Neighborhood Update #13: Fire Issue, Rec Center, Curbside Pickup, Park Name & more


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends, 

There’s a lot coming up this week, so let’s get started. 

FIRE BALLOT ISSUE

Tuesday, May 7th, is the polling day for a special vote at the Arvada Fire Department (AFD).  The ballot question is simple enough:  Should the current and future members of the district’s Board of Directors be allowed to serve without term limits?  The question is more important than it first seems, and I’ve heard mixed comments from former board members on the proposed change. 

ArvadaFire2

The election notice came up rather suddenly and most of us only heard about it when we read the back pages of the April/May issue of the Arvada Report.  It’s too late to vote by mail.  To vote you will have to show up at the AFD Headquarters at 7903 Allison Way from 7 am to 7 pm on election day to cast a ballot. 

Turnout is expected to be very light, so an individual vote will count for a lot more than in most elections.  The Apex Park and Recreation District, another special district, had a similar ballot issue a few years ago to reduce their board’s term limits.  That measure passed with very few votes being cast.   

Why is this important?  In Arvada the fire department is a special district and not part of the City government.  It is supported by your property taxes, either paid directly by you or by your landlord who includes the cost in your monthly rent. 

You pay a lot.  A typical property owner with a $200,000 house pays about $235 a year in taxes to support the district.  The cost of having a fire put out is free.  The cost of providing ambulance service is a lot more — about $800 a ride unless your health insurance covers it.  To put that in perspective, Apex’s property taxes are about $87 a year and the cost of participating in their recreational activities can be a lot more than that.  

On the other hand, a well-run fire department lowers your insurance costs.  The Arvada Fire Department is considered to be one of the best run in the country.  The AFD’s budget runs about $24 million a year — more than twice that of the Arvada Center which has a very active review committee. 

The arguments for the measure seem to be that few people are interested in running for the board and those that are, are sometimes not qualified.  And, by forcing board members to sit out an election cycle after two terms, available talent is being wasted.  Also, elections are less likely to be held if only incumbents are standing for reelection and the district will avoid the costs of some future elections if there are no challengers to the sitting board members.  That recently happened in what were to have been the 2012 board elections.

For arguments against the measure, they seem to be best summed up by former Arvada mayoral candidate Dave Chandler on his own web site at http://www.davechandler.info/    Mr Chandler seems to have done an admirable amount of research to support his position that the term limits should remain.

Either way you decide to vote, do take the time to vote.  If nothing else, it will show your interest in how this important public safety service is managed.  The Arvada Fire Department’s website is http://www.arvadafire.com/ and you can get more information by calling the department at 303-424-3012.

REC CENTER LISTENING MEETING REMINDER

That same evening, this neighborhood association and the City of Arvada are hosting an open house for a recreation center near the old Fisher Pool.  If you want a swimming pool or some other lost recreation facility to come back to this part of Arvada, now would be a very good time to drop by and say so by filling out a survey form or by participating in poster board voting.  Here’s CLRC member T.O. Owens’ recent Facebook posting for the open house Tuesday evening.

Clrc Arvada
Come down to city hall on Tuesday May 7th and tells us what kind of recreational facility you would like to see in the triangle area. Our city council understands the need for recreation in the area and has already set aside over 3 million dollars. We are working with a group that will help us determine what that facility should look like and what should be included. Please come down and help us figure it out. We will meet in the Ann Campbell room at 6pm Tuesday the 7th.

And, yes, we are still looking for volunteers to help circulate the needs surveys.

SPRING CURBSIDE CLEANUP

Abandoned furniture on 57th Avenue

Abandoned furniture on 57th Avenue

Sunday night (May 5th) is the time for most of us to set out our old mattresses, broken dishwashers, lumpy couches, rusted out barbeque pits, broken fences and the like as the City starts its popular free Spring Curbside Cleanup.  The next cleanup is not scheduled till 2015, so Sunday’s the time to get it done.  Actually, it’s not free.  The City budgets $200,000 each time it runs the program, but that works out to be a lot cheaper than having people pay their local trash hauler a special $35 fee to take away old water heaters or couches.  And that money is thought to be just as effective in spiffing up our older neighborhoods as some of the City’s other community development efforts.

Here’s the City’s link that tells you what you may and may not set out for pickup and when the pickup dates are for the other parts of the City.  It also tells you where you can drop off certain items for recycling.

http://arvada.org/about-arvada/city-of-arvada-spring-curbside-clean-up/

HABEMUS NOMEN VIVARIUM!

We have a park name!  Apparently the white smoke rose from the Arvada City Council Sistine Chambers at a secret box-lunch dinner conclave last month.  There the Council cardinals accepted one of the Arvada Parks Advisory Committee’s recommendation for a new name for a park that has had many other formal and informal names over the years — or was sometimes just left unnamed on maps.  Locally, many of us referred to it as the Garrison Street park to avoid confusion.  But that didn’t work out that well since there is also the Tomlinson Park (aka Birdland Park) located on Garrison Street across from Echters on the south end of town. 

The new name for what was formerly the North Jeffco Community Park is now

                 RALSTON CENTRAL PARK 

And, no, I don’t know how you would write that in Latin. 

The 'unnamed' Garrison Street park

The ‘unnamed’ Garrison Street park

I’m really happy to see it settled — there should be fireworks — or something.  After living for over three decades near a park whose name my neighbors were never really sure of, it’s quite a relief.  Hopefully, someone will soon give Google Maps, MapQuest and Rand McNally the good news.

Hoskinson Park sign

Hoskinson Park sign

The name confusion will not be entirely over, however.  The Council decided that the skinny eastern part of the park running down to Carr Street will still keep the name HOSKINSON PARK

BRIDGE OPENING DELAYS

Brooks and Garrison paved and ready to go

Brooks and Garrison paved and ready to go

Unfortunately, it is going to be yet another month before we see the Garrison Street bridge opened to traffic.  The new opening date is now set for June 1st.  You can find the full story on the delay by going to the City’s webpage at

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

[This link also has the announcement for the new park name.]

New Ralston Central Park entrance on Garrison (late April '13)

The new Ralston Central Park entrance on Garrison (late April 2013)

WALMART’S SECOND SUBMITTAL

Okay, if you are a Planning Commission member or an Arvada City Council member, stop reading right here.  You are not supposed to read this yet. 

Walmart has resubmitted its Arvada Plaza proposal and I am still going through those lengthy files myself.  You can go to ArvadaTriangle.org to see the submittal update by scrolling down to the part that says, “Arvada Plaza Redevelopment — Second Submittal”. 

The only significant change I’m seeing so far is the how Walmart plans to reroute truck access to the back of the store by coming down Ralston Road instead of using 57th Avenue.  Except for the very narrow lanes on Ralston Road, that’s a good thing.  

Walmart's trucking fleet

Walmart’s trucking fleet

Perhaps the Planning Commission members can ask Walmart to take them on a ride in one of their 18-wheelers down Ralston Road?  Eventually, the existing 10-foot wide right lanes on Ralston Road may be expanded to 11 feet.  But those widths include the two-foot-wide concrete gutter pans along the street.  The working pavement widths will still be too narrow for trucks and buses to fit on.  When wide vehicles have to drive half in the gutters, we get vehicles jumping the curb and those ugly hubcap-eating spring potholes as water is forced into the pavement subgrade. 

The part I’m finding most interesting is the “Traffic Report (Revised)” file.  Despite the rerouting of trucks to Ralston Road, it seems to say that the intersection of 57th and Independence will take the biggest hit in its level-of-service (basically, how long it will take for cars to clear that intersection), and yet there is no proposal to signalize the intersection to handle the anticipated traffic conflicts. 

Ralston Road to the west is expected to see a whopping 20% [of the] increase in traffic from the new development and that is expected to happen without a significant impact on congestion.  What will cause that increase in traffic?  Simply put, it’s the projected new shoppers coming to the Triangle area from the west.  Nice!  Who had ever thought shoppers would actually come to the Triangle area to shop rather than leave it to shop somewhere else?

There could be even more re-submittals before the final proposal is reviewed by the City Council.  When will the Planning Commission and the Council review the proposal?  The earliest estimate I’ve heard is for July, and some estimates are for months later than that.  

PHOTO CREDITS

The Arvada Fire Department picture is courtesy of the Arvada Fire Department.  The Ralston Central Park map photo is a ‘fair use’ extract from an older Pierson Graphics Corporation map of Denver.  The Walmart truck is courtesy of green.autoblog.com

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

May 5, 2013

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3 Responses to Neighborhood Update #13: Fire Issue, Rec Center, Curbside Pickup, Park Name & more

  1. John, good reporting as usual. And I did skip over the Walmart discussion. I will take exception to the mention of a “secret box lunch meeting”, as the discussion took place during our regular 5:30 agenda review session, which as you know is open to the public. The actual action on the naming of three parks will take place at a regularly scheduled council meeting, where the public can give input on the proposed names.

    Marc Williams
    Mayor

  2. Bill Orchard says:

    Ralston Central Park was not one of the names recommended by the Arvada Park Advisory Committee.

    Bill Orchard

  3. John Kiljan says:

    I just noticed this posting on the Arvada Fire Department website at 7:30 am Wednesday morning: Results: Yes – 88 No – 327

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