August 18, 2017

What’s Happening in Golden

August 9, City Council Business Meeting and Study Session
City Hall at 7 p.m. The agenda includes appointment to the Golden Urban Renewal Authority, a resolution in support of funding measures for Jeffco schools, amendments to the Rooney Road Sports Complex and recycling center agreements with Jefferson County, a presentation to City Council by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Golden’s Economic Future, GURA’s quarterly report to City Council, and a discussion about the creation of a Downtown Development Task Force. City Council is meeting with Colorado School of Mines representatives for dinner before the official meeting starts. You can review the complete agenda, download the packet, and watch the live screencast, all on the city’s website.

August 10, Movies & Music in the Park
The next Movies & Music in the Park event features Dwight Mark at 7pm followed by The Muppet Movie at about 8:30. If the weather holds, you’ll find Movies & Music in the Park on 17, as well (with Tommy & the Tangerines and the movie Dolphin Tale).

August 11, Golden Farmer’s Market
The Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday from 8am – 1pm through October 6. If you haven’t been down yet this year, you’ll find it’s even bigger and better than last year.

August 18-19, Golden Fine Arts Festival
Golden’s premier art fest – the Golden Fine Arts Festival – runs all weekend long on 11th Street alongside the Clear Creek History Park.

August 23, City Council Business Meeting
City Hall at 7 p.m. You can review the agenda about a week before the meeting, and you can watch the live screencast, all on the city’s website.

August 25, USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Golden is hosting the start of Stage 6 of this year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Just like last year, Golden is hosting a bunch of great events all weekend, including the “King of the Mountain” Lookout Mountain Hill Climb, the Taste of Golden block party, the movie Breaking Away at the Lions Park ballfields, and more.

August 28, Golden Cruise
The Golden Cruise is always the last Tuesday of the month, which means the next one is August 28. The action starts at Woody’s in downtown Golden at around 5:30pm with beer, free bike tune-ups, and plenty of frivolity. The Cruise starts at around 7pm.

September 1, Coffee With a Councilor
For folks living in the southern half of Golden, this is a chance to hear and ask questions of Councilor Saoirse Charis-Graves and other members of the City Council representing your part of town.

September 1, Golden Super Cruise
The Golden Super Cruise is cruising’ this summer, with official festivities running from 5-9pm. This is Golden’s car cruiser classic (not to be confused with the Golden Cruise, our bike cruiser event). There is one more Super Cruise evening scheduled for October 6.

September 7, First Friday Street Fair
Golden’s First Friday Street Fair continues in September. You’ll find inexpensive food, beer, music, kid-friendly entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more in historic downtown Golden from 5 – 10pm.

Two good websites for looking up other events in town are the city’s community calendar and Golden.com.

Jeffco’s Toll Highway Bill: DOA

This is the sort of thing I suspect Jeffco would like to build through Golden. Photo by Flickr user Hytok.

Breaking news in the beltway department: State Senator Betty Boyd and State Representative Vaad decided not to introduce their beltway bill. The bill, which was crafted and pushed by the Jefferson County Commissioners, would have created a super-powerful but unaccountable highway authority that could condemn any land it wanted in Golden in order to build their proposed toll superhighway. This was a wildly inappropriate piece of legislation written by some county commissioners who claim ideological integrity except when it’s inconvenient. It’s all the more ironic because the Jeffco commissioners claim to be such proponents of property rights and local control, yet here they were crafting and aggressively pushing a bill that was a blatant attack on both.

From my perspective, it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to reach an agreement back in December with Jeffco, Arvada, and Broomfield (after months of intense negotiations). We came close, but they ultimately insisted on language that would have undermined Golden’s ability to protect itself from highway projects being forced on us. For me, and for the City Council at the time, that was a line we simply would not cross.

I’m very glad that Mayor Sloan, the City Council, and the City of Golden staff worked as hard as they did to kill this bill. A reasonable solution that respect’s everyone’s needs is one thing; a situation where some communities can force something on another community is something else. I continue to support an agreement that truly protects Golden, and I hope City Council continues to support this two-pronged strategy: work hard for a reasonable agreement, but fight hard against anything – like this bill – that places an unreasonable burden or risk on our community.

Councilor Fisher published a good newsletter post on this issue as well; it’s worth a read.

