Aurora is a large city on the outskirts of the state's capital, Denver. The city has a population of just over 300,000 and is so large that it is part of three counties: Arapahoe County, Adams County, and Douglas County. The city began as the small town of Fletcher, incorporated in 1903, but the name was changed to Aurora 1929.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
No one industry dominates the Aurora economy. A variety of blue-collar and white-collar jobs are available for the city's residents. The most prevalent industries in Aurora are the retail trade, the wholesale trade, professional services, administrative and support services, the hospitality industry, and health-care services. There are several major employers in the Aurora area:
- ADT Security Service
- Graebel Companies
- University of Colorado Hospital
- Wagner Equipment Company
- Community College of Aurora
- Imperial Headwear
- Master Craft Cabinets
- Cherry Creek Nursing Center
The city has direct access to Interstate 70 and Interstate 225. Adding to this is Aurora's position on the outskirts of Denver, which provides easy access to the Denver International Airport. Aurora functions as a logistics hub for the surrounding areas because of these factors.
There are several major health care facilities in Aurora:
- Medical Center of Aurora
- SCCI Hospital
- Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital
The University of Colorado at Denver recently moved its medical school to Aurora, further enhancing the health-care community in the city. There is also a health clinic at Buckley Air Force Base, although this is reserved for military personnel and their families.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Almost half of the homes in Aurora were built between 1970 and 1994 and are single-family homes with two or three bedrooms. About 30 percent of the homes are units in apartment complexes. Aurora's crime rate is slightly higher than the national average. Several neighborhoods make up the city of Aurora:
- Sixth Avenue/Moline Street: Located on the northwest side of Aurora, this urban district is home to upper-middle-class executives.
- 16th Avenue/Lima Street: This small district is home to younger generations. There are many apartment complexes here, and most residents choose to rent. This is a lower-middle-class area with low rental rates and low housing values.
- 17th Place/Potomac Street: Fitzsimons Army Medical Center is located in this area to the north of the city's center. The suburban area is home to many renters, most of whom are government employees.
- Altura: This area is home to blue-collar laborers and workers in support services. The urban district is pedestrian-friendly and artsy, with very low rental rates.
- Bates Avenue/Ceylon Way: This is an urban district with lots of single-family homes. The majority of the residents here are families with school-age children.
- Buckley Road/Smoky Hill Road: This district on the south side of Aurora is an upscale suburban area that is home to wealthy, highly educated families and large two and three story houses.
- Chambers Road/Exposition Avenue: Close to the city's center, this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is home to artsy urban sophisticates. There are quite a few apartment complexes here; the majority of the residents in this area are young professionals.
- City Center: This downtown area is pedestrian-friendly and home to middle-class residents. There are both single-family homes as well as apartment complexes here, and many young people live in this area.
- Magee: There are mostly mobile homes in this district on the north side of Aurora. A suburban area, Magee is home to families with school-age children.
- Watkins: This district is sandwiched between Buckley Air Force Base and the Denver International Airport. Watkins is a quiet, suburban family area where rental rates are very high.
Aurora's residents have numerous options for post-secondary education:
- Community College of Aurora
- University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora Campus
- Parks College-Aurora
- Pickens Technical College
- Anthem College (formerly Cambridge College)
- Platt College
- Cottonwood School of Massage Therapy
With Denver in close proximity, locals have the option of commuting to any of the educational facilities there.
Aurora features several historical tourist attractions, including:
- Melvin School, a two room schoolhouse located on the grounds of Smoky Hill High School
- The Aurora Fox Arts Center, originally a 650-seat movie theater built just after the Second World War, the center has been restored and currently operates as an arts center.
- The General's Pond - Water Fowl Preserve at Fitzsimons General's Park was developed in the 1920s after a general was given a pair of Mallard ducks as a gift.
- The Smoky Hill Trail Landmark denotes the trail that linked Kansas City and Denver
- Historic Sites: The city of Aurora has taken care to preserve its most historical buildings. Many of these are available for the public to tour. Examples include John Gully Homestead House (the oldest remaining home in Aurora), Guardhouses (guardhouses at Fitzsimons General's Park), Red Cross Building (a former medical center and memorial), DeLaney Farm Historic District (a former farm with historic buildings), and Coal Creek Schoolhouse (a historic one-room schoolhouse).
- Aurora Reservoir: The reservoir offers swimming, boating, and picnic facilities, as well as trails and sandy beaches for visitors to enjoy.
- Aurora Fox Theatre: Located in the East End Arts District, the Aurora Fox holds plays and performances throughout the year.
- Bicentennial Park: Aside from the normal park amenities (picnic areas and play areas), this park has a mini-golf course and an art center. The park is also the venue for a variety of music events and festivals throughout the year.
- Plains Conservation Center: This is a 1,100-acre educational facility that seeks to preserve the natural prairie area. Tours and activities are available by reservation.