City to slow down, but not stop, Heart of Golden 2020 process in wake of pandemic

Planning to continue but funding conversation will be delayed

Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/29/20

The city of Golden will continue with the planning process for the Heart of Golden project but on a more elongated and open-ended timeline, the Golden City Council indicated at its April 23 meeting. …

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City to slow down, but not stop, Heart of Golden 2020 process in wake of pandemic

Planning to continue but funding conversation will be delayed

Posted

The city of Golden will continue with the planning process for the Heart of Golden project but on a more elongated and open-ended timeline, the Golden City Council indicated at its April 23 meeting.

During the meeting, the city council engaged in a discussion about the best way to proceed with the project in light of COVID-19 and the impacts it has and will on the city and its residents. Deputy city manager Carly Lorentz and Community Economic and Development Director Steve Glueck had previously sent the council a memo asking it to provide direction to staff on how to proceed with the process.

Heart of Golden 2020 is a project that aims to consider how a 7.27-acre corridor of land surrounding Clear Creek can be enhanced and put to new civic uses following the city’s purchase of a large office building at 311 10th Street from MillerCoors. The planning process kicked off earlier this year with visioning workshops where residents were able to suggest ideas for future uses of the corridor.

On March 11, the first of two refining workshops at which residents were able to respond to four concepts for the corridor created based on major themes that emerged during the visioning workshops was held. A second refining workshop planned for April 8 was canceled because of the epidemic.

The process was then set to continue with more workshops in May and June where the community would ultimately develop a plan for the corridor and how it could be paid for with an eye toward possibly going to the voters to fund the project this November.

But in their memo to the council, Lorentz and Glueck recommended extending the refining portion of the process into the summer to provide more time to gather input while “delaying more in-depth funding conversations for 2021, 2022 or whenever is more appropriate.” The selecting phase, at which a final plan would be chosen, would also be moved into fall or winter to provide time to “gather more feedback and produce a plan that we could continue to work on through next year.

The memo read: “Staff believes this option maintains momentum and gives the community space to adjust to a new normal. Staff is prepared to continue the project virtually and we are thankful for our strong digital engagement foundation that can support our future needs.”

Members of the council expressed support for that plan and sited the need to be realistic and flexible in moving forward with the process with a desire not to lose the project and momentum the project has achieved.

During the discussion, councilman Rob Reed also argued that it is important for the refining process to be able to continue in-person, although Mayor Laura Weinberg urged the council and staff to remain flexible about how the process could continue virtually or with smaller meetings.

Many staff also expressed supporting for extending the process in order to provide more time for Golden to come to grips with the fallout of COVID-19 while at the same time giving residents an opportunity to plan for Golden’s future beyond the pandemic.

“Planning is an act of hope so if we can think about where we want to move with the city, I think that’s good and encouraging to people,” said councilwoman JJ Trout.

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