October 15, 2019

Jacob's Golden Update: All-Ward Town Hall Meeting on May 5

Jacob’s Golden Update: May 4, 2009

1. All-Ward Town Hall Meeting: May 5
2. North Neighborhoods Plan Adopted
3. Two Historic Preservation Projects Moving Forward
4. Golden Hills and Golden Heights Neighborhoods Receive Xcel Grant for Energy Efficiency
5. Golden’s First Community Accountability Report
6. NREL Scores Big
7. Golden Visitors Center Wins Prestigious Volunteerism Award
8. City of Golden First Quarter Financial Report
9. City Council Eliminates Ethics Code and Campaign Finance Loopholes
10. Blog Round Up
11. Other Upcoming Events
12. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, May 7

[Read more…]

Jacob’s Golden Update: All-Ward Town Hall Meeting on May 5

Jacob’s Golden Update: May 4, 2009

1. All-Ward Town Hall Meeting: May 5
2. North Neighborhoods Plan Adopted
3. Two Historic Preservation Projects Moving Forward
4. Golden Hills and Golden Heights Neighborhoods Receive Xcel Grant for Energy Efficiency
5. Golden’s First Community Accountability Report
6. NREL Scores Big
7. Golden Visitors Center Wins Prestigious Volunteerism Award
8. City of Golden First Quarter Financial Report
9. City Council Eliminates Ethics Code and Campaign Finance Loopholes
10. Blog Round Up
11. Other Upcoming Events
12. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, May 7

[Read more…]

Jacob’s Golden Update 1/13/09: Citizens for Golden Kicks Off “Don’t Fall for the Recall” Campaign

1. Citizens for Golden Kicks Off “Don’t Fall for the Recall” Campaign
2. Weathering the Storm: Golden’s Financial Health
3. Some Responses to the Voice of Golden
4. Standard and Poor’s Raises City’s Bond Rating
5. 2008 City of Golden Awards Wrap-Up
6. West 44th Ave. Closure
7. New Historic Site Designation in Golden
8. Other Upcoming Events
9. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, January 15

[Read more…]

Jacob's Golden Update 1/13/09: Citizens for Golden Kicks Off "Don't Fall for the Recall" Campaign

1. Citizens for Golden Kicks Off “Don’t Fall for the Recall” Campaign
2. Weathering the Storm: Golden’s Financial Health
3. Some Responses to the Voice of Golden
4. Standard and Poor’s Raises City’s Bond Rating
5. 2008 City of Golden Awards Wrap-Up
6. West 44th Ave. Closure
7. New Historic Site Designation in Golden
8. Other Upcoming Events
9. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, January 15

[Read more…]

Jacob’s Golden Update: September 19, 2007

This time around we report on Golden’s 2008 budget, including efforts to increase funding for road replacement. Golden police target noise in the Beverly Heights area. City Council votes to seek funding support for a pedestrian bridge accessing the new light rail station at the Jefferson County building. Also discussed are the public notification process, proposed changes to the historic preservation code. And we share some news from the campaign trail.

[Read more…]

Jacob's Golden Update: September 19, 2007

This time around we report on Golden’s 2008 budget, including efforts to increase funding for road replacement. Golden police target noise in the Beverly Heights area. City Council votes to seek funding support for a pedestrian bridge accessing the new light rail station at the Jefferson County building. Also discussed are the public notification process, proposed changes to the historic preservation code. And we share some news from the campaign trail.

[Read more…]

The Old Capitol Grill is Back

As Rick Gardner reports, “one year and twelve days after fire threatened to destroy this downtown Golden landmark, the Old Capitol Grill is now reopened!” I had a beer there a few nights ago and thought it looked great – it felt really similar, in fact, but brighter and more polished. I am very grateful to Brian Hunt (the owner), the Golden Landmarks Association, the city, and everyone else who contributed to doing such a thorough and earnest restoration.

The Denver Post ran a nice story about the Capitol Grill reopening as well.

Preserving the Brickyard Manager’s House

Last night we made a tough call in choosing between two options for the preservation of the Brickyard Manager’s House at the north end of town.  As I said during the meeting, all things being equal the Golden Landmarks Association proposal would be the preferred option, since it would place ownership of the property in the hands of a local, community-based nonprofit.  All things were not equal, however.  Although the Ewers Architecture/Baseline Engineering proposal would have meant less public access and that a private company owned the property, they were also bringing a clear capacity to make the project work financially.  Unlike GLA, they have a lot of cash flow, assets, revenue, and an untapped (and large) line of credit.

In other words, if the only goal here was to save the building then the Ewers/Baseline proposal would have been a no-brainer, since they would almost certainly be able to raise the funds needed to stabilize the structure this autumn, before the building suffers yet another winter of water damage.  But there is also a lot of value in supporting our community historic preservation organization, and if they can pull this project off then I think the end result will be better for Golden, so the decision essentially came down to being willing to accept a higher risk of failure (i.e., that GLA doesn’t raise the money quickly enough to prevent the building’s collapse) in exchange for being happier with the outcome if the risk pays off.