Radio Golden is Live

Today we launched Radio Golden, an every-other-week-or-so podcast on news and politics here in Golden and Jeffco. For now, you can download the mp3 files from the RadioGolden.net website, or you can listen to them directly on the site. We are setting up the podcast through iTunes, as well, so you’ll be able to subscribe through iTunes to the Radio Golden podcast so that it downloads automatically into iTunes every time we post a new edition.

Episode #1:

  • Hosts Matt Burde, Pamela Gould, and Jacob Smith offer updates and commentary on Golden Valley and Golden City Council news, including the Golden light rail station and the South Neighborhoods Plan, Jeffco’s open space citizen survey, and a rundown on other new highlights of the past few weeks.
  • Upcoming opportunities to get involved in Golden.
  • A chat with Mayor Marjorie Sloan about City Council’s priorities and challenges for 2012.
  • Community Chatter … other news that folks are excited about.

You’ll also find the Episode #1 Extended Interview on the site, a longer interview with Mayor Sloan about the Council’s priorities and challenges.

Check it out and share your thoughts …

Jeffco Open Space Survey: Results

Lair o' the Bear (Flickr: bradleygee).


Last fall, Jeffco Open Space conducted a countywide “citizen survey” to assess current attitudes and to gather feedback about the open space system. The results are available online on the Jeffco Open Space website.

A few of the findings I thought were interesting:

  • Roughly four out of every five use Jeffco Open Space facilities.
  • Crown Hill, Lair o’ the Bear, and Deer Creek Canyon were the most frequently visited of all the parks. Most of the parks in the Golden area (e.g., Galbraith, South Table) were among the less frequently visited.
  • Lair o’ the Bear was, by far, the most visited park when bringing children along.
  • Among the activities people do in the parks, hiking/walking dominated at 87% (which isn’t surprising) but wildlife viewing was fourth with 40% (which I am a bit surprised by). Mountain biking, running, and biking (I assume road) were all comparable (29%, 24%, and 21% respectively).
  • There is a high level of support for designating specific trails for single uses and multiple uses. I interpreted this to mean that many people supported the idea of some trails being designated for single uses and others for multi-use.
  • There was a much lower level of support for alternating uses on the same trails.
  • There wasn’t much support for designating entire parks for a single type of trail use.
  • The formal survey found that 9% of respondents felt that current operating hours of open space parks are inadequate, while 41% of the online respondents felt that way. I know for runners (and maybe for others) this is a big issue, especially in the winter. For many folks who have a regular workweek, you can’t run on trails during the week in the winter except before dawn or after dark.

I’d love to know if you see anything in the results you are especially surprised or intrigued by.

Comments Due on Jeffco Bike/Ped Plan: January 31

Jefferson County is distributing draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan maps, and you’ve got until January 31 to comment. The Denver Post ran an article about the draft maps, and you’ll find some additional information on the Bike Jeffco website.

Jeffco Considers “Future Development” Rezoning Request on South Table Mountain

Castle Rock on South Table Mountain (thanks to Preston Driggers for the photo).

Among the most important open space accomplishments of the past couple of decades in Golden is the protection of South Table Mountain. Although South Table is mostly outside the city limits, it plays a critical part in protecting Golden’s small-town and historic character by helping buffer us from the impacts of regional growth in the Denver Metro area. Much of South Table is protected under Jeffco’s open space program, but the property owners of one important parcel are now asking the county to change the zoning designation from “open space” to “future development.” the forty acres in question are on the top of South Table Mountain at the end of the dirt road that extends from Quaker Street.

If you have any comments on this proposal, here are two good options (and you can do both): 1) You can send an email to Heather Gutherless (hgutherl@jeffco.us), the staff planner that is guiding the Central Plans Community Plan for the county, or 2) you can attend the county planning commission public hearing on Wednesday (Sept. 14) at Hearing Room 1 in the County Building. The public hearing is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m.

Many people in this community have worked very hard for a long time to protect South Table Mountain, and it’s important that Jeffco staff – which is presently supporting the current “open space” designation – hear from community members that support their position.

Keeping “Golden” in Our New Light Rail Station Name

The Jeffco end-of-line station (RTD photo).

I come across a lot of head-scratchers, but this one stands out. The Jefferson County Commissioners are insisting on naming the new light rail station “Jefferson County Government Center,” and are refusing to discuss any possible alternatives. I’m not a marketing person, but it seems to me that “government center” just isn’t a very effective marketing approach, and that anyone using the light rail station to get to the Jeffco campus will easily figure out which line and which stop they need, regardless of what the station name is. But the station serves much more than just the Taj; it also serves Colorado School of Mines, MillerCoors, downtown Golden, other Golden neighborhoods, and other portions of unincorporated Jefferson County. The station name ought to be much more focused on helping to draw visitors to all of those other locations.

