By: Judy Taylor Issue: Rebuilding Our Infrastructure Section: Government
Benefiting the Community as a Whole
There is little doubt that downtown Denver is a vibrant area with numerous, outstanding destination sites including the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Complex, the Colorado Convention Center and several newly constructed nearby hotels. And, situated along 14th Street in downtown Denver is another area bustling with activity.
The 14th Street project came about after a 2009 election vote and the formation of a general improvement district. This innovative public-private partnership includes commitments from the private property owners to contribute $4 million to the overall $14 million cost while the Denver Better Bond Program provides the remaining $10 million for the project.
One of the goals of the expansion is to encourage outdoor seating, ground floor shopping and dining. And, as a result of this initiative, sidewalks are being expanded and about 200 trees are being added as well as flower planters along the street. Improved pedestrian lighting, crosswalk bulb-outs, decorative street corner monuments and bike racks are all part of the renewal of the area as well. And while a dedicated bicycle lane will be added in the street, on-street parking will be retained.
New signage and the addition of corner monuments add to the visible changes. Twelve 20-foot-tall pillars will clearly assist pedestrians and drivers through the downtown area between Market Street and Court Place. At night, these signs, will light up along the 12-block stretch.
And, because of the innovations and improvements, 14th Street is becoming known as the Ambassador Street due to the diversity of visitor-oriented uses found along this corridor. “With the completion of this ambitious plan, 14th Street will serve as an excellent complement to the 16th Street Mall,” said Tami Door, president & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “Consistent with the vision of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, 14th Street will truly be a magnet for pedestrians, which will benefit residents, business owners and the overall community.”
Former Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works, Bill Vidal, called the project and area a multi-modal corridor. “The project is unique in that in addition to the Better Denver Bond funds, we have property owners contributing to the improvements, and we are thrilled to see this public-private partnership moving forward.”
Meeting and consulting with property owners in the district was a four year process, assumed by the City of Denver, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District and the Downtown Denver Partnership. A consultant team including Parsons Brinkerhoff, CRL & Associates and studioINSITE assisted with design and consensus building services.
“We are glad we could contribute to a greater ‘sense of place’ along 14th Street,” said Josh Fine of Focus Property Group. “As property owners in the area, we recognized the opportunity we had not only to improve the value of what we own, but the type of experience people have when they’re here.”
Altogether, $1.5 billion in public and private investments have been made along the corridor since 2002. Completion for the project is planned for fall 2011.
The Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. is a nonprofit business organization that creatively plans, manages and develops Downtown Denver as the unique, diverse, vibrant and economically healthy urban core of the Rocky Mountain region. To see more of the 14th Street project plans, visit http://youtube/CVekBHpPOUM.