October 15, 2019

Jacob's Golden Update: Golden Seeks Stimulus Funding for the U.S. 6 /19th Street Intersection and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: August 13, 2009

1. Golden Seeks Stimulus Funding for the U.S. 6 /19th Street Intersection
2. Golden’s Light Rail Construction Underway
3. New Noise Berm Along 6th Avenue
4. Bachman Open Space Proposal Earns Jeffco Support
5. Community Bus Feasibility Study
6. Refinancing the City’s Drainage Utility Bonds
7. Museum Lawsuit Settlement in the Works
8. City Council Considers Changes to Trash Hauling
9. Golden Marlins Take High Honors
10. Other Upcoming Events
11. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, August 13 (tonight)

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1. Golden Seeks Stimulus Funding for the U.S. 6 – 19th Street Intersection

Last week Golden submitted a formal letter of intent to the Denver Regional Council of Governments expressing our plan to apply for stimulus dollars to rebuild the intersection at U.S. 6 and 19th Street.  This is the highest priority of all the highway intersections in Golden because of its very high level of congestion, the very high accident rate (212 accidents resulting in 30 injuries and a fatality since 2004), and the number of pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the intersection daily.  The project would involve on- and off ramps, great bike lanes, and a high-quality pedestrian crossing as well.

We’ve asked the Jefferson County Commissioners to collaborate with us in this application and are hopeful they will do so.  Their original proposal was to build an overpass at the intersection of Washington and Iowa.  Although that intersection, too, is part of the city’s long-term plan, the U.S. 6/19th St. intersection is a much higher priority for all the reasons I just mentioned.  The U.S. 6/19th St. intersection is also beltway-neutral: it doesn’t undermine their efforts to build their proposed new toll highway but it doesn’t really help them either.  Some suspect that their motivation for pushing the Washington/Iowa intersection is a belief that it will help them with their traffic and revenue numbers on the toll highway.  My hope is that they will see the 6/19 proposal as an opportunity to set aside our differences on the toll highway proposal and collaborate in making a project happen that everyone agrees is a high priority.  My advice: send an email to the Commissioners asking them to support the City of Golden’s proposal for funding for the U.S. 6/19th Street intersection project.

The Jefferson County Commissioner email addresses:  commish1@jeffco.us, commish2@jeffco.us, and commish3@jeffco.us.

2. Golden’s Light Rail Construction Underway

If you’ve noticed the construction at Colfax and 6th Avenue you’ve seen the construction of Golden’s new light rail line.  Although the line isn’t scheduled to open until 2013, some of the prep work in the middle sections will still take some time to finish so they’ve started construction on the end of the line in Golden.  The first phase includes placing 3,000 feet of retaining walls and bridge over 6th Avenue east of Simms, a large flyover spanning 6th Avenue and Indiana St., and a bridge over Colfax east of 6th.  We’ve already done a bunch of work on Ulysses St. (to redesign the entrance into the Jeffco complex) as well, as you’ve noticed if you’ve tried to drive out that way.  We’ll have to deal with construction on-and-off for a while but the payoff for Golden will be pretty significant when it’s all finished.

3. New Noise Berm Along 6th Avenue

The FasTracks construction project near Colfax and 6th Avenue is an exciting development in part because it means Golden’s light rail line is on the way.  It’s also exciting for an unexpected reason: the availability of a large volume of free dirt that we can use to construct a noise berm along U.S. 6 (at the base of Beverly Heights).  We’d been planning to construct some of this berm this year already, but there’s enough dirt available to build the entire thing.  Although expanding the scope of the project to complete the entire noise berm this year would have exceeded the amount we had budgeted, City Council made the decision several weeks ago to reallocate enough funding to complete the project.  It made sense because we don’t foresee having access to so much free dirt anytime soon and because the cost of other projects was far enough below budget that we had some additional funding to work with.  In addition to making key appropriate road improvements along U.S. 6 and Highway 93 in Golden, part of our long-term plan involves noise berms everywhere along the corridor where the topography allows it.  This project, along with the new noise berm at the south end of Mountain Ridge and the new noise wall in north Golden, puts us very close to completing all of the planned noise mitigation along that corridor.

