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Meeting Packet - Parks and Recreation Advisory Board - 01/29/2001 CITY OF BOULDER PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD AGENDA ITEM MEETING DATE: January 29„2001 (Agenda Item Preparation Date: January 18, 2001 ) AGENDA TITLE: Public hearing and request for advisory recommendation on Valmont City Park Phase 1 parking lot options. REQUESTED BY: Chris Dropinski, Director of Parks and Recreation Ken Ramsey, Superintendent of Parks Planning and Construction Kate Bernhardt, Associate Parks Planner FISCAL IMPACT: $4.1 million was allocated in 1997 to complete initial park planning and design, required review processes, annexation, and to construct Phase 1 of the park and associated infrastructure. Approximately $3,600,000 is available to complete planning and construction of Phase 1. PURPOSE: The Board's advisory recommendation concerning the Phase 1 parking lot is requested at this meeting. In the December 18, 2000 Board meeting, it was agreed that the Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek Project bid package would continue through the bidding process with the following changes through addendum: • the proposed Phase 1 parking lot, circular drive, and associated landscaping would be identified as a potential deletion from the total contract • no grading would occur in the area currently identified as "ballfield" on the approved Site Review plan, however this area of the site would be used to stockpile fill dirt from the channel excavation The Board requested that staff return in January with alternative plans for Phase 1 parking for an advisory recommendation on the preferred parking option. The Board's recommendation on Phase 1 parking is required at this meeting so that construction work for the Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek project, including the parking lot option that the Board selects, can proceed in February. The bids for this project are scheduled to be opened on January 30. In order to avoid construction and legal problems associated with the conditions of the City and Cline Trout Farm Agreement, and to meet construction interface schedules for private utility installations AGENDA ITEM # Page 1 within the project, the work in this contract should be awarded by February 2. Additional issues about the Valmont City Park plans were discussed at the December 18 meeting, however clear resolution of the parking lot location was the only issue that required immediate direction from the Board in order to allow the construction contract to move forward on schedule. At the end of this memorandum, an update is provided on other elements of the park plan and on other issues discussed in past meetings including: • Location of Wonderland Greenways Trail and width of channel native landscape • Removal of trees • Prairie dogs • Wildlife study • Construction of a portion of the bike racing track in Phase 1 • Athletic lighting BACKGROUND: The Board approved the Valmont City Park Phase I scope of work and budget, based on the approved Site Review Plan, in September of 1999. The construction documents were completed for the Park Phase 1 work, including the Public Work's Wonderland Creek project, in late December of 2000. In the December 18, 2000 meeting, members of the Board expressed concern,about the proposed Phase I parking lot. Phase 1 parking options are presented below for your consideration and recommendation. Please see Attachments: A: Valmont City Park Location Map B: Valmont City Park Approved Site Review Transportation and Parking Plan (December, 1999) showing parking options A, B, C, and D. C: Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek Construction Plan (December, 2000) showing parking options A, B, C, and D. D: Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek Construction Documents (December, 2000) Parking Lot As Shown on Current Plans (two sheets) OPTION A: PROVIDE PARKING ON 49TH STREET Proposal: Design and construct approximately 630 linear feet of 49"' Street, sidewalks, a cul-de-sac, a gravel fines trail connection to Sterling Drive, right-of-way and park landscaping, a screened structure for portable toilets, and required public and private utilities (water, sanitary sewer, storm drainage, electrical and street lighting). This option would provide 32 on-street parking spaces. Note: Trees would need to be removed to construct 49`h Street. Process: a) Delete proposed Airport entry road, Phase 1 parking lot, lighting, circle drive, all associated site furniture, signage, landscaping, and bid items from Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek contract so that