by John Kiljan
This will be THE public meeting for development in Olde Town this winter. Construction could start as early as late spring on a $20 million four-level, 898-space parking structure running from the Flour Mill to Vance Street along the BNSF railroad track.
And it’s very big for Arvada’s modest Olde Town. Building a structure that size could either significantly change the character of Olde Town, or it could preserve what we like best about the heart of our City – or it could do both.
In the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Gold Line, RTD was obligated to build (at no cost to the City) a 450-space parking garage east of Vance Street by 2030 to handle the expected new parking demand for the Gold Line commuter rail line. But the Gold Line will be operational by 2016, and its arrival is also expected to increase the demand for retail parking in Olde Town well before 2030.
To solve the early demand problem, what’s being planned now is a public-public partnership between the City of Arvada and RTD – and possibly a private developer – to build a joint facility that will provide additional commuter and retail parking in Olde Town by opening day. Simply put: more parking, and a lot sooner, and at a much higher cost.
The new parking structure will be jointly funded by RTD and the City, with the City’s share topping $7 million. The $20 million price tag works out to about $23,000 per parking space. I would guess a fair rental rate for a space like that would run about $135 a month.
Will we have to pay for parking? We don’t have an answer to that question yet. Currently, RTD may not charge for parking for less than 24 hours. But the City doesn’t have that limitation. And it would make no sense to charge for structured parking while parking elsewhere in Olde Town and in adjacent residential areas is still free.
So why invest that kind of money for structured parking when surface parking below the hill would only cost a about a tenth as much? It seems that AURA and the Arvada City Council are hoping that building a larger structure now will avoid the need to build a second parking structure in the future at a location that has more impact on Olde Town – such as on the current site of the Elk’s Lodge. And there isn’t much space available for surface parking below the hill unless we start taking out buildings like the movie theater.
It should be a pretty nifty-looking car park in any event. One of its signature features is expected to be a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks with “diving board” scenic overlooks at each end. There will also be a spiffy-looking plaza squeezed between the movie theater and Vance Street that will be the main entry to the parking structure and to “Olde Town Arvada Station” from future developments on what is being called the “Nine-Acre Site” where the gun club used to be.
It gets better. The top of the structure, which will be designed to handle parking if needed, will also be available to host things like fairs, parking for the Flour Mill, farmer’s markets and other civic events. Roller skate hockey? Kite flying? Octoberfests? Fireworks? Brass bands? Who knows?
Is the movie theater in the way? Yes, it is. But not very much. Only a small taking from the back and sides of the movie theater’s access roads will be needed to fit the garage between the tracks and the movie theater. The theater will stay open.
This will be the first chance for public input on the revised design. It may also be the last. There is a super-fast implementation schedule that calls for construction to begin as early as June of this year. If you are interested in what happens to Olde Town, do try to attend. This meeting will be your chance to ask questions, express your concerns, voice objections, or to express your support for this new development.
The meeting will be held Tuesday, February 11th, at 6:00 pm at the Vineyard church at 5445 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard.
[UPDATE: I had the number of parking spaces wrong. At the meeting on Tuesday night, I found out that the 223 spaces on the top deck for special event parking are a part of the current 673-space count, not in addition to it. The total number of spaces available could change again as the structure goes into design. –JK Feb 11, 2014]
Photo credits: The attached photos are screen shots taken at a public Arvada City Council workshop session where dynamic views generated by Trammell Crow and RNL image-generating software were displayed for the Council. Click on any image to enlarge.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Go to the developer’s site at http://oldetowntod.org/ to see a video of the last public meeting held on this subject on November 13th. About 100 people attended that gathering and there was a lot of public comment. The website also has a whole lot of background information on how this initiative was put together.
And, you can follow the CLRC on its website at www.RalstonCommunity.org or on our Facebook page, CLRC Arvada, where more of our posting have been moving lately.
Or, you can contact us directly at
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association.
–John Kiljan for the CLRC
10 February 2014