THIS ARTICLE HAS ONE UPDATE, AS OF JANUARY 29TH. SEE NEXT TO LAST PARAGRAPH BELOW.
The long awaited study from Stantec has recently arrived in its final official Draft form for consideration by the Historic Preservation Committee and the City Council. This Boulder City Facilities Recommendations was requested by Public Works and the City Manager, and work began back in March 2019. The City has spent a total of $488,510 on it. All of this was of course first approved by the City Council.
According to City Manager, Al Noyola, “Many communities have a complete inventory of buildings and infrastructure it owns and maintains. This inventory provides information about accessibility, safety, infrastructure and use. This study also allow us to look at where we can provide better customer service, address accessibility, safety and security, improve space utilization and potentially reduce maintenance and energy costs. It’s another step in supporting our strategic plan and recognizing the historical value of some of our assets.”
Personal note: As a business owner, we believe in and understand, the benefit of bringing in independent consultants to take an objective review of any organizations methods and assets. What other communities have spent to this end, and how they have made these evaluations, we have not taken the time to research and compare.
As many of us are aware, some of the City-owned buildings are in fair or decent condition, and others massively need some updating, repairing or renovating.
Others, like City Hall for example, need not only modernizing, but the goal here is also to improve the friendliness and customer service experience. Let’s face it, it’s not the most welcoming of appearances when you walk in, and City staff tell us regularly, they will find a resident wandering the halls looking for where they are trying to go. And this does not even mention the issues of ADA compliance and other matters that many public buildings have already had to be outfitted for. All of these issues could be improved, for sure.
Out of all of these thoughts, then come the questions, of what buildings are indeed being utilized to their best, highest purpose? What opportunities might exist to re-configure certain city assets, department and functions? And what about our more historically significant properties?
Well, this whopping 777 page report is in, and we thought it was worth summarizing for you. Those interested can download your own (zipped/compressed .pdf) file HERE. For the really serious bookworms, there’s even an Appendix. But what we noticed was the very important Page 10 of the report, where Stantec makes some major recommendations for key buildings and city departments, renovations that will be considered in the days to come.
It’s a relatively short read, (but this is already a really long article) so we have a quick summary of the key points that many residents are interested in, here:
City Hall/Police Department: The current Police Department building should be renovated to permanently house a new and enlarged City Council Chambers with associated support and staff space. Vacate the existing Council Chambers and move the City Clerk from City Hall into this building as they support Council functions and can be separated from other City Hall functions, allowing those functions to expand in place.
The existing Council Chambers and City Clerk space should be renovated to accommodate moves and relocations within the City Hall building to support growth of those remaining departments and the creation of a One-Stop-Shop. Security improvements and ADA compliance can be achieved during this renovation.
Public Works & Utilities: A formal and comprehensive site design for the Public Works
Utilities campus should be created to improve site circulation and allow for building expansion needed to accommodate growth on that site. Expansion requirements could be significantly reduced by moving Public Works and Utilities Administration to the Colorado Street Building permanently.
The Historic LADWP Building: is not currently serving its highest and best use. It is recommended that it be converted into a Welcome Center for Boulder City to take advantage of its central location and historic value. The museum that is currently located within the historic Boulder Dam Hotel could be relocated to this new Welcome Center to gain higher visibility for that amenity. This would allow the hotel to create additional hotel room units, potentially generating additional revenue and increasing visitorship to Boulder City. The Emergency Aid non-profit organization currently located at LADWP can be relocated to upgraded facilities in surplus space in another building such as the Colorado Street Building. Since multiple options are available, the selection should be offered to them as a choice.
The Water Filtration Plant: has significant historic value but is currently vacant and in need of considerable maintenance and repairs. Through the course of this study, it has been determined that there are no suitable city uses for the building or site. It is considered unusable surplus space. The City should consider re-purposing the Water Filtration Plant Building and pursue market analysis of alternative use and/or ownership strategies. Alternative uses would allow this important historic building to become an asset that could be enjoyed by the public.
So far, this has been presented to the Historic Preservation Committee on Wednesday, January 22nd, and you can watch the YouTube video on that discussion HERE. (The Stantec presentation begins at about the :49 minute mark.) The next stop after that, will be a workshop or presentation to the City Council, and we’ll keep you posted on that next public meeting. UPDATE: A WORKSHOP WILL BE HELD AT CITY HALL ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH AT 9AM. CITY HALL, COUNCIL CHAMBERS.
We know there will be lots to discuss and consider in the days to come, and we hope we can all be thoughtful and respectful as we begin down this path.