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Community, Culture and Safety Tax Implementation


In November 2014, Boulder voters passed the Community, Culture and Safety tax. This temporary, 0.3 percent sales tax increase will provide approximately $27 million over three years to improve community spaces, bolster cultural projects and organizations, and enhance safety in and around Downtown Boulder.

The Community, Culture and Safety tax includes:

  • More than $5 million to improve the Boulder Creek Path and surrounding amenities (from 3rd to 17th streets);
  • Approximately $8.7 million to kick start the implementation of the Civic Area Vision Plan;
  • Up to $600,000 for public art;
  • Approximately $3.8 million to improve the Dairy Center for the Arts;
  • Up to $4 million for improvements to the Museum of Boulder;
  • Approximately $3.2 million to improve the University Hill Commercial District; and
  • Close to $1.5 million for improvements to Chautauqua Park.

Status and Potential Next Steps

The city began collecting tax revenues on Jan. 1, 2015. As of July 2016 tax revenues have been slightly ahead of projections. The following table provides a brief summary of each project. For information and project updates, please visit Community, Culture & Safety.

The 0.3 percent sales tax increase expires on Dec. 31, 2017. Staff will prepare various options for council’s consideration for a possible renewal of the tax in November 2017. Staff will bring the results to the analysis to a study session in January 2017. If the guidance is to proceed with consideration of a renewal, staff will proceed with the desired process and provide regular updates and check-ins throughout 2017 culminating in a recommended ballot item for the November 2017 ballot.

University Hill

Project Description/Status Budget

Pedestrian Lighting

Install continuous pedestrian-scale lighting and improved intersection lighting, full-spectrum “white” light in corridors along 11th Street, E College Avenue, 12th Street, 13th Street, and 18th Street.

Project completed October 2016

$2 million

Event Street

Creation of a street designed for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles, as well as the ability to easily close the portion of Pennsylvania between the alley to the west and 13th Street to the east for events.


Estimated construction start: Spring 2017
Estimated completion: Summer 2017


Street Trees Improvements

Design and install an irrigation system for the trees along the sidewalk. Replace failing trees and install city-standard grates and guards.


Project completed October 2016


Civic Area

Project Description/Status Budget

Creek at the Core

Boulder Creek is a symbol of what defines Boulder—outdoor space and nature – and it is located at the heart of the Civic Area. Many cities need to re-create this type of urban park feature; in Boulder, it is not only present but serves as the cohesive thread across the entire site. The proposed amenities within the site plan that improve the creek experience will include a creek walk terrace, nature play areas, and improvements to the north creek lawn.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2016
Estimated completion: Summer 2018
$5.6 million

Community Spaces

The community vision is for the Civic Area to serve as a place for people to gather for events both planned and impromptu that activate the public space and create a vibrant destination. The proposed amenities within the site plan that achieve this will include café terraces, a performance hill, and farmers’ market enhancements.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2016
Estimated completion: Summer 2018
$1.9 million

Connectivity and Access

There are limited physical connections between the Civic Area and other parts of the city. In addition, one of the tenets of the site redevelopment and activation is that downtown and the Civic Area should function as a unit to together attract greater numbers of citizens and visitors. The proposed amenities within the site plan that achieve this will include: 11th Street spine and bridge, and an expanded farmers’ market loop.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2016
Estimated completion: Summer 2018
$1.2 million

Boulder Creek

Project Description/Status Budget

Path Lighting

Design and construction of lighting along five segments of Boulder Creek Path that will provide adequate and appropriate light levels for nighttime visibility and safety by using fully controlled luminaries.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2016 - 2017
Estimated completion: Fall 2017

$1.04 million

Path Improvements

Design and construction along four segments of Boulder Creek Path that will add a generally-separated pedestrian path to allow a separation of bicycle and pedestrian traffic along the corridor.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2016 - 2017
Estimated completion: Fall 2017

Arapahoe and 13th Underpass

Design and construction of a new pedestrian and bicycle underpass at the Boulder Creek Path, between Boulder Creek and 13th Street.


Estimated construction start: Spring 2018
Estimated completion: Winter 2018/2019
$2.5 million

Eben G. Fine Park Stream Bank Restoration

Stream bank stabilization, erosion protection, habitat restoration, and recreation enhancements within Eben G. Fine Park between the northern sidewalk and Boulder Creek.


Project completed May 2016

Public Art

Project Description/Status Budget

Art Projects

New public art projects for the Civic Area, University Hill, Boulder Junction, North Boulder, a series of temporary projects in the neighborhoods, and several maintenance projects.


First maintenance project has been completed.
Estimated completion of all projects: Winter 2017



Project Description/Status Budget

Phase 1

Install pedestrian lighting between the employee/musician parking area and the Baseline Road bus stop. Lighting controls will ensure that lighting is lowered when pedestrians are not present, yet maintain their visibility with minimal energy.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2017
Estimated completion: Spring 2018

Pedestrian Safety Access and Lighting

Improve access and pedestrian safety along Baseline Road via new sidewalks, re-aligned parking, enhanced pedestrian crossing treatments, and related safety enhancements like lighting and wayfinding signs.


Estimated construction start: Winter 2016
Estimated completion: Spring 2017
$1.25 million

Dairy Center

Project Description/Status Budget

Theatre Improvements

Expand and modernize the building’s lobby and façade, modify an outdoor deck area as a special events space, enlarge and enhance theaters, dressing rooms, and great rooms, and improve lighting and sound technology.  


Funding agreement executed May 2015
Estimated completion: Winter 2016
$3.85 million

Museum of Boulder

Project Description/Status Budget

Museum Improvements

Convert the building into an expanded museum that will accommodate larger displays, Smithsonian-class traveling exhibits, science and technology exhibits, as well as enhanced programming and space for children.


Funding agreement executed June 2016
Estimated completion: Fall 2017
$4 million


Council Action

Implementation of the original 0.3 percent sales tax, passed by the voters in 2014 will continue through 2018. Council will be updated through Information Packet items or Heads Up notices. For the potential extension of the 0.3 percent sales tax that expires Dec. 31, 2017 the following timeline is proposed:

  • First Quarter 2017 - Options for renewal of the 0.3 percent sales tax will be presented to City Council for consideration and discussion during the January 2017 study session and retreat.
  • Second Quarter 2017 Refined options for renewal of the 0.3 percent tax will be presented to City Council for consideration as part of the 2017 potential ballot issues.
  • Third Quarter 2017 - Recommended ordinance language will be presented at City Council for consideration.
  • Fourth Quarter 2017 -The proposed Capital Budget and 2018 - 2023 Capital Improvement Program will be presented to City Council for review and consideration.


Jean Gatza, Sustainability Planner, [email protected], 303-441-4907

Joel Wagner, Community, Culture and Safety Project Lead, [email protected], 303-441-3871.

Please see the following websites for more information:

Capital Improvement Program

Capital Bond

Community, Culture & Safety Tax

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