Olde Town Arvada Neighbors Work to Preserve Historic Reno Park


by Kelly Eargle

Hi Neighbors!

There are a few of us who live in Reno Park who have started a grassroots effort to preserve the integrity of our historic neighborhood and the history of the original settlers of Arvada. Sadly, a home in our historic neighborhood has been demolished. This home at 5608 Yarrow was built in 1900. We have heard that the owners are planning to build a single-family home in its place, but it will not be historically sympathetic.

Yarrow Street in the Reno Park District next to Olde Town

Yarrow Street in the Reno Park District next to Olde Town

In an effort to protect our neighborhood and the character of Olde Town Arvada, we are petitioning the city to change the zoning ordinance. Currently, zoning in part of Reno Park Historic District, including all of Yarrow and east Zephyr from Grandview to Ralston, is RM – Residential Multifamily, which is “intended to encourage a wide range of housing types, including apartments, townhomes, and condominiums to meet the diverse needs of the housing market” and allows for convenience stores.

Mixed Use Housing in Tennyson District

Mixed Use Housing in Tennyson District

Our desired is RSL – Residential Small Lot District that is “intended to preserve the size, scale, density and character of single-family residential development in the older, established neighborhoods of Arvada.”

If you would like to help us in our cause, including signing a petition, please contact me at earglek@gmail.com.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”.

27 July 2014

 

 

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The Triangle Gets a Big Development Boost


by John Kiljan
[updated: 26 July 2014]
[updated: 30 July 2014]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

The Buckingham companies have been selected to be the preferred developer for Ralston Creek North. The late-night Wednesday vote selecting Buckingham as the developer for Ralston Creek North was a unanimous 6-0 after an hour’s deliberation in a closed executive session by the AURA Board of Commissioners.

Ralston Creek North -- Proposed Site Plan

Ralston Creek North — Proposed Site Plan

The Buckingham proposal features a European-style beer garden where children can play while their parents have a beer and a bratwurst, lots of open public space, accessible bike and pedestrian connections to adjacent parks, maximum use of the ambience of Ralston Creek, substantial recreational facilities, park-friendly businesses next to the new Ralston Central Park, residential parking tucked under middle-income condos, restaurants with a local flavor, taller buildings set closer to Ralston Road and away from Brooks Drive, and maybe — just maybe — a nice community-sized pool where kids can learn to swim year-round, and many other features yet to be discussed with local neighborhood groups at future public meetings and feedback sessions.

One of the things that a number of commission members found attractive in the Buckingham proposal was the development companies’ willingness to not only build the new development, but to stay and own, operate and manage these facilities in the future as a continuing long-term investment.

In closing remarks after the developer selection, AURA Executive Director Maureen Phair said, “I just want to say this is a huge day. . . . We have worked since 2003 to redevelop the Triangle area, we’ve named it, we’ve branded it, and now we’ve got a wonderful first-class developer whose going to come in and really change this community for the better. . . . We have worked hard for a year in this solicitation process, through the training that we did as a group, through the Request for Qualifications, the Request for Proposals, and this selection tonight. I just want to say congratulations! I think you guys did a great job today picking the developer and thinking through why this developer would be the best one, so congratulations. It’s really huge and it’s really exciting. . . . This is my passion and I am thrilled — absolutely thrilled!”

Updates:  A more readable image of the above foam-board poster may be viewed at

https://static.arvada.org/…/Ralston_Creek_site_plan…

or by going to

http://arvada.org/ralston-creek

Buckingham Proposal for the Triangle -- click to enlarge

Buckingham Proposal for the Triangle — click to enlarge

If you are curious about the Buckingham group and the companies they have partnered with for this development, there is a useful post on a City of Arvada website at

http://arvada.org/pages/aura-selects-buckingham-companies-for-ralston-creek-development/

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
We’re still trying to get copies of the presentation material Buckingham used during the final selection process, so look for them in future postings, along with a projected agreement and construction schedule.

There is a (very) amateur video available online showing the final ten minutes of AURA selection meeting with comments by individual AURA commissioners saying what they liked best about the Buckingham proposal. Here’s the link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zwg5m582v7dp0w5/P1010889.MP4

AURA’s own web page for developments in Ralston Creek (aka, the Triangle) can be found at

http://arvada.org/ralston-creek-developer-solicitation

and at

http://arvada.org/about-arvada/ralston-creek

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Thursday  24 July 2014

 

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Important Meetings this Week


by John Kiljan

[updated July 22, 2014]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

The Triangle, even more Olde Town apartments, the A-Line to DIA, the Land Development Code — sometimes it’s the least-publicized City of Arvada meetings that are the most important to the well-being of the City.