The RTD board will make the final decision on May 17, and the RTD staff is recommending “Jefferson County Government Center – Golden Station.” It’s not a great name, but it is a lot better than the county’s choice and at least it is much more fair to Golden (and Golden has contributed a great deal to the project). The Golden City Council sent a letter to the RTD Board expressing our support for their staff recommendation.

What can you do? First, send an email to Golden’s two RTD board representatives, Lorraine Anderson (lorraine.anderson@rtd-denver.com) and Matt Cohen (matt.cohen@rtd-denver.com). Lorraine (who represents most of Golden) told me she is planning to support the county’s proposal (i.e., I believe she opposes including “Golden” in the name). Matt (who represents a small portion of southern Golden) is supporting the staff recommendation (i.e., including “Golden”). Second, send an email to the county commissioners (fgriffin@jeffco.us, drosier@jeffco.us, jodom@jeffco.us).

Please be polite and respectful, but you can clearly express your preference and ask that they think about the long-term benefit to everyone if we use a name that includes Golden, in addition to the simple issue of fairness.

Finally, if you are able, you can attend the RTD board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. I believe the meeting is at the RTD building in LoDo (1600 Blake St. right next to the Market Street Station).

Jeffco Library Community Survey Results

The Jefferson County Library has some challenges ahead: the Jefferson County Commissioners don’t typically fund the library at the full amount permitted under the library’s mill levy (which is controlled by the county), and it looks like they are going to take a bigger hit in 2011. As part of an effort to figure out how best to manage their budget restrictions, the Jeffco Library prepared a “State of the Library” update and they recently conducted a community survey.

The key conclusion of the survey: “A majority of Jefferson County residents who replied to the Library’s recent mail-in community survey feel that JCPL is doing an excellent or good job of meeting the needs of Jefferson County communities. Additionally, a majority of respondents strongly agreed that funding the Library is a good use of tax money and would rather see an increase in taxes to support libraries than see reductions in Library services.” Also, “[s]atisfaction with Library services and Library usage both ranked quite high among those completing the survey.”

Some of the other results:

  • Nearly 90 percent felt that JCPL does an excellent or good job in meeting the needs of local communities.
  • Over 80 percent said they currently have a Jefferson County Public Library card.
  • More than 80 percent also reported they had visited a Jefferson County Public Library location at least once in the previous 12 months.
  • Almost 85 percent strongly agreed that funding the library is a good use of tax money, and 97 percent of respondents at least somewhat agreed.
  • Over half of survey respondents strongly agreed that they would rather see an increase in taxes to support libraries rather than see reductions in library services, and 84 percent at least somewhat agreed.
  • Expansion of Library programs and services garnered robust support.
  • When asked to what extent they would support or oppose expansion of a variety of Library programs and services, two-thirds or more of respondents supported each of the options listed.
  • The most popular options for expansion, strongly supported by more than 40 percent of respondents and supported by over 90 percent, included:
    • resources for self-directed learning,
    • popular titles/current topics,
    • technology access and training,
    • early literacy/reading skills, and
    • support for educational achievement.
  • Those completing the survey were also in favor of technology improvements at the Library. The most popular options were more wireless Internet access, more online databases/resources, more computers/computer stations, more places to plug in laptop computers, and more computer classes/training.
  • The survey asked respondents what types of program or service reductions they would support if JCPL needed to cut services to meet lowered budgets. Of six options presented, the one with the most support was to reduce library hours of operation, supported by nearly two-thirds of respondents.
  • Two options were supported by about as many respondents as opposed them; these were reducing or eliminating outreach programs to special populations and reducing or eliminating classes and programs.
  • A third or less of respondents supported the idea of reducing or eliminating technology access and training, or reducing the collections, while two-thirds of respondents or more opposed these options.
  • The option with the least support was to permanently close one or more libraries; this alternative was supported by only 14 percent of respondents and opposed by 86 percent.

According to the Jeffco Library, the mail-in survey was sent to more than 3,800 randomly selected households in Jefferson County. They had 924 responses (24%) with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.  You can download the entire report if you want to read more.