the remaining park and creek construction work could be contracted in AGENDA ITEM #I Page 2 February. b) Submit Request for Parking Deferral to the Planning Department for review and approval. C) Complete design work and plans to delete 32 parking spaces from the Approved Site Review Transportation and Parking Plan and to provide required parking for Phase 1 along 491h Street. Complete Minor Modification to Site Review application and process. d) Complete final design and engineering plans for 49`h Street and all associated site improvements. e) Obtain Technical Plan review and approval. f) Complete change order process to add work to contractor's total project. OPTION A: ROUGH ESTIMATE OF TIME AND COSTS Planning and Design time: 3 to 6 months Added time to construction contract: 3 months Engineering, design, project management: $ 44,000 Construction: $813.000 to $961,000 Option A Total: $857,000 to $1,005,000. OPTION A PROS: • Initial conversations with Transportation staff indicate general support for this option if all required processes are completed. • Provides required 32 spaces for Phase 1 park construction. • Provides a portion of the required park infrastructure with existing public funds which benefits Phase 1 park use and future public and private partnership development. • Current cost estimates indicate that there is available funding for this option. OPTION A CONS: • Access to and from 49`'' Street and Valmont Road, a minor arterial, is not controlled with a lighted signal. Because of this, it is difficult to enter or exit the parksite at 49`x' Street and Valmont, particularly during peak traffic times (before and after work/school). • The City loses the opportunity to establish the main entry road, signage, and landscaping for the Valmont City Park at Airport Road using existing public funds. The Airport Road entry road would provide a more safe vehicle and pedestrian access to the park because of the planned signal installation at that intersection. • The City would lose the construction efficiencies and savings anticipated by coordinating the Public Works Installation of signals at Airport and Valmont with the AGENDA ITEM #i Page 3 Parks and Recreation installation of Airport Road and associated utilities. • As with any change that occurs at the construction phase of a project, additional time and expenditures would be incurred for redesign. OPTION B: PROVIDE PHASE 1 PARKING LOT SOUTH AND EAST OF AIRPORT ENTRY ROAD Proposal: In addition to the Phase 1 proposed Airport entry road, design and construct 450 linear feet of Airport Road, sidewalks, right-of-way landscaping, retaining walls, lighting, a parking lot, parking lot landscaping, a concrete access trail to the Wonderland Tributary Trail, and required public and private utilities (water, storm drainage, electric and street lighting). Install a screened structure for portable toilets and an accessible picnic table west of the open turf area. This option would provide 30 to 32 parking spaces. Note: Trees would need to be removed to complete the construction of Airport Road entry into the site. Process: a) Delete Phase 1 parking lot, lighting, circle drive, all associated site furniture, signage, landscaping, and bid items from Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek contract so that the remaining park and creek construction work could be contracted in February. b-f) Similar process to that which is outlined above for Option A. OPTION B. ROUGH ESTIMATE OF TIME AND COSTS .Planning and design time: 3 to 6 months Added time to construction contract: 3 months Engineering, design, project management for ,additional Airport Road and parking lot : $ 27,000 Engineering, design, project management Airport Road entry Phase 1 plans (funds expended 1998-2001) $ 21,000 Construction additional Airport Road and parking lot: $279,351 to $330,142 Construction Airport Road (Phase 1 plans) $139,000 to 1139,000 Option B Total: $466,351 to $517,142 AGENDA ITEM_# Page 4 OPTION B PROS: • Initial conversations with Transportation staff indicate general support for this option if all required processes are completed. • Provides adequate spaces for Phase 1 park construction. • Provides the main entry road to the park and park infrastructure with existing public funds which benefits both Phase 1 park use and future public and private partnership development. Provides a main entry identity for the park. • Provides safe access, for vehicles and pedestrians, from Valmont Road to the new park at a signalized intersection. 