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2019 City of Boulder Accomplishments

From expanding clean energy to enhancing public safety, here's a look at impactful City of Boulder projects and initiatives completed in 2019

From start to finish, the City of Boulder addressed a wide range of meaningful and impactful projects and programs in 2019. Here's a look at some of those accomplishments, as organized according to the city’s Sustainability + Resilience Framework pdf.

Environmentally Sustainable

  • Conducted dozens of projects to help protect and restore open space’s diverse natural areas, which are among the most biologically diverse in the western United States.
  • Completed an electric vehicle analysis of 96 city light-duty vehicles, resulting in recommendations on replacing some vehicles with electric vehicles, charging infrastructure needs and opportunities to right-size the city fleet.
  • Instituted Aquatic Nuisance Species program enhancements.
  • Planted 486 new public trees including 37 different species improving canopy diversity and sustainability. Partnered with PLAY Boulder Foundation to launch Tree Tenders program engaging community volunteerism in ongoing tree care and education efforts.
  • Launched development of and engagement process for the Climate Mobilization Action Plan.
  • Began construction on 2.5 megawatts of solar on city facilities.
  • Reviewed 18 climate-related bills, actively lobbied 14, provided committee testimony on 11, and directly drafted or influenced the final language of nine bills during the 2019 Legislative Session.
  • Created a construction and demolition waste recycling program for residential and commercial projects, and designed site expansion of the city’s reuse and recycling center at 6400 Arapahoe.
  • Finalized contracts for almost three megawatts of solar on city facilities.
  • Created a construction and demolition waste recycling deposit program designed to institute tracking and accountability for residential and commercial construction projects within the city.
  • Completed the Betasso Improvements capital project, resulting in a 20% improvement in filter efficiencies, reduced chemical usage and successful ongoing management and disposal of water treatment residuals.
  • Installed solar panels at the Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant, bringing the total generation at the site to 1.92 megawatts, which is approximately 75% of the electrical use of the facility.

Accessible and Connected

  • Completed an annual trail maintenance “sweep” of the entire OSMP trail network. Also conducted major trail projects, including a 1.5-mile re-route of the Green Mountain West Ridge Trail to help improve visitor experiences and to protect natural resources.
  • Enhanced parking and access data integration projects enhancing customer service (front desk extended hours, on-line renewal portal) and affordable access in the downtown core (evening parking pilot, dashboard).
  • Ordered four new electric buses in partnership with Via services in alignment with the city goal to be 100% electric by the year 2030.
  • The fiber optic backbone design, the first step required to deliver community broadband for the city, was completed and construction is scheduled to begin in early 2020.
  • Entered into MOU with nonprofit partner, the PLAY Boulder Foundation, securing future partnership efforts generating 2019 program or capital grants.
  • Updated the city’s Transportation Master Plan in collaboration with Boulder County and other surrounding communities.
  • Increased participation in Walk and Bike Month by more than 50%, from 3,116 Bike to Work Day registrations in 2018 to 4,811 registrations in 2019.
  • Completed the city’s first Neighborhood Green Street on 13th Street as part of the Low-Stress Walk and Bike Network Plan.


  • A portion of the new radio system infrastructure project was installed, which will provide a redundant and modern radio system for emergency response and other critical service responses.
  • Accelerated and improved the police officer hiring process which resulted in twenty-four new police officers being hired; four are female and two are Latino.
  • Created and launched the Boulder Police Department mobile application giving community members direct access to important public safety news, resources and alerts. The platform was downloaded 2,393 times in 2019 and viewed 332,700 times with 180 posts.
  • The online community policing reporting tool was expanded to allow additional non-emergency crimes to be reported online. In addition to the added convenience to the community, the department saved approximately $80,000.
  • Boulder Police Animal Protection partnered with Docupet to launch a new digital dog licensing and lost pet services program. Obtaining and renewing a license became more convenient with online, phone and in-person options. Eighty-six percent of the 6,875 dog licenses issued were generated through the new online platform.
  • The Boulder Police Department published its first year of stop-data, giving the police and community an opportunity to better understand its activities through a racial equity lens.
  • The Boulder Police Explorer Post Program, an educational program for young adults between the ages of 14-21 with an interest in law enforcement, had a big year. The group placed first in a state competition, became recognized as a non-profit and promoted a female cadet as the group’s first Sergeant.
  • The Boulder Police Department created and launched a Neighborhood Surveillance Camera Program. This is a partnership with community members and businesses who have surveillance cameras to work together to solve crime.
  • The Tactical Crime Team (TCT) had a significant increase in felony arrests in 2019 with 100 compared to 2018 when they had 24. This unit focuses their enforcement efforts on areas in the city where quality of life is being negatively affected by criminal activity.
  • Updated License Plate Readers, both mobile and fixed, and trained officers on their use.
  • Boulder Fire-Rescue was recommended for accredited status by a peer team from the Center for Public Safety Excellence in October. This accomplishment will bring continuous improvement to the department and proving the department is credibly working through the lens of industry best practice.
  • Boulder Fire-Rescue implemented “pit-crew” CPR to improve cardiac arrest survival rates. This approach has been proven to improve positive outcomes for patients who suffer a cardiac arrest.
  • Boulder Fire-Rescue implemented a comprehensive program to assess homes that are located in areas at higher risk for wildfires. These free assessments give homeowners recommendations to improve their ability to mitigate risks that improve resiliency. Approximate- ly 50 of these assessments have been completed. In addition, 600 curbside assessments were conducted that help the department pre-plan in the event of an emergency.
  • Boulder Fire-Rescue hosted a citizen’s wildfire academy to provide public outreach and increase community awareness on wildfire-related issues.
  • Boulder Fire-Rescue substantially completed its master plan update. This will set the course for the next 5 to 10 years of department activities including facility and infrastructure needs, the service level of emergency medical services, and metric-driven management of fire department programs.

