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Civic Area Implementation


In June 2015, the City Council accepted the updated Boulder Civic Area Master Plan, which defines the overall concept for the site and establishes criteria and guidelines for the consideration of specific improvements. The site includes the area between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue and 9th and 14th streets. The 2015 Civic Area Master Plan replaced the 1992 Civic Center Master Plan and builds on the 2013 Vision Plan. The long-term vision is to transform the Civic Area into an even more unique place that reflects the community’s shared values and its diversity, providing space and programs for people to gather, recreate, eat, learn, deliberate and innovate. The plan establishes the goals, guiding principles and core themes for Civic Area implementation.

Status and Potential Next Steps

Implementation of the Boulder Civic Area Master Plan is expected to take place over the next 10 to 20 years. The first phase of improvements in the Civic Area are moving forward due to the passage of the Community, Culture and Safety tax initiative in November 2014. The implementation of the Civic Area Park Site Plan Phase I construction will proceed through the end of 2017. Phase I improvements will only occur west of Broadway. Improvements for the park east of Broadway will be incorporated into the East Bookend planning.

East Bookend Planning

Civic Area planning for the 2017 will focus on the overall East Bookend. Progression of additional planning and community engagement efforts will ultimately produce a recommended building program, conceptual site design, and urban design guidelines. The city is also evaluating facility needs that will inform the design of the East Bookend and Alpine-Balsam. In 2017, work will also continue on the Public Market. City staff will continue to work with key partners, Boulder County Farmers’ Market and The Shed Boulder County, to explore interim phasing as well as management opportunities with the assumption that any model will be operationally self-sustaining at a minimum. As the desired interim options and long-term building design progresses, funding sources will need to be identified for both capital and operating costs. These East Bookend recommendations for building program, conceptual site design, and urban design guidelines will be presented to council for consideration in late 2017.

As part of this process, the city is also developing an Urban Design Framework which is a tool to help understand the existing and potential future interrelationships between four key activity centers along the central stretch of Broadway (Alpine-Balsam, Downtown, Civic Area and University Hill), with a focus on physical form, systems and land use functions. The information assembled in the Framework will allow the community and City Council to provide input and guidance on key decision-making along the Broadway corridor. Work on the Framework, including public input and engagement, will continue through early 2017.

West Bookend/Long Term Implementation Planning

More focused planning related to the West Bookend will commence upon completion of the Library Master Plan update and the Human Services Strategy, estimated for fourth quarter 2017 and third quarter 2017 respectively. Other phases and timing to implement the remainder of the Civic Area Master Plan will depend on the availability of funding sources (public, private and other). These sources vary in their revenue generation potential and may require specific governance structures. The Civic Area team will continue to explore both finance and governance strategies for future implementation phases.

Civic Use Pad

Related to the west bookend of the Civic Area, is the Civic Use Pad. Discussions are ongoing regarding the potential for a mixed-use building on the pad adjacent to the St. Julien Hotel, which could include a “civic use” space of approximately 8,000 square feet on the first floor along with hotel uses above. The civic use space is envisioned as a flexible space to be available at a discounted rate to community and non-profit groups for civic and cultural functions. In May 2015, the city and the St. Julien signed a letter of intent which outlines at a high level the key issues, process, and responsibilities for moving forward.

In 2016, efforts continued on the development of a management agreement governing use of the civic use space. In late 2016, staff is working with potential users of the civic space to better understand their needs and design the management agreement and the civic space itself to support the type of events the groups hope to hold there. A meeting of potential users, focused on their specific needs and facilitated by the Community Foundation, was held in September. A second meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 2016 and will focus on interior design and functionality for potential users.

Council is expected to consider action on a management agreement in the first quarter of 2017 and will be updated on the design of the space and preliminary plans for development and construction.

Council Action

Staff will conduct check-ins with Council in mid-2017 and late in the year concerning the East Bookend Planning Process.  In addition, Council is expected to consider action on Civic Use Pad management agreement in the first quarter of 2017.


[email protected]

Yvette Bowden, Parks and Recreation Director, [email protected], 303-413-7215.

Jim Robertson, Director of Planning, Housing & Sustainability, [email protected], 303-441-4297.

Maureen Rait, Executive Director of Public Works, [email protected], 303-441-3227.

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