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Boulder Civic Area Project


Welcome to the Boulder Civic Area website!

This site offers information about the Boulder Civic Area redevelopment in downtown Boulder. The site includes the area between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue and 9th and 14th Streets. In July of 2015, Boulder City Council adopted a new Civic Area Master Plan pdf to replace the 1992 Civic Center Master Plan and build 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.

Implementation of the Boulder Civic Area Master Plan is expected to take place over the next 10 to 20 years. However, due to the passage of the Community, Culture and Safety tax initiative in November 2014, the first phase of improvements in the Civic Area are moving forward. Planning for and implementation of the Boulder Civic Area Master Plan has been undertaken by cross departmental teams working to advance the plan’s vision.

Please take some time to navigate latest updates on this site. If you have any input or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Results from the Design Inspiration Initiative are in!

Earlier this spring, City Council members identified several program elements within the Civic Area where greater community engagement could benefit potential uses and design concepts: the Bandshell, 11th Street Spine Bridge, and Nature Play areas.

In response, the Boulder Civic Area Team introduced the Design Inspiration Initiative in May, which took input from community members on design ideas for the three elements through a two-month long, online public survey. 

The survey closed on July 10, 2015 with 201 responses from the community members, which included many drawing/photo/sketch uploads.  The Boulder Civic Area Team has compiled the final results of the survey into three collections.

To view a one-page overview of the statistical response summary, click here.

To view all responses to each of the survey questions, click here. pdf

To view all of the uploaded drawing/photo/sketch submissions, click here.

The purpose of the Design Inspiration Initiative was to gather and analyze ideas directly from the community. Some of the final designs may evolve from many of the ideas submitted through the online survey. The survey was unscientific and not designed to produce tabulated results to dictate final designs. Rather, the qualitative input from community members were intended to produce a wide range of creative, community-based ideas for the Civic Area. Staff will now take these ideas and present options based on the community input to City Council members, who will provide the final direction on the program elements. 

Thanks to the public and all participants of the Design Inspiration Initiative!


Illustrations from the July 15 Civic Area Open House now available

On July 15, the results of the ongoing Design Inspiration Initiative were shared with the community. The open house took place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) at 1750 13th Street. It was the same night as Farmers' Market, so attendence was steady all night long! The illustrations use at the open house of the Design Inspiration Initiative results can now be viewed.  Please click on the following link:

Illustrations from July 15 open house on Design Inspiration Initiative pdf

These and other results will also be shared with City Council at a briefing on July 30, 2015.


Boulder Community Health Hospital Campus Info & FAQs

The City of Boulder has entered into an agreement to purchase the Boulder Community Hospital site at 1100 Balsam Avenue. The purchase price is $40 million, with an initial $3 million in Earnest Money being deposited at the end of July 2015. The initial background into this project fell to the Civic Area Team. The effort has now been named the Boulder Community Hospital Acquisition Project. A new website that will be dedicated to all aspects of this project is currently under construction. Check back to this site for a link to that page in the near future!


City Council Actions for the Civic Area Project

Learn about City Council's decisions for the Boulder Civic Area.

The drop-down menu below lists City Council documents about the Civic Area redevelopment, including study session memos, ordinances and meeting minutes. Links are also available below to video of the City Council meetings and Channel 8 news stories related to the Civic Area.  

2015 City Council Documents and Materials

Date Meeting Documents Summary

City Council

Study Session

On Tuesday, March 31, the Civic Area team presented a hybrid park site plan (based on input received from the community, stakeholders, and boards and commissions) as well as provided an update on the master plan to the Boulder City Council.
6/16/2015 City Council Study Session

Presentation and items from Civic Area Team to get direction from City Council to (1) receive approval for Civic Area Master Plan, (2)  seek direction from Council Members on whether the City of Boulder should submit a bid to acquire the BCH site on Broadway and Balsam, and (3) approve interim measure to explore additional office space in downtown Boulder for city staff.

7/14/2015 City Council Special Session This special session of the Boulder City Council was called on short notice to allow Council Members to vote to approve the acquisition of the BCH site at Broadway and Balsam.
7/30/2015 City Council Study Session

Presentation and items from Civic Area Team to update City Council on the feedback from the Design Inspiration Initiative. The initiative collected feedback from the public on design ideas for the Nature Play areas, the 11th Spine Bridge and the Bandshell.

10/20/2015 City Council 
  • Scheduled Briefing To City Council Members

More information coming!  Check back soon!




2015 Implementation activities

Develop the Civic Area Park Site Plan – Based on community input and the council-adopted Vision Plan pdf, staff is developing a detailed Civic Area Park Site Plan.  Park improvements will be funded by the 2014 Community, Culture and Safety tax funding, which includes approximately $8.7 million to kick start the implementation of the Civic Area Vision Plan and will coordinate with the more than $5 million from the tax devoted to Boulder Creek Path, 11th Street lighting and Arapahoe underpass improvements.    