RALSTON CREEK NORTH

Ralston Creek North

Ralston Creek North

On Wednesday, July 23rd, AURA will select a development team that will have the exclusive right to re-develop what is now being called “Ralston Creek North”, the shopping district just across Ralston Road to the north of the new Walmart Supercenter that is expect to begin construction in 2015.

There are two finalists in the request for proposals (RFP’s) being reviewed that night. And each proposal has complimentary teams of developers. They will be giving their final presentations in the 3rd-floor conference room in the Arvada City Hall at 5:30 pm. Access is via the lower entrance to the Arvada City Hall. If you want to see what is being planned for the area, take the elevator to the third floor of the building (the main door should be open but you cannot climb up the stairs or get off on the 2nd floor from the elevator) and look for the meeting room on the east side of the building.

How to deal with the need for a local community recreation center/pool near Ralston Central Park is likely to be a part of each developers’ presentations.

There will not be an opportunity for public input. After the presentations, the AURA board is expected to go into executive session to decide who the developer will be and under what conditions — or to decide not to give an exclusive development right to either developer responding to this much-anticipated RFP. This may be the most important decision AURA makes this year for the neighborhoods surrounding the Arvada Triangle.

SOLANA
On Tuesday, July 22nd, MKS Residential will be having an open meeting to discuss its Preliminary Development Plan for its proposal to build rental-only apartments in the last undeveloped tract of land in Olde Town. The site is just east of the mini-storage units on Wadsworth Bypass at Grandview Avenue. It has been named Solana after a site developed by the company in California.

East Side Apex Proposal

East Side Apex Proposal

Many uses have been proposed for this property — including a grocery store, pharmacy or a recreation facility in conjunction with the Apex Park and Recreation District — but so far the only commercial interest seems to be to construct up to three times the number of apartments now planned for Park Place Olde Town (at the corner of Ralston Road and Wadsworth Bypass) with two- and three-story walkup units. Some financial support from AURA may be sought for this project.

The meeting will be held at the Vineyard Church on Olde Wadsworth below the tracks from Olde Town at 6:00 pm and is open to the public.

SHUTTLE SERVICE TO DIA
The fate of the A-Line shuttle service to Denver International Airport hangs in the balance at an Arvada Planning Commission meeting being held Tuesday evening, July 22nd, at 6:30 pm.

Ride Provide's A-Line DIA Service

Ride Provide’s A-Line DIA Service

RTD’s financial support for Ride Provide’s A-Line shuttle service to DIA ends on opening day in 2016. The popular and predictable 40-minute service to DIA from Olde Town will be replaced by the Fastrack’s commuter rail service through Union Station.

Estimates are that travellers will have to arrive at the Olde Town Gold Line station up to an hour-and-a-half before their needed arrival time at DIA. The extra time is because of uncoordinated rail schedules and the need to change platforms at the new Denver Union Station transportation hub.

Ride Provide is hoping to use the parking lot next to the Cornerstone Building (behind the old Gunther Toody’s) to continue the service at a somewhat higher cost — and without RTD’s support. That requires a special-use permit from the City of Arvada approved by the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday.

It does not look like RTD will allow the A-Line, nor any other commuter van or taxi service, preferential access to the new tax-supported $20 million parking structure being built in Olde Town. So this may be the only alternative to a much longer ride to DIA — or to simply taking a $100 taxi ride (don’t forget the tip) directly to or from DIA.

If you, or your business, rely on quick, reliable and economical ($12) access to DIA, this would be a very good meeting to show up at to express your concerns or support.

Yep, the meeting is being held at the same time as the Solana meeting, so you will have to decide which is more important to you if you want to attend.

LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE
That’s your — or a business’ — authorization to use your/their property as you/they see fit within the City of Arvada.   The LDC describes the authority invested in the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustments, and the Olde Town Design Review Committee to modify zoning requirements. Vagueness in definitions in what is an industrial area is supposed to be and how it is meant to encourage employment are the reasons the latest review got started, according to Rita McConnell, City of Arvada Planning Manager.

