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City of Lakewood

The City of Lakewood was the first community partner to participate in CU Denver’s Hometown Colorado Initiative during the 2015-16 academic year. Five projects were completed during the year, four of which are highlighted below. The fifth project was a course called, “The Aesthetics of Fun” and while not a project identified by the City of Lakewood, faculty and staff provided research on various places in Lakewood that are a draw for young people and families because of their “fun factor”.

The four city-identified projects completed through the Hometown Colorado Initiative are:

Sidewalk Inventory and Prioritization

Lakewood Walkability Project
LAKEWOOD, CO – NOVEMBER 6: Carolyn Hagele guesstimates the height of a light pole as she logs the locations of lights and curbs into a GIS Cloud app on her phone at Belmar in Lakewood, Colorado on November 6, 2015. Hometown Colorado is a project that is aiming to improve walkability in Lakewood. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

It is generally estimated that people will walk half a mile to or from destinations and this is usually measured by a half-mile radius drawn around a destination point, such as a transit station. This is “as the crow flies” and does not account for gaps in connectivity or barriers, e.g. freeways, train rights-of-way, gulches and retaining walls. Using a walkshed to show a half-mile along existing sidewalks and trails is a more accurate way to depict the actual area that can be reached by pedestrians. Once the existing walkshed is developed, opportunities for new connections can be mapped and the resulting increase in walkshed area can be determined. This information would be used by the City as an additional tool to determine where to invest in new sidewalks, trails and pedestrian connections.

Elements

  1. Determine several pedestrian destinations for walkshed development, e.g. Lamar Station, Garrison Station, Red Rocks Station, Downtown Lakewood, Union corridor, Denver West
  2. Map existing walksheds for location based on existing mapping and field investigations
  3. Map pedestrian generators or destinations such as recreation centers, schools, parks and major employment areas inside and outside the walkshed
  4. Identify potential connections and removal of barriers that could expand the walkshed. Map the expanded walkshed
  5. Define conceptual benefit versus cost. Benefits could be access to additional pedestrian generators or destinations included in the expanded walkshed , added length of walks or trails brought into the walkshed, or added residential units in the expanded walkshed. Conceptual costs could be broadly defined as high, medium or low with some definition of those terms

Student Deliverables

  1. Walkshed maps showing existing and potential future connections
  2. Description of benefits and costs of potential future connections

CU Denver Faculty: Scott Carman, Department of Landscape Architecture

Lakewood City Staff Member: Vince Casteel, Public Works

Master Site Plan for Lasley Park

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Develop a Master Site Plan for Lasley Park to include a phasing plan and cost estimates for the redevelopment / development of the park. The Park site is located in the south east area of Lakewood, at 6677 W Florida Ave. The City-owned park encompasses approximately 9 acres. Lakewood is strongly committed to listening to its residents. Citizen input is critical to assist in identifying amenities and improvements for the park that meet the needs and desires of the surrounding neighborhood and potential users of the site during the master planning process.

The park site fronts on Florida Avenue on the south, and access from the west is on S. Otis St with pedestrian access from W. Arkansas. The park is immediately adjacent to Lasley Elementary School which is owned and operated by the Jefferson County R-1 School District. Currently the site contains the following improvements: basketball courts, playground, restrooms, volleyball courts, two picnic shelters, BBQ grills, tennis courts and a walking path. This master planning project will provide guidance for future improvements, as well as being a tool to solicit development funding.

Elements

1. Become thoroughly acquainted with the available information about the site, including but not limited to utilities, neighborhood plans, surrounding land uses, drainage needs, traffic patterns and concerns, and site features
2. Conduct a minimum of three public meetings with interested citizens, user groups, school staff and City staff to solicit ideas and comments and to present updates and final draft
3. Provide a preliminary cost estimate to complete the proposed improvements and for a first phase of the site development
4. Provide a phasing plan and a timeline for each phase

Student Deliverables

  1. Conceptual master site plan for the entire site in the form of one rendered presentation drawing, a reproducible Mylar, and a digital file
  2. A written report documenting the planning process and summary of the plan for review by the Department’s executive team
  3. A preliminary cost estimate for the construction of site features
  4. A proposed phasing plan to meet the projected funding allocation (as developed with the City and the students) including a preliminary cost estimate for each potential phase of improvements)
  5. A preliminary drainage report (meeting City Engineering Standards); traffic and parking
  6. Impact and mitigation plan; preliminary architectural concepts (if necessary); and a site utility plan

CU Denver Faculty: Lori Catalano, Department of Landscape Architecture

Lakewood City Staff Member: Kit Newland, Community Resources

Update: At the October City Council meeting, there was a unanimous vote to approve $1.2 million budget for improvements to Lasley Park. Work is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017. This is a great example of how faculty and students can work in partnership with city staff to create workable solutions!

Local Food Assessment, Inventory and Goal Setting

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This project will help the City of Lakewood define what constitute local food assets (gardens, farms, produce stands, businesses selling local produce, food hubs, etc.) and then inventory assets across Lakewood’s neighborhoods in order to determine gaps and needs. This project will support Sustainability Plan goals around local food production and public health.

Elements

    1. Define what constitutes local food assets for Lakewood.
    2. Inventory existing assets
    3. Identify needs and gaps
    4. Establish goals/target for increasing local food assets by 2025

Student Deliverables

  1. Reports and maps
  2. Collected data integrated into the city’s online dashboard for sustainability

CU Denver Faculty: Jody Beck, Department of Landscape Architecture

Lakewood City Staff Member: Jonathan Wachtel, Sustainability Coordinator

Green Business Certification Program

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This project will support a proposed strategy included in the draft City of Lakewood Sustainability Plan that was developed with the goal of fostering sustainable business practices and recognizing leadership in sustainability from the business community. The project will help the City establish a green business certification program, where businesses can receive support to enhance operational sustainability and in return can earn community recognition and promotion through a certification process.

Elements

  1. Reviewing existing sustainability-related business certification programs
  2. Assessing the City of Lakewood’s commercial sectors to understand opportunities for sustainability
  3. Developing sector- specific sustainability criteria and initiatives to incorporate into the certification requirements
  4. Establishing a list of metrics and methods for tracking data in order to assess the overall short and long-term impacts of the program
  5. Developing marketing and outreach strategies to implement the program

Student Deliverables

  1. Report on existing business certification programs including measurable outcomes, and reported benefits or shortcomings
  2. Detailed report identifying sector –specific certification criteria, program requirements, resources to support business participation, and metrics to track outcomes
  3. Marketing plan for branding and launching the program

CU Denver Faculty: Roger Stace, Business School

Lakewood City Staff Member: Jonathan Wachtel, Sustainability Coordinator

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