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Mayor Jackie Millet, standing on the stage at the Lone Tree Arts Center, looked out at the audience and proclaimed boundless good fortune for the city of 14,000 residents:“As we look to the future, we see nothing but opportunity on the horizon.”Milllet was giving the annual State of the City address May 11, in which she touched on Lone Tree’s top accomplishments over the previous year. The event, hosted by the Lone Tree Chamber of Commerce, drew city officials, business leaders and residents.“What I am here to leave you with today is the excitement and passion I feel for this city,” Millet said.By all accounts — Millet’s and data collected by the city — Lone Tree, 10 square miles with a median household income of more than $100,000, is enjoying success in all areas.It brings in 11,000 people a day to work in its retail, service and commercial businesses. More than 92 percent of citizens rated Lone Tree’s quality of life, city and police services and impression of city employees as “excellent” or “good” in the 2016 citizen survey.The city generated more than $47.7 million in revenue. It doesn’t have a property tax and boasts the lowest municipal tax rate in the Front Range at 1.8125 percent.Millet talked about the city in distinct categories — places, public safety, transportation, culture and recreation, and business/economy.Following are highlights from Millet’s presentation:‘Exceptional places’In 2016, several new residential developments were built in Lone Tree:• 224 units at MorningStar Senior Living• 50 units at The Retreat at RidgeGate• 33 units at The Overlook• 18 units at Bellwether Place• 86 units at the Rows at RidgeGate Townhomes• 219 units at RidgeGate ApartmentsPark Meadows mall, which opened in 1996, counted 20 million annual visitors to its 185 stores and restaurants.Lone Tree’s Entertainment District saw renovations to the United Artist’s Theater, Rio Grande restaurant and Brunswick Zone bowling alley, now called Bowlero.The 25,000-square-foot Douglas County library opened its doors in 2016 and has seen 300,000 visitors to date.The 14-acre University of Colorado South Denver property, formerly the Wiltlife Experience, was annexed into the city, adding higher education to the fold.Public safetyKirk Wilson was hired as the new police chief in 2016.Police volunteers dedicated more than 6,200 hours to safety patrols, neighborhood watches and vacation property watches.Many volunteers are graduates from Lone Tree’s citizen’s police academy, which graduates close to 20 participants two times a year.In January 2017, Lone Tree started a teen court for first-time, low-level youth offenders. Forty volunteers have run 29 peer panels to date.TransportationThe Southeast Light Rail Extension is underway, extending the E line 2.3 miles and adding three new light rail stops in Lone Tree. Construction will be completed in spring 2019.The Lone Tree Link service, a free private-public partnership connecting Lincoln Light Rail Station users to key employers in the area, has seen 80,816 boardings and will soon be shifting to provide on-demand micro-transit to the community.This fall, the Lincoln Avenue Pedestrian Bridge will be completed. The bridge, which follows the existing Willow Creek Trail, will improve traffic flow along Lincoln Avenue and create a safer path for pedestrians and cyclists.“This iconic bridge provides an important trail connection to neighborhoods and amenities in our communities,” Millet said.The C-470 expansion will add an express toll in each direction. The major construction in Lone Tree is set to occur in 2018.Culture and recreationBetween The Bluffs trails, Cook Creek Pool, tennis courts and a golf course, Lone Tree provides many recreational opportunities.Throughout the year, the city hosts a variety of community events, including Summer Sounds at Sweetwater, an Independence Day Celebration, Wag-N-Romp and the Schweiger Ranch Fall Festival.The Lone Tree Arts Center celebrated its fifth anniversary recently. More than 300,000 visitors have come to view award-winning productions. The art center also has hosted speakers from National Geographic and been home to signature community programs such as Arts in the Afternoon and Passport to Culture.The Lone Tree Hub, a partnership with South Suburban Parks and Recreation District to re-use Lone Tree’s old library building, opened as a community center on May 1.Business and economyThe city has an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent. The 2016 total retail sales amounted to $1.3 billion.Sky Ridge Medical Center’s 3,000 employees and Charles Schwab’s 4,000 employees are the two largest employers in the city.Monk and Mongoose Coffee, 5280 Chocolates and Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop all opened this year. Sierra Grill, Grist Brewery and Marriott Towne Place Suites will soon be opening.The largely undeveloped land east of I-25, known as RidgeGate East, has plans for a city center, 11 million square feet of office space, 2.3 million square feet of retail and up to 7,000 new homes.
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