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CASTLE ROCK, Colorado—The town of Castle Rock was recently named one of the fastest growing areas in the entire country.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Castle Rock is competing with big cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Dallas for the most growth. It saw a 5.1 percent increase in its population size between 2016 and 2017 – growing to more than 62,000 residents.
“We are situated in between Denver and Colorado Springs and we are on the highway, so you can expect growth to occur between those two large cities. And we are certainly seeing that in Castle Rock,” said Kevin Tilson, of the Castle Rock Downtown Alliance.
Several new projects are already under construction in Castle Rock, while others are being planned for the area. A major focus is around bringing more livable spaces to the downtown part of town.
“The people it will bring to downtown in terms of living here is a great thing. Obviously we like ownership, and for-sale residential condos bring ownership. And with that comes a pride in ownership. It also brings a pride to downtown of people that like to eat and like to shop, and so that supports our small businesses,” Tilson said.
Part of the battle Castle Rock faces is finding a balance between the demand for new growth and development while preserving the town’s historic charm.
Several buildings along Wilcox Street have been identified for preservation while others could soon be demolished and rebuilt.
“Anytime there’s change you get people who are uncertain of what that change will bring. And so it is a balance there of trying to listen to the residents and listen to the feedback, and also bring something that we think support our small businesses in downtown. Ultimately an active and vibrant downtown is a topic that is pretty hard for people to argue with,” Tilson said.
Parking is also an up-and-coming issue for the town. The town council is considering a proposal that forces developers to create a certain amount of parking spaces for each building it constructs.
“I think our approach to parking is a very balanced one. So we’re looking at adding a requirement that would require one space per residential unit, which I think is a modest requirement and makes sense that, at least for Castle Rock, we place that requirement on new development in the community,” Tilson said.
A new $7 million car park will also address some of the town’s parking needs. It will bring an additional 300 parking spaces to the downtown area and will be unveiled on June 2.
“Parking is not an issue yet but we’re certainly planning for the future," Tilson said. "And knowing that as demand to be in downtown increases it’s something that we have to be mindful for."
Just like the rest of Colorado, Castle Rock housing prices are also on the rise.
“We’re adding houses every year, I think to the tune of 1,000 to 2,000 homes a year. Right now, there is a national trend for people that want to be in historic downtowns. So a lot of that bleeds over into our community and our residents say, ‘We want an active and vibrant downtown’ and we’re trying to help facilitate that the best we can,'” Tilson said.
The Castle Rock Downtown Alliance is still trying to keep the town family-friendly with different events geared toward kids and the addition of the new park. In the end, the goal is to keep their parents coming back to Castle Rock and spending their money on small businesses there to keep the community growing.
“It’s a great place to eat great, place to shop and now we’re going to have great places for people to live and to work. And, if you want to get a little ways out of the city but still have that small, urban environment, then Castle Rock is a great place for people to come and visit and check out,” Tilson said.