by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
This update corrects an error in an earlier version of regarding funding and clarifies the scope of the Wadsworth corridor study.*
The set-aside money is an investment in the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority’s (AURA’s) efforts to rebuild the Triangle. The money is to be used to build a community recreational center (and quite possibly a pool) to encourage a redevelopment offer for the Triangle shopping district at Ralston Road and Independence Street.
As Fred Rogers would have put it, Monday was, “a beautiful day in this neighborhood.” For those of us hoping to restore recreational opportunities for neighborhood youth along the central Ralston Road corridor and to redeveloping the blighted Triangle shopping center, there’s a lot to be happy about this week.
A late Monday Council workshop was the conclusion of five grueling hours of budget reviews for major construction projects planned over the next ten years in Arvada. The Council review was held in two sessions, the first on Saturday July 14th and again on Monday July 30th.
At the end of that last session, Arvada’s City Manager, Mark Deven, proposed setting aside $3.1 million from the remaining available funds for 2013 for a ‘community recreation facility’ to support AURA’s urban renewal efforts in the Triangle. Citing frequent resident input on the need for community recreational facilities in the area, Mr Deven described the set-aside funding as an investment needed to jump start the Triangle’s redevelopment.
Does that mean it’s time to buy a new swimsuit? Not yet. Lots of things can go wrong. The funding is contingent upon AURA (and the City Council) receiving an acceptable redevelopment offer for the Triangle area. If there is no offer, there will be no recreation center or pool coming out of this set aside. Still, a private-investment redevelopment offer is starting to look a lot more likely as the local economy rebounds from the last recession.
That project, which has turned our park into a pile of dirt, mud and construction debris, will finally take the rest of the Triangle out of the Ralston Creek floodplain. Two summers of going without a park seems like a good trade for the benefit it brings to the neighborhood. Until now, flood insurance costs for the Triangle have effectively prevented the redevelopment of this run-down shopping center. And, as a bonus, nearly 100 homes built near the creek will no longer have to pay about $1200 a year to get flood insurance for their properties.
And, although seeming to get a favorable response during the Council workshops, the Council’s approval of the funding allocation is not a done deal. Several more budget workshops are planned over the next couple of months as the 2013/2014 budget is opened to public comment and final approval by the Council at the end of October. That approval may depend upon how much local support the Council feels there is for the concept.
Look to our website at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org for future opportunities to express your thoughts on the need for community recreation in our neighborhoods.
Still, City Manager Deven seemed optimistic and said that he was already in talks with Apex to manage a new pool at the Triangle for the City and to help tie down future operational and maintenance costs. If Apex is not willing to run the facility, there may be other organizations willing to run the recreation center for the City.
How will the City recoup its investment in the recreation facility? In a letter to the full Council, Mr Deven pointed out that the original AURA development at 52nd and Wadsworth now generates over $10 million annually in taxes for the City. He also reminded the Council of the strategic importance of the site saying that, “This area of the City represents our core, linking two rail stations connecting to major recreational opportunities” in the area.
What type of facility could our neighborhood get? Copied by permission is a photo of Wheat Ridge’s Anderson outdoor pool and recreation center taken by local photographer Paul Wedlake, who takes his kids there for swimming lessons. It has a deep end and is located at 44th Avenue and Field Street. This outdoor pool is used by many south Arvada residents. Although originally projected to run at an annual deficit, the pool is expected to show an operating profit this year because of the hot summer.
* In response to the first version of this article, the Arvada City Manager wrote, “The City investment will be funded by the General Fund with no expectation of repayment. It is simply an investment in the Urban Renewal project, should it become a reality, to meet a community need and generate activity in the area.”
“The City may need to loan AURA other funds to support the project and those funds would be paid back. However, the $3.1 million for the community recreation facilities is not related to such a loan.”
And there’s more good news. In the same workshops, the Council also supported Shelley Cook’s proposal to expand the planned Wadsworth Boulevard multi-modal corridor feasibility study to include Olde Wadsworth from Olde Town up past the Arvada High School. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Council is committed to development on Olde Wadsworth. It just means that the Council wants to see the consultant’s feasibility recommendations before doing any serious planning for the street. Also included in this large multi-modal corridor study is the concept of a ‘cultural corridor’ running from Olde Town to the Arvada Center.
Because of Gold Line demands on City Staff time, the study is not scheduled to begin until 2015 in the ten-year plan, but a couple of Council members wanted to see that schedule accelerated. According to Councilor Cook, RTD Director Lorraine Anderson thinks there may be an opportunity for reexaming RTD’s routes in the City when the Gold Line opens in 2016. That could mean new feeder routes to the Gold Line stations.
As it stand now, RTD plans to discontinue support for Ride Provide’s popular A-Line airport shuttle when the Gold Line becomes operational in 2016.
Additional photo credits:
The photograph of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is a ‘fair use’ photo taken from a Wikipedia site at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mister_Rogers%27_Neighborhood
The Fisher Pool photo was provided by Kristine Hanson Farley in a Facebook posting and was taken in 1977 by Greg Pattridge at the Peck Elementary 6th grade picnic. The diver on the right is Ulla Stump, a long-time North Jeffco swim coach and pool manager.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community regularly posts information on community development on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ when it becomes available. Or you can friend us on Facebook for important updates. Our name is ‘Ralston Arvada’
John Kiljan, CLRC Notes: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org