When Lone Tree City Manager Seth Hoffman first interviewed for a job in the city manager's office 14 years ago, then-city manager Jack Hidahl pointed at a map of the city where the County Line and …
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When Lone Tree City Manager Seth Hoffman first interviewed for a job in the city manager's office 14 years ago, then-city manager Jack Hidahl pointed at a map of the city where the County Line and Lincoln light-rail stations eventually would be.
“'This is the future. If you work here, you can help build,'” Hoffman recalled Hidahl saying. “That sold it for me.”
The long-awaited Southeast Rail Extension project will officially open May 17 with public service beginning two days later, bringing to fruition years of work that dates back to the city's inception and spanning three mayors.
Three new stations will add to Lone Tree's light rail connection: the Sky Ridge Station, the Lone Tree City Center Station and the RidgeGate Station. Mayor Jackie Millet said the project benefits the South Metro region, and anticipates that the bulk of use from the RidgeGate station, the new end-of-line, will be frequented by residents in Parker, Castle Rock and Castle Pines as well.
“It's really the completion of a vision that was set for this community almost since Day One,” Millet said.
Millet essentially credits the city's existence on the promise and eventual buildout of light rail. Without the promise of rail, Millet said, there would be no Charles Schwab, Kiewit, Lone Tree Arts Center or much of the recreational offerings in the city. The city's economy, aside from the Park Meadows mall on the north end, relies on light rail.
“It's something that sets the stage for personal investment in the city and business investment in the city,” Millet said. “Think about what was achieved with the promise of light rail when we were hoping it came to fruition.”
Keith Simon, vice president of Coventry Development, the master developer for RidgeGate, said the rail extension project has been one of the most transformative aspects of the RidgeGate community.
“The long-awaited milestone is the culmination of almost two decades of work by RidgeGate, the City of Lone Tree, Douglas County, RTD and many others,” Simon said, “and we are excited to celebrate what this means for our collective future.”
That collective future, as Simon revealed last month, includes expansive development east of I-25 and the creation of thousands of jobs.
Now that light rail is almost here, the next big thing, Millet said, is just on the horizon.
“We can only imagine,” Millet said, “the opportunity that now exists to build more in this community.”
Just like many of the businesses and families who have moved to Lone Tree in recent years, Hoffman was sold on light rail. And that's just the beginning, Hoffman said. But he'll relish this milestone with the rest of the city.
“That's one of the many reasons I came to work here,” Hoffman said. “To work on that project for so long, literally from the day I interviewed to today, it's special to me.”
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