By Ian Harwick
If you build it, will they come?
I am going to highlight one particular Denver neighborhood along RTD’s new W Line that I think will be an interesting barometer of economic development with regards to TOD (transit-oriented development) and low-income neighborhoods.
I chose Villa Park to highlight as this is an interesting neighborhood because it has all the things that developers, businesses and future residents look for in new places to live or invest. Within a few blocks of the Knox and Perry light rail stations are spaces for expanded retail, nice parks and greenways, a bike path, and plenty of housing stock costing well below the local average.
This is a neighborhood that has been fairly neglected for the past 50 years; it has all the makings for one of Denver’s next up and coming neighborhoods. The question is: who will start the trend of buying in this neighborhood? Will it be a developer taking an old building and crafting a new mixed use development? Will it be smaller developers taking old housing stock and bringing it into the 21st century? Or, will the neighborhood continue to be an underutilized gem just outside of downtown?
I personally think this neighborhood will become an increasingly vital part of Denver’s unique neighborhood fabric and I look forward to seeing the way that it develops.
For more information about the neighborhood check out: http://www.zillow.com/homes/Villa-Park-Denver-CO_rb/
Ian Harwick is a Denver native and serial entrepreneur who’s been building businesses for twenty years and helping others do the same for the past five years. Currently, Ian runs Harwick Consulting, working with businesses of all sizes—although he has a special spot in his heart for mom and pop shops—and utilizing his abilities to connect objects, ideas and people and organize them in a way that fosters creativity and collaboration. Ian is also co-founder of CityCycle, a mobile app for smart phones that changes the way cyclists interact with Denver’s bicycle infrastructure and the community that it supports. In his spare time, you can find Ian writing a book on community building, drinking coffee at a non-chain establishment, or building something new in his home.
Besides the popular TIGER program, the US Department of Transportation has 12 other discretionary competitive grant programs. They’re all relatively small, generally awarding no more than a couple of million dollars to any given project. Yesterday USDOT announced its award winners for 2012, and Colorado hauled in a bunch of awards.
In total, Colorado got 17 grants totaling about $9.2 million, via 4 of the 12 programs. 10 of the grants are through the National Scenic Byways Program. The most interesting non-byway grant is probably $440,000 for 10 additional B-Cycle stations in Boulder.
Here’s the breakdown of all 17 grants. Those located along the urbanized Front Range are highlighted in yellow, for convenience.
|Public Lands Highway Discretionary Program
For any kind of transportation project within or providing access to federal lands or facilities.
|San Juan National Forest
||Safety Improvements To San Juan National Forest Access Road
This corridor reconstruction project will replace the pavement structural section, geometric, and drainage deficiencies for 6.2 miles. Funds will be used to reconstruct the paved roadway, widen shoulders, improve vehicle and pedestrian sight distance, replace drainage culverts and improve roadside drainage swales.
||The Transportation Recreation Opportunities Spectrum (TROS) in the Denver area
This project will develop a new set of planning tools that Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs) can used to better understand transportation needs, to identify and prioritize projects to improve Federal land access and to make strategic use of limited resources.
|Ouray and San Juan Counties
||Red Mountain Pass Cribwall Replacement and Lane Widening
This project will increase roadway safety through the replacement of two additional cribwalls and the widening of US 550.
|Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program
Promote coordination among transportation, community, and system preservation. Funds to improve efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, and improve access to jobs, services, and centers of trade.
||Boulder B-Cycle Bus Rapid Transit and Commercial Corridors Expansion Project
TCSP funds will be used for the Boulder B-Cycle Bus Rapid Transit and Commercial Corridors Expansion Project, including 10 public bike‐sharing stations and 10 bikes.
||Denver Aerotropolis Comprehensive Transportation Plan
TCSP funds will support the comprehensive transportation and land use planning process needed to develop Denver International Airport as a national transportation hub and plan the surface transportation connections needed for sustainable development.
||North Avenue Complete Streets Project
TCSP funds will revitalize a commercial corridor in the center of Grand Junction.
|Truck Parking Facilities Program
For improvements related to commercial motor vehicle parking.
||Completion of long-term truck parking facilities in Dotsero
This project will add facilities such as rest rooms and improve security surveillance and driver information services by converting a short-term truck parking facility on US 6 in Dotsero near the I-70 ramps to a long-term facility.
|National Scenic Byways Program
Funding supports projects that manage and protect these roads recognized as having outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities.
||Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway Signs
This project will provide information about the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway.
||Trail of the Ancients McElmo Flume Overlook
This project will construct an overlook on the Trail of the Ancients at the McElmo Creek Flume and provide information about the history of the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company delivery system.
||Colorado Welcome Center in Trinidad
The project will provide structural, functional, and safety upgrades to the Colorado Welcome Center including the addition of accessible restroom facilities and entrances, bicycle racks, and fencing.
|Teller and Fremont Counties
||Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway High Park Road Safety Fencing
This project will construct 10 miles of fencing to keep cattle off the roadway. The traffic on this route has increased 40% since designation of the byway and cattle in the roadway has been a significant safety issue.
||Conservation and Development Planning along Colorado’s Byways
This project will produce development plans for three Colorado byways, perform conservation planning on eight byways, and develop materials that showcase the relationship between byways, land conservation, and economic development. The project will conserve private land and water resources that protect the visual, ecological, and economic integrity of the byway.
|Costilla and Conejos Counties
||Los Caminos Antiguos Directional Signage
This project will provide new signs at key locations along the byway that provide directional information.
|Larimer and Weld Counties
||Cache la Poudre Informational Signage
This project will design and build information kiosk signs at approximately 35 locations along 53 miles of this scenic byway.
|Hinsdale, Mineral, and Rio Grande Counties
||Silver Thread Scenic Byway Rest Area and other Improvements
This project will provide new accessible restrooms, paving repairs, and new fencing at rest areas along the byway at Spring Creek Reservoir and at the top of Spring Creek Pass.
||Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway Signage and Site Improvements
This project will provide interpretive and informational signage, bike racks, and a safe pull-off area.
||Santa Fe Trail Coordinated Road Signage
This project will provide directional signs in four counties along the the historic Santa Fe Trail.
A quick post with some exciting news from RTD!! As I mentioned in one of my posts last week, RTD had submitted nearly $70 million in Federal grant applications through the highly-competitive Bus & Bus Facilities Program.
RTD finally heard the results of their efforts this morning – RTD has been awarded $7,978,998 towards the 16th Street Mall Reconstruction Project. This project will help reconstruct up to 3 1/2 blocks of the Mall (the total amount reconstructed could be less since RTD’s full request wasn’t awarded, but that remains to be seen).
The project includes the FULL reconstruction of the Mall down to the sub-base, including the following components:
- Wet utilities (water)
- Dry utilities (lights)
- Trees and Tree Pits
Contrary to what is being reported in the Denver Post, this project is solely for reconstruction of the Mall itself. No money will be used to “improve mall shuttles and get new ones.” I don’t know who their fact checkers are, but the information included in the Post article is flat-out incorrect. RTD had submitted a separate grant application for new mall shuttles, which was ultimately unsuccessful.
The project will cover areas between Market and Larimer Streets, Larimer and Lawrence Streets, and the 1 1/2 blocks between Court Place and Broadway. A start date for construction hasn’t been announced, but once I hear of one, I’ll pass the word along. More info on this project will be posted as its move closer to construction.
UPDATE – The Denver Post has reported on all of wins secured across Colorado here.
Saturday when you’re out riding your bike, you should stop by the REI store in Downtown to give Denver park planners your input regarding Confluence Park. Denver Parks & Recreation, the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, and the Greenway Foundation are starting work on a Confluence Park Master Plan, and Saturday, June 30 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, they are holding their first public Open House at REI to gather the public’s opinions and ideas about Confluence Park.
Here’s the press release on the Open House:
Denver Parks and Recreation, partnering with the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District and the Greenway Foundation, invite the public to the first in a series of public open houses and workshops designed to gather ideas, opinions and feedback on the development of a new master plan for Confluence Park. The first open house is on Saturday, June 30 from 10 a.m. until noon in the Community Room at REI, 1416 Platte Street in Denver (click here for map).
Working with a multifaceted design team led by Denver’s Wenk Associates, Denver Parks and Recreation is leading this effort to develop a master plan for all areas of Confluence Park, including Confluence East and Shoemaker Plaza, along with the urban waterways of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. This project will include design and ultimately, reconstruction of the trail ramps along the west side of the river at Shoemaker Plaza.
Confluence Park is our City’s birthplace, where the discovery of gold in 1858 led to the founding of Denver. Located where the South Platte River and the Cherry Creek meet, the area has been a popular destination for recreation and leisure and a focus for redevelopment since the late 1980s.
The goal of the Confluence Park Master Plan is to envision the future of this vital park while maintaining flood control functions, improving water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, and providing world-class recreation and trail experiences along the river.
For more information about the project, please email the project manager, Mark Bernstein at: mark “dot” bernstein “at” denvergov.org
By Jorgen Jensen
The Community Coordinating District (CCD No.1) is a unique metropolitan district (metro district) established to facilitate public improvement and development initiatives throughout the Denver metro area. They’ve recently engaged “virtual town hall” technology through Mind Mixer and are making a push through the attached Mini-Contest to raise awareness of their own website.
CCD No.1 was created to address a familiar hurdle in community development projects. The challenge, as with most collaborative efforts, is aligning multiple stakeholders to work together toward a common goal. This requires a clear and actionable strategy, the right funding resources, and positive action from everyone involved
With many of these issues especially prevalent in Northeast Downtown neighborhoods, CCD No. 1 was established with cooperation from Councilwoman Judy Montero, the Ballpark Neighborhood Association, and Urban Market Partners to help with placemaking efforts and other goals of the Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods – specifically in and around the Triangle Parks area. We’ve all seen the Triangle Parks along Broadway near shelters at Lawrence and know there’s work to be done.
It’s important to highlight that this metro or “Special District” is the first of its kind in that it has no Service Area Plan Boundaries. In fact, the District has no geographical boundaries and provides an “Opt-in” structure so that other groups or community development efforts can someday use this as a vehicle to more efficiently partner with their respective City.
For their pilot project, CCD No. 1 has chosen Eddie Maestas Park at Park Avenue and Lawrence Street, across from the Denver Rescue Mission. The conversation has since expanded and is now addressing issues and opportunities at Sonny Lawson Park and along the entire 24th Street corridor. It’s clear that the issues surrounding the Triangle Parks are just as much about the social infrastructure as they are the physical design or infrastructure. Further, what happens at Eddie Maestas affects Curtis Park and Sonny Lawson Park, so a more global, holistic approach to the programming of the neighborhood wide public realm is needed.
You can learn more about CCD No. 1 by visiting their website or find them on Facebook.
This coming Monday (21st) at 5:30PM, CCD No. 1 will be hosting its Monthly Public Work Session Meeting at Redline at 24th and Arapahoe. This meeting is especially important because ALL temporary design plans for Triangle Parks will be presented. The goal is to collect all public and stakeholder feedback and select a concept to advance. The CCD No. 1 Creative Working Group meets every Monday at 10AM at 450 E. 17th Ave #400. This group exists to focus on the temporary and long term vision surrounding Eddie Maestas. The Long Term Vision Group meets every Monday at 11AM at Redline. This group focuses on the entire Northeast Downtown neighborhood area and the many possibilities for revitalization. Any and all are welcome and encouraged to attend both the monthly work session next Monday and the Creative Working Group meetings!