Development Authority sees major changes in 2012

Pam North
Nederland

The Nederland Downtown Development Authority (NDDA) has seen major changes in 2012, from the complete replacement of its board to the shift in focus from the demise of the NDDA’s previous Sidewalks Phase II plan to the birth of the current NedPeds project. NedPeds, which is a far better fit with the Town of Nederland’s Master Plan, has become the highlight and main goal of the NDDA over the course of 2012.

January

NDDA Board members discussed the recent rejection of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) grant for $486,000 for Phase II of the Sidewalks Project, expressing their disappointment at that outcome. Various points included: the sidewalks would have provided better access for pedestrians, linking them with RTD bus service; the award of the grant had followed a complicated application process, and the NDDA already had invested about $15,000 toward the project. Despite their disappointment, the NDDA Board members resolved to continue to pursue projects that would benefit the Town. Some members of the public expressed sympathy that Phase II of the Sidewalks Project would not be moving forward, and the Board was commended on its efforts.
Accountant Mike Massa presented the year-end financial report and Town Treasurer Eva Forberger will be taking over the NDDA’s financial matters in January. The Eco-Passes with RTD, which will be available on a community-wide basis in a 2-year pilot program, was scheduled for launch at the end of January at the Nederland Community Library. About 3,000 people in the Library District were eligible for and benefited from this program. Identification and proof of residency (utility bill, rental agreement, or bill of sale for property) was required to obtain the passes. The Town of Nederland and Boulder County were partners in obtaining the Eco-Pass grant.
The Nederland Chamber of Commerce had reached the final stage of its restructuring. Resignations had been submitted from Teresa Warren, chair, and Ken Adler, creating two additional vacancies in addition to two previous ones, so four board positions were open for candidates to send in applications. Peter Stader assumed Warren’s vacated chair position temporarily.
The updated Master Plan would be the guide for future major NDDA projects, but since there could be some unforeseen projects that could miss being included initially on that Master Plan, some extra non-designated funding would have to be included on the April ballot for such contingencies.
Nedestrian (pedestrian crossing) flags that the NDDA had on hand would be made available to Amanda MacDonald for her upcoming event, Frozen Dead Guy Days.

February

Resignations were received from Peter Stader, Steve Culver and Udo Sille, although they volunteered to continue to serve a few more weeks until new Board members could fill those vacated positions. Outreach began in that venue. The NDDA consists of a seven-member Board of Directors who are appointed by the Nederland Board of Trustees, and are comprised of constituents, residents, land owners, business lessees and one member of the Board of Trustees who serves as a liaison. Anyone thus qualified and interested in being considered for the NDDA Board was encouraged to stop by Town Hall and fill out an application.
Katrina Harms reported that the reorganized Chamber of Commerce had had its first social networking meeting, which was well-attended, and that there was general satisfaction expressed by local merchants on the new price levels of membership structure.

March

Ballot questions relating to the NDDA were discussed. Paul Turnburke and Annette Croughwell had worked on the question types and wording, with two separate questions being the result: voter support for debt authorization; and voter support for renewal of the mill levy. A resolution from the Trustees supporting the NDDA also was being sought. The public was being asked to authorize debt for the NDDA’s new Master Plan without knowing what the Master Plan will entail. The updated Master Plan would be the guide for future major NDDA projects, but since some unforeseen projects could miss being included initially on that Master Plan, some extra non-designated funding would have to be included on the ballot for such contingencies. The updated Master Plan should not preclude new ideas, but also ideas specified on the Master Plan could be discarded if not practical.
The transition of NDDA board direction was a major focus for the new members, who agreed that it was important for the NDDA to have a needed fresh start. While everyone wanted what was best for Nederland, each had a different opinion on implementing that concept. It was generally agreed that transparency would be an important part of the new NDDA, and that NDDA plans should be aligned with the Town’s Master Plan and Comprehensive Plan.
New procedures for handling bills and payments were put in place. The Town treasurer would oversee that the NDDA’s budget was not exceeded, or if necessary, amend the budget with Trustee approval for the expenditure. Amounts of expenses at certain dollar amounts require certain different procedures.
Alisha Reis reported that the Sidewalk Project, Phase I final cost, was $785,963, which was about 3 percent over the original $750,000 projected cost due to erosion control, embankments, etc., that had been checked for validity by re-measurements. The final $60,000 had not been closed out with the Colorado Department of Transportation because of negotiations over extra charges. The best compromise on those had been negotiated, and while it had been a difficult process, charges over the original estimates were reasonable. With completion near, final grant funds would be forthcoming, and extra expenses would be covered with existing TIF funds already in place. The Sidewalk Project had been a valuable learning experience.
A survey to obtain accurate local public opinion had begun, with Michael McBurnie volunteering time and effort to determine methods to connect with the NDDA constituency. The survey would be conducted online, with a newsletter sent out to inform people. The property owners within the NDDA district boundaries were on the mailing list.

