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 August 1, 1999

Greenways Program balances humanity, nature

BOULDER — As part of the ongoing effort to balance the needs of modern humanity with those of nature, the city of Boulder has heard from the public regarding the update of the Greenways Master Plan.

The city’s Greenways Program, which includes multi-use paths, flood improvements and environmental projects on Boulder Creek and six of its tributaries, was an outgrowth of the Boulder Creek Corridor Project and was established in 1987.

“The city council directed staff to update the master plan last May,´ said Anne Noble, interim Greenways coordinator for Boulder. “The primary purpose of the June 8 meeting was to provide information on the Greenways Program and to solicit general comments on the Greenways Program.”

While Noble believes the program’s 1999 philosophy is analogous to the 1987 philosophy, she is looking to strike an even better harmony between development and conservation in the future.

The program’s purpose, added Noble, is to integrate the efforts of several city divisions and departments to meet six different objectives.

These objectives are:

* Riparian, floodplain, and wetland protection and restoration;

* Water quality enhancement;

* Storm drainage;

* Alternative transportation routes for pedestrians and bicyclists;

* Recreation;

* Protection of cultural resources.

“Those are the six criteria we’re trying to look at for every project, for every segment, for every stretch that we’re working on,´ said Ned Williams, director of utilities for Boulder’s Public Works Division. The update involves looking at the way in which these six objectives are balanced; presently the program is probably overbalanced toward the aforementioned criteria of providing alternative transportation.

The question that is being asked in updating, Williams said, is whether the city wants to provide a different kind of balance in the future? He pointed to two possible shifts in the program: more wetland restoration instead of path construction or stronger maintenance programs on existing paths.

“I think there’s some confusion about what the plan is about,” Noble noted.

She thinks people are overly familiar with the trail-building objective, but less informed about the other five.

“A lot of past funding was from the Department of Transportation” (DOT), she noted. “I think the public perception is, It is a trails program.’ “

Noble hopes to educate the public on all of the program’s objectives, as funding sources for the Greenways Program are not limited to DOT dollars.

The projected 2000-2004 Greenways Program budget, pending a fall approval by the Boulder city council, is $450,000 per annum, based on historical funding. Three different entities — the Transportation Fund, the Colorado Lottery and Flood Control — each are expected to contribute one-third of the yearly budget, also pending council approval.

“First, (the update) was to perhaps justify continuing expenditures, so that we know what the money is going to be used for, instead of doing it on an ad hoc basis,´ said Boulder City Councilmember Spenser Havlick, a Greenways booster.

He also mentioned a hesitancy to commit and political opposition as possible reasons for the update.

“I would like to fall on the optimistic side and think that it was a sense of council that we wanted to have clear vision from the staff (of the future of the program),” Havlick noted, but opined that the projected $450,000 budget may be too lean.

Noble commented that the update is timely, as master plans generally are updated every five years. With an eye on the future, she also stated that a rapidly developing stretch of Four Mile Canyon Creek is one focal point for the Greenways Program in the upcoming half-decade.

“That area will be key as far as coordinating all of the projects that will be going on,” she said. The area is representative of the Boulder Greenways Program efforts, in coordinating a balance of developing the land and conserving its ecology. This equilibrium is integral in keeping Boulder among the state’s — and country’s — most livable, well-planned cities.

BOULDER — As part of the ongoing effort to balance the needs of modern humanity with those of nature, the city of Boulder has heard from the public regarding the update of the Greenways Master Plan.

The city’s Greenways Program, which includes multi-use paths, flood improvements and environmental projects on Boulder Creek and six of its tributaries, was an outgrowth of the Boulder Creek Corridor Project and was established in 1987.

“The city council directed staff to update the master plan last May,´ said Anne Noble, interim Greenways coordinator for Boulder. “The…

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