4. Bachman Open Space Proposal Earns Jeffco Support

Some good news for the folks organizing an effort to purchase and protect the Bachman property as open space: the Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee on August 6 unanimously approved proceeding with the open space purchase plan.  The proposal includes a Jefferson County contribution of 25% of the purchase price.  City Council has informally expressed support for the idea, which will require both a special district assessment and a significant contribution from the city’s open space fund (which is now running at about $2 million).  The special district assessment requires that both 50% of the affected property owners approve and that property owners totaling 50% of the valuation approve as well.  Local residents in the Heritage Dells, Stonebridge, and other nearby neighborhoods in the area are leading the effort and working to get the required signatures to make this proposal a reality.

5. Community Bus Feasibility Study

City Council last year began seriously looking at the idea of creating a new local bus system in conjunction with the scheduled opening of the new light rail service to the Jefferson County building.  This is a particular interest of mine, and I worked with city staff a few years ago to secure the federal grant that is now funding the feasibility study.  The core of any new community bus system will be between central Golden (downtown and CSM) and the new light rail station at the Jefferson County Building.  From there, depending on how much revenue we can raise and how much we are willing to spend to support the bus, we can expand the route to include more stops in central Golden as well as other parts of town.  Some of the most obvious additional options will include the high school, South Golden Road and Bell Middle School, the Community Center, and various neighborhoods around town.  In addition to providing a good bus service, another goal is making it a lot easier for Golden residents to commute to Denver.  After we sort through the routing and service options, the biggest challenge will be funding.  We may be able to pull some funding from routes that RTD modifies or retires, but the bulk of the funding will have to come from new revenue source.  It’s hard to have a serious conversation about those options until we have a good sense of the cost, but know that this is a community conversation we’ll need to have.  There have already been a few opportunities to weigh in with your thoughts, and there will be more in the months ahead.  I would also welcome your thoughts anytime.

6. Refinancing the City’s Drainage Utility Bonds

Several weeks ago City Council gave the green light on what was basically a refinancing of our drainage utility bonds.  Interest rates have dropped enough since we first issued the bonds and the city has such a strong bond rating (the second highest Standard and Poors category) that the numbers make sense.  When all is said and done, we will save an average of $26,000/year in debt service.  That amounts to a total present value savings of $220,000 (and a total future value savings of $250,000).  All in all a very good deal for Golden’s taxpayers.

7. Museum Lawsuit Settlement in the Works

After a long-running court battle, the city’s fight to protect the community’s historic artifacts is nearly at an end.  The City and the organization that used to run the Golden Pioneer Museum have reached an agreement that will result in the community retaining ownership of nearly all of the historic artifacts we believed belonged to the city.  The organization that used to run the city’s museum is permanently prohibited from using the “Golden Pioneer Museum” name as well.  Unfortunately, the large collection of historic photographs is still missing.  This is a major loss to the community and we are hopeful they will still turn up.  If you have any information about where the photographs might be, please contact the city manager or myself.

8. City Council Considers Changes to Trash Hauling

At our study session last week City Council narrowed in on a couple of options for how trash hauling is managed in Golden.  If you haven’t been following the process, you should know that it’s been one of the most intensive public outreach efforts the city has undertaken in a long while, and the volume of public comment reflects the city staff’s effort.  Based on all of this public input and extensive reviews of the issues and options by the Sustainability Advisory Board, city staff, and the City Council, we seem to be down to two basic options.

