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The City of Greeley is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Weld County, Colorado, United States. Greeley is in northern Colorado and is situated 49 miles (79 km) north-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. According to a July 2015 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the city is 100,883, and a 2014 population estimate made Greeley the 12th-most populous city in Colorado. Greeley is a major city of the Front Range Urban Corridor.
The town was named after Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, who came to Colorado in the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush. It was founded as the Union Colony in 1869, an experimental utopian society, but the name was later changed in honor of Greeley. Governor Benjamin Harrison Eaton declared Greeley an official city on April 6, 1886.
Greeley was built on farming and agriculture, but kept up with most modern technologies as they grew. Telephones were in town by 1883 with electric lights downtown by 1886. Automobiles were on the roads alongside horse drawn buggies by 1910. KFKA became one of the first radio stations to broadcast in the USA in 1922 and the Greeley Municipal Airport was built in 1928. Greeley housed two POW camps in 1943, during World War II. One was for German POWs and the other was for Italian POWs. A vote to allow the sale of alcohol passed by a mere 477 votes in 1969, thus ending temperance in the city.
The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra was started in 1911. In 1958, Greeley became the first city to have a Department of Culture. Greeley is still growing and changing today; its population has more than doubled since 1970.
Greeley is located in (or just west of) the area previously occupied by the Overland Trail station of Latham (originally called the Cherokee City Station). The Latham station (also known as Fort Latham) was built in 1862 and named in honor of Milton S. Latham, one of California's early senators. The stagecoach station was at the confluence of the South Platte River and the Cache la Poudre River. It is believed that here occurred the birth of the first white child born in Colorado, a girl. Fort Latham was the headquarters of the government troops during the Indian conflicts of 1860–1864 and the county seat (the post office being called Latham).
Greeley began as the Union Colony, which was founded in 1869 as an experimental utopian community "based on temperance, religion, agriculture, education and family values." by Nathan C. Meeker, a newspaper reporter from New York City. Meeker purchased a site at the confluence of the Cache la Poudre and South Platte Rivers (that included the area of Latham, an Overland Trail station), halfway between Cheyenne and Denver along the tracks of the Denver Pacific Railroad formerly known as the "Island Grove Ranch". The name Union Colony was later changed to Greeley in honor of Horace Greeley, who was Meeker's editor at the New York Tribune, and popularized the phrase "Go West, young man".
Greeley is located in the High Plains of northern Colorado about 25 mi (40 km) east of the Rocky Mountains and north of Denver.
Greeley is bordered on the south by the towns of Evans and Garden City. The Greeley/Evans area is bounded on the south by the South Platte River, and the Cache la Poudre River flows through north Greeley. The city is served by US Route 85 and US Route 34.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.0 sq mi (78 km2), of which 29.9 sq mi (77 km2) is land and 0.1 sq mi (0.26 km2) (0.30%) is water.
Greeley experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk). High temperatures are generally around 90–95 °F (32 °C) in the summer and 40-45 °F (4 °C) in the winter, although significant variation occurs. The hottest days generally occur around the third week of July and the coldest in January. Nighttime lows are near 60 °F (16 °C) in the summer and around 15–20 °F (−9 °C) in the winter. Record high temperatures of 112 °F (44.4 °C) have been recorded, as have record low temperatures of –25 °F (–32 °C). The first freeze typically occurs around October 10 and the last can happen as late as May 4. Extratropical cyclones which disrupt the weather for the eastern two-thirds of the US often originate in or near Colorado, which means Greeley does not experience many fully developed storm systems. Warm fronts, sleet, and freezing rain are practically nonexistent here. In addition, the city's proximity to the Rocky Mountains and lower elevation, compared to the mountains west of the city, result in less precipitation and fewer thunderstorms. This is paradoxical, because adjacent areas (mostly farmland) experience between 7 and 9 hail days per year.
The climate in Greeley, as well as all of Colorado, is extremely dry. The Chinook winds coming off the mountains often raise temperatures to near 70 °F (21 °C) in January and February, and sometimes to near 90 °F (32 °C) in April. Greeley's elevation and low year-round humidity means that nighttime low temperatures are practically never above 68 °F (20 °C), even in the hottest part of the summer. The diurnal temperature range is usually rather wide, with a 50-degree (Fahrenheit) difference between daytime highs and nighttime lows not uncommon, especially in the spring and fall. Rapid day-to-day and diurnal fluctuation in temperature is also common.
As of the 2010 census, there were 92,889 people, 33,427 households, and 21,250 families residing in the city. The age distribution shows 68,936 residents are age 18 and older and 23,953 residents are under 18 years of age. The age distribution of the population showed 31.3% from 0 to 19, 11.4% from 20 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% ages 65+. The median age was 30.5 years old. The gender distribution was 49.1% male and 50.9% female. For every 100 females, there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.
The racial makeup of the city was 79.1% White, 1.7% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 13.2% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 36.0% of the population.
Out of 33,427 total households, 21,250 (63.3%) were family households where at least one member of the household was related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. 12,177 (36.4%) households were non-family households consisting of people living alone and households which did not have any members related to the householder. Of the 21,250 family households, 11,495 (54.1%) had children under the age of 18 living with them.
