1. Plan

    2023 - 2024

  2. Community Engagement

    Early 2024

  3. Design


  4. Build


Project Overview

The Civic Area Phase 2 Project will build on the 2015 Park Plan PDF and continue the design effort to transform this important public space to encompass vibrant urban living, diverse cultural events, a connection to nature and a place that honors the complete history of the area while serving the community of Boulder.

The project vision includes a beautiful, recreational river park at the core with incredible views of the Flatirons. The area is flanked by “bookends” that will create civic and commercial development opportunities that are alive with activity, collaboration, and innovation.

Learn more and sign up for email updates below.

The City of Boulder wants your opinion on the proposed Civic Area Historic District!

The City of Boulder is exploring a proposed historic district designation including Central Park, a section of 13th St., 13th St. Plaza, five adjacent city-owned buildings, and associated space including paths and parking lots.

Learn more about the proposed Civic Area Historic District and complete the questionnaire at the bottom of the proposed district project web page. Comments will be collected and considered in upcoming Landmark’s Board and City Council memos.

Engagement Opportunities

  • Today through March 1 – Share your thoughts about the proposed Civic Area Historic District on the project web page.
  • Feb. 7 – Landmark Board Public Hearing for consideration of the proposed Civic Area Historic District. Public participation is welcome for interested community members. Community members can sign up to speak on the Landmarks Board Meeting page. It is listed on the Landmark Board’s agenda the as:
    • Public hearing and consideration of an application to designate a portion of the area from 1777 Broadway to 14th Street and between Canyon Blvd. and Arapahoe Ave. as a historic district pursuant to Section 9-11-5, of the Boulder Revised Code, 1981 (HIS2023-00081). Owner: City of Boulder / Applicant: City of Boulder Landmarks Board.
  • Feb. 24 – First public open house to give your feedback on the Civic Area Phase 2 Project! Learn more about the open house.
  • March 21* – City Council’s first reading for the proposed Civic Area Historic District. Public participation is welcome for interested community members. Community members can sign up to speak on the City Council web page.
  • April 11* – City Council’s second reading and a public hearing for the proposed Civic Area Historic District

*Council dates subject to change.

Cultural Landscape Assessment

As part of the research process for the proposed Civic Area Historic District, the Parks and Recreation Department conducted a Cultural Landscape Assessment (CLA) to evaluate park land as part of the proposed historic district. The CLA is focused on Central Park (including the currently designated bandshell) to ensure there is a solid base of knowledge regarding the historic significance and integrity of the parkland. The CLA and the Proposed Civic Area Historic District were presented to and discussed by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) on Jan. 22, 2024.

CLA Memo and Full Assessment:

  • Proposed Civic Area Historic District Memo (starts on page 13)
  • Central Park Cultural Landscape Assessment Memo (memo starts on page 72)
  • Central Park Cultural Landscape Assessment (Full Report starts on page 76)

PRAB Presentation and Discussion:

  • Central Park Cultural Landscape Assessment Presentation @ 8:40
  • Proposed Civic Area Historic District Presentation @ 29:50
  • Recommendations from PRAB @ 1:18:35
    • Board Vice Chair’s Statement, as referred to in the recommendations @ 1:06:30

Boulder has routinely been named one of the top places in America to call home, and in keeping with this charge, Phase 2 of the Civic Area Project is critical to maintaining this way of life. We have the opportunity at the heart of downtown to rethink urban park design to ensure a strong connection to nature, promote the robust local economy, support the dynamic art scene, and continue to cultivate Boulder’s thriving culture.

The project vision encompasses the makings of a beautiful recreational river park at the core, with incredible views of the celebrated Flatirons. This area is flanked by bookends that can entertain civic and commercial development that are alive with activity, collaboration, and innovation.

This will be a space for everyone - a lively and distinct destination that reflects the principles laid on in the 2015 Civic Area plan. A place where people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, and incomes feel welcome to recreate, socialize, relax, and enjoy the ambiance of a high-altitude urban center at the feet of the Rocky Mountains. The green ribbon along Boulder Creek is the unifying design that will weave metropolitan and park space into a richly diverse, sustainable, equitable, resilient, communal, recreational, artistic, historic, cultural, educational, and social gathering space that reflects Boulder’s identity as a funky, fun and friendly place to live.

This project will also focus on how this vital downtown area can connect to the university on the ‘hill’. The Civic Area will also potentially see city-owned buildings become available as city staff move to a new location. This allows us to reimagine the reuse of these assets to create centers where community members can meet, interact, and innovate. All together, these elements create a true civic heart for the Boulder community, a place to tell, enjoy, and participate in Boulder’s story.

The planning process for Boulder’s Downtown Civic Area kicked off in 2012 with the initial Plan for Boulder’s Civic Area, adopted by Council in September 2013. This document provided a high-level vision with design principles for Civic Park, Central Park, 13th Street, East Bookend, West Bookend, Pearl Street, the Arboretum Path, and major pedestrian connections between these spaces. In 2015, City Council approved Boulder’s Civic Area Plan, refining the initial thinking with an updated concept and program plan. Throughout these two key efforts, a robust public engagement, stakeholder, and steering committee process was incorporated into the overall project timeline to ensure the proposed Civic Area enhancements reflected the values and goals of the community.

The 2015 Civic Area Plan PDF and resulting redevelopment efforts seek to breathe new life into some of Boulder’s most beloved, historic, and iconic public spaces. With parts of Phase 1 (as outlined in the 2015 plan) completed in 2018, Phase 2 of this project will review Civic Park, Central Park, the Arboretum Path, 13th Street, and the West and East Bookends. They will also review multiple city-owned buildings as key components to understand future land use, development opportunities, and which park spaces will move forward for the next phase of implementation. The outcome of the project is to lay out a dynamic, connected, and vibrant collection of community spaces enjoyed by residents and visitors in the Civic Area, guided by the seven main principles from the Civic Area Plan PDF:

Main design priorities:

  • The Civic Heart of Boulder
  • Life & Property Safety
  • Outdoor Culture & Nature
  • Celebration of History & Assets
  • Enhanced Access & Connections
  • Place for Community Activity & Arts
  • Sustainable & Viable Future

  • July 17, 2023: After final scoping of the project had been completed, the City released a Request for Proposal to solicit a design team in support of the planning, design and public engagement work needed to complete the Civic Area’s Schematic Design.
  • July 12, 2023: The Landmarks Board voted to initiate the designation process for the Historic District as outlined by the application.
  • May 2023: An application for a Historic District was submitted by three community groups.
  • January 2023: The City of Boulder launched the Phase 2 Civic Area project. This process will build on the rigorous effort of the planning process and Phase 1 park improvements, completed in 2018. Staff have conducted scoping and pre-planning, and outlined a public engagement strategy to take the Civic Area Plan from Concept Design to Schematic Design.