As City Treasurer, part of my responsibility is to ensure that the City of Wheat Ridge invests as directed by the City Charter and allowed by state and federal law. The City’s investments can take the form of money being placed in to interest-earning accounts, in city services that benefit our residents, in external organizations that enhance the work of the City, in infrastructure projects and development projects.
Every month on the City Treasurer’s page on the City’s website, I share a report regarding the City’s total funds and how they are invested. As of March 31, we had $11,989,508 invested in CDs and bonds (our liquid accounts) and in the Fruitdale Project Liquid Account, which currently contains $1.2 million.
The Fruitdale Project is an example of how the City invests dollars in our city directly. Fruitdale School, located on the north side of W. 44th between Kipling and I-70, was built in the mid-1920s to replace the schoolhouse that was on the property but destroyed by fire in 1926. The building was used as an elementary school until 1978 and then as a preschool until 2007. It has remained vacant and in need of repairs since then.
Due to its historic nature, it was important to the City and many in our community that the building be preserved. The Wheat Ridge Housing Authority (WRHA) purchased the building in 2011 to save it from demolition and since has been working to redevelop the property in a way that enhances the neighborhood and city.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 and in February, City Council passed a resolution to move forward with the redevelopment of the site into approximately 16 affordable and market-rate housing units. The project also calls for solar arrays on the roof and on the ground. Funding for the project comes from a variety of sources in addition to the City and the WRHA, including grants, private investments and state and federal historic tax credits.
Since February, the City, WRHA and the developer have signed the development agreement. A grant application has been submitted to the State Historical Fund, requesting approximately $190,000 in additional project funding and city staff is working with the developer to refine the application for federal historic preservation tax credits. Approximately $640,000 of federal HOME funds through Jefferson County Community Development has also been committed, contingent on the development occurring this year.
As you can see, when the City invests its money in projects, we are able to leverage additional funds from a variety of public and private sources, enhancing the value of the project, minimizing the city’s risk and increasing our opportunity for a positive return on our investment.
For a look inside the City’s finances, please visit the City Treasurer’s page on City Treasurer Financial Reports to view the monthly Total Funds Report and other financial updates.