Golden is in an enviable position with a strong economy, safe neighborhoods, and high-quality city services. This position of strength allows us to strategically implement changes that will maintain what we value most and ensure our continued success in the future.
Key Strategic Areas
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Housing Diversity and Affordability
Mayor Weinberg has focused on housing challenges throughout her tenure including the adoption of housing goals into the comprehensive plan in 2017 and the completion of the Housing Affordability and Needs Study in 2022. A top priority for the Mayor is making sure Golden has for-sale housing options for smaller households, first-time homebuyers, and seniors who want to stay in Golden.
She recognizes the importance of preserving existing housing and is working through the National League of Cities' Healthy Housing Initiative as one of six cities working to improve the health and quality of housing.
Mayor Weinberg serves on the Colorado Municipal League housing subcommittee, the Jeffco Housing Advocacy Steering Committee, and the Metro Mayors Housing, Homelessness, and Hunger subcommittee. She is a leader working to strengthen local, regional, state, and national partnerships to position Golden favorably in broader housing efforts.
As a lifetime proponent of sustainability efforts, Mayor Weinberg is committed to identifying the strategies needed to reach the city's sustainability goals, collaborating with the Community Sustainability Advisory Board, and allocating necessary budget and resources for success. Decisions today, such as adopting a Fleet Electrification Plan, are making the investments for the future that we desire.
Mayor Laura is an advocate at the state level for changes that will benefit Golden and our goals. Her work advocating for the Extended Producer Responsibility bill was recognized by Recycle Colorado awarding her 2022 Outstanding Elected Official of the year.
Communication & Community Engagement
Making sure all residents and interested parties have access to city information and the opportunity to participate is a priority for Mayor Weinberg. It is one of the reasons why she started Mondays with the Mayor livestreams in 2022. Many people now prefer to receive their information via video online rather than in their email inbox. The Monday livestreams are quick and focus on City Council work and upcoming community meetings or engagement opportunities. They are one more channel to reach community members in addition to the weekly email newsletter, Golden Informer, social media posts, and city website.
Strategic Planning - Directed Change
Cities are ever-evolving with changes large and small. Good cities react to the changes, but great cities anticipate change with existing structures and processes to handle them no matter the size.
Mayor Laura's signature effort to bring a new Strategic Planning process to the city has been in place for the past 3 years. It includes annual action plans and Council key initiatives to provide focus for the city and clarity to the community to understand what is being done and why. It allows the city budget and all interested parties including Council, city staff, boards & commissions and community members to be aligned to the top priorities.
Golden Fire Department
Mayor Weinberg strongly supports the Golden Fire Department (GFD) remaining a part of the City of Golden so we can continue our volunteer program, retain local control, and pay less in taxes than outsourcing to a fire district. Long-term funding is needed to retain GFD.
2018: Golden hires new Chief after long-time Chief retirement
2019: Review showed 67% increase in calls in 7 years. Recommendation to hire 15-18 firefighters and explore merger with fire authority
2019 & 2022: Council authorized new firefighters and won federal grant funding ($2.5million) to pay salaries short-term under the guidance of the city's Finance Director that long-term funding will be needed
2021-2023: Multiple studies showed more $$ needed for all fire service options: (1) remain stand-alone; (2) create a multi-agency fire authority; (3) discontinue as a municipal agency and join a fire protection district (like West Metro)
2023: Council votes for option 1, to continue as the Golden Fire Department, and refers the question of funding to voters (Ballot Issue 2K)
Elevating Arts and Culture
Golden residents appreciate the many cultural institutions and creative individuals bringing history and the arts to our community. The arts are an essential part of building community, improving quality of life, and enlightening and connecting people. Golden's arts and cultural organizations have a positive economic impact for the city and an important role in education.
After meetings with other cities' cultural departments and discussions with Golden cultural institutions, Mayor Laura brought forward the 2023 initiative to develop an Arts & Culture Master Plan. This framework will help determine how the city can best participate and provide access to funding to elevate arts and culture and create a dynamic, thriving cultural community.
Safe, Connected Transportation Modes
During Mayor Weinberg's Council tenure, the city completed two major projects, North Washington Avenue and Linking Lookout, and designed the next Golden Plan intersection at US 6 and Heritage Road. These provided safer and improved streets for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Mayor Weinberg recognizes that future improvements require leadership to build strong relationships with regional, state, and national partners for funding and support.
Mayor Laura has been an advocate at RTD and the state for transit, including improved funding and safety. She also sees the implementation of Golden's adopted Master Transportation Plan with efforts such as the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan as critical to addressing mobility needs identified by the Golden community.
A Thriving Business Environment
Golden has never been a bedroom community, and businesses have been the lifeblood of our town.
The COVID 19 pandemic was hard on our local businesses and Mayor Weinberg collaborated with individuals and organizations to provide support for businesses, launch new programs, and support recovery. Her initial idea to use fundraising dollars to pay restaurants to make meals for those in need led to the creation of BGoldN and overwhelming community support. A strong recovery has continued with downtown business revenue is up 29% over the past 2 years.
Mayor Weinberg's work in small businesses, corporations, and start-ups, as well as with the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation makes her an experienced leader who understands the importance of retaining existing businesses in Golden and making Golden a welcoming place for start-up, woman-owned, and minority-owned businesses.
Golden has an active senior population that is growing every year. Mayor Weinberg is working with the city's new Director of Parks and Recreation to review and improve the activities that the city offers to seniors. She is working with the new Director of Thriving Communities to improve the access to programs and supportive services for seniors facing eviction, food insecurity, or other livability challenges in Golden.
Mayor Weinberg is also talking to seniors about creating a new, senior member group to provide social activities and connections for community members. A nonprofit group dedicated to seniors would be able to apply for city grant funding to support communications and programming.
Managing Visitors & Events
Mayor Weinberg recognized the impacts of visitors to the quality of life of Golden residents when she proposed in 2019 that a lodging tax be used to mitigate visitor impacts. The lodging tax was passed in 2021. She recognizes that there is no magic solution to manage Clear Creek and downtown. Collecting ideas from the community, trying some, measuring results, and deciding what to continue is now an annual process that the city undertakes to continually improve.
Local organizations host events that are part of our Golden culture and Mayor Weinberg plans to keep them going strong in the future. Over the past 20 years, events have been incredibly successful attracting more attendees. The city must ensure safety and accessibility as well as address any negative impacts to the people who live here for all events held in public spaces (parks, streets, parking lots). In 2023, Mayor Weinberg and Council asked the city team for attendee counts to understand the number of visitors for each event and then begin to collaborate with event holders on how to ensure long-term success.
An Inclusive Community
Golden must be a place where all are treated fairly. Mayor Weinberg formed the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee of Councilors Trout and Reed to advance the topic which led to the adoption of the Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan in November 2022. She thanks the community members and city employees working this year to implement the plan and advance equity in our city. These efforts reflect Golden's values and who we strive to be as a community where all are welcomed, included, and represented. She will continue to prioritize this work to make a Golden that is better for all.