When it comes to business, growth, community and the future, T.J. Sullivan, chief executive officer of the Parker of Chamber of Commerce, said it’s been good to see a town council made up of members who are taking a thoughtful approach to decision making.
Just over a year into his stint as the organization’s leader, Sullivan said the chamber opted not to endorse any of the candidates running in the 2022 election. This year’s election has five candidates vying for three seats, and Sullivan said he is confident in the current and possible future council’s abilities.
“There is not a single council member who is adversarial to local business,” he said. “I have always had the ability to have conversations with them and they listen and understand. Parker is booming in three or four different areas.”
Sullivan said instead, the chamber continues to focus on the priorities and goals at hand as Parker continues to grow into a large Douglas County community with more housing, businesses, and questions about how growth will look in the coming years.
“In Parker, you can’t be a community leader and not be considerate of thoughtful growth and infrastructure,” Sullivan said. “There is no bigger issue here than thoughtfully considered growth.”
According to the U.S. Census, in 2010 Parker’s population was around 45,000. In 2021, the population was 60,313. In 2010, Census data shows there were 2,212 residents per square mile. In 2020, there is an estimated 2,619 residents per square mile.
Going back to 1981, the incorporated Town of Parker consisted of one square mile and 285 residents. Today, the town covers more than 20 square miles.
Much of Parker’s growth mimics that of Castle Rock, a Douglas County community to the south. Castle Rock in 2010 had a population of just over 48,000. Today, the Town of Castle Rock estimates the total population to be around 73,158.
Besides more housing and a population increase, the council’s current plans for Parker appear to be following Castle Rock’s playbook.
In August, the Parker Town Council gave initial approval of a sale agreement with Confluence Companies to develop five parcels in downtown.
In Castle Rock, Confluence Companies worked with the town to redevelop downtown, including the Riverwalk, which business owners have said revitalized downtown.
Sullivan complimented some of Castle Rock’s growth and planning, saying it has followed a pattern of good “quality and design.”
Confluence Companies has also developed property in Golden.
With a good plan for downtown development, Sullivan said the town’s leaders have to also look beyond.
“Leaders have to spend time and give love all over the place,” he said. “Downtown itself will be a self-propelling phenomenon. But roads and infrastructure all over have to be a priority.”
As Castle Rock grew at a fast pace and continues to do so, the town asked voters last year to approve multiple tax measures that would fund more police and fire personnel and improve roadways. Only two of the four measures passed.
Sullivan said as a leader in the community’s business interests, he hopes careful, thoughtful planning goes into how roads will keep up with the pace of residential and commercial growth and he worries about how public safety will stay on top of community needs.
“Voters need to think of not just this year’s election but who can lead us in a decade,” Sullivan said. “Police, fire, water and infrastructure require long-range planning.”
With an annual growth rate of 4.25%, Parker is currently the 20th largest municipality in the state of Colorado.