Economically Vital

  • Completed Citywide Retail Study, garnering 916 responses reflecting Boulder’s retail environment and the interests, needs and challenges experienced in the community.
  • Began a new software implementation project to upgrade the city’s sales tax operating system. The new system scheduled to launch in 2020, will provide significant benefits to taxpayers in the form of enhanced online filing ability, account control and payment options.
  • Completed full District Fund health analysis for all districts, prioritizing capital projects to address backlog and reallocating resources which resulted in greater transparency and in reduction of close to $500,000 annually in general fund requests.

Responsibly Governed

  • Completed the planned acquisition of a 25-acre conservation easement on Longs Gardens in north Boulder, one of the last working agricultural properties in the city.
  • Completed the development of the city’s first-ever Open Space and Mountain Parks Master Plan, which will guide the management of city open space over the next decade and beyond.
  • Hosted a formal government-to-government consultation with 13 federally recognized American Indian Tribes in Boulder as part of an effort to renew relationships with Tribal Nations.
  • Completed community engagement and competitive proposal process for the lease of Harbeck-Berheim House, a Boulder landmarked property.
  • Received authorization from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to transfer assets necessary for the creation of a local electric utility.
  • Launched the bimonthly City of Boulder E-newsletter, the first city e-newsletter to provide general city news and information. More than 8,500 people subscribed to the newsletter in the first six months.
  • Created a Spanish Hub on the city website for translation and interpretation services.
  • As recommended by a community Police Oversight Task Force, approved the adoption of an auditor-monitor model with a community police oversight panel regarding police oversight and recommendations to the composition, duties and powers of a new city organization related to Civilian Oversight of the Boulder Police Department.
  • Implemented the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) through near-term actions identified in the Action Plan and prioritized by City Council at its January 2018 retreat.
  • Completed code changes regarding the Mixed Use 3 (MU-3) and Business Community (BC-1/BC-2) zones, as well as short-term rental affidavits.
  • Supported additional council priorities and issues, including CU-South Annexation, Opportunity Zone moratorium, and Wireless regulations/5G.
  • Implemented improvements to the current city website based on user research and testing and began work to redesign the city website and launch a beta in 2020.
  • Strengthened relationships with partners and piloted community connectors to ensure more inclusive engagement.
  • Building on the success of “Chats with Council,” the city hosted four “Walks with Council” inviting community members to stroll with city leaders and discuss public issues.
  • Built capacity and connections with an estimated 3,800 residents through Neighborhood Service programs, navigation support and outreach.

Healthy and Socially Thriving

  • Completed community engagement resulting in new recreation pass pricing and retaining needs-based financial aid options.
  • Renovated Main Library public restrooms to be inclusive for all library users.
  • Launched an inclusivity campaign that included multi-cultural art exhibitions, civic dialog and discourse events, expanded Conversations in English programs and created media features on immigrants who have gained skills and community at the library.
  • Expanded STEM programming to library branches; registration for the summer reading program increased 29% over 2018.
  • Eliminated overdue fines on library materials.
  • Coordinated 16 public art projects in process, including four community groups donating public artwork to the city such as new works on Pearl Street and the Civic Area, and aided in the completion of 14 murals.
  • Published the Artist Census study, a research project examining the lives of artists: their role in Boulder’s economy and society.
  • Through shared learning with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), 119 city staff went through intensive training to develop an understanding of the role institutional racism has played in perpetuating current racial inequities and developed a vision to advance racial equity.
  • Applied Racial Equity Instrument to three implicit bias areas: workforce, procurement and community engagement.
  • Created a Racial Equity Engagement Working Group to co-create meaningful and inclusive engagement practices so that community members can weigh in on the draft outline of a City of Boulder Racial Equity Plan in 2020.


  • Adopted the 2018 Building Codes published by the International Code Council (ICC), developed and adopted the 2019 City of Boulder Energy Conservation Code and completed an update to the Design and Construction Standards.
  • Completed Civic Use Pad negotiations preserving future civic use at a property to be developed by St Julien Partnership.
  • Contributed to Transportation, Housing/Human Services and Planning efforts related to East Boulder Subcommunity plan, community benefit (affordable commercial pilot), 30Pearl, Alpine Balsam and response to community Opportunity Zone inquiries.
  • Expanded the city’s affordable housing goal from 10% to 15% of all residential properties as permanently affordable, of which 1,000 need to be deed-restricted middle-income homes. The 15% goal has a target completion date by 2035.
  • Added 37 low/moderate income affordable homes in August 2019 with another 98 anticipated by the end of the year.
  • Reported that 7.9% of homes in the city are permanently affordable.
  • Community Relations, at the suggestion of OUT Boulder, worked to update municipal ordinance language to become more gender-inclusive, particularly in respect to being more inclusive and respectful of transgender individuals.
  • Progressed on development projects furthering the city’s commitment to creating and preserving diverse housing options in Boulder. Adopted a Manufactured Housing Strategy that identifies guiding principles and a prioritized list of actions by the city, park residents, and park owners to further BVCP policies.
  • Through coordinated efforts aligned with the Homelessness Strategy, helped 211 adults exit homelessness through June.

Published: Jan. 7, 2020