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City of Boulder Accomplishments From the 2010s

A look at some of the biggest city projects, initiatives and accomplishments in the 2010s

As 2020 begins to take shape, the City of Boulder takes a look back at some of the major city projects and initiatives from the 2010s by year:


  • Smart Regs Ordinance Adopted: The ordinance requires basic energy efficiency measures for rental properties, recognizing that more than half of all Boulder housing is made up of rentals. This supports the city’s climate goals and ensures that renters experience the benefits of improved efficiency, such as increased comfort and potentially lower utility bills. As of 2019, 99% of the city’s approximately 23,000 rental units are compliant. The electricity savings are equivalent to taking more than 950 cars off the road each year.


  • Valmont Bike Park: Approximately 2,000 people attended the opening day celebration for Valmont Bike Park. The 42-acre project was 15 years in the making and has been called North America's most state-of-the-art public bike park.
  • Capital Improvement Bond: In 2011, Boulder voters gave the city the authority to use existing revenues to bond for up to $49 million to pay for necessary capital investments. Since the bond was paid for with existing revenues, it did not raise taxes. This allowed the city to implement a list of projects that address significant deficiencies and high-priority infrastructure improvements like roadway reconstruction, park facility upgrades, police equipment needs and more.
  • Boulder Regional Fire Training Center: Opened for operations in 2011, the center allows firefighters to simulate emergency scenarios like floor collapses and elevator rescues. The10-acre site also includes a 15,800 square-foot classroom and administrative building.


  • Broadway/Euclid Underpass: In 2012, the city held a project completion celebration to honor funding partners and introduce the new underpass and improvements to the community. Broadway is a busy street for vehicles, carrying more than 2,500 vehicles during peak hours and more than 1,280 buses stopping at the CU Transit Station each day. The goal for the project was to improve efficiency and safety for vehicles, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.
  • Capital Improvement Bond: A variety of projects were launched through Capital Improvement Bond including infrastructure improvements at Boulder Reservoir, renovation of Canyon, Columbine and East Palo Parks, and replacement of South Boulder Recreation Center gymnasium floor


  • Rebuilding After September 2013 Flood: Boulder received a year’s worth of rain in eight days in September 2013, causing flooding and widespread damage. In Boulder, 14% of households, 15% of paved paths, 34% of parks and 100% of open space trails were damaged. Work to recover from the flood and prepare for future floods continues today. The city has received more than $20 million in grants and reimbursements to support recovery and resilience projects.


  • NoBo Corner Library: Opened in 2014, this 600 square-foot library serves the north Boulder community by providing easy access to pick up holds, drop off books, use Wi-Fi and access public computers. Today, this small community hub hosts weekly storytimes in both English and Spanish.
  • Main Library Renovations: The voter-approved Capital Improvement Bond allowed the Main Library to complete needed renovations. Improvements were made to the children’s area, a larger teen space was created, outdated electrical systems and carpet were replaced, and the bridge over Boulder Creek was updated to allow for a café. These updates helped fulfill a large number of goals set in the 2007 Library Master Plan.
  • Community, Culture and Safety Tax: In 2014, Boulder voters approved a three-year 0.3% sales and use tax for funding to improve community spaces, bolster cultural projects and organizations and enhance safety. The $27.6 million raised was used to fund a variety of projects, including lighting and pedestrian safety improvements at Boulder Creek, the Civic Area and Chautauqua Park. It also helped fund theater improvements at Dairy Center for the Arts, the relocation of the Museum of Boulder, and a variety of public art projects.


  • Universal Zero Waste Ordinance Adopted: The ordinance requires all property owners to subscribe to trash, recycling and composting collection services. All businesses must separate their waste streams and have appropriate bins and signs. This ordinance makes composting and recycling easy and convenient across our community as we work toward a goal of producing new materials from 85 percent of our waste by 2025, rather than sending that waste to the landfill.
  • Boulder Junction: Boulder Junction is a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented district with regional transit connections and public spaces. The vision for the 160-acre Boulder Junction is guided by the 2007 Transit Village Area Plan, though the idea began in 2000, when the City of Boulder initiated a planning effort for a transit-oriented development district. Since then, the city has worked alongside private developers, RTD, community members and other partners to create the Boulder Junction district.
  • Alpine-Balsam Site Purchase: In 2015, the City of Boulder purchased 8.8-acres of property from Boulder Community Health. The properties include the entire hospital campus site on the corner of Balsam Avenue and Broadway, two properties on Alpine Avenue and two small properties on North Street. This property would become central to the 2019 Alpine-Balsam Area Plan.


  • Boulder Public Library’s BLDG 61 Makerspace:  The all-ages workshop space located in the north wing of the library houses a variety of equipment, including 3D printers, woodworking tools and a laser cutter. The creation of the makerspace was generously sponsored by the Boulder Library Foundation and sees thousands of visitors each year.
  • Baseline Underpass: The Baseline Underpass between Broadway and 27th Way was completed in 2017 and provides a safer way to cross Baseline Road for bicyclists and pedestrians and improve connectivity in the area. This location is an important corridor for the community, and an underpass had been planned for it since the city’s first Transportation Master Plan in1989.
  • Climate Commitment: Boulder's Climate Commitment is the official climate strategy framework for the city organization. It provides a vision for Boulder's future, sets goals and targets related to emissions reduction and sustainability, and provides initial pathways to reaching these goals. The goals and targets outlined in it provide the framework for city action on climate in three areas: Energy, Ecosystems and Resources.


  • Boulder Civic Area:  Boulder held a soft opening for the 13-acre Boulder Civic Area park in 2017. Crews removed large sections of the fencing which surround the area west of Broadway between Canyon and Arapahoe Avenues, allowing visitors to start enjoying heightened connectivity in the new plazas.
  • Community Culture and Safety Tax Extension: In 2017, Boulder voters approved a four-year extension of this tax originally passed in 2014. It will fund several important city facilities – such as the construction of the north boulder library, a new fire station on 30th Street, and improvements to the city’s radio infrastructure to support public safety functions. It also provides matching funds for several community nonprofit facilities, including Meals on Wheels, Community Cycles and Growing Gardens.


  • Betasso Water Treatment Plant Improvements:  The City of Boulder upgraded the Betasso Water Treatment Plant as part of the city's Capital Improvement Bond. This $35 million project replaced aging equipment and updated treatment processes at the city’s primary water treatment plant. The Betasso plant has operated year-round for nearly 50 years and is located several miles up Boulder Canyon.
  • Boulder Falls Reopening: Nearly five years after closing due to the 2013 flood, and $1.2 in restoration and improvements, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks re-opened the iconic Boulder Falls.
  • Solar Array at Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant: The city completed construction of a 1.6-megawatt solar array at the Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant, providing up to two-thirds of the plant’s annual electrical needs and moving the city toward its 100 percent renewable by 2030 goal.


  • Alpine-Balsam Area Plan: The Alpine-Balsam Area Plan, adopted by City Council in 2019, offers an opportunity to further the city's access, mobility, sustainability and climate goals. It is a guide for the area's future and will inform decisions about private development, public facilities and services in the area. The plan is intended for use by the public, business and property owners, the city and community partners. It balances many factors and strikes a compromise on density and use to ensure the area remains a lively neighborhood center.
  • Wonderland Creek Greenways Improvement Project: Three years after construction began, the Wonderland Creek Greenways Improvement Project was completed in April 2019. The $30 million project provided channel improvements to reduce the flood risk to numerous structures, including more than 450 dwelling units located within a FEMA-rated high-risk flood zone. The project also extended the multi-use path system by connecting the east side of Foothills Parkway to 30th Street and constructed three new underpasses (BNSF Railroad, Kalmia Avenue, and 28th Street at Winding Trail) to provide safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists.