Our great town is very familiar to those traveling Interstate 25 and Colorado Highway 1 between Fort Collins and Cheyenne. More people are familiar with Wellington because its rapid growth has been the topic of conversation and articles in newsprint.
Housing subdivisions are visible on Highway 1 and on both sides of I-25 as you approach Wellington. This provides a large diversity of living facilities from single-family homes on large lots to multifamily units. The result has been a change in population — from 6,700 in 2013 to approximately 9,000 in 2017. Families with children are a large part of our growth due to the affordability of houses and the great family environment in Wellington.
A rapid increase in school-age population has put a strain on our school capacity. However, we have a new middle school/high school coming by 2020.
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At the same time, we’re still maintaining a small-town atmosphere. Residents comment on the great feel of the town with its many parks and trails, businesses and activities. The schools in Wellington have a great reputation, both locally and nationally, for the quality and results of their programs. Residents can enjoy this town and still have quick access to Cheyenne, Fort Collins, Loveland and points south, local open space and the mountains without significant traffic delay.
Our Main Street Program is embarking on an aggressive downtown revitalization
plan that will guide future redevelopment of the Cleveland Avenue historic core. David Michaelson, executive director of the program, notes that “Wellington has all the physical, historical and human scale attributes to become one of the most inviting down towns in Colorado.”
Improvements envisioned by the plan include sidewalk bulb-outs at strategic intersections, modifications in traffic flow through the main street, in-fill and design guidelines, locally designed and fabricated contemporary bike racks, public art and streetscape improvements. Opportunities for retail commercial development are available along Cleveland Avenue and other parts of Wellington. We will be welcoming a new restaurant and an O’Reilly auto parts store, along with several new personal services business.
The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has more than 100 business members and provides support and exposure of its business members through chamber events and printed material. The Ambassador program keeps the chamber in tune with member needs, wants and problems.
Community activities sponsored by the town, Main Street Program, Chamber of Commerce and local businesses keep the residents and visitors engaged throughout the the year. The large Fourth of July celebration, including a great parade and outstanding fire works program, antique car show, booths, competitions and activities for the children, is a yearly occurrence. Other activities include an Easter Egg Hunt, concerts and movies in the park, Farmer’s Market, disc-golf tournament, Halloween “Trick or Treat Down Main Street”, Parade of Lights and many others. These activities make the town a fun place to live.
Businesses are critical for long-term sustainability of Wellington from the standpoint of jobs and tax income and meeting the personal needs of the residents. Since the economic slowdown, the commercial development in Wellington has started to grow along with the residential growth. Within the town limits, three commercial parks, 30 to 50 acres each, are in various stages of infill. Two of these parks have I-25 visibility. In the last 12 months, approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial floor space has been sold or leased, and approximately 25,000 square feet is currently available in these parks. There is a cement plant on site and a railroad siding two miles away. Our welcome mat is out for new entrepreneurs and those needing expansion space for their growing business.
Access to Wellington is quick and convenient for visitors, residents and business needs because the Town straddles I-25 at exit 278. When you turn off I-25, you are in Wellington. Wellington is 10 minutes north of Fort Collins and 30 minutes south of Cheyenne.
It is a great place to live and do business.
Wendell Nelson is past-chair of the board of the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce.