Those living in Castle Rock often choose to do so because of its small-town charm, good schools, tremendous recreational amenities and proximity to everything Colorado offers. But Castle Rock also is quickly building a reputation for being good for business, and has earned the award for Colorado’s Large Community of the Year by the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC). This honor has been bestowed on Castle Rock for the second time in three years (previous win in 2009).
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the EDCC,” said Mayor Paul Donahue. “I chose to live in Castle Rock because it’s a great place for my family, but it’s also a place where businesses can find a proactive government and EDC that work creatively to support existing and prospective companies.”
Criteria for the award included:
• Demonstrated support for economic development – financial, Board participation, lobbying, etc.
• Planning and investment in long-term development of the community – infrastructure, permanent financing of economic development, targeted strategies to secure primary jobs, etc.
• Special project or development during year
One of the unique foundations to Castle Rock’s success is the Castle Rock Economic Partnership (CREP). CREP is a community organization with representatives from the Town, Castle Rock Economic Development Council, Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce and Castle Rock Downtown Alliance (Downtown Merchants Association and Downtown Development Authority. The partnership meets weekly and works together to aggressively pursue business opportunities for the Town.
“Town Council has provided explicit direction to put into place programs that make it easier to open and operate a business in Castle Rock,” said Town Manager Mark Stevens. “Over the last two years, we’ve made changes that make us unlike any other community in Colorado.”
CREP has numerous significant accomplishments during the last year:
• $5 Million Performance Fund created by Castle Rock Town Council to be used to attract desired businesses to Castle Rock and help existing businesses grow
• 10 Days or It’s Free program where the Town’s building division reviews tenant finish applications within 10 days or the permit is free
• Development Roundtable created where Town officials and staff work directly with the development community to streamline processes and write regulations
• Architectural design contest and façade improvement grant program in downtown Castle Rock
• Attracted higher education to Castle Rock: Arapahoe Community College and Webster University
• Attracted a new retail center to include Panera Bread, Noodles & Company, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Smart Cow Yogurt Bar, Complete Nutrition and others
• Mid-block crosswalks in downtown Castle Rock to enhance the pedestrian experience
• 23 visits to existing businesses resulting in 115 requests for service and direct working relationships with expanding businesses such as, Commnet, Maxfire, Airship Printing, Sunset Stone and mywedding.com
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by one’s peers,” said Frank Gray, president and CEO of the Castle Rock Economic Development Council. “This award reaffirms the direction of CREP and is a testament to the hard work of its members.
“Through a visioning process, residents have said they want Castle Rock to be a standalone community offering good jobs and amenities for those who live here,” added Gray. “CREP will continue our work to bring that vision to life.”