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Boulder Civic Area Project

Civic Area study session with City Council; Public Input report online

On Tuesday, March 31, the Civic Area team presented a hybrid park site plan (based on input received from the community, stakeholders, and boards and commissions) as well as provided an update on the master plan to the Boulder City Council.

To inform City Council at the study session, staff shared feedback received during all March outreach events (both in-person and online). View the March 2015 Public Input Report! pdf

Council will formally accept a summary of the study session at its April 21 meeting.

2015 Implementation activities

Develop the Civic Area Park Site Plan – Based on community input and the council-adopted Vision Plan pdf, staff is developing a detailed Civic Area Park Site Plan.  Park improvements will be funded by the 2014 Community, Culture and Safety tax funding, which includes approximately $8.7 million to kick start the implementation of the Civic Area Vision Plan and will coordinate with the more than $5 million from the tax devoted to Boulder Creek Path, 11th Street lighting and Arapahoe underpass improvements.    

The Park Site Plan will be shaped by site analysis work and various technical studies, including the Canyon Boulevard Complete Street that began in 2014 and will continue throughout 2015.

Update the Civic Area Master Plan – In order to advance implementation items for the near-term and guide further work on longer-term investments, amendments to the adopted Civic Area Vision Plan pdf will be proposed in mid-2015, with the intent of replacing the existing 1992 Boulder Civic Center Master Plan.

Civic Area Project Phases

Activation (Events + Site Improvements + Safety)

Short-term Site Improvements

The Civic Area can be improved by enhancing a sense of place, basic physical transformations and tying the various pieces together to create a cohesive community destination.

The Short-term Site Improvements will fulfill the community's vision in three critical thematic areas: The Creek at the Core, Community Spaces, and Connections and Access.

Civic Area Safety

Throughout the 18-month visioning process, safety in the Civic Area was a consistent concern and theme to be addressed. The city heard the community loud and clear, and safety is being enhanced by:

  • Hiring seasonal ambassadors to welcome residents and visitors to the Civic Area and help ensure safety and provide information about events and activities;
  • Increased Police presence and enforcement of illegal activities in the Civic Area; and
  • Enhanced activity and programming in the area to promote eyes on the park.


The Civic Area is a beautiful, central backdrop for community events. City and community events draw people to the area, create positive experiences and foster support for future improvements.

More than half of the 27-acre Civic Area site is Civic and Central parks, with Boulder Creek flowing through the middle. A green spine that unifies spaces and provides natural beauty, ecological richness, shade, recreation, art and places to gather.

In 2015, activation of the Boulder Civic Area will be the top implementation priority.  Civic Area activation means providing, supporting and delivering a public space that is inviting to all users via events, short-term site improvements and safety enhancements.

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Past Events

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2014 Summer Games at BMoCA

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See full photo set in the Photo Gallery

Transformation (Research + Design + Master Plan Development)

The Boulder Civic Area Vision Plan pdf was adopted to guide the transformation of the area over the coming years. The city will be working with the community, stakeholders and public parkland consultant Tom Leader Studio to develop an overall master plan and detailed site plan for the public parkland in the Civic Area.


Utilize existing and commission necessary technical reports and surveys to inform/increase knowledge of area existing conditions, constraints and opportunities.


Through a competitive RFQ process, the city selected Tom Leader Studio to be the master planning and public parkland design consultant. Tom Leader Studio has delivered similar transformative projects like the 20-acre redevelopment of Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Tom Leader Studio will also have a consultant support team, including:

  • HR&A – to provide advisory services related to park programming and business planning strategy.
  • Anderson Consulting Engineers and ERO – to provide environmental and engineering consultation related to floodplain and wetland observances.
  • JVA Consultants – to consult on civil engineering; and
  • Rick Epstein for urban planning consulting.

Civic Area Working Groups will also provide an advisory function related to potential programming and space options for the master and site planning process.

Master Plan Development

Civic Area master planning work will happen concurrently with detailed parkland site plan to ensure that the park design integrates and fits within the overall master plan for the area.

Civic Area Branding

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See full photo set in the Photo Gallery

Realization (Working Groups + Capital Projects + New Facilities)

The city will partner with area tenants and business owners, community-members and other subject matter experts to realize the full potential of the Boulder Civic Area.

Working Groups

Civic Area Working Groups will function in an advisory capacity, with staff and boards and commissions responsible for recommendations to the Boulder City Council. The groups will also provide input into the concept planning and parkland design process, which is occurring concurrently with the working group sessions.

Arts Working Group pdf charged with collaborating with the Library and Arts ‘Community Cultural Plan’ currently under development as well as brainstorming, prioritizing and better defining ideas for arts programming and space needs.

Innovation Working Group pdf charged with exploring how the city can best support and bolster Boulder’s creative community.

Local Food Working Group pdf charged with identifying the sustainability and economic feasibility of enhancing the local food community through near and longer-term programming and capital projects, such as a community kitchen, an integrated market hall, and a food incubator.

Capital Projects and New Facilities

Civic Area capital projects and potential new facilities (referred to at the ‘Bookends’ in the Vision Plan) require due diligence work related to geotechnical conditions, various site surveys, parking, flood requirements, and other potential project feasibility issues and cost impacts.

The overall concept plan and parkland design (expected to be finished in early 2015) will better inform potential capital projects in the Boulder Civic Area.


Watch the Civic Area Vision Come to Life

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