Also, while I greatly appreciated the amount of thoughtful public comment on the issue (both beforehand via email and during the public hearing), most of the comments just replicated the quandary:  the thrust of most people’s comments was for preservation of the building.  But of course everyone, and both proposals, agreed with that.  The question, rather, was whether to accept a higher risk of failure in order to end up with something we like better.

And that’s how I and four others (in a 5-2 split) voted:  to accept the greater risk in exchange for what I believe will be, if the risk pays off, a better outcome.

Incidentally, the toughest decisions since I’ve been on Council have consistently been on historic preservation issues, and almost always for the same reason:  a complicated mix of pros and cons.

Preserving the Brickyard Manager's House

Last night we made a tough call in choosing between two options for the preservation of the Brickyard Manager’s House at the north end of town.  As I said during the meeting, all things being equal the Golden Landmarks Association proposal would be the preferred option, since it would place ownership of the property in the hands of a local, community-based nonprofit.  All things were not equal, however.  Although the Ewers Architecture/Baseline Engineering proposal would have meant less public access and that a private company owned the property, they were also bringing a clear capacity to make the project work financially.  Unlike GLA, they have a lot of cash flow, assets, revenue, and an untapped (and large) line of credit.

In other words, if the only goal here was to save the building then the Ewers/Baseline proposal would have been a no-brainer, since they would almost certainly be able to raise the funds needed to stabilize the structure this autumn, before the building suffers yet another winter of water damage.  But there is also a lot of value in supporting our community historic preservation organization, and if they can pull this project off then I think the end result will be better for Golden, so the decision essentially came down to being willing to accept a higher risk of failure (i.e., that GLA doesn’t raise the money quickly enough to prevent the building’s collapse) in exchange for being happier with the outcome if the risk pays off.

Also, while I greatly appreciated the amount of thoughtful public comment on the issue (both beforehand via email and during the public hearing), most of the comments just replicated the quandary:  the thrust of most people’s comments was for preservation of the building.  But of course everyone, and both proposals, agreed with that.  The question, rather, was whether to accept a higher risk of failure in order to end up with something we like better.

And that’s how I and four others (in a 5-2 split) voted:  to accept the greater risk in exchange for what I believe will be, if the risk pays off, a better outcome.

Incidentally, the toughest decisions since I’ve been on Council have consistently been on historic preservation issues, and almost always for the same reason:  a complicated mix of pros and cons.

Open Space, Ref. C, and Bus Terminals

Late last week I attended a briefing, hosted by the Transit Alliance, on the Union Station project in downtown Denver. I will tell you I think it's an amazingly cool project which will integrate local city buses, regional buses, light rail, Amtrack, Greyhound and other bus services, and every other kind of transit you can think of under one roof. Although I will be sad to see all the open space of the South Platte Valley (near LoDo in downtown Denver) vanish, if they pull this off it will be urban infill done right, and the entire Denver region will benefit from the incredible transit center that Union Station becomes. They just released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in case you want to dig into the details, but if you are more interested in the quick overview of what it will all look like I suggest RTD's power point presentation.Union Station has a lengthy history, and as best I can tell the project will do a good job of preserving its historic character and the large, open plaza despite the substantial expansion of the building and the complex.

This week I attended the TransitWest meeting and learned more about efforts on the I-70 corridor to push CDOT to consider something other than their typical "maximum asphalt" solution to congestion.

I also attended a briefing sponsored by the Bell Policy Center and a large bipartisan group of state legislators. They offered the clearest explanation of the state budget process I've ever heard, and made very clear that they are honoring their promises during the Ref. C campaign regarding how the legislature would spend Ref. C funds. The take-home message was pretty clear: Ref. C is allowing the state to tread water with respect to many critical programs like community colleges and other higher education funding needs, services for the mentally ill and the poor, transportation projects, K-12 education, and health care. I asked the distinguished panel (which included Senate Majority Leader Joan Fitz-Gerald, our own State Senator Moe Keller, and our own State House Representative Gwyn Green) where in this process they would establish reasonable sideboards on their transportation funding to ensure that CDOT appropriately prioritizes funding for transit and appropriately considers the needs of local communities before ramming careless, ineffective, and expensive projects down their throats. No one had a particularly satisfying answer ("this is just the appropriations process and those are policy questions"), although to Representative Green's credit she did politely point out the way in which many in the state legislature defer to CDOT's arm twisting. I think decisions about appropriations are policy decisions, and the legislature has a responsibility to ensure that CDOT and all other state agencies spend the taxpayers money appropriately.

Finally, this evening I attended Plan Jeffco's annual banquet, which was in part a celebration of the protection of the Ralston property and some adjacent land owned by the Mt. Vernon Country Club. Lots of folks deserve credit for pulling off the deal, including the Northwoodside Foundation, Clear Creek Land Conservancy, Jefferson County Open Space, Mt. Vernon Country Club, and of course Plan Jeffco. I like celebrations, and celebrating the protection of important open space is particularly satisfying.