An Open Letter to the Mayor of Cherry Hills Village
Laura Christman is the Mayor of Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, one of America’s most affluent suburbs. South of Denver, Cherry Hills is home to a world famous U.S. Open golf course – Arnold Palmer won there in 1960, overtaking a young amateur named Jack Nicklaus. Many great American success stories live nearby. Mayor Christman leads the Cherry Hills Village City Council, whose mission is to “…enact and provide for the enforcement of all ordinances necessary to protect life, health and property; to declare, prevent and summarily abate and remove nuisances; to preserve and enforce good government, general welfare, order and security of the City and the inhabitants thereof. . .”
When it comes to Cherry Hills Village, Laura Christman seems to have the best interests of her neighbors and fellow citizens in mind. She cares about families. She cares about children. She’s a mom herself, the matriarch of a “yours, mine, ours” family. Indeed, Laura Christman is the president of the Christman-Rothacker Family Foundation, a non-profit corporation registered in the tax-friendly state of Delaware. According to the last available public filings, in 2015, Mayor Christman’s foundation had about $102,000 in its coffers and generously disbursed around $5,000 of it to family-minded causes.
It comes as some surprise, then, to discover that Laura Christman, the charitable Mayor of Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, is a co-signer on the $10.7 million loan documents for the controversial 7455 Sunset shopping mall project.
The developer, Cadence Capital, and their mendacious lobbyists like to call it the “Gelson’s Project,” but, according to two Gelson’s executives who have had talks with Sunset Square neighbors, the chain lost interest in the Sunset & Gardner site a long time ago, knowing a pedestrian death outside their store, God forbid a child at the school next door, would reflect poorly on their company.
Grocery store or not, the shopping mall plans continue to make their way through City Hall, despite numerous objections from the neighborhood and the elementary school the project would harm. At the latest Neighborhood Council meeting, on April 6, the parents of schoolchildren were assured that the 400 or so extra vehicle trips at peak hours – that’s 6 or 7 vehicles every minute – wouldn’t be a problem in any way whatsoever. There’s an easy solution: The developer proposed freshly painted curbs and prominent signs; no expense, the parents were promised, would be spared in procuring the freshest paint.
The unconvinced mothers and fathers in attendance left the meeting wondering how anyone could be so cavalier and coldhearted when babies are involved? When someone’s family is involved.
Even more puzzling is why Mayor Laura Christman would support such a controversial and locally-loathed project. Aside from the fact that the developer, a young man emulating his big-time developer daddy, is Mayor Laura Christman’s step-son, everything about the 7455 Sunset shopping mall project seems antithetical to the Christman-Rothacker Family Foundation’s goals. If such a project came before the Mayor at a Cherry Hills Village City Council meeting, her duty would be to oppose it on “protect life, health and property” grounds.
If you’re a mother of a student at Gardner Street Elementary, you’re probably thinking: Mayor Laura Christman wouldn’t subject her own children – or her neighbors’ children – to the mayhem that 7455 Sunset will bring to the community. She wouldn’t send her child to a school where they’re doing demolition and construction directly next to the playground; why is she willing to do it to my baby?
It’s a fair question.
But perhaps an even better ask is this:
Dear Mayor Christman,
I’m a parent of a child who attends Gardner Street Elementary School. You’re a co-signer of the loan to finance the high-intensity, patently dangerous 7455 Sunset shopping mall project. I’m asking you today — begging you — parent to parent: will you please withdraw from this terrible plan? Will you remember that families – none of whom can afford to live in a ultra-safe place like Cherry Hills Village, Colorado – families who call Sunset Square their home, will be hurt by your financing? Will you please, Mayor Christman, access the better angels of your nature and treat our children with the same love, care and respect you show yours?
According to the Cherry Hills Village Website, the best way to reach out to Mayor Laura Christman is by email or phone:
She might be grateful that you took the time to call or write.