0 Current cost estimates indicate that there is available funding for this option. • Potentially this parking lot could be incorporated into the proposed Neighborhood Commercial development at a future date. OPTION B CONS: • Places a designated park-user parking lot within the proposed Neighborhood Commercial Development area. 0 All pedestrian traffic from the parking lot to the park must cross Airport Road to access the park facilities and trails. • Loss of construction investment if parking lot cannot be incorporated into Neighborhood Commercial Center and loss of investment for concrete walk connection to Wonderland Tributary Trail. • As with any change that occurs at the construction phase of a project, additional time and expenditures would be incurred for redesign. OPTION C: NEGOTIATE USE OF NEAR-BY INDUSTRIAL OR OFFICE PARKING LOT FOR PHASE 1 PARKING REQUIREMENTS Proposal: Negotiate with adjacent property owner(s) to the west of the park to lease use of their parking lots for Valmont City Park Phase 1 park use. Install a screened structure for portable toilets and an accessible picnic table west of the open turf. The negotiations would need to identify 32 spaces, available from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, to serve the initial park development. Process: a) Delete proposed Airport entry road, Phase 1 parking lot, lighting, circle drive, all associated site furniture, signage, landscaping, and bid items from Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek contract so that the remaining park and creek construction work could be contracted in February. b) Submit Request for Parking Deferment to the Planning Department for review and approval. C) Work with Real Estate and Legal staff to initiate discussions with property owner(s) west of the park. d) If acceptable agreement can be arranged, prepare legal documents for lease. AGENDA ITEM # Page 5 e) Obtain approval of the parking lease agreement from Transportation Staff, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Planning Board, and City Council. f) Complete Minor Modification to Site Review process. g) If lease conditions require redesign and improvements to the leased parking lot or additional access walks and site improvements, complete necessary design and engineering. h) Obtain Technical Plan review and approval. i) Prepare Change Order for contractor. OPTION C ROUGH ESTIMATES OF TIME AND COSTS: Negotiation time: 3 to 6 months plus I Planning and design time: 1 to 3 months I Added time to construction contract: 1 to 3 months Staff (possibly legal) $6,000 to $12,000 plus Engineering and design including staff time (future costs) to be determined Construction (future costs): to be determined Option C Total: to be determined OPTION C PROS: • Provides required 32 spaces for Phase 1 at lower initial cost than constructing parking lot on site. • Provides potentially more efficient use of existing parking facilities, assuming that the industrial or office complexes are not using their parking facilities to full capacity. • Reserves additional space on the park for other park uses. • Current cost estimates indicate that there is construction funding available for this option. OPTION C CONS: • Risk: Anticipated non-programmed recreational uses* for the park Phase 1, including the Wonderland Creek tributary trail, will occur dawn to dusk, workdays and weekends. The Parks and Recreation Department would have to procure parking spaces available at all times of the day throughout the year. This may be difficult given the assumption that most industrial development has been designed to provide the minimum AGENDA ITEM # Page 6 required parking spaces for anticipated employee and customer needs, generally throughout the work day. If spaces could be procured, it is likely that the lease term would be limited to allow the property owner redevelopment options for their property, which in turn provides no guarantee that the required parking to serve Phase 1 and the park would continue to be available on a permanent basis. The industrial properties due west and southwest of the park are currently under consideration for Mixed Use Industrial land use classification in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. If this use is approved, residential development may be added to the industrial complexes which would additionally limit the number of parking spaces available throughout the day. See below: Use of adjacent industrial parking included in the Valmont City Park Site Review for anticipated programmed activity parking. • Transportation staff is generally not supportive of this option until appropriate measures are taken to assure that adequate permanent parking spaces are provided at all potential park use times in appropriate proximity