The population density was 3,096.3 people per square mile (1,195.5/km²). There were 36,323 housing units at an average density of 1,210.7 per square mile (467.5/km²).
The median income for a household in the city was $44,226, and the median income for a family was $55,277. Males had a median, full-time income of $40,122 versus $35,294 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,372.
15.7% of families and 23.5% of the population had income below the poverty line during the 12 months prior to being surveyed. People with incomes below the poverty line include 32.1% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.
The crime rate (per 100,000 people) is below the national average, according to city-data.com. The website gave the city an aggregate crime rating of 289.6 in 2012, against a national average score of 301.1.
Among the companies based in Greeley are the meatpacker Swift & Company, the outsourcing company StarTek, and the contractor Hensel Phelps Construction. The Colorado/Kansas operations of natural gas utility Atmos Energy are based in Greeley.
According to a 2014–15 economic and demographic profile, the following are the Greeley area's largest employers:
The 233rd Space Group (233 SG) is a unit of the Colorado Air National Guard located at Greeley Air National Guard Station, Greeley, Colorado.
In 2014 the Greeley Creative District was certified as an official Creative District by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Greeley is home to the Union Colony Civic Center, one of the largest performing arts venues in Colorado. The 1686 seat Monfort Concert Hall hosts touring Broadway musicals, concerts, comedians, along with regional and local performing arts groups. The 214 seat Hensel Phelps Theatre hosts The Stampede Troupe in addition to lectures, meetings, and smaller performances. In addition, the Tointon Gallery presents a dozen exhibits annually by local, regional, and national artists, and is free to the public.
Owned and operated by the City of Greeley, the Union Colony Civic Center sponsors many events held by the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Greeley Chorale.
Of Greeley residents ages 18+, 82.2% are high school graduates and 25.9% have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Most areas in Greeley lie in Weld County School District 6.
Four high schools, Greeley Central High School, Greeley West High School, Jefferson High School and Northridge High School, are in and serve Greeley.
There are four middle schools, which serve grades 6–8: Brentwood Middle, Franklin Middle, Heath Middle, and Prairie Heights Middle School.
There are 14 elementary schools in Greeley serving kindergarten through 5th grade: Centennial Elementary, Dos Rios Elementary, East Memorial Elementary, Heiman Elementary, Jackson Elementary, Madison Elementary, Maplewood Elementary, Martinez Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary, Meeker Elementary, Monfort Elementary, Bella Romero Academy, Scott Elementary, and Shawsheen Elementary.
There are also four charter schools (University Schools, Frontier Academy, Union Colony Preparatory School, West Ridge Academy). Chappelow Arts Literacy Magnet School is the district's renowned arts education K–8 school.
There are at least five private schools inside the Greeley city limits: Trinity Lutheran School, St. Mary Catholic School, Dayspring Christian Academy, and Shepherd of the Hills
Greeley is also home to University of Northern Colorado, Aims Community College, Academy of Natural Therapy, and Institute of Business & Medical Careers.
Greeley is a sister city to Moriya, a city located in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture. Every other summer 18 students from Moriya come to Greeley for a week-long stay.
North Colorado Medical Center is the primary medical facility for Weld County. The hospital opened in 1904 as the Greeley Hospital. The name of the facility evolved over the years to Weld County General Hospital and that became North Colorado Medical Center. The Center is operated by Banner Health-based out of Phoenix, Arizona. The hospital recently expanded its facilities and added a new addition which expanded its emergency room and increased the amount of rooms available for patients in other departments.
On June 23, 2011, Poudre Valley Health Systems and the University of Colorado Medical School announced a pending joint operations agreement. If approved, it would overtake NCMC as the largest regional hospital in Northern Colorado. In 2010, Greeley Medical Clinic, the largest and oldest medical group in Greeley announced it was affiliating with PVHS.
Since 2006, the Greeley Police Department has received more than $2.3 million of tactical military equipment from the United States Department of Defense (DoD) including a "mine resistant vehicle", 72 5.56 mm rifles, 22 suppressors, and 15 sniperscopes. Prior to 2014, when the information was made public by the DoD in response to public scrutiny over widespread police militarization in the United States, the program details had been closely guarded and little information had been released during the previous 20 years.
On December 12, 2006, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) staged a coordinated predawn raid at the Swift & Co. meat packing plant in Greeley and at five other Swift plants in western states, interviewing illegal workers and hauling hundreds off in buses.
Greeley was featured in the books Fast Food Nation and Chew on This by Eric Schlosser.
In August 2010, Leprino Foods announced plans for a new $270 million factory in Greeley which could employ up to 500 people. Construction began in July 2010.
On May 12, 2014, Greeley was ranked number #5 of 10 "Top Small Cities for Jobs" in a Forbes article. On July 23, 2014 Forbes ranked Greeley as #4 of 10 "List of Best Cities for Job Growth "
James A. Michener attended Colorado State College of Education, now the University of Northern Colorado, in 1936–37. He was a social science educator at the training school and at the college from 1936 to 1941. He conceived the idea for his acclaimed 1974 novel Centennial during his stay in Greeley, basing it on the real history of the town and the Colorado region.
Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb studied at the Colorado State College of Education, now the University of Northern Colorado, in 1949.
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