help us ensure that all residents have access to the exceptional quality of life we offer, and to provide a forum to offer suggestions on ways to improve. We were the first community in Colorado to make a proclamation against conversion therapy. Westminster is proud to be a Welcoming City. Westminster has meaningfully incorporated the values of inclusion and diversity into our city operations, hiring, and programming.
You can’t have a great community without great schools. Anita believes that every child, regardless of zip code, should have access to high quality education. Anita led a push to include collaboration with our school districts into our strategic plan. During the summer, students can enjoy free lunches at our recreation centers, we offer high quality, low cost pre-school and summer camp. We have worked to connect our business community and our high schools: creating internship and apprenticeship programs. We do everything we can to support our school districts, because we know we are better when we work together.
It is important that we build a local economy and job market that is diverse, adaptive, and resilient. Through place-making economic development strategies, we are working to foster a Westminster that is an attractive community to live, work and play in. We work to attract and retain businesses--both large and small-- to provide economic opportunity that benefits all of our residents. Colorado's economy is booming, and we are well positioned to benefit from this. However, as we know, boom cycles don't last forever, and we must continue to cultivate a local economy that can withstand economic downturns. Having diverse employers and businesses of various sizes is critical to this effort. It is also important that we are thoughtful and intentional in how we grow during this period, so we don't lose what we love about our community along the way. A strong, resilient local economy is essential to be able to provide and maintain a high quality of life for residents. While Anita has served on council over the last 5 years, Westminster has added 5,000 new jobs. Maxar Technologies, Ball Aerospace, Zimmer Biomet and Alliance Data have all made Westminster their home, bringing with them well-paying jobs and economic investment in our community. We continue to partner with the Small Business Administration to help provide assistance to small and growing local businesses.
Arts & Culture
Westminster is fortunate to have residents who are talented and passionate about supporting arts and culture. Westminster continues to provide high quality cultural experiences to our residents: concerts, films, festivals and community events. From the Westminster Craft Beer Fest to our Adult Easter Egg hunt, Westminster works hard to provide unique and fun events. Anita feels that cultural art offerings are an important component of a strong community, and wants to expand our efforts. The city has recently completed a series of community meetings asking residents what arts and cultural offerings they would like to see in our city. With that input, city staff is creating an arts and culture program with exciting proposals to expand our cultural offerings that will be presented to council in late Fall.
Colorado has seen housing prices skyrocket over the last few years. Young families can’t set roots, and seniors are having a hard time finding housing that they can afford to downsize into. Housing prices and rental prices are making it difficult for many of our current residents, from teachers to firefighters: the people who serve our community, to find housing they can afford. Anita helped launch our housing program, ensuring we have a wide range of housing options. We have a goal to achieve attainable housing throughout our city. To help meet this goal, we’ve partnered with other non-profits and government entities to maximize our impact. Westminster is now seen as a regional leader on this issue.
Anita has worked hard for Westminster during her term on Westminster City Council. Help us elect Anita Seitz as Westminster's next Mayor in November 2021!