There has been a lot happening in the neighborhood in the last month and I thought it would be a good time to do an end-of-November wrap-up of the highlights for our members.
ARVADA CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
By now, everyone knows the results of the City Council elections: Voters moved Marc Williams to the Mayor’s seat and replaced him on the Council with Bob Fifer. Mark McGoff kept his District 2 seat. All in all, this was a vote of confidence in the City’s current governance.
However, there were a few election surprises. There was a very good showing by Ed Tomlinson and Cody McNutt in the At-Large and District 2 races. And voter interest was high. Turnout was a record for an off-year election, running about 50% higher than normal. All the candidates, including those running in the Mayor’s race, were complimented on running clean campaigns.
The other surprise was the interest in the candidate interviews conducted for the CLRC by T.O. Owens. T.O. met with five of the six candidates to go over a list of issues identified by the CLRC members as being important to our neighborhood association. I took the notes and did the write-ups. The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community’s www.RalstonCommunity.org website only had about 90 registered users as of October. Yet, the website got 3300 ‘hits’ from members and friends reading the interviews during that time — more than ten times what was expected.
It gets better. That number may only be a fraction of those who actually read the candidate interviews. T.O., who is also the CLRC’s website operator, reports that the CLRC now has 610 ‘friends’ on the Facebook social networking site. Facebook friends who read the articles by clicking on the posted interview links are not counted in the website hits. That number could easily exceed those who went to our main website to read the interviews.
That’s a lot of interested readers and a plus for the neighborhood association. If you want to friend the CLRC on Facebook, our name is ‘Ralston Arvada’.
A new Council is also the time for new committee assignments. Two are particularly important for the neighborhood. The first is the City’s representative on AURA’s Board of Commissioners. By unanimous vote of the Council, that position went to Mayor Williams who is replacing Councilor Shelley Cook on the Board. Councilor Cook in turn is slated to be the Council’s representative on the City’s Transportation Committee. Rachel Zenzinger, who has said the committee needs more meaningful assignments, will remain as the alternate for that committee. AURA will be reviewing any redevelopment offers for the Triangle shopping center, and the Transportation Committee is likely to have at least some review over the Ralston Road corridor plans when it is fleshed out in the coming year.
Ms Zenzinger will also be Arvada’s representative on the Denver Regional Council of Government’s (aka doctor cog) board of directors. DRCOG is the gateway organization for many federally funded construction and transportation planning studies. A few years ago DRCOG funded the Olde Town parking plan as well as an associated pedestrian and bicycle study. The Council also elected Rachel to be the City’s Mayor Pro Tem. That means that she will be the acting mayor when Marc Williams is out of town.
Speaking of which, Mayor Williams is attending a mayor’s seminar in Harvard this week under a grant from the university’s Institute of Politics. Topics at the seminar include finance, administration, job creation and economic development. That will give the City two Harvard-trained Council members — Councilor Cook is the other. Our new City Manager, Mark Deven, has commented that this is the most intelligent and well-educated city council he has ever worked with.
The Ralston Road Corridor Study is still very much alive, but don’t expect anything in December. At an October 14th budget study session, Mr Deven told the Council he hoped to come back to the Council with an options list for the Ralston Road widening and sidewalk design elements in November or December. However, at a Ralston Complex Advisory Committee (RCAG) meeting held on November 10th, City Traffic Engineer Patricia Lorence said that action has been pushed back to early January.
The Ralston Road Corridor Plan was the single subject of that last RCAG meeting. Meeting notes have yet to be published on the City’s Ralston Complex website, but don’t expect to see anything encouraging about sidewalk replacements when they are.
Sadly, Bob Manwaring, Arvada’s Director of Public Works said the soonest anyone could expect to see sidewalk upgrades on the connecting corridor would be three years from now. He cited the need for a preliminary plan, a cross-section template, horizontal curve design, then a final construction plan, then identifying a budget source and then going through a budget cycle for the project. Bob said that said that the three-year minimum estimate itself was probably optimistic. As Assistant City Manager Vicky Reier put it, “What we don’t want to do is invest is sidewalks or construction in any way that we would inevitably go back and tear out and have to redo soon after.”
The advisory committee itself has dissolved. The next scheduled meeting in December was cancelled and no further meetings are planned. However, it is still possible that the Council or City Staff may decide to reactivate the group in the coming year.
Anyone who has driven down Garrison Street lately or down it’s nearby streets and has seen heavy equipment, piping and backfill material piled in front of their homes knows that construction has started on the Ralston Creek rechannelization.
But this is just the light stuff. The water main replacement going on now is only the beginning of a project that is expected to be going gangbusters starting sometime in January or February. Once the new field houses are opened at the Lutz/Stenger field, there will be no impediments to pulling down the old field house at Garrison Street, closing the road, taking out the remaining trees and excavating a very large hole in the nearby park. Expect to see a lot of big trucks going down our roads in the coming months.
By the way, don’t forget to attend the Apex Field House Grand Opening being held Saturday, December 10th, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at 5724 Oak Street. It should be a good chance to see what recreational opportunities are available at this regional facility.
Vicky Reier has promised to update the actual park construction schedule frequently on the City’s project web pages listed below.
FEBRUARY CLRC MEETING
We’re thinking about it. The CLRC is nearly a year old. We now have 106 registred users on our website who receive regular updates and many more have friended us on Facebook. It’s time for another general meeting and we are looking for thoughts and ideas for an agenda. Look for more on this subject later on. In the meantime feel free to contact me or T.O. Owens with any ideas that you might have.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community will post more notes online on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as information becomes available. You can also pick up a news article link by friending us on Facebook using our RALSTON ARVADA Facebook name. Here are a few additional links that may be useful.
The City’s Ralston Complex website:
The City’s Ralston Road Corridor Plan website:
A link to an article linking the reader to all of the Arvada City Council election interviews:
A link to the City’s Garrison Street Bridge replacement and park reconstruction project:
The project schedule on this site is way out of date, but the City has promised to update it soon.
And for more information on the Apex field house grand opening on December 10th click on this link: