During the COVID-19 situation, partner organizations around the city have united together to create the Arvada Resiliency Taskforce. Partners include Arvada Chamber of Commerce, Arvada Economic Development Association, Arvada Visitor’s Center, City of Arvada, Olde Town Business Improvement District, Apex Parks and Recreation, Community First Foundation, Thrive Workplace, The Arvada Center and Danielle Dascalos PR. This cross-section of local partners are working to understand the impact of COVID-19 closures and respond quickly with programs, resources and policy shifts. To learn more about the task force, visit arvadachamber.org/arvada-resiliency-taskforce.
What Is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover and thrive in the face of future shocks and stresses and it is a cornerstone of our community vision. As a result, the City of Arvada and elected leadership have committed to taking creative, proactive steps to increase the resilience of our community. In 2014 when the comprehensive plan was updated, our community members identified safe, strong and vibrant neighborhoods as important elements to a high quality of life in Arvada. These themes of resilience were reflected again in recent community surveys and visioning activities. In 2019 Arvada City Council identified community resilience as a priority Strategic Result in their 2020 - 2025 Strategic Plan.
We are investing in resilience because it is the best way to be prepared for the unexpected. The first step toward increasing our resilience was adding a Community Resilience Coordinator to the City of Arvada team. Enessa Janes, PhD, AICP, was hired for that position in June of 2016.
Dr. Janes led the next step in the process, which was to develop the city's first municipal resilience strategy. In 2019, Arvada began developing the strategy by identifying our most pressing resilience challenges. Five key challenges were identified to guide our future resilience initiatives and projects:
- Changing Demographics
- Climate Changes
- Aging Infrastructure
- Economic and Social Stratification
- Social Connections
A first draft of the City of Arvada's Resilience Strategy was completed in October 2019. The final draft is in progress and is expected to be presented to Council in 2020. When final plan has been approved, it will be posted here.
The City team has a number of plans, programs and initiatives that are designed to protect our resources, mitigate risk and make our community more resilient to shocks and change. The team has been working on these strategies for several years, and they fall under the categories of conservation, emergency preparedness and vibrant communities and neighborhoods. Efforts are ongoing. Below are a few examples of our achievements so far.
Conservation Initiatives - The City of Arvada is committed to preserving our resources for economic,environmental and community health. Learn about our conservation initiatives and resources related to our conservation goals.
Emergency Preparedness - We take an all-hazards approach to planning that addresses the entire disaster cycle. We have and maintain a Hazard Mitigation Plan in partnership with Jefferson County. The City of Arvada also maintains an Emergency Operations Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan.
Vibrant Communities and Neighborhoods - The City has taken an innovative approach to resilience-building by joining resilience with our neighborhood services programs. We offer a number of resilience-building programs and resources to help you and your neighbors get started.
We have engaged a number of local and regional partners on our resilience journey. They include:
- The Colorado Resiliency Office of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs
- The Community First Foundation
- The Arvada Fire Protection District
- The City of Arvada Neighbors Connected Leadership cohort
- The Arvada Economic Development Association
- The Sonoran Institute
Being a resilient community requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. This means that in addition to mitigating, planning and preparing for shocks and stresses in our community we are also committed to engaging with our residents, business community and non-profit and service organizations. Once our Resilience Strategy is adopted our team will launch a citywide Resilience Collaborative with the above stakeholders. The purpose of the collaborative is to bring together diverse points of view and share resources to move our resilience goals forward. We believe that this team approach will help us adapt and adjust to changing conditions and needs in our city.
About Our Community Resilience Coordinator
Dr. Enessa Janes is responsible for directing the city's Emergency Management and Community Resilience Programs. She has a Ph.D. in Design and Planning with a focus in disaster recovery and risk assessment. Her career includes more than a decade of experience working at the local, state and federal levels in both pre- and post-disaster environments. Dr. Janes leads city-wide resilience-building efforts to help Arvada prepare for, withstand and recover from catastrophic events like blizzards, floods and cyberattacks as well as slow-moving disasters like aging infrastructure, drought and homelessness, all of which are increasingly part of 21st century life.
- by City Manager