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An architectural rendering shows the city of Evans’ vision for a 12-acre parcel at U.S. Highway 85 and 31st Street that would be called The Junction at Evans. Courtesy city of Evans

Evans optimistic about ‘road ahead’

EVANS — Evans continues to work to emerge from the shadow of its larger neighbor city to the north to the point where some town officials refer to the area as the “Evans-Greeley Metroplex.” The town maintains a fierce independence and an intense drive for progress on its own; it launched “The Road Ahead” infrastructure campaign to help residents track and understand the major improvement efforts throughout the city through its own YouTube channel. It’s working to get citizens involved in “Evans TV” and use it as part of its “Business Blast” economic-development outreach.

Evans was founded in 1867 and was the county’s first town, incorporated before Nathan Meeker helped establish Greeley.

“In 1871 the St. Louis-Western Colony brought 400 people to settle the area,” according to the Evans Area Chamber of Commerce website. “Evans became a supply town and highway stop, known for its rowdy lifestyle in comparison to the temperance colony of Greeley. It was known as the ‘Queen City of the Platte.’ It was briefly the county seat of Weld County until a party of raiders from Greeley stole the county records and burned the courthouse.”

Evans was founded in 1867 and was the county’s first town, incorporated before Nathan Meeker helped establish Greeley.

Today, Evans boasts a growing base of industry. It benefited from oil and gas exploration, with many energy producers and affiliated companies setting up shop in the city.

Evans has been working on two major economic-development projects, one focused on the city’s historic old town and the other aimed at revitalizing and beautifying the U.S. Highway 85 corridor leading into the city. It also completed a project to rebuild a park inundated by the September 2013 flood so that it meets Federal Emergency Management Agency and Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

The city’s Parks Division oversees and maintains 12 developed parks and open space areas totaling more than 220 acres and more than 13 miles of mixed-use trails.

The 2013 flood heavily damaged or destroyed 200 homes in the Evans area, but Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity and Commonwealth Companies, with the help of a state disaster grant, partnered on two projects that would build 95 new affordable homes.

For years, Evans was known as one of the least expensive places to live along the Front Range urban corridor. It still is, but the word’s getting out. Although inventory remains tight, new housing developments are springing up, such as the 430-acre Tuscany subdivision along 37th Street.

Despite Evans’ independence, the town has fostered good relations with its larger neighbor to the north. Both cities consummated a revenue-sharing agreement for a retail district in 1980 to resolve an annexation dispute. The two cities operate a joint bus system, Greeley-Evans Transit, known as GET.

Evans’ school district merged with Greeley’s in 1962, establishing Greeley-Evans School District 6. Prairie Heights Middle School opened in September 2015. This newest addition to the district offers a unique design of grade “pods” to facilitate same-grade interaction and collaboration in the learning process.