A glimpse at future downtown

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Hoping to gain some input from the community, the City of Westminster hosted two open houses displaying the draft plans for the new downtown on the site of the former Westminster Mall. The events, one at The Mac on Sept. 18 and the other at the City Recreation Center the following evening, gave residents the opportunity to put their two cents in on what they thought of the plans.

“I think it’s nice to have the chance to get to see the plan and also get to make comments on the plan,” said Westminster resident Mary Rockling. “So far I like the plan, and I’m looking forward to seeing buildings actually start to fill up the vacant space.”

The plans, which include multi-story office and residential buildings, unique public space and vibrant shopping areas, were initially revealed to city council and the community on Aug. 26. The city is working closely with urban planning firm Torti Gallas and Partners to design the 105-acre space at U.S. 36 and Sheridan Boulevard, and full build-out will take 20 to 30 years. Before beginning the planning process, the city hosted an open house last year to gain input and knowledge on what the community wants to see out of their downtown.

“We took all the suggestions and comments from the first open house as well as the comments and vision of city council and staff to come up with the design,” said city planning manager Mac Cummins. “We think we have a win-win-win here. The plan is a combination of public outreach and discussion with city council and what we came up with is a cultural gathering place.”

City Manager Brent McFall also said the plans line up with the view of the community.

“This is a bold plan that lines up with the vision for a new downtown that our community has been calling for,” he said. “At the end of this process, we will have a development opportunity that is unique not just in Colorado but in the country.”

Cummins said key components of the development include land uses, public parks and plazas, multi-modal circulation and access to transit, urban design, development flexibility and taking advantage of the views from the Front Range and the views in the actual downtown area. He said this kind of project is a city planner’s dream.

“This is probably the most exciting thing anyone in government ever gets the chance to do,” he said. “It’s community building at a fundamental level. And to be able to help build a community, there is nothing more exciting.”

For residents who couldn’t make the open houses, an online version was also available on WestyConnect, www.westyconnect.us, Sept. 18-25. Following the public outreach, city staff will take the draft plans to the planning commission in mid-October, followed by action from city council in late October.

For more information or to view the draft plans, visit www.westminstercenter.us.

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