Neighborhood Update #12: Garrison St, Memorial Park, Apex survey, parking enforcement, water restrictions, Walmart and more


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to put together a neighborhood update and there’s lots to cover this month. Fortunately, the Arvada Press and YourHub have been doing a pretty good job covering the most important local events, so we’ll concentrate on other news items here.

DELAYS IN REOPENING GARRISON STREET

Garrison Street Bridge nears completion

Garrison Street Bridge nears completion

As feared, the reopening of the Garrison Street bridge over Ralston Creek has been pushed back by at least another two months. The bridge will now be closed through April. The structure is nearly complete, but its approaches are not and it doesn’t look like construction has started on the new Garrison entryway to the park adjacent to it. In the meantime, new signing has been added to stop even pedestrians and cyclists from using the new bridge.The City has an announcement about the delay and its efforts to notify local businesses posted on its website at

http://arvada.org/parks-and-recreation/garrison-street-north-jeffco-park-renovation

Don’t bother with the “H. Timeline for Wolff Park and Garrison Street Project” link on that website. It still shows Wolff Park being completed last September and Garrison Street reopening in November of 2012. Hopefully, the October 2013 opening date can still be met for the completion of the Garrison Street park itself, but Apex is saying that, because of the season, the new sprayground feature in the park will not be opened until the spring of 2014, and we still don’t know what the effect of the new watering restrictions (see below) will be on the construction schedule.

MEMORIAL PARK
The Memorial Park design open house held on March 11th was well attended. Attendees were given stickers to vote on one of two redesign options for the park — either Option A or Option B. The park design consultant said that Option A received the most votes, but that there were enough comment notes placed on the poster boards suggesting changes that a third design incorporating elements of both options will be drawn up for a final open-house meeting early next month.

OptionA2_1
That final design open-house meeting has been moved from the Anne Campbell Room, where the first meeting was held, to the City Hall Atrium. The entry should be through the lower City Hall entryway. The meeting will be held Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

OptionB_1
If you plan to attend the meeting and/or you missed the first one, you might want to review the first two design options copied here. They have enough detail that you can see the design elements that were hard to see on the last open-house session’s poster boards. You should be able to see all that detail by clicking on the attached images.

It’s too late to provide input into Options A and B, but readers can still ask questions by contacting the design consultant, Kristin Cypher at the Britina Design Group, at kristin@britina.com or call 303-456-2887 ext 302.

APEX PUBLIC INPUT MEETINGS
I attended the first and the last of three public-input meetings that Apex held last month. They were set up to get feedback on the Apex Vision 2020 Committee’s report. Apex accepted that ten-page report last year and copies are available on Apex’s website at

http://apexprd.org/vision-2020-citizens-review-committee-report

Eastside Rec Center Board

Apex Eastside Rec Center Board

For the central Ralston Road neighborhoods the report is significant in that it recommends dropping a replacement facility for the now-razed Fisher Pool and expansion of the Secrest outdoor pool facility east of Wadsworth Blvd since new facilities at these locations would not fully pay for their operational expenses. Instead, the committee’s report recommends expansion and renovation of Apex facilities that are expected to have a district-wide and region-wide appeal. That includes a large new facility on the Arvada Center campus at 68th and Wadsworth that could cost as much to build as the existing Apex Center at 72nd and Youngfield did.

Apex Center at 72nd Ave

Apex Center at 72nd Ave

Apex reported only reported 63 attendees for all three meetings. That’s pretty thin. The first meeting I attended had 25 attendees. Of those, all but nine were either members of the Vision 2020 Committee (whose report we were being asked to review), or Apex employees, or Apex directors, or members of the consultant’s presentation team. Apex is supported by over 100,000 residents living within the Apex Park & Recreation District boundaries.

Apex has now mailed out 3000 random-sample surveys that should do a lot better in getting public feedback. The park and recreation district currently plans to review those returns at a May meeting.

Long Lake Ranch plan
Long Lake Ranch plan

If you did not receive a survey form — very likely considering the numbers — you can still participate in different set of rotating surveys that may run through May by signing onto a MindMixer website at

http://www.engageapexprd.com/

You have to register first, and anonymous sign-ins are not allowed. You also have to state the year you were born if you are signing up with your email address. If you don’t want to do that, just put down 1900 for your birth year. That’s what my kids taught me to do when registering on new sites when I didn’t want to give out personal information.

There was also a YourHub article about the surveys written by Emilie Rusch last February that you can read at

http://yourhub.denverpost.com/arvada/apex-park-recreation-district-seeks-input-prioritizing-four/xc4lTEdSoU3IFI7gRvgM6O-story

CHANGING COUNCIL DISTRICT BOUNDARIES AND NOVEMBER ELECTIONS
Are you in a new City Council district? If you live south of Arvada High School, or on either side of Ralston Road near Arvada West High School, or west of Ward Road, you very well might be. Most of the Arvada City Council members wanted to keep the district boundaries as unchanged as possible, but some changes were needed anyway to conform to State redistricting laws. Readers should be able to find their Council District by clicking on the attached map and then enlarging the image.

City_Council_Districts2013_1

The boundary changes may affect the fall Council elections. Many of those living in neighborhoods south of Arvada High School down to Barbara Ann Drive will only be able to vote for the next at-large seat since they have now moved to into Mark McGoff’s District 2, which also covers the east side of Olde Wadsworth near Olde Town. District 2 is not up for a vote this year but District 3 is. Added to District 3 are a couple of neighborhoods near Arvada West High School.

Of course District 3 isn’t the only race of interest to the CLRC neighborhoods. We also have an at-large seat now held by Don Allard coming up for a vote in November. And residents of Council District 1, now held by Rachel Zenzinger, and whose boundaries have also changed, will be voting for their own district representative in November. We won’t know who is running for what Council slots until the August when there is a filing deadline for the Council candidates.

WATERING RESTRICTIONS
This isn’t good news.

Watering restrictions could get ugly this spring and summer. And the restrictions have the potential to affect new plantings in both the new park on Garrison Street and in the recently sodded Wolff Park next to the Arvada K-8 school.

Denver is scheduled to start its watering restrictions on April 1st. Arvada is expected to follow with its own restrictions after approval by the City Council on April 15th. Denver currently plans to limit outside watering to only two days a week — the toughest restrictions since the drought of 2002 – 2003.

Don’t blame the Council if we get the same restrictions as Denver. It’s not their fault. Denver sells us their untreated water. Arvada’s contractual service agreement with Denver Water requires Arvada to have substantially the same watering restrictions as Denver does. Other Denver suburbs receiving Denver water have the same requirements. I’m a hose dragger myself and most of my own lawn died in the ’02 – ’03 drought and has yet to recover.

There is some good news, however. Arvada Utilities Director Jim Sullivan says that City parks won’t have to keep to the same watering schedule as residential users will. Instead parks will be given a “water budget” for all our parks based upon their previous water usage. That will give our parks’ managers considerable flexibility on how they use their water allocation. Parks with high traffic and new plantings will probably need more water than lesser-used facilities.

Also, even though the new granular activated charcoal (GAC) filters didn’t get put in last year as hoped, they are still expected to be fully installed and working sometime in June — just before the algal bloom we saw last year in the Arvada/Blunn reservoir that made our tap water smell so musty.

The Denver Post has a nice article on the reasons behind the new watering restrictions at this link:

http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_22785909/area-water-providers-will-seek-restrict-watering-twice?source=rss

Arvada Gardens at the Triangle

Arvada Gardens at the Triangle

Will there be a return of the ticket-writing water monitors? We won’t know that till after March 27th when Denver finalizes its own restrictions, but the general rule is that if Denver has water monitors, Arvada will have to have them too. Will this affect the planting and sod laying schedule and delay the opening of the new Garrison Street park even further? The new Garrison park will no longer take water from the Swadley Ditch as it has in past years. Again, it’s way too early to tell what will happen to the schedule, but our parks managers may have some tough choices to make this summer.

Suggestions for reducing water usage? One of the best I’ve heard is to plant a garden. Mr Sullivan says that a typical garden plot will use about one-third less water than an equivalent grass lawn because of the shorter growing season. Also, watering restrictions are likely to be a lot less for a garden plot than for a lawn.

CLRC member T.O. Owens provided this link to a Denver Water website that talks about watering restrictions for gardens:

http://www.denverwater.org/Conservation/TipsTools/Outdoor/VegetableGarden/

TRAFFIC LIGHT AT CARR AND BROOKS DRIVE

Carr at Brooks Driive

Carr at Brooks Driive

There’s a new construction sign at the intersection of Carr and Brooks Drive. The traffic signal at that location was scheduled to be shut off at the end of last month, but it now looks like it will be operating at least through the summer. The sign’s message matches a letter by the City Traffic Engineer sent to local resident and City Hall petitioner, Dennis Trumm, at the end of January.

Vehicles lining up on Brooks Drive

It says in part, “. . . due to significant public interest, the City plans to leave the signal in place for a few months after the opening of Garrison Street and likely until after the park opens. By that time, traffic patterns from Garrison Street will have returned to normal and any additional traffic at Carr Street and Brooks Drive generated by the park will have returned to a ‘new’ normal.”

“At that time, the City will evaluate the need for a permanent traffic signal at this intersection. To determine the need, the traffic signal will be placed in a flashing operation to obtain the necessary data. Once the data is collected, City staff will conduct the evaluation using Federal criteria to determine if a permanent signal is warranted.”

“We will be in contact with the neighborhood when the signal is changed to flash.”

OLDE TOWN PARKING
The City of Arvada is still working on its new draft parking enforcement ordinance for Olde Town. Actually, the ordinance will apply across the City, but only Olde Town will have the two new City “Police Service Technicians” patrolling its streets.

The City is starting out small — both positions will be part time. And, at first, only warning tickets will be issued with hard enforcement for those parking longer than the posted limits beginning on October 1, 2013.

Thirty-year Arvada Police Department veteran, Commander Kathy Foos, volunteered to take on the job of drafting the new ordinance as a stretch assignment. She said it had been a lot more difficult assignment than she first imagined it would be in trying to reach consensus among so many different interests. When I talked with her, she said she found the input from the City Council members to be particularly helpful.

Parking enforcement has long been a sensitive issue for the City Council, and the Council had lots to say about a first-cut draft ordinance presented by Commander Foos at a January 28th Council workshop. The biggest issues of contention centered around if (and when) violators would be towed and whether the City should enforce parking limits on private property. Mayor Williams was concerned that first-time offenders might come back from a restaurant only to find their car had been towed away, and other Council members questioned the wisdom of enforcing private parking for Olde Town businesses.

It’s likely the first draft of the proposed ordinance will be changed to reflect those concerns before it is published as a ‘first reading’ by the City Council and available for public comment.

Denver parking enforcement

Denver parking enforcement

Most of the Council wants to get started early on parking enforcement so that all the bugs are worked out before opening day for the new RTD Gold Line commuter rail service. But it’s not just opening day. Construction activities to build the Olde Town station and the rails leading to it will require land to be set aside for staging areas and construction worker parking over the next three years. That will reduce available parking in the area.

The new ordinance will set up a new type of civil parking violation that will not involve a summons or jail time for scofflaws. Violators will also have the opportunity to go before a City-designated hearing officer to appeal a ticket. Fine amounts are expected to be set by the Council and will probably be close to the $20 to $40 range that other Denver suburbs use for first-time violators. Unpaid fines or multiple violations could see charges doubled or tripled.

Does this mean there is no fear of getting a ticket until October? Or that you can just rub the chalk off of your tires after that? Well, no, it doesn’t. The City is cheerfully issuing tickets right now for infractions such as illegal parking in handicap spots, for blocking driveways, parking in front of a fire hydrant, or for parking more than 12 inches from the curb. According to Commander Foos, those kinds of infractions will result in a summons and fine. Nor will the City be waiting till October to track its warning tickets.

And the days of labor-intensive “meter maids” and chalked tires are rapidly fading. Expect vehicles in Olde Town to be tracked electronically. You will really have to move your car when your time is up, or pay the fine.

YourHub has an online article about Olde Town parking that you can read by clicking on this link:

http://yourhub.denverpost.com/arvada/arvada-prepares-gold-line-parking-enforcement/Upfsq4dFk8SG8RVBoQlinN-story

Or you can follow this shortlink:

http://dpo.st/XmsuiH

Does this mean we’re closer to the day when we’ll see parking meters in Olde Town? Perhaps. But that’s a story for another day which has more to do with the City’s efforts to build one or more parking structures in Olde Town and legislation that may allow RTD to charge for parking in its own parking lots.

WALMART

New Lakeside Walmart

New Lakeside Walmart

IRG has filed its formal application to build a Walmart Supercenter in the Triangle. The AURA website at ArvadaTriangle.org now has lots of new files. But much of the information is technical and I’m still wading through it all. Look for the section labeled “Arvada Plaza Redevelopment — First Submittal” for the new additions. What is available now are clear copies of the concept plans for the Arvada Plaza portion of the Triangle and front, side and back elevations for the new buildings.

So far, the only significant changes I’m seeing are in the landscaping plans and the building elevations, which seems to show AutoZone moving out and being replaced by a bank. However, the basic concept plan still pretty much shows what we saw at the January 16th meeting and reported on in the CLRC’s articles at

https://ralstoncommunity.org/2013/01/09/finally-the-triangle-gets-a-redevelopment-offer-walmart-proposes-a-supercenter-neighborhood-rec-centerpool-gets-a-boost/

and at

https://ralstoncommunity.org/2013/01/22/clrc-neighborhood-updates-11-brooks-drive-garrison-reopening-wolff-park-walmart-and-more/

Sara Van Cleve with the Arvada Press has a very nice write up on the application and what it has to go through before it can be approved. Click on this link to see it:

http://www.ourcoloradonews.com/arvada/news/developer-submits-application-for-walmart/article_762b8fc5-dd4f-5490-aed9-e7c05d14dccd.html?mode=story

Walmart's Lakeside produce section

Walmart’s Lakeside produce section

Do you want to provide your own input to the City? Here’s a brief extract of Ms Van Cleve’s March 12th article:

“Though IRG has submitted an application, the development process is still in its early stages, city of Arvada Communication Manager Wendy Forbes said. Public hearings with the Planning Commission and City Council will probably be in a couple months.”
“’Public hearings won’t be set until the application is considered complete,’ Forbes said. ‘It has to go through review with various engineers assigned to the project, and typically plans go through two rounds. The length of time is very unpredictable depending on the number of rounds it goes through.’”

Also, I noticed at Monday night’s Arvada City Council meeting during the public comment period that Mayor Williams said, “I would remind you — and we posted — that the application has come in for the Walmart project and as such we cannot take any testimony on that topic until we are properly opening the public hearing for that sometime down the road this summer. So, any other topic we are more than happy to hear about.”

However, the same referenced Arvada Press article goes on to say, “All letters from the public are put into the official record and submitted, along with the application and supplemental items, to the Planning Commission and council when they begin their review process.”

PHOTO CREDITS
The Memorial Park plan images are courtesy of the Britina Design Group. The Council District map is courtesy of the City of Arvada. The Arvada Gardeners photo is courtesy of Bill Orchard. The parking enforcement photo comes from the City of Denver.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community regularly posts information on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as it becomes available. Or you can friend us on Facebook. Our Facebook name is “CLRC Arvada”.

John Kiljan, CLRC Notes: 303-423-9875 or jpkiljan@yahoo.com
March19, 2013

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One Response to Neighborhood Update #12: Garrison St, Memorial Park, Apex survey, parking enforcement, water restrictions, Walmart and more

  1. charles ault says:

    Thanks for all you are doing. Great insight as to what is going on .

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