The Park Site Plan will be shaped by site analysis work and various technical studies, including the Canyon Boulevard Complete Street that began in 2014 and will continue throughout 2015.

Update the Civic Area Master Plan – In order to advance implementation items for the near-term and guide further work on longer-term investments, amendments to the adopted Civic Area Vision Plan pdf will be proposed in mid-2015, with the intent of replacing the existing 1992 Boulder Civic Center Master Plan.

Civic Area Project Phases

Activation (Events + Site Improvements + Safety)

Short-term Site Improvements

The Civic Area can be improved by enhancing a sense of place, basic physical transformations and tying the various pieces together to create a cohesive community destination.

The Short-term Site Improvements will fulfill the community's vision in three critical thematic areas: The Creek at the Core, Community Spaces, and Connections and Access.

Civic Area Safety

Throughout the 18-month visioning process, safety in the Civic Area was a consistent concern and theme to be addressed. The city heard the community loud and clear, and safety is being enhanced by:

  • Hiring seasonal ambassadors to welcome residents and visitors to the Civic Area and help ensure safety and provide information about events and activities;
  • Increased Police presence and enforcement of illegal activities in the Civic Area; and
  • Enhanced activity and programming in the area to promote eyes on the park.


The Civic Area is a beautiful, central backdrop for community events. City and community events draw people to the area, create positive experiences and foster support for future improvements.

More than half of the 27-acre Civic Area site is Civic and Central parks, with Boulder Creek flowing through the middle. A green spine that unifies spaces and provides natural beauty, ecological richness, shade, recreation, art and places to gather.

In 2015, activation of the Boulder Civic Area will be the top implementation priority.  Civic Area activation means providing, supporting and delivering a public space that is inviting to all users via events, short-term site improvements and safety enhancements.

Upcoming Events

Boulder Creek Cleanup and Cookout


Join us on Sunday, Sept. 13 at Rocky Mountain Anglers, 1904 Arapahoe Ave. for a creek cleanup and cookout.

See more upcoming events in the Calendar of Events

2014 Summer Games at BMoCA

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See full photo set in the Photo Gallery

Transformation (Research + Design + Master Plan Development)

The Boulder Civic Area Vision Plan pdf was adopted to guide the transformation of the area over the coming years. The city will be working with the community, stakeholders and public parkland consultant Tom Leader Studio to develop an overall master plan and detailed site plan for the public parkland in the Civic Area.


Utilize existing and commission necessary technical reports and surveys to inform/increase knowledge of area existing conditions, constraints and opportunities.


Through a competitive RFQ process, the city selected Tom Leader Studio to be the master planning and public parkland design consultant. Tom Leader Studio has delivered similar transformative projects like the 20-acre redevelopment of Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Tom Leader Studio will also have a consultant support team, including:

  • HR&A – to provide advisory services related to park programming and business planning strategy.
  • Anderson Consulting Engineers and ERO – to provide environmental and engineering consultation related to floodplain and wetland observances.
  • JVA Consultants – to consult on civil engineering; and
  • Rick Epstein for urban planning consulting.

Civic Area Working Groups will also provide an advisory function related to potential programming and space options for the master and site planning process.

Master Plan Development

Civic Area master planning work will happen concurrently with detailed parkland site plan to ensure that the park design integrates and fits within the overall master plan for the area.

Civic Area Branding

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See full photo set in the Photo Gallery

Realization (Working Groups + Capital Projects + New Facilities)

The city will partner with area tenants and business owners, community-members and other subject matter experts to realize the full potential of the Boulder Civic Area.

Working Groups

Civic Area Working Groups will function in an advisory capacity, with staff and boards and commissions responsible for recommendations to the Boulder City Council. The groups will also provide input into the concept planning and parkland design process, which is occurring concurrently with the working group sessions.

Arts Working Group pdf charged with collaborating with the Library and Arts ‘Community Cultural Plan’ currently under development as well as brainstorming, prioritizing and better defining ideas for arts programming and space needs.

Innovation Working Group pdf charged with exploring how the city can best support and bolster Boulder’s creative community.

Local Food Working Group pdf charged with identifying the sustainability and economic feasibility of enhancing the local food community through near and longer-term programming and capital projects, such as a community kitchen, an integrated market hall, and a food incubator.

Capital Projects and New Facilities

Civic Area capital projects and potential new facilities (referred to at the ‘Bookends’ in the Vision Plan) require due diligence work related to geotechnical conditions, various site surveys, parking, flood requirements, and other potential project feasibility issues and cost impacts.

The overall concept plan and parkland design (expected to be finished in early 2015) will better inform potential capital projects in the Boulder Civic Area.


Watch the Civic Area Vision Come to Life

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