to the park use areas. Safe pedestrian access must be provided from the parking facility to the park, which may require additional design and construction funds. • If negotiations to lease parking spaces are unsuccessful over a period of time (6 months), staff will need to return to the Board to select an appropriate parking option for Phase 1 and to proceed with the design, review, and construction of that option at a later date. • On going lease costs would need to be addressed in future CIP programs or through parks maintenance budgets. • As with any change that occurs at the construction phase of a project, additional time and expenditures would be incurred for redesign. * Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Trail uses: General un-programmed recreational uses anticipated for the Valmont City Park Phase 1 development (12 to 13 acres) and Wonderland Creek Trail include: walking, running, bicycling, skating, youth soccer practice, pick-up social ball games, picnics, frisbee (individual and group), public and private school special events, day care uses, walking and trailbead access to the Wonderland trail, football practice, kite flying, dog walking, family and group picnics, cross country skiing, and other uses. Note: Use of Adjacent Industrial Site Parking is Included in the Site Review Plans: The initial planning processes for the Valmont City Park identified a clear intention to use adjacent industrial site parking for specific programmed park uses such as the proposed bike races and special events. This intention is addressed in the Approved Valmont City Park Site Review Transportation and Parking Plans. It is anticipated that the City or public and private partnership development partners will be successful in negotiating use of adjacent industrial parking for programmed activities and special events because a specific time and volume of parking use can be identified which allows the City and the neighboring property owner to create an agreement for use of the private parking lots at specific times when the property owner does not need the parking for their business. AGENDA ITEM # Page 7 OPTION D: PARKING LOT AND CIRCLE DRIVE AS SHOWN ON CURRENT CONSTRUCTION PLANS Proposal: Provide a 32- car parking lot, a circular drive for bus and van parking or drop- off uses, a landscaped island, lighting, walks, sitting areas, picnic facility, bike parking, screened shelter for restrooms, required landscaping, public and private utilities, and associated trail connections. (See Attachment D) Note: Trees would need to be removed to construct Airport Road, the parking lot, and the circle drive. Design Intention: The approved Site Review plans identify community and family uses for the south side of the knoll including landscaping, paths, overlook sitting areas, picnic areas, and on the lower portion of the hill, a children's play ground. The parking lot, one way circular drive, and interior development of the 95-foot wide island were designed to accommodate those future uses as well as Phase 1 uses. In order to create a more pedestrian scale and use for the area, the circle drive was designed as a one way road limited to small bus and van parking and drop- off only. The circle drive would be paved with colored concrete brick pavers. The island contained more detailed garden-like landscaping, brick paths, sitting areas, an accessible picnic table, and a screened restroom facility. This type of development would not be necessary if Parking Lot Options A, B, or C are selected and if the long term plans for public access to the hillside differ from the Concept and Site Review plans. Process: a) Design, engineering, and technical plan review has been completed. b) Construction is included within the current bid package. OPTION D: ROUGH ESTIMATE OF TIME AND COSTS Planning and design time: Completed Added time to construction contract: None Engineering, design, project management: parking lot and island (funds expended 1998-2001): $ 68,000 Engineering, design, project management Airport Road entry (funds expended 1998-2001) $ 21,000 Construction of 32-car parking lot ($260,400) and circle drive and island development ($196,099): $456,500 Construction: Airport Road entry $139,00 0 Option D Total: $684,500 AGENDA ITEM # Page 8 OPTION D PROS: • Design and engineering work has been completed. • Provides 32 required parking spaces for Phase 1. • Provides small bus and van drop-off and parking along with emergency access. • Provides social use area with sitting, picnicking, landscaping, and restroom facilities for Phase 1 and future development, if park is developed as shown on Concept and Site Review