Karina Elrod has lived in Littleton for 18 years. She works in budget management with the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and has previously worked as director of marketing for Western Union and in finance and accounting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is a certified public accountant. She is on the city’s LIFT board.
Campaign website: KarinaForLittleton.com
Why do you want to serve on the Littleton City Council?
Littleton provides a great quality of life for our families, but the city is in a reactive position — it is not confronting the opportunities or risks that may arise from fiscal planning and development. I saw this firsthand on the planning commission, where we worked with community input, a citywide plan and an outdated zoning code that were often in conflict, creating unpredictability and costly situations for all involved. Whether a community wants to change or not doesn’t mean you do nothing about it. We need to face tough decisions, plan ahead and be ready for our future.
What would your approach be to managing growth and development in the city, if elected?
Smart growth with preservation. There needs to be acknowledgment of where the “areas of change” can be in our city, from underperforming strip malls and infill, to the few remaining developable parcels. I would urge the use of smart growth concepts in these areas to create great places and spaces which are “in character” to Littleton. This enlivens and produces opportunities in other parts of our city, dissipating the market pressures on our historic buildings, established neighborhoods, and prized parks and trails.
Amid rising housing prices, what can city council do to ensure young families are not priced out of the city?
Market conditions will force choices, from buying a smaller home, moving near transit or renting longer. Young families are necessary to fill our schools and add stability in our neighborhoods. City council can help being amenable to smaller lot sizes for single-family homes, and that policies are in place to support condos and townhomes as developers get back to building them. Housing options close to transit mitigate the cost burden of car ownership. For those that can’t or don’t want to purchase, ensure our apartment stock is updated with units that can accommodate and are attainable to young families.
What can city council to do improve traffic flow in Littleton?
A citywide traffic study will help identify and better understand traffic patterns that have worsened and those that are emerging. Findings will help to prioritize solutions such as employing last mile initiatives to light rail through convenient and safe bike/pedestrian connectivity, establishing partnerships with employment centers, RTD and neighboring municipalities for a shuttle circular to light rail or Park-n-Ride locations, and upgrades to traffic sensor technology, alternatives such as roundabouts, and updates to street striping.
What two issues need more attention than the current city council has given them?
Homelessness: A growing homeless population in our area, and our society in general. It has become a more visible part of our community. A concerted effort is needed to understand the individual situations, what it means for our community and how to help address it.
Branding and economic development: Developing the right branding, and positioning of our city to attract, retain and grow the businesses that are right for Littleton. We need to have a good grasp of our city’s value proposition to promote it to the business community.