May

An entirely new Board for the Nederland Downtown Development Authority was appointed at the Nederland Board of Trustees meeting. Patricia Everson and Donna Sue Kirkpatrick were appointed for two-year terms expiring June 30, 2014. Will Guercio and Ron Mitchell were appointed for one-year terms expiring June 30, 2013. Mary Ann Rodak-Friedman was appointed for a six-week term expiring June 30, 2012, to be eligible for reconsideration of a four-year term to expire June 30, 2016. A proposed slate of officers was approved, with Ron Mitchell as chair, Pat Everson as vice chair and Donna Sue Kirkpatrick as secretary.

June

An update on the NedPeds project was presented. Ron Mitchell had circulated a flyer inviting residents, businesses and property owners to attend an informal meeting at the Nederland Community Center on Sunday, June 3. Mayor Joe Gierlach had given a presentation of the scope and need of the NedPeds Project and how he had successfully approached the DRCOG to reinstate the previous grant for the Sidewalks Phase II. The original grant had specified only that the Post Office and Nederland Community Library would be connected by a pedestrian route, but they have flexibility as to what street could be used for that purpose.
Also, the NDDA funds could be spent outside the NDDA district providing it benefited the district. Part of this project would include storm water management, and it was desired that the people who would be affected the most by the project should have representation on the Design Advisory Team (DAT). Four people signed up for that. Pat Everson had met with Town Treasurer Eva Forberger to work out a budget for the design phase as well as to begin preparing a budget for Mayor Gierlach to take to DRCOG in August for requesting additional funding that would become available then.
A plan of development would be prepared for the project, and the landscape architect and civil engineer chosen who would lead the project through the design process and the Town approval process for public projects. At the June 6, 2012, budget workshop, it was suggested that for the west end of Second Street, or Highway 72, one of the members of the DAT should make a presentation to the boards of each of the churches, the Library and the Mining Museum to obtain more input for the design.
Due to the complexities of the financing of the NDDA, and the misunderstandings of how they worked, combined with the desire of the Board for openness and transparency, it was decided to form a Financial Task Force for upcoming budget concerns for 2012. This would reduce the number of workshops the NDDA Board members would have to attend, allowing a fully completed, documented and researched product to be presented to the entire board. The task force would be comprised of Pat Everson as the chairperson, Ron Mitchell and Eva Forberger as members, plus one member of the public who had been closely tracking the finances of the NDDA for the past several years and who had an interest in helping the NDDA move forward with their goals.
The Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest took place at the at the High Peaks Art Festival on Sunday, June 26. The event opened at 10 a.m., but participants signed up all day, almost until the 4 p.m. deadline, to try their skills. Three categories covered age groups of children, teens and adults.
The pedestrian flags project continued to evolve: orange flags bearing the Frozen Dead Guy and Nedestrian crossing logo became the final choice after consideration. The goal of the crossing flags was to promote safety for pedestrians crossing at various traffic points.

July
Eva Forberger reported that the Town would be placing bear-proof trash containers around the First Street area. The trash cans were funded by a grant benefiting public areas, and the 4 foot by 2 foot containers accommodated recycling. The community was educated on their use, and it was planned to track waste.
Executive Director Paul Turnburke gave an update on the status of the planting of flowers in the containers in town, reporting that the planting had been completed, and that some money had been held back to fund replacement of any plants that might become damaged by hail.
Pat Everson had met recently with Town Treasurer Eva Forberger to work out a budget for the NedPeds design phase, as well as to begin preparing a budget for Mayor Gierlach to take to the Denver Regional Council of Governments in August for requesting additional funding that would become available then. A plan of development would be prepared for the project, and the landscape architect and civil engineer chosen who would lead the project through the design process and the Town approval process for public projects.
A new direction for organizational duties of the NDDA Board was discussed, with emphasis on how to go forward differently than in the past. It was agreed that specific task forces would be organized to research and handle projects. The new budget would in August, and a task force for that was already going. The NDDA began to focus on having an outgoing community presence. The Adopt-A Planter program had been under-implemented.
A plan of development would be needed for the intersection of Highway 119 and Lakeview Drive. The intersection, a busy one, needed traffic direction.
Alisha Reis recommended that the NDDA should request periodic joint sessions with the Trustees to mesh better and streamline process. Pat Everson emphasized that the NDDA should move into the public place as a team, always with sustainability goals, and Katrina Harms said that there should be no fundamental change to DDA philosophy, but that protocol should be better aligned.
A new job description for the NDDA Executive Director was proposed that would guide Paul Turnburke in reallocating his time when clerical help came on board. The NDDA was planning on hiring a clerical staff member to assist him, freeing up his time to target NDDA business more strategically.
Katrina Harms also was appointed to the Communication Task Force. Determining the NDDA representative for the Request for Proposal selection board was discussed. Paul Turnburke, as part of that process to select a firm for the Master Plan update, said that he would advertise for three weeks to obtain a number of responses. Firms would be checked out and ranked according to Colorado Department of Transportation specifics. The DAT would guide the process, so it should have tech-oriented team members to aid in the review process. The NDDA would invite Mayor Gierlach to participate.
It was agreed to rent the Community Center’s multi-purpose room for future NDDA meetings at a cost of $50 for room rental, plus a $12 set-up fee for a total of $62 for each monthly meeting.
The NDDA Board approved hiring Flagstaff Surveying at a cost of $5,900, subject to Board of Trustees approval of the intergovernmental agreement with DRCOG.

August

Sue Churches was interviewed, hired and trained as the NNDDA’s new secretary. Future NDDA meeting dates were rescheduled, with the first Wednesday of each month generally agreed upon.
NDDA Board member participation in the Comprehensive Plan Update was introduced as a very important focus, and implementation of that was discussed. The conducting of small-scale meetings by each individual Board member was agreed upon as the most viable way of getting community input, with the results being shared at a future NDDA meeting.
An Adopt A Planter Task Force was formed, with Donna Sue Kirkpatrick as head, and Eva Forberger assisting. Donations and adoptions of the planters by sponsors would defray costs of the plants, flowers and maintenance.
A Communication Task Force has been formed, with Katrina Harms as head and Pat Everson assisting. Responsibilities and strategy were discussed, which involved laying out a website, and implementing social media, a newsletter and a future column in The Mountain-Ear.

September

The Design Advisory Team report was presented. The Nedpeds Project had received many emails from property owners on the Second Street route, expressing both support for and concerns about the survey being conducted to identify and establish boundary lines in that area. The DAT Selection Team had only one response to the RFP for the firm to do the design of the Nedpeds project, Huitt-Zollars, Inc., from Denver, who had presented a well-done power point presentation featuring their company and the team of companies that they assembled.
The DAT had unanimously agreed to proceed to contract talks with that firm. The negotiating team would be Town Administrator Alisha Reis and Mayor Joe Gierlach for the Town, and Ron Mitchell and Pat Everson for the NDDA. In-depth meetings would work out the details of the scope of work for the design of the project, with members of the Selection Team working out the details.
After an agreement was reached, it would be reviewed by the Town attorney and submitted for consideration of the NDDA Board members, who would review it and send it on to the Board of Trustees for final approval. A shortened timeline for completion of the design had been designated, with movement through the and Nederland Planning Process (NPP) process to a bidding date around the end of January or beginning of February 2013, allowing the project to get “more bang for the buck,” This aggressive timeline would be discussed with Huitt-Zollars, Inc., to be certain that they could comply.
The Nederland Planning Process was mentioned. The NPP had evolved into an innovative approach to involving local residents, business owners and community members in the public policy-making process and consideration of public projects. The NPP could not be applied to private projects. By using the NPP, the Nederland Board of Trustees had a means of gauging public concerns and response on various new policies or projects. The NPP was initially conceived by Paul Turnburke.
A proposal to hire a consultant to revamp the NDDA website had been submitted by Dog House, Inc.. It was considered reasonable, and the Board agreed to accept it.
The contract for design services with Huitt-Zollars, Inc., for the NedPeds project was submitted to the Town. Alisha Reis explained the Town’s standard agreement for professional services and presented the cost figures (conservative estimates) associated with the design contract. Questions regarding additional work or trade-off possibilities along with their potential costs arose, and Reis explained that as a “do not exceed” contract, additional costs would be added only if the original scope of the project were to change. Approval by the NDDA (serving as the recommending authority) and by the Board of Trustees would be necessary for any changes or additional costs for the project. Reis also stated that she found Huitt-Zollars, Inc., to be compliant with the Request for Proposal. Ron Mitchell requested that a requirement for interviews of local labor and contractors be written into the contract, stressing the importance of giving locals opportunities for work. The design contract was approved
Town Treasurer Eva Forberger presented the preliminary budget for the NDDA for 2013, and reported that she had revised the budget’s format to show additional financial history and had summarized the loan amounts, clarifying the Tax Increment Financing allocation. Discussion followed on details involving the 2013 Adopt-a-Planter program and other beautification projects, and it was suggested that volunteers could be helpful in those venues. Business donations, some TIF funds and the Community Garden grant funds would be re-evaluated before any money would be spent.
Eva Forberger would compile approximate property tax revenue figures in late November or early December. Forberger also indicated that a draft budget could change in the next budget hearing, as well as prior to presentation to the Trustees for final approval on Dec. 4, 2012. She advised the NDDA to meet at some point in November to finalize the budget. It was unanimously voted that the budget draft be tabled to the Oct. 16 budget hearing.
The loan request to the Trustees to access TIF funds for the design portion of the NedPeds project was discussed. Eva Forberger reported that the two-year loan covering the project manager and design portion of the Ned Peds project would be in place with sufficient time to pay without financial stress and that the interest rate would not exceed 7 percent. The Board agreed unanimously to refer Loan Resolution #2012-29 to the Trustees on Oct. 2, 2012.

October

Pat Everson presented the DAT NedPeds project report, an overview of progress on the NedPeds project. The area survey, although not completed, was mostly done. Public Works had allotted $15,000 in the 2013 budget to address culvert replacement on Snyder Street, below Second Street and Highway 119. Environment and historic clearances were briefly touched on, and identification of wetlands. An agreement would be drafted between the Town and the NDDA to determine responsibility for sidewalk maintenance, similar to that for Phase I Sidewalks.
The NDDA would borrow funds to be paid back through TIF to fund the NedPeds design. The amount of $117,000 would cover funding for the Sustainability Coordinator/Project Manager and additional costs to Huitt-Zollars, Inc., for the design to include spurs and alternate spur routes to connect the bus stops.
The task of creating a selection committee for the position of sustainability coordinator and project manager for the NedPed project resulted in the board agreeing to appoint Pat Everson, Paul Turnburke and Katrina Harms to serve as the selection committee for handling that task. Requirements and scope of the position had been drafted.
In the interests of outreach to constituents, it was suggested to plan an NDDA dinner event in late February 2013. The NDDA could use that venue to provide updates to constituents on projects, maintain contact and reestablish connections with older businesses and meet new property owners in the NDDA district to introduce them to the NDDA. The Board allocated $1,000 for the dinner, and would form a planning commission to organize the event.
Estimates for the cost of a laptop and necessary software to be purchased for the NDDA secretary had been researched. After discussion, it was decided that the Town would donate a used laptop for the NDDA secretary’s use
A workshop flyer was to be designed for the Comprehensive Plan Potluck planned by the Town in support of the update of the community’s comprehensive land use plan on Saturday, Oct. 20,.at the Nederland Community Center, with participants bringing a dish to share with neighbors, and spending the afternoon talking about the future of the community in an informal atmosphere.

November

The NDDA had hired Conor Merrigan and Cliff Lind from C2Sustainability as the project manager and sustainability consultant for the NedPeds project, and a series of presentations had been scheduled to involve the citizens of Nederland in the beginning design for the multi-modal pathway connecting the Post Office to the Library. Those presentations would be given by Brian McLaren, P.E., from Huitt-Zollars, Inc., McLaren is theNedPeds Design Manager, and as leader of the design team had worked closely with the Town and the residents of Second Street, the chosen route for the project.
McLaren, a former resident of Nederland, expressed pleasure in being involved with the Town again. The project now moves into the Nederland Public Process required of all projects on public land within the Town of Nederland. The first meeting, releasing the schematic design, was Thursday, Nov. 15, before the Parks Recreation and Open Space Advisory Board meeting and other meetings were to follow.
 An update on the Mining Museum artifacts was provided by Donna Sue Kirkpatrick. The items that were not included in the sale of the building to Boulder County remain on the lot west of the museum. Kirkpatrick would research options for placing the artifacts and mining equipment elsewhere, and would report on her findings at a future meeting.
 Pat Everson introduced the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Board Master Plan draft. Randy Lee was present to answer related questions. The document had been evolving during the past two years at the hands of members of the steering committee with input from Paul Turnburke, Annette Croughwell, a public survey and various local groups.
Discussion and completion of the questionnaire submitted to the NDDA by PROSAB focused on various aspects of the plan draft in relation to NDDA goals and also to the Gateway Park. As to whether the PROSAB plan complimented or conflicted with the NDDA plan of development, the NDDA Board expressed the desire to work with PROSAB, but due to the current NDDA Board’s short tenure, they said they were somewhat inexperienced to determine the answer to that question, but stated that their design team of Brian McLaren and Conor Merrigan would be directly responsible for the Gateway Park project’s relationship to the NDDA.
Regarding whether the PROSAB plan supported the improvement of the downtown area, the NDDA’s consensus was that it was positive providing that in the Master Plan existing sidewalks were included as an asset for the Town, and Gateway Park provided for infrastructure improvements and complemented the existing “neighborhood commercial” zoning direction. The Board also said that, with the Master Plan as a major contribution, it might be tied into the NedPeds plan to support improvement of the downtown area, and that integrating PROSAB with NDDA meetings might be helpful. Gateway Park also might be tied in with the NedPeds project.

December
 McLaren and Merrigan presented the latest design for the NedPeds project, and the attending members of the public were encouraged to provide their input and voice their concerns. A land use application for a Planned Unit Development within the NDDA district is planned for submission.

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