One of the two options that City Council is now considering is the establishment of a single hauler franchise in town to serve single family and smaller multi-family residential unites (state law prohibits cities from including larger multi-family residential and commercial properties in such an arrangement).  Council directed staff to prepare an updated RFP, inviting private haulers to bid for the right to provide trash hauling service.  Some of the specific elements of the RFP will include curbside recycling, reporting requirements (so that we can keep track of how much waste and how much recycling is picked up), pay-as-you-throw pricing (so that you only pay for the amount of trash you produce), and a compost/seasonal yard waste option.  I believe the RFP will also allow HOAs to opt-out if they choose.  The main advantages include reducing the wear and tear of trash trucks on city streets (having multiple trash haulers operate in the city means that the community pays a lot every year to maintain the roads impacted by the truck use), reducing air and noise pollution for the same reason, and negotiating a better rate for most people in the city because of the number of households involved in the contract.  The second option under consideration is to continue allowing any trash hauling vendor that wishes to operate in Golden to do so provided they meet a minimum level of service that includes the items listed above: curbside recycling as part of the rate, pay-as-you-throw pricing, etc.  Although we probably won’t see the air quality and wear-and-tear improvements using this approach, we should get most of the trash reduction and other environmental benefits.  Staff is preparing a new RFP, and after we get those numbers later in the year we’ll make a final decision.  I will keep you posted.

9. Golden Marlins Take High Honors

Golden and the Golden Marlins swim team two weekends ago hosted the state swim meet up at the Splash.  It was inconvenient, I’m sure, if you had hoped to take your kids there to swim, but we don’t close it for events very often and this was a particularly worthy occasion.  I’ve heard favorable comments on the venue and favorable comments on the number of swim meet participants and family that spent time (and money) in Golden during the weekend.  A huge congrats, as well, to Golden’s own Marlins team: The girls team had the highest point total, the boys were 4th, and overall the Marlins finished in 2nd out of the 56 teams that participated.

10. Other Upcoming Events

  • Chamber Ambassadors Backyard BBQ, August 21.  5-8 on the terrace and patio of the Golden Visitors Center overlooking Clear Creek – great food and beverages, live entertainment by Acoustic Alley, a huge pie contest, tickets $25 in advance.
  • Movies & Music in the Park, August 14 (plus the 21st and 28th).  The City of Golden and GREAT are once again sponsoring this year’s Movies & Music in the Park series in Parfet Park.  The bands begin at 7pm followed by the movie at dusk (usually 8:30 give or take).  On the 14th you’ll hear Unknown Americans followed by the movie City Slickers, on the 21st it’s John Common and Kung Fu Panda, and we’ll close out the series with Rob Drabkin on stage followed by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Golden Fine Arts Festival, August 15-16.  The summer season continues with one of Golden’s hallmark August events, the Fine Arts Festival.  Spend an hour or spend all day checking out the high quality art, music, and food along the south side of Clear Creek (11th St. just west of Washington Ave.).
  • Golden Hills and Golden Heights: Golden Vision 2030 Block Party, August 22.  This block party is scheduled from 11 am to 2 pm at Golden Heights Park (W. 2nd St. & Quaker).  We’ve got lunch on the grill, giveaways, free bike tune-ups, a vet to visit with your dog, and kid-friendly activities.  It’s also a really important opportunity to share your thoughts about Golden and your hopes and desires for Golden’s future.  It’s also a great chance to see friends, meet neighbors you don’t know, and learn about city services and activities.  You’ll find more details on the Golden Vision 2030 webpage.
  • “So You Want to be an Entrepreneur?” presentation by business specialists from the Small Business Development Center and the Jefferson County Business Resource Center, August 25.  Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities (6901 Wadsworth), 730-9 am, breakfast provided.  RSVP to Lkingston@arvada.org or 720-898-7018.
  • Oredigger Kickoff Extravaganza, August 29.  A chance to support Colorado School of Mines and have a great time as well.
  • First Friday, September 4.  Many of the downtown shops, stores, and restaurants stay open late, often with treats and specials.  You’ll also find entertainment and free horse drawn carriage rides (weather permitting).

11. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, August 13 (tonight)

Our next city council meeting is a regular business meeting on August 13.  You can download that and review minutes and videos of previous City Council meetings on the city’s web site.  This week’s agenda includes the following issues:

  • A proposal for some small changes to the Cambria Lime Kiln restoration project.
  • Approval of the formal City Council Budget Letter providing direction to the City Manager in his preparation of a draft 2010 budget.
  • A resolution ratifying a settlement agreement in litigation over ownership of the community’s historic artifacts.

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Jacob Smith, Mayor
jsmith@cityofgolden.net
(303) 810-6017
www.SmithforGolden.org