We pit Castle Rock's Mayor Jason Gray and Parker's Mayor Jeff Toborg against each other for town supremacy. May the best town win.
Toborg: If you talk to Mayor Gray's wife, she wants a town like Parker ... if you talk to my wife, she wants a town like Castle Rock. Everybody wants what they don't have.
Gray: I think that there has been a friendly rivalry for quite some time.
Mayors Jason Gray and Jeff Toborg are two very different men. They lead two of Colorado's - and the country's - most sought after communities, next- door neighbors and competitors. Underneath the lighthearted ribbing they give each other, there's a real respect between the two civil servants and friends. As we spoke with them, we caught glimpses of the plans in place to keep these two towns ahead of the curve. Let's take stock.
Castle Rock is larger (34 square miles compared to 22) and more established with a larger population (84,000 to 64,000) than its brother to the north. Castle Rock's population has grown over 238% since the year 2000, and 710% since1990. Parker's has grown 976% in that same span. Both communities have been featured nationally as top "places to live," received honors for their development and progress, and listed among the fastest growing and most successful places to raise a family. How do the mayors feel about the secret getting out?
Toborg: I would like to keep the secret, but if the secret's out I'm going to embrace the notoriety. I think people have recognized in Parker that "home town," that Hallmark movie, that Gillmore Girl event. People are looking for that. They're looking for something special.
Gray: Castle Rock has been on a steady increase in citizens since 2012. With that being said, the town is determined that a slowdown does not hurt our town services and our commitment to small-town charm and big-town amenities. Over the past years, Castle Rock, along with other Douglas County communities, have enjoyed unprecedented growth and fortunately a lot of Colorado and national awards. Keeping our towna wonderful place to live while the town experiences growth or a slowdown, is an utmost priority.
Being blessed to lead two of the most successful towns in the nation does not happen by accident. What have they seen that the other town has done well?
Gray: What is going on in downtown Parker is special. I talk with Jeff and other Parker Councilmembers often. What works in that town? What works here and so on. Helping each other's town succeed is very important. There may be some gentle ribbing in the process, but it's important that we have great communication and collaboration when needed. I love what is going on in Douglas County.
Toborg: I think what they have done is to go and systematically change the make up of their downtown. If you have a downtown that dies you can never revive it. They are not revivable.
What do the Mayors feel they have done well in their own towns, or what excites them about future plans?
Gray: There are quite a few things that I thought the Town Council did well. Two of the achievements that I really enjoy are the continued revitalization of downtown and the additionof parks and open space. I sure enjoy the entire State of Colorado but Douglas County is pretty amazing. Whether you enjoy the 100 miles of trails,or the 3000 acres of open space, there is plenty to do. The amenities in Castle Rock make leaving to do almost anything unnecessary. Thereis no shortage of opportunities for families who live in Castle Rock or visitors who want to explore our area.
Toborg: Everything excites me about Parker. It really does. Parker is on a precipice ... it is being seen now as that destination for big scale. But we still have small town, single propieter, mom and pop shops that are popping open every day.
I think what I'm really most excited about is the open space we are planning in ... we are allowing a big buffer space between Parker Vista residents and the new development. We are also protecting their view sheds. We are making sure heights don't impact their views. We're also makingsure we have a good mix of commercial as well as residential.