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Phase 2: Boulder Reservoir South Shore Site Management Plan

South Shore Site Management Plan

The South Shore Management Area (South Shore) of the Boulder Reservoir consists of roughly 76 acres and is the location of the most intensive active recreational uses at the reservoir. Existing facilities on the South Shore include but are not limited to a visitor services center (under construction in 2019), swim beach, boat house/marina building, maintenance building, dry and wet boat mooring areas, boat ramps, a variety of docks, 13 picnic site locations, and numerous parking areas. In addition to hosting 300,000 annual visitors, the South Shore is also the site of roughly 35 annual large events including the Boulder Ironman and Boulder Triathlon.

The 2012 Boulder Reservoir Master Plan (BRMP) set forth an objective to develop a Site and Management Plan for the South Shore to address programmatic opportunities, operation and management thresholds, sustainable business model(s), vehicle and trail access, capital improvements, a site plan, and traffic and noise impacts of the South Shore facilities and supported activities. 

February 2019 Update:

Thank you to the community members who were able to join staff at the public meeting on January 31. For those community members unable to attend the public meeting, the presentation boards are available for review. A comment period was open until February 18. At that time, staff closed the comment period to summarize the feedback to finalize a preferred site plan in 3 models. Those models are fiscally constrained, action and vision.

Public Meeting Presentation Boards

Visit the Visitor Services Center (VSC) page for new renderings of the building shown at the public meeting.

Please see the tabs below for previously provided information on the project.

Background

  • In 2012, Boulder Parks and Recreation (BPR) developed the Boulder Reservoir Master Plan which in turn recommended development of detailed management plans for the entire reservoir area.

  • The South Shore was prioritized as the first management area of the overall management plan due to heavy use and its position as the center of recreation and event activity at the reservoir. The other west, north and east shore management areas will be covered in a subsequent related management plan expected to begin in 2020.

  • In 2014, an in-depth facilities analysis was undertaken in preparation for the site and management plans. The need for critical and timely infrastructure work was identified.

  • Several critical infrastructure projects, such as new water/sewer lines on the South Shore and Feeder Canal Bridge on the North Shore, were identified and repaired or improved.

  • In 2016, design of a new Visitor Services Center began in coordination of the South Shore Site and Management Plan. The existing Visitor Services Center had system deficiencies that reached or surpassed their expected life cycle and required significant repair, rehabilitation or replacement.

  • In 2017, the South Shore Site and Management Plan was put on hold to focus time, energy and funding on development of the new Visitor Services Center

Funding

The Parks and Recreation Department’s annual Capital Investment Program identified the South Shore Site Management Plan for funding. The plan is intended to build on the previous community outreach from the Boulder Reservoir Master Plan and will also form the basis for future site and management plans for the upcoming west, north and east shore management areas.

Process Overview

  • Work on the South Shore Site and Management Plan commenced during summer 2017, was put on hold in 2018 to focus on the Visitor Services Center and is now anticipated to be completed by late spring 2019. 

  • The project began by building on comments and feedback received during the initial 2014 planning effort. A series of public, stakeholder and city staff interviews, meetings and open houses were held to collect additional feedback on current reservoir operations, operational needs, and public amenities desired in the reservoir’s future in 2017.

  • Ideas for the South Shore’s future will be explored and incorporated into a conceptual site plan for the South Shore. The concept plan will be presented to the public in 3 phases; fiscally constrained, action and vision.

  • The concept site plan elements balance the community desires with business and financial feasibility studies to ensure that site elements proposed are also financially viable. The conceptual site plan will be presented to the public for additional review and comment in early 2019.

  • Approval of the final plan is made in the public forum of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB). PRAB meets on the 4th Monday of every month and are always open to the public. PRAB offers advice and consultation to City Council and city departments on the acquisition, construction and maintenance of city park properties.

Public Participation and Project Timeline

There will be at many opportunities throughout the planning process where staff will solicit feedback and participation. The project will also be presented at several Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meetings, which are always open to the public. 

Plan Development - 2017

The project began with schedule and scope development by staff and consultants. Stakeholder and public meetings were held to inform and engage the community in valuable conversations. The ideas generated during the community conversations were vetted for feasibility and overall community needs. Public participation opportunities included:

June 26:   Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Meeting – Project Introduction and Online Public Feedback Survey

July 5 :  Stakeholder meeting for reservoir-based camps, clubs and vendors

July 1 :  Public Open House at the East Boulder Community Center

July 23:   Public Open House at the Boulder Reservoir

Aug. 28:   Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Meeting – Project Update

Sept. 25 :  Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Meeting – Summary of public, staff and stakeholder engagement efforts to date

Project Put on Hold - 2018

The South Shore Site and Management Plan was put on a temporary hold in 2018 to focus resources on design and development of the new Visitor Services Center.

Facility assessments of the existing Visitor Services Center showed that while some system deficiencies could be addressed through maintenance or minor repairs, others had reached or surpassed their expected life cycle and required significant repair, rehabilitation or replacement. Maintenance issues were affecting the operation of the facility and diminished the opportunities for quality visitor experiences at the reservoir.

An extensive conceptual and public engagement process yielded a final concept for the replacement of the existing Visitor Services Center. The new facility will replace the existing building providing an enhanced guest experience as well as improved functionality for reservoir operations.

Site Plan Review - 2019

As the development of the Visitor Services Center wrapped up at the end of 2018, staff and consultants revitalized the Site and Management plan beginning with a review of previous work and then continued to develop the project. Using the community feedback received during 2017, known site constraints, estimated costs and long-term feasibility analyses, staff and consultants developed a proposed site plan that demonstrates 3 phases of development consisting of Fiscally Constrained, Action and Vision as defined in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Upcoming community engagement provide the community with the opportunity to provide comments with regards to adjustments of the site plan prior to a final recommendation. Public participation opportunities will include:

Jan. 31: Open house

Feb.1-18: Online comment period  

Final Approval - Q2 2019

Recommendation of the final plan is made in the public forum of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB). PRAB meets on the 4th Monday of every month and is always open to the public. PRAB offers advice and consultation to City Council and city departments on the acquisition, construction and maintenance of city park property. Public participation opportunities will include:

April/May:  Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meetings

Boulder Reservoir Planning Project Page