Plans. OPTION D CONS: • Location of Parking Lot: Concern has been expressed about the location of the parking lot relative to Valmont Road, the entry drive, and the knoll. The parking lot is located 44' south of Valmont to allow space for right of way landscaping, the bike racing track, a public sidewalk, and required parking lot landscape screening. • Grading for Parking Lot and Circle Drive: Concern has been expressed about grading this area of original site topography for the parking lot. Distance from the top of the knoll to the Valmont Road south curb is 182'. The topography creates a short plateau in this area north of the knoll. The proposed right-of-way landscape along Valmont, sidewalk, bike race track, parking lot landscaping, parking lot, and sidewalk would occupy 119' of that 182' length or roughly 65% of the total distance, Valmont curb to top of knoll. In order to place the parking lot into this area, both cut and fill will be required. The majority of the north curb face for the parking lot would require fill between 0" and 12". The centerline of the parking lot would require cuts of between 0" and 1' 6". The southwestern portion of the parking lot requires cuts of F to 3'. The southeastern portion of the parking lot requires cuts of 1' to 5'. The primary area of cut is the southeastern portion of the lot and the entry drive to the lot. The one way circle drive to the west of the parking lot is generally set at grade. • Removal of existin trees: Concern has been expressed about removal of trees. Most of the trees to be removed are volunteer Siberian Elms or trees which are currently in poor condition from overcrowding, lack of water, and lack of care. Some larger specimen trees that are in good condition, both Siberian Elm and other species, have been preserved in the current Phase 1 plans for roads and parking. No construction will be allowed beyond the Phase 1 construction limit line, which preserves all plant material on the top and on the south side of the knoll. A representative of the City Forester has provided an evaluation of the Siberian Elms on the parksite. See Attachment E. ANALYSIS: The process required to change the construction plans at this point is summarized above along with the pros and cons of each solution. Options A, B, and C will require staff and consultant work over the next 3 to 6 months which will have some affect on staff's and/or the consultant's availability to move forward with other projects. AGENDA ITEM # Page 9 PUBLIC PROCESS: Public meetings have been held from January, 1997 through the present regarding Valmont City Park. The current Phase 1 construction documents reflects these meetings. A summary of the past public process for the Valmont City Park is shown in Attachment F. This public hearing is provided to obtain the Board's direction concerning the parking lot. With the Board's direction on this issue, staff will award the contract and work on Wonderland Creek and Valmont City Park Phase 1 will proceed. BOARD ACTION REQUESTED: Staff requests that the Board provide an advisory recommendation on the preferred parking lot option. A recommendation is needed at this time so that construction can proceed according to schedule. This will facilitate work scheduled for the Cline trout farm lines and the project interface with work scheduled for private utility installations. OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED IN DECEMBER 18 MEETING AND GENERAL UPDATE: Location of Wonderland Greenways Trail and width of channel native landscape: Annie Noble, the Interim Greenways Coordinator has provided an Item for Information in this board packet. Removal of Trees: Existing trees will need to be removed for the following development: 1. Right of way landscaping south side of Valmont 2. Right of way sidewalk and bike racing track south side of Valmont 3. Undergrounding private utilities within the right of way south side of Valmont 4. Construction of Wonderland Channel 5. Extension of Airport Road into the site 6. Construction of 49`h Street (Option A) 7. Construction of parking lot south and east of Airport/Valmont (Option B) 8. Construction of parking lot and circle drive as shown on current Phase 1 plans The majority of the trees to be removed are Siberian Elm volunteers or trees which are not in good condition due to crowding and lack of care. These trees vary in size and maturity. Siberian Elm is not a desired public park tree species and it is not included in the City of Boulder Approved Street Tree list. The City Forestry staff has provided an evaluation of the Siberian Elm trees at Valmont City Park in Attachment E. Large specimen trees which are in good conditions including Siberian Elm, Honey Locust, Cottonwood, and Plum are being preserved in the Phase 1 plans. Prairie dogs: There are approximately 15 prairie dogs within the Wonderland Creek and Valmont AGENDA ITEM N Page 10 City Park Phase 1 construction area. In compliance with all current City of Boulder Ordinances and the City of Boulder Interdepartmental Prairie Dog Policy, prairie dogs are being relocated by qualified wildlife staff and organizations from the park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek construction area to suitable prairie dog habitat locations on City of Boulder Open Space Property. Wildlife Study: Stephen Jones, an environmental consultant, has been hired to complete a wildlife study for the parksite, including specific focus on prairie dog issues. His report will be available at the end of February. The initial portion of his work may be available for the February 13 study session. Construction of a portion of the bike racing track in Phase 1: As a reminder, the board approved construction of approximately 820 to 900 linear feet of the 21.75 foot wide bike racing track as part of Phase 1, if funding is available. The design of this track has been included as an Add Alternate in the Construction Documents. Athletic Field Lighting: The approved Valmont City Park Concept Plan and Site Review Plans show six lighted ballfields or multi-use athletic fields on the park property south of Valmont. Concern has been expressed that the ballfield lighting would negatively affect: a) the neighbors to the north of the park b) the wildlife area associated with the ditches within the park north of Valmont Road c) the proposed native planting area with potential wildlife habitat along the Wonderland Creek Channel The proposed ballfield/athletic fields are 240 feet from the property line and 350 feet from the Parkside Village residential units on the north side of Valmont. During the concept planning community and neighborhood meetings, the neighbors did not express concern over the proposed lighted athletic fields. Over the past 10 years, ballfield lighting systems have evolved to meet increasingly more restrictive local lighting ordinances. Through the development of "cut off" light fixtures, current ballfield lighting is directed down onto the fields with minimal lateral glare or spillover light beyond the fields. It is anticipated should lighted athletic fields be built at Valmont City Park, they would meet current City of Boulder light spillover standards within 50 feet or less of the outfield fencing. ATTACHMENTS: Attachment A. Valmont City Park Location Map AGENDA ITEM # Page 11 Attachment B. Approved Valmont City Park Site Review Transportation and Parking Plan showing parking options A, B, C, D Attachment C. Valmont City Park Phase 1 and Wonderland Creek Overall Construction Area Plan showing parking options A, B, C, D Attachment D. Valmont City Park Phase 1 Current Parking Lot Plans (two sheets) Attachment E. City Forester Evaluation of Siberian Elm Trees Attachment F. Valmont City Park Public Process Summary AGENDA ITEM # Page 12 ATTACHMENT A Oj"rV OF BOULVHR, CO VA, AL JFVl d=PPV T C l 'T`Y PARK VALMONT CITY PARK dial- z. l I I I I_^ zh' i- r I I- ~GD w, 5 l _ . , cury~.~ a - N o Wo 1000 lsoa LOCATION MAP W + E MAY 19. 2000 S ~ it^A ,L,MONT l ..v 070 14 PARKING I BUS SFAC£S I SPACES \ SOUTH l i f w Park f aLi ~ f % PARKIN ACES 4* i I I I OPTION D: PARKING ] CURRENT ° r-' OPTION A: I PROPOSED PARKING 5 PARKWG ON 49" STREET SP QES T ; ' 12 PARKING ACES l j- ~ARKINrs (70 L OF ARE 3) ACE a _ Ul'H U Park Area PTION NEGOTIATE LEASED USE OF I I PARKING IN EXISTING INDUSTRIAL OR OFFICE PARKING LOTS DECEMBER, 1999 VALMONT CITY PARK APPROVED SITE REVIEW / s TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING PLAN SOUTH OF VALMONT ROAD 000 JANUARY, 2001: SHOWING PARKING LOT OPTIONS A, B, C, AND D - 60 "-60 24 ' 1 I, I ♦ f 1♦ •i1 \I'~ !i. ,h i••t t •`L` r ~,t f r 1 ~ I ; ILA •I , •!1111r :'_ti_ ` .I a r f-T 1 1 list" - I 7 r 1 I % 1 l iI! a rr I 't t - OP 1 I ` I I I,.! I I t 1 f r I 11 ♦ r pk- . P CUB I ~ fl I, d ~j ;`I ~ r OPTION A: r ; PROPOSED PARKING I ~I + ' 6 ON 49n -STREET ~ _ r f r r r 1 l 1 r 7 r ~ 1 / f '41,`~, y ~ 1~ .ff :..~1 ~ ~ I 1 , I r r I ~ 'A • ~ `t r'~ ~ r/ I 7' rr 1 \i 1V' r 7 1 7 t I I r I r 6 / ~ ♦r r I ~ r 1 r ~ / 1 i 1~ 1 1 / / r / r I YY ~ , OPTION C: - ` NEGOTIATE LEASED USE OF PARKING IN EXISTING INDUSTRIAL OR OFFICE PARKING LOTS In e ~ ~ f 1- DECEMBER, 2000: VALMONT CITY PARK AND WONDERLAND CREEK ,r - CONSTRUCTION PLAN .r JANUARY, 2001: SHOWING PARKING LOT OPTIONS A, B, C, AND D aTY of Boul-ca ( VALIlCNT CITY PARK CCNSTRUