July 19, 2018

City Council’s Retreat: Setting the Agenda for 2012-2013

The first priority on City Council's list for 2012-2013 is supporting Golden's schools and libraries.


The Golden City Council held its biannual retreat earlier in February, focusing on their work plan for the next two years. They identified nine general areas they want to focus on: (1) supporting Golden’s schools and libraries; (2) improving public space; (3) promoting a healthy community; (4) moving the ball forward on key transportation issues; (5) strengthening Golden’s neighborhoods; (6) fostering a strong relationship with Colorado School of Mines; (7) supporting a strong economy; (8) improving on the city’s capital improvement plan; and (9) meeting the city’s sustainability goals. It’s a great list but also a pretty expansive one, and I’m looking forward to learning more about how Council is planning to prioritize among those goals.

Three City Board Openings: Parks, Planning, & Sustainability

Three important city boards have openings, and they both represent great opportunities for Golden residents to play a role in shaping Golden’s future. The Planning Commission generally has responsibility for carefully reviewing land use proposals – rezonings, site plans, and other issues – and making recommendations to City Council about final decisions. The Planning Commission recommendations carry a great deal of weight with City Council, so this board plays an important role in shaping how land use occurs in Golden.  In addition, they are playing a major role in writing the new Comprehensive Plan for Golden, work on three neighborhood plans, and infill development issues.  This opening is for an alternate position that runs through January 2014.  The alternate is a full member of the PlanningCommission except that he or she only votes if someone else is absent.  In practice I think this means that the alternate plays a significant role.  The application deadline is 5 p.m. on February 24.   Learn more information about the application process and about the Planning Commission.

 

The Sustainability Advisory Board serves as the steward of Golden’s ten-year Sustainability Initiative.  Their responsibility is to guide our efforts to accomplish our ambitious ten-year sustainability goals on water use, energy use and renewable energy, solid waste disposal, and other long-term sustainability issues.  The opening is for a term that ends in February 2012 (after which you could apply to be reappointed).  The application deadline is 5 p.m. on February 23.  You can download the application and learn more on the city’s web site, and you can learn more about the board itself on their web page.

 

Finally, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has openings coming up as well.  Their role is to advise the PlanningCommission and City Council on the development and growth of our parks and recreational facilities within the city, and there is a lot going on: wrapping up the Clear Creek Master Plan, working on improvements to existing parks, new neighborhood parks, open space issues, and a master plan for the Tony Grampsas park as well.  The application deadline is March 30 at 5 p.m.   Learn more about the board and download the application.

What’s Your Vision for the Clear Creek Corridor?

Golden has always been defined, in part, by Clear Creek, and it goes without saying that the Clear Creek Corridor is part of the heart of Golden. We’ve done a lot of work on the corridor in recent years, including the new bridge just east of 6th Avenue, the new trail (to be completed hopefully later this year) on the south side of the creek connecting to a new trail along 6th Avenue, the Golden Community Garden, and improvements to the whitewater course. There are plenty of other ideas swirling about, and we are about to launch a new master plan process to sort through all the ideas and adopt a plan for the next ten to fifteen years.

The basic question is pretty simple: what do we want the Clear Creek Corridor to be like over the next ten to fifteen years? Some of the specific questions might include:

  • Are there recreational amenities that we’d like to expand, or new ones that we’d like to add?
  • What are the best ways to reduce the amount of conflict between users (e.g., between different kinds of trail users)?
  • Should the current location of the Golden Community Garden become its permanent home?
  • Do we want to keep City Hall and the Golden History Center in their current locations or do we want to consider creating a new municipal center in East Downtown? Relocating them would open up some public land along the creek that might be really valuable for other community uses, and it would move City Hall out of the floodplain, but there are good reasons to keep them where they are.

We are starting with a series of community meetings at which everyone is welcome to share your ideas and thoughts.

Monday April 26, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Community Center. Topic: neighborhoods
Thursday, April 29, 3 – 8:30 p.m. at the Golden Community Center. Topics: events, history, education, and the natural environment
Saturday, May 1, 9 – 10 a.m. at City Hall. Topics: “The Creek Meeting”
Saturday, May 1, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at City Hall. Topics: trails, circulation
Saturday, May 1, 1 – 3 p.m. at City Hall. Topics: “active recreation”

If you can’t attend any of these meetings, or if you just want to learn more, visit the Clear Creek Master Plan web site.

What's Your Vision for the Clear Creek Corridor?

Golden has always been defined, in part, by Clear Creek, and it goes without saying that the Clear Creek Corridor is part of the heart of Golden. We’ve done a lot of work on the corridor in recent years, including the new bridge just east of 6th Avenue, the new trail (to be completed hopefully later this year) on the south side of the creek connecting to a new trail along 6th Avenue, the Golden Community Garden, and improvements to the whitewater course. There are plenty of other ideas swirling about, and we are about to launch a new master plan process to sort through all the ideas and adopt a plan for the next ten to fifteen years.

The basic question is pretty simple: what do we want the Clear Creek Corridor to be like over the next ten to fifteen years? Some of the specific questions might include:

  • Are there recreational amenities that we’d like to expand, or new ones that we’d like to add?
  • What are the best ways to reduce the amount of conflict between users (e.g., between different kinds of trail users)?
  • Should the current location of the Golden Community Garden become its permanent home?
  • Do we want to keep City Hall and the Golden History Center in their current locations or do we want to consider creating a new municipal center in East Downtown? Relocating them would open up some public land along the creek that might be really valuable for other community uses, and it would move City Hall out of the floodplain, but there are good reasons to keep them where they are.

We are starting with a series of community meetings at which everyone is welcome to share your ideas and thoughts.

Monday April 26, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Golden Community Center. Topic: neighborhoods
Thursday, April 29, 3 – 8:30 p.m. at the Golden Community Center. Topics: events, history, education, and the natural environment
Saturday, May 1, 9 – 10 a.m. at City Hall. Topics: “The Creek Meeting”
Saturday, May 1, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at City Hall. Topics: trails, circulation
Saturday, May 1, 1 – 3 p.m. at City Hall. Topics: “active recreation”

If you can’t attend any of these meetings, or if you just want to learn more, visit the Clear Creek Master Plan web site.

Jacob’s Golden Update: Mountain Bike Skills Park and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: March 16, 2010

1. Mountain Bike Skills Park Gets the Green Light
2. Golden Vision Summit: March 23
3. Jackson Street Corridor: Additional Refinements
4. City Council Supports Renewable Energy Bills
5. 2010 Census Kicks Off
6. Shelton Elementary’s Big Heart
7. i-Neighbors: Beverly Heights
8. Jacob’s Golden Blog Roundup
9. Other Upcoming Events
10. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, April 8
[Read more…]

Jacob's Golden Update: Mountain Bike Skills Park and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: March 16, 2010

1. Mountain Bike Skills Park Gets the Green Light
2. Golden Vision Summit: March 23
3. Jackson Street Corridor: Additional Refinements
4. City Council Supports Renewable Energy Bills
5. 2010 Census Kicks Off
6. Shelton Elementary’s Big Heart
7. i-Neighbors: Beverly Heights
8. Jacob’s Golden Blog Roundup
9. Other Upcoming Events
10. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, April 8
[Read more…]

Vancouver’s Ambitious Vision

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia is getting some attention for its new Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future city strategy and vision document.  Their new vision statement eloquently highlights the links between environmental and economic health:

We envision a bright green future that couples economic prosperity, health, and happiness with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. We envision less pollution and cleaner air, less machine noise and more birdsong, less pavement and more green space, fewer sick days and healthier people. We want to send a clear and compelling message to the world: prosperity and environmental stewardship can be partners, not opposing forces. We can meet the challenge of climate change in ways that will improve the quality of life for our children, and our children’s children.

Their new city plan sets a high bar for community visions:

  • Create 20,000 new green jobs.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent from 2007 levels.
  • All new construction is carbon neutral.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 20 percent.
  • The majority of trips in the city (more than 50%) are by foot, bicycle, and public transit.
  • Reduce per capita solid waste going to the landfill or incinerator by 40%.
  • Every person walks within a five-minute walk of a park, beach, greenway, or other natural space.
  • Plant 150,000 additional trees in the city.
  • Reduce per capita ecological footprint by 33 percent.
  • Always meet or beat the strongest of B.C., Canada, and World Health Organization drinking water standards.
  • Reduce per capita water consumption by 33 percent.
  • Always meet or beat World Health Organization air quality guidelines.
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of our food by 33 percent.

In case you haven’t looked at it in a while, I inserted our own Golden Sustainability Initiative goals below.  Vancouver is definitely setting an ambitious bar, but the comparison is encouraging because ours goals, while they are ambitious, are pretty moderate by comparison.  The Sustainability Advisory Board will be reporting to City Council in the near future on their progress toward meeting our goals.  We’ll figure out where we are at and what adjustments we need to make to help the board, city staff, and community groups keep the ball moving forward.

Golden Sustainability Initiative Goals adopted Aug. 2007

Vancouver's Ambitious Vision

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia is getting some attention for its new Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future city strategy and vision document.  Their new vision statement eloquently highlights the links between environmental and economic health:

We envision a bright green future that couples economic prosperity, health, and happiness with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. We envision less pollution and cleaner air, less machine noise and more birdsong, less pavement and more green space, fewer sick days and healthier people. We want to send a clear and compelling message to the world: prosperity and environmental stewardship can be partners, not opposing forces. We can meet the challenge of climate change in ways that will improve the quality of life for our children, and our children’s children.

Their new city plan sets a high bar for community visions:

  • Create 20,000 new green jobs.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent from 2007 levels.
  • All new construction is carbon neutral.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings by 20 percent.
  • The majority of trips in the city (more than 50%) are by foot, bicycle, and public transit.
  • Reduce per capita solid waste going to the landfill or incinerator by 40%.
  • Every person walks within a five-minute walk of a park, beach, greenway, or other natural space.
  • Plant 150,000 additional trees in the city.
  • Reduce per capita ecological footprint by 33 percent.
  • Always meet or beat the strongest of B.C., Canada, and World Health Organization drinking water standards.
  • Reduce per capita water consumption by 33 percent.
  • Always meet or beat World Health Organization air quality guidelines.
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of our food by 33 percent.

In case you haven’t looked at it in a while, I inserted our own Golden Sustainability Initiative goals below.  Vancouver is definitely setting an ambitious bar, but the comparison is encouraging because ours goals, while they are ambitious, are pretty moderate by comparison.  The Sustainability Advisory Board will be reporting to City Council in the near future on their progress toward meeting our goals.  We’ll figure out where we are at and what adjustments we need to make to help the board, city staff, and community groups keep the ball moving forward.

Golden Sustainability Initiative Goals adopted Aug. 2007

Parks and Recreation Department Earns Professional Accreditation

Golden’s Parks and Recreation Department is now formally accredited by the professional association of Parks and Recreation Departments.  What’s the big deal?  The accreditation process involves a thorough review of everything the department does: how it manages the community’s recreational facilities, how it runs our recreational programs, how efficient it is, and all sorts of other issues that boil down to ensuring a very high efficiency and high-performing operation.  Earning the accreditation means that our department is doing a top-notch job, employing best practices, and providing high value to Golden residents.  Golden’s Parks and Recreation Department is the first in Colorado to earn this accreditation.  The only two other departments with professional accreditation processes – our Police Department and our Public Works Department – have achieved this recognition as well, and only six other cities in the country have earned accreditation for all three of their departments.  Hats off to staff for doing such a great job with our parks, trails, Community Center, golf course, and the rest of it.

Thanks to Bill Fisher for this photo of one of our downtown parks.

Thanks to Bill Fisher for this photo of one of our premier downtown parks.

Crafting a Vision for Downtown Parks and Parking

Park(ing) Day – the program to temporarily convert parking spots into parks for a day – earned some media and blogosphere attention in the past couple of weeks.  I think it’s a fun idea, but I find the idea more interesting for the conversations it provokes about public space, parking, and vibrant downtowns.  That provocation, I assume, is the point.

large_park2

A temporary park on Southwest Fifth Avenue in downtown Portland between Alder and Washington streets.

Now if a downtown merchant comes up with a cool idea for converting a parking spot in front of their business into a public space, for example, I’d certainly consider it (an idea that surfaced at last week’s City Council meeting).  But I’m particularly interested in crafting a sensible vision for the redeveloping portion of our downtown (roughly between Washington and Ford, which we might call East Downtown), and doing so in a way that intelligently incorporates public space, so I’d especially welcome a thoughtful and coherent conversation about what sort of public space might make the most sense, where it should go, and how it should look.

That conversation has been more challenging than I might have expected, since we don’t yet have a good process for figuring out what we want East Downtown to look like and because of how strongly our downtown retailers group has opposed any additional public space downtown (I love ’em but on this issue we disagree).

A temporary "Pavement to Parks" project in San Francisco at 17th and Castro ("Castro Commons").

A temporary "Pavement to Parks" project in San Francisco at 17th and Castro ("Castro Commons").

I’ve been inquiring about the research assessing the economic value of public space in urban environments.  Given how obvious the question is, the number of urban public spaces across the country, and the exploding and sustained interest in urban redevelopment, I’m pretty surprised at how little I’ve found so far.  In fact, only two sources have uncovered anything, and they both found the same Trust for Public Lands study.  It’s useful but limited.  We know, though, that parks and similar public space can have a substantial positive impact on the value of property in residential areas, and it certainly seems intuitive that a good balance of public space will help draw more people to downtown and that they’ll end up spending more time there, both of which should be good for our merchants and our sales tax.

The good and not very surprising news is that the TPL study does identify a number of clear economic benefits (including some that I hadn’t thought of), but some additional research that more directly tackles what surely must be the two most politically relevant economic benefits questions in most contexts – property tax and sales and use tax implications – would be helpful.

Park(ing) Day projects in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Park(ing) Day projects in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The “Pavement to Parks” approach (described in this New York Times article), is interesting because it often employs what you might call a “borrow” model: it often requires little capital up front and the public use conversion is generally reversible.  This discussion is happening in a limited way in Golden right now because of GURA’s plans to develop their on 13th between Prospectors Alley and Jackson St.  While I’m very supportive of creating additional public space downtown as we redevelop, I also think it’s hard to figure out where the right locations for parks are without a clear vision for the area, and that particular lot might or might not be a good one.  The idea of a temporary park may fit the bill perfectly, as it allows us to test drive a park, so to speak, while not foreclosing on any other options.  And just in case you are concerned about the adequacy of parking downtown, we’ll get the final results on a detailed parking study soon, but the preliminary results suggest that we have far more than we need, so we probably have some maneuvering room.

By the way, the NYT article links to an interesting video about Park(ing) Day.  It focuses on San Francisco but touches on other projects as well.  If you watch the last thirty seconds or so you’ll see a montage of Park(ing) Day conversions all over the world.