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Alpine-Balsam: Vision Plan


September 2016 - June 2017

Alpine-Balsam Vision Statement: Alpine-Balsam will be a vibrant multi-generational hub for community life and local government services—a welcoming and inclusive new model for equitable, affordable, and sustainable living.


Click to read the Alpine Balsam Vision Plan.

Check out the final Vision Plan

 Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan pdf

And appendices

 Vision Plan Appendix A pdf

 Vision Plan Appendix B pdf

After purchasing the Boulder Community Health (BCH) properties on Broadway between Alpine and Balsam Avenues in December 2015, the city kicked off a multi-year planning process to guide the redevelopment of the site. In the first part of the project, the project team set out to understand the community’s hopes, concerns, and vision for the future of the site. 

From the fall 2016 through spring 2017, you may have participated in one of the community engagement activities that included community workshops, an open house, pop-up events, and various opportunities for online input. Through this outreach, it was clear that Alpine-Balsam is a thriving neighborhood described as having many of the conveniences of city life within walking distance including shops, restaurants, medical services, a neighborhood school, and the North Boulder Park for recreation. However, with the closing of the hospital, some have expressed concern about the loss of activity. The input helped to generate a vision that “ Alpine-Balsam will be a vibrant multi-generational hub for community life and local government services—a welcoming and inclusive new model for equitable, affordable, and sustainable living.


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Guiding Principles

On June 6, 2017, Boulder City Council accepted the Vision Plan, which paints a general picture of the desired future for the Alpine-Balsam site and its surroundings with guiding principles to inform future planning and development.

Each guiding principle is further supported by strategies that identify “what” will be addressed and performance criteria that identify “how” the principles will be supported. Community input helped form the backbone for each of these components in the Vision Plan.

The five guiding principles are the core concepts that comprise the project vision:

  1. Respect the site’s physical environment.
  2. Create a vibrant place for community gathering.
  3. Capture synergies with mixed-use development.
  4. Serve as a model for equity, affordability and sustainability.
  5. Innovate planning, design and delivery processes.


Guiding Principle #1: Respect the Site's Physical Environment

Alpine-Balsam will enhance the neighborhood with quality design and improved connections to the site and neighborhood destinations. To do so, the future plan will address design quality and character, neighborhood connections and crossings, creek, floodplain and watershed issues, and exterior lighting. 

Guiding Principle #2: Create a Vibrant Place for Community Gathering

Alpine-Balsam will become a center of community activity along Boulder's most important transit corridor, with active destinations for shopping, gathering and community services. Streets, sidewalks, plazas and ground floor spaces should be developed carefully to create an active and walkable urban fabric, with varied and defined open spaces and places for arts, culture and multi-generational activities.  

Guiding Principle #3: Capture Synergies with Mixed-Use

Alpine-Balsam will be developed as a vibrant mixed-use place, with a mix of uses designed to capture synergies-residents will access a range of goods and services that support basic living, transit to and from work, and access to parks and recreation within a 15-minute walk-- and commercial and public uses will increase daytime activity supporting retail, transit and other amenities. Economic analysis is needed to inform detailed decisions about the types and quantities of uses. 

Guiding Principle #4: Serve as a Model for Equity, Affordability and Sustainability

Alpine-Balsam will be a model of affordable and sustainable living in Boulder, and will set and meet social equity goals for design, construction and operations. Affordable housing, high performance buildings, multimodal transportation and local business support are key strategies for affordable living. buildings and site development will demonstrate best-practices sustainable design with respect to energy, water, waste, materials and ecosystems. 

Guiding Principle #5: Innovate Planning, Design and Delivery Processes

Alpine-Balsam is an exemplar as it poses an opportunity for Boulder to manifest its vision and values. Embrace innovative processes for engaging the community , leveraging expertise, reviewing and adapting city standards, financing and project delivery, and developing sustainable urbanism. 

Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan Process Materials

City Council

August 22, 2017 City Council Study Session regarding the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan Action Plan

June 6, 2017 City Council Agenda item to accept the Central Broadway Corridor Design Framework and Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan May 2, 2017 City Council Agenda Item on the Central Broadway Corridor Design Framework and the Alpine-Balsam Vision Plan Feb. 28, 2017 City Council Study Session on the Central Broadway Corridor Design Framework, Alpine Balsam project and reuse of the medical pavilion.  Nov. 15, 2016   City Council Agenda Item on Central Boulder Planning Projects: Alpine-Balsam, Civic Area, and City Facilities Assessment

Community Engagement

Jan. 18, 2017 Community Workshop

  • At this community workshop, participants brainstormed how the site might be redeveloped through hands-on activities. They considered questions like: What’s the right mix of uses for the Alpine-Balsam site? How much affordable housing, green space, retail space or other uses should be there? Where should city facilities be located?
  • Community workshop summary pdf

Sept. & Oct., 2016 Pop-Up Events

  • These Pop-Up Events were created to share the Alpine-Balsam Visioning effort with both the surrounding neighborhoods and the broader community. The Pop-Up Events were designed to intercept folks in various locations to provide project information as well as gather input into the early phases of the work, including visioning, neighborhood values and civic uses.
  • Pop-Up Events Summary pdf

Sept. 8, 2016 Community Visioning

  • The Community Visioning Workshop included multiple activities for community members to share ideas, insights, and perspectives.
  • Online Questionnaire Responses pdf 

Spring-Summer 2016 Storytelling


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