This is only one of a long series of meetings being held to review the code that is open to the public. You need a reservation to attend and you should contact Rita as soon as you can to do that. Rita’s contact information is 720-898-7444 or rmcconnell@arvada.org.

The meeting is being held on the 3rd floor of City Hall between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Here’s the announcement link:

http://arvada.org/pages/city-invites-public-input-on-land-development-code

That’s right. The meeting is being held at the same time as the AURA developer selection meeting on the same floor in City Hall, but in a different room. You will have to decide on which meeting is more important to you.

UPDATE
On Tuesday evening, the Arvada Planning Commission approved the conditional use permit needed to keep the A-Line shuttle service to DIA running on a 5 to 0 vote after a number of public comments in support of the request.

The Solana facts sheet handed out at the MKS meeting at the Vineyard Church says that they are planning for 352 rental units on the 15-acre site.  76% will have their own garages.  They will be 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units (750 sq ft to 1.330 sq ft).  There will be a clubhouse, fitness center and a pool, but only for use by the residents.  The proposal goes to the Planning Commission in November.  Groundbreaking is expected in the spring of 2015.

The developer said there will be no apartments adjacent to Grandview.  That part will be used for a park (open to the public), with the 3-story units below the hill.  The apartments will be built to be convertible to owner-occupied condos later on.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Tuesday 21 July 2014

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Just How Poor Are We?


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

It’s a question that often comes up when citizens say that the City of Arvada should be doing more to attract high-quality retailers to central Arvada.

Typically, it comes in the form of a question such as, “Why can’t we get a Macy’s to locate in the Triangle instead of a Walmart?” And for central Arvada, the answer often comes down to the fact that we don’t make enough money to attract upper-scale retailers. People living in neighborhoods near the Arvada Triangle typically earn 30% less than the City overall.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

There are many factors a retail chain considers about a neighborhood before deciding to invest millions of dollars to build a new outlet in one. Traffic volumes, road access, education levels, ethnic backgrounds, age distributions — those, and more, are important criteria when a store chooses a new location.

And average income is one of the biggest criteria. The most often-used statistic seems to be a neighborhood’s “median household income”. “Median” means that half the family incomes are higher and half are lower. Median income is preferred over an average income number because it discounts very high- and very low-income households.

Information on median household income levels is easy to come by for Arvada as a whole. For local neighborhoods it’s a lot harder to get that information.

According to the draft Arvada Comprehensive Plan, Arvada’s median household income was $67,000 in 2011. That’s pretty good. It’s greater than unincorporated Jefferson County ($64,000), Westminster ($63,000), Thornton ($62,000), the Denver Metro Area as a whole ($59,000), and Wheat Ridge ($48,000). Overall, Arvada is pretty well off.

However, as a part of its effort to attract businesses to the Triangle, Arvada’s urban renewal authority (AURA) has published extensive statistics for the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the Ralston Creek shopping centers — which most of us still know as the Arvada Triangle. The Triangle (which is now officially known as Ralston Creek) includes Arvada Plaza, Arvada Square and the King Soopers and Kmart retail areas. In the nearby neighborhoods, the income numbers don’t look nearly as good.

According to the Jefferson County Business Resource Center there are 7259 households within one mile of the Triangle. And there are 42,594 households within three miles of the center of the Triangle, defined as the intersection of 58th Avenue and Independence Street.

For households within one mile of the Triangle (reaching almost to Olde Town), the median household income level drops from $67,000 a year to a mere $47,000 a year — 30% lower. For the three-mile radius, the numbers are a little better — $54,140 (or 19% lower). Those one- and three-mile income figures are for 2012, so the actual drop could be a bit worse than that.

That doesn’t mean the Triangle neighborhoods are poor. We are still pretty well off — about the same median income level as Wheat Ridge has overall. It just means that compared to other parts of Arvada, we have less discretionary income available to spend. And we offer less to retailers who have to rely on that discretionary income spending to keep their sales up.

Nor does it mean that no one wants to live in central Arvada anymore. Indeed, just the opposite seems to be true.

Central Arvada seems to be becoming a much more desirable place to live in and to raise a family in. The coming redevelopment of the Triangle, the completion of construction in Ralston Central Park and Wolff park, the coming of the Gold Line commuter rail line, the revitalization of Olde Town, the small-town feel that Arvada still has compared to most other metro-area cities — all are combining to make central Arvada a lot more attractive place to live in and to buy a home in.

Add to that a cutback in new housing construction during the Great Recession and legal impediments to building new owner-occupied condominiums, and that’s probably why for the last couple of years we haven’t been seeing FOR SALE signs popping up on lawns like mushrooms like they used to do every spring. Residential homes now seem to be selling as fast as they come onto the market.

Or even before they come on the market in what are being called off-market sales. I, and others, have heard anecdotal stories of houses getting a dozen purchase offers the day they are listed, and having a final sale price that is 50% higher than what the same house would have received only a few years earlier. (If you are selling a house, be sure to check out the referenced article below.)

The CLRC neighborhoods may be a little poorer than the rest of the City, but that doesn’t mean that central Arvada isn’t the best place to live in the City.

–John Kiljan

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
You can wade through a copy of the entire draft Arvada Comprehensive Plan and find out a lot about what Arvada is planning for the future by going to these links:

http://static.arvada.org/docs/Draft_Plan_WebQuality-1-201406191217.pdf

and

http://static.arvada.org/docs/Appendices1-1-201406181654.pdf

and, you can see the Ralston Creek Demographic Report (including the income levels) for the neighborhoods nearest the Arvada Triangle (Ralston Creek) by going to this link:

https://static.arvada.org/docs/Ralston_Creek_Demographic_Reports-1-201404011019.pdf

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

If you are selling your Arvada home because you need to downsize or move and your real estate agent is recommending an off-market sale, you will definitely want to read this Denver Post article on how expensive a mistake that can be. Here’s the link:

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_25959207/dora-colorado-agents-dont-keep-listings-off-market

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Tuesday 14 July 2014

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Would You Ride an Arvada Circulator Shuttle?


[updated 16 July 2014}

by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

That and other questions are now being asked of the public by the City of Arvada’s Transportation Committee. The survey doesn’t say much about where the shuttle service would run, nor does it talk about previous circulator feasibility studies.

Proposed Routes

Proposed Routes

Many routes have been proposed. Here is one graphic for several possible circulator shuttle routes done four years ago by Nelson/Nygaard as a part of the original Ralston Road corridor study. But other routes that might include connecting Olde Town with the Arvada Center have also been proposed.

This survey seems to be focused on connectivity with the new commuter rail stations, which is certainly worth asking about, but the most likely users of a circulator shuttle may not be those using the new Gold Line or responding to this poll.

The Lutz/Stenger fields just east of the Triangle draw a couple of million visitors a year from both Arvada and from around the region. Many of those visitors are unlikely to be connected to Arvada’s social media. And those large sports activities do a lot to increase traffic on 58th, the Kipling Parkway and into Olde Town. And on top of that, the Triangle shopping center (now known as Ralston Creek) looks like it is poised for a major renaissance that will also increase the numbers of people wanting to live or shop there.

Some of the questions are a little confusing and they could use some editing. Still, the survey is worth taking, and I hope everyone does take the two minutes it takes to do that. Here is the link to the survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Arvada-Shuttle

and here is the link to the brief information page about the survey on Arvada.org

http://arvada.org/pages/transportation-committee-seeks-citizen-input/

Update:  there is a short article in the Denver Post by Austin Briggs about this survey at

http://www.denverpost.com/arvada/ci_26146772/arvada-looks-at-shuttle-system-advance-gold-line

–John Kiljan

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. Hey, it’s not us. It’s Facebook that insists on spelling Livable that way.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Sunday, 29 June 2014

 

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City Wraps Up Comp Plan Input


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Speak now or forever hold your peace. The City of Arvada is now finishing up its public input phase for a planning document that will guide development in the City for the next decade.

OldeTownCPThe draft document is available online for public review and runs over a hundred pages — not counting appendices. That’s an awful lot to read, but it is not hard to look at just the parts for your own neighborhood.

RalstonRoadCPThe biggest changes to the current Comprehensive Plan appear to be in the rapidly growing neighborhoods along Indiana Street in west Arvada. The proposed revisions there look like they will increase that area’s density quite a bit. But there are also plenty of changes proposed for central Arvada as well — including the CLRC neighborhoods along Ralston Road, in Olde Town and at Arvada Ridge.

ArvadaRidgeCPAttached to this posting are images of the current Comprehensive Plan and the proposed changes for these areas. Click on any image to enlarge it, or go to the primary document page the City has at

http://arvada.org/community-development-department/arvada-plans/

WHERE TO COMMENT
You can use the City’s planning department’s comment forms downloadable at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/download/1447449842173650/Arvada%20Comp%20Plan%20Comments.pdf

Thanks to Michelle Hoffman for providing the link. They go to Kevin Nichols, City of Arvada Senior Planner, at 720-898-7464 or knichols@arvada.org . I believe the deadline for submitting those comments is this Wednesday, July 2nd.

Or, you can contact any member of the City’s Planning Commission with concerns or suggestions. That’s where it goes next for review and approval before being sent onto the full City Council for final approval. There is a workshop tentatively planned for July 8th for the Planning Commission to review public comments that citizens can sit in on. And both the Commission and the Council will have opening-meeting comment periods when they formally hear the proposals.

Here is a tentative listing of planned Comp Plan events provided by the City planning department. It’s a little dated, so there may yet be some changes.

July 2 Deadline for comments on Draft Plan

July 8 Planning Commission Workshop to go over public comments

July 11 Public Hearing Draft Published

July 21 Staff Packet for Planning Commission to Rita

August 5 Planning Commission hearing on Draft Plan

August 19 Second PC hearing on Draft Plan if necessary

August 25 City Council packet due for September 15 Council Public Hearing

September 15 Council Public Hearing on Plan

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway. You can catch us on our main website at RalstonCommunity.org or even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”.

John Kiljan
CLRC, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Saturday, 28 June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ralston Central Park to Open — Fences to Come Down on Tuesday


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Ralston Central Park -- click on any image to enlarge

Ralston Central Park — click on any image to enlarge

The park will have a dedication and celebration ceremony on Saturday, June 21st — the first day of summer — from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm with free food. The official announcement was made earlier today. The City is preparing to take down the fences blocking access to the new Ralston Central Park on Garrison Street by Tuesday of next week.

Here’s the link to the City’s announcement describing the dedication ceremony:

http://arvada.org/about-arvada/ralston-central-park-update/

Fish Sculpture

Fish Sculpture

As some of the few people who hadn’t already snuck into the park after construction hours to see what was going on, neighborhood association president TO Owens and I asked for, and got, an invite to have a short tour of the park on Tuesday morning earlier in the week. Arvada city parks manager Mike Lee and ECI construction superintendent Ian Mestdagh walked us through the site. These are my notes of what we were told in response to the many questions we put to them, plus some other background information.

Spray Grounds

Spray Grounds

The City will run the park and take care of the grounds maintenance. The Apex Park and Recreation District (which is not a part of the City of Arvada) will operate and maintain the splash pads, the restrooms and the special state-of-the-art ultraviolet water purification system that feeds the splash pads.

 

Recycled Water Purifiers

Recycled Water Purifiers

There have been outbreaks of water borne disease with splash pads in other states in past years, and these new facilities will meet the latest standards for water purity set by the Colorado Department of Health.

Shower and Pick-Up-Sticks Façade

Shower and Pick-Up-Sticks Façade

Youngsters will be sharing the spray grounds with toddlers wearing diapers, but there is also an outside shower to let your kids rinse off before and after leaving the splash decks.

Spray Fountain Actuator

Spray Fountain Actuator

No lifeguard will be on duty to monitor of the use of the splash pads. The water quality systems are set up to be remotely monitored by telephone. If you see the splash pads not running, it doesn’t mean they are not working. Your kids can turn them on by hitting the buttons on the activation posts.

 

Restroom Under Construction

Restroom Under Construction

The restrooms will not be open year-round — only during the warmer months. The pick-up-stick iron bars on the restroom building are not structural and they are intended to rust away over time. The building does not have a graffiti-resistant coating on it.

Pre-Opening Graffiti

Pre-Opening Graffiti

Speaking of which, the play areas have already been tagged. If you had a child come home late Monday night with orange finger tips, perhaps you should have a talk with him.

 

 

Pavilion Roof Tarp

Pavilion Roof Tarp

What had been dubbed the bring-your-own-tarp pavilion now has a tarp roof. But it’s not working very well and doesn’t drain the water properly. Parks manager Mike Lee says a fix is still in the works. It will probably be redesigned to drain the way it should sometime next year. The pavilion has a high roof so the rain protection is not complete if the wind is blowing, but the adjacent areas look perfect for the types of activities we saw happening near the old pavilion — frisbee tossing, badminton, touch football, volleyball and the like — perfect for high school graduation parties and big family get togethers.

Pavilion Barbecue

Pavilion Barbecue

 

 

Do be careful with the newly sodded lawns next the pavilion and elsewhere in the park. They are being over-watered to help root the new grass. The site is also very flat with only a 1% grade to Ralston Creek. That leaves a sponge-like surface that pools water in places. While we were there, underdrains were being installed below ground to deal with the worst puddles.

Mud Puddle

Mud Puddle

There will be pedestrian access from the north side of Ralston Road to the east, but nothing yet for bicycles, and there are no immediate plans to reinstall the push-button pedestrian crossing at Field Street.

P1010808

Memorial Gardens (under construction)

The part of the park in the [southwest] with the gardens was funded with a much-appreciated $250 thousand private donation from the Hernor family. They ran L&L Glass in Arvada for many years.

 

Apparently, there have been a number of design changes made to the project after the last concept plans were released to the public.

Some of those came when the lowest construction bid came in at about $400 thousand over the engineer’s estimate for the park. In a presentation to the Arvada City Council, the parks director, Gordon Reusink, had said that the design was afterward “value engineered” to bring down the total cost by about $700 thousand. Most of the changes were to reduce the number of brick pavers and to cut back the park’s lighting.

And, it might not matter considering how warm our winters have been getting, but I could not see any improvements to accommodate a sledding run from the Cattlemen’s Association down to the creek. This was a much-requested feature during public meetings.

Also changed were the wading pools in creek. They were eliminated on health concerns about high bacteria counts. The native grass areas near the creek are not supposed to mowed for the first five years, so we might start seeing some wildlife move back into the area.

Gone too is the hard-surface basketball court. It had been moved too close to a private residence and has since been eliminated entirely from the park.

It’s difficult to tell what the effects of the lighting cutback will be on people’s willingness to use the park after dark in the fall. During public meetings held before construction, residents frequently complained that the park was too dark at night and they didn’t feel safe being there. The old street lighting along Brooks Drive had drop lenses that illuminated the bike path that ran through the eastern (Hoskinson) part of the park. Those were replaced with white LED lights that don’t illuminate the trail next to the creek. However, there is a new eight-foot sidewalk adjacent to the south side of Brooks Drive that wasn’t there before.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Sign Erected Early 2012 When the Park Closed

This park was a long time in coming, and its construction took a year longer than was originally planned. People should be pretty happy to see it reopened after 26 months of being blocked off for construction.

P1010793

 

The park’s function is more than just recreation. It was part of larger plan to eliminate much of the flood damage that the [adjacent] Alta Vista neighborhoods were almost certain to suffer in coming years. A hundred-year flood would still be devastating for this part of Arvada, but the risk to homes close to the creek is now much less. The risk to nearby businesses is also much lower. This is something that lifts all of the property values in the area.

The new park is also expected to be an attractant for new business and residential development in the shopping areas immediately to the west of the park — something that this aging neighborhood could sorely use. The flood-control work in the park is one of the things making that possible.

Overall, the City’s website says that over $16 million was spent on the Ralston Creek channel reconstruction and rebuilding the park from [below] the ground up. There is rumored to be a relatively small remaining budget to fix up the types of post-construction problems that always seem to go with projects of this scale.

Now is the time to tell the City parks people what you like about the new park and what you think is not quite working right.   It’s also the time to thank your City Council members and City managers — both present and past — who spent years planning for and funding this effort.

So come to the Saturday afternoon opening. Say hello, and take a moment to thank them for their efforts and for leaving a much better neighborhood behind. They have done a lot to make central Arvada a better place to live.

The listed contact for park design issues is parks manager Mike Lee at 720-898-7390 or via email at mike-l@arvada.org

And lastly, if you see a party being held in the pavilion on early on Tuesday morning, don’t drop by. It’s being held as a private event for City employees to thank them for their participation. City offices will be opening a few hours late that day.

–John Kiljan

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

Friday, June 13, 2014

[RalstonCentralParkOpening.doc]

 

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