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Mayor and City Council Dessert, August 23, 2012

Meeting summary from the Westminster Mayor & City Council Dessert and Conversation

August 23, 2012, at Panera Bread, 10450 Town Center Drive.

Mayor Nancy McNally and members of Westminster City Council held a conversation with approximately 45 Westminster residents on their concerns, suggestions and questions about the Westminster community. The following questions and topics were discussed; additional information on each of these topics follows below:

Will having light rail require replacement of bridges or overpasses?

First, the rail service that is proposed to run through Westminster is "commuter rail." This differs somewhat from "light rail" in that the rail cars are sturdier, and they accelerate and decelerate less quickly than light rail cars. The light rail system is designed for shorter routes with more frequent stops, and a commuter rail system is designed for longer routes with less stops.

The portion of the Regional Transportation District FasTracks system that will run through Westminster is called the Northwest Rail Line. The entire Northwest Rail Line will, eventually, span from downtown Denver's Union Station to Longmont via Westminster and Boulder. However, the only segment of this line that is currently anticipated to be constructed in the near future will run from Union Station to the Westminster Station, to be located near the intersection of 71st Avenue and Irving Street. The construction of that segment, which is expected to be operational by the year 2016, will not require the replacement of any bridges or overpasses within the City of Westminster. City staff is unaware if bridges or overpasses located outside of Westminster will need to be replaced. As an aside, it is purely coincidental that the Colorado Department of Transportation is currently contemplating the replacement of the Federal Boulevard bridge over the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad track at about 69th Avenue. The replacement of this bridge was not necessitated by the FasTracks program.

Are there plans to enhance the Harris Park area?

The City of Westminster has gradually been making investments in the Harris Park neighborhood. Public improvements have included streetscaping along 73rd Avenue, Meade Street, and Lowell Boulevard, restoration and reuse of the Rodeo Market as a community arts facility, and plaza and park improvements adjacent to the Rodeo Market building. In addition, the city water utility more recently completed the replacement of old water lines throughout the neighborhood. The city intends on continuing fund improvements on a gradual basis as financial resources permit as these improvements lead to the leverage of privately funded improvements. These improvements have facilitated the development of 60 townhomes on Lowell Boulevard and Meade Street, and construction of a new commercial building at 73rd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard to date. This investment has heightened the interest of private-sector investors in seeking new development opportunities in the neighborhood. Given this interest, the city anticipates receiving new development proposals over the next several years. 

What is the status of the Mall redevelopment?

Discussions are still moving forward positively with a potential developer but there are no public announcements to be made at this time. The goal is still to have a Development Agreement finalized by year end and formal planning is expected to occur in early 2013.

On the demolition front, the former Sears department store is currently being torn down. About one-third of it is already gone and should be completely torn down and hauled off in about 90 days. The Auto Center is already demolished and the underground tank will be removed within in the next couple of weeks.

A series of interactive open houses (both in person and online) were hosted in March and early April. Comments from several hundred participants are on the project website, www.westminstercenter.us and will be incorporated into the planning process.

The city’s vision continues to be broad at this point – but basically can be summarized as a community centerpiece with land uses that include not just retail – so this won’t be another mall – but will include retail, along with office and residential as the project would unfold over coming years.

For complete information, please visit www.westminstercenter.us.

Will there be a grand opening on the new skatepark and when?

There will be a grand opening sometime in the spring of 2013 but a date has not been selected.

What percentage of city power is solar?

Although the city has major solar installations on four city facilities, the amount of electricity that this generates accounts for only a fraction of the city’s overall power usage.

The city has four solar systems totaling about 200 kWh on four buildings: PSC, MSC, Westview, and City Park Rec.  (Learn more about this on the city website.) That’s enough for about 14 homes. For each of these buildings, the solar installation makes less than 4 percent of the energy used at these facilities.

The city has been focusing on conservation measures and energy efficiency measures within our facilities, and has spent millions of dollars making our properties more efficient. Alternative energy generation comes after conservation and efficiency.

Will there be another used medications drop? When? Where?

The Westminster Police Department will be hosting another Drug Take Back Day in the lobby of the Westminster Public Safety Center (9110 Yates St.) on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information contact Det. Jessica Beren at 303-658-4415.

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