Name: Christiaan van Woudenberg
Family: Daughters, Anika and Isobel
How long have you lived in Erie?: 14.5 years
Professional background: 25-plus years experience in enterprise software development.
Political/community experience: Current Board of Trustee member
Education: Bachelor of arts in molecular, cellular & developmental biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Graduate studies in computational biology / operations research at the University of Colorado at Denver.
Are you in support of Erie moving to a Home Rule Municipality? Why or why not?
I am in support. 93% of Colorado residents live in a home rule municipality. The town in January conducted a poll with a consultant, and they found that the barrier keeping us from going to home rule successfully is one of ignorance. Via a really good communication and education campaign, the consultant feels that we’re exactly in line with other municipalities in the transition to home rule, so that makes me feel good. It will allow Erie to chart our future for the next 20-50 years as we approach buildout to embrace what makes Erie unique.
Erie is growing very quickly. How do you plan to maintain the old-town charm and small-town feel that attracted so many residents to begin with?
Old town is really special to me. I grew up near a small town in Canada with nearly 2,000 residents, so I really understand what it means to live in an intimate neighborhood like that, and the intense desire to keep that feeling of Erie. That’s why I’m a supporter of the Town Center project, so that instead of trying to turn Old Town into this bustling commerce area and entertainment district, we do that in Town Center instead.
When infill development comes to Old Town, I’ve been pushing those developers to do the right thing and build those new apartments and duplexes in a style that matches what’s already built in Old Town.
Finally, I look toward the Downtown Urban Renewal authority planning area to take some of the revenues that are coming from the building that’s happening in Erie Commons to build quality restaurants and entertainment options and to build out Briggs — and ultimately Kattell — with some appropriate locally owned establishments that maintain that local feel to Erie.
How do you plan to take on the housing crisis, and how can Erie make sure that there are affordable housing options available for people who may need them?
This isn’t just an Erie problem, it’s a Colorado problem. It’s not going to be solved by legislation, and it’s not going to be solved with independent action by homebuilders. It’s got to be a regional effort of multiple municipalities getting together with funding from federal and state sources, using innovative solutions from the homebuilding community to get us to a point where the people that we ask to work in Erie can afford to live here.