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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Commerce City took a big step forward in a multi-million dollar redevelopment project.
The project will break ground on a 62-acre plot of land that used to be home to the old Mile High Greyhound race track. The dog racing ended in 2008 and that track was demolished in 2012. For years, the city has been trying to decide how to use the land.
“It's a very exciting redevelopment project for us. It's also fairly unique, in a core part of Commerce City that’s a bit older. So, it’s very unique to have 62 acres of vacant land to redevelop,” City Manager Brian McBroom said.
At first, the city considered using the area for industrial development but eventually decided that was not the best plan.
Instead, the city council and Urban Renewal Authority recently approved a plan for the land to be used for homes, apartments and retail spaces.
“It's important to the city for us to do it right and to us, doing it right means creating opportunity for new economic development in the city, new housing opportunities in the city and for it to fit into the fabric of those existing neighborhoods,” McBroom said.
While the majority of the land sits vacant, 2.5 acres were donated to Suncor for the creation of a new Boys and Girls club. It opened its doors a few years ago.
Some of the key projects will include the creation of three new neighborhood parks, a new recreation center, more roads and a new pool.
“All amenities are aimed at making Commerce City a great place to live with needed amenities,” McBroom said.
People living in the neighborhood near the lot say they are excited about the new development project.
“The plans looked really good,” said Mike Knapp. “I think anything that would make it look nice would of course increase the value of my property rather than looking at that mess.”
Meanwhile, Charles Cown has lived in the area for 30 years and has seen a lot of the changes, both good and bad. He says the city installed speed bumps on his street after a Walmart was constructed nearby and traffic increased through his neighborhood.
“We had to get the traffic to slow down some way because we had one dog get run over and some kids almost got hit,” Cown said.
Still, he’s excited about the new project for the old race track.
"I get tired of looking at an empty lot,” Cown said.
His only request is for a new restaurant to be built somewhere in those 62 acres.
For now, the developers are working on finding investors and financing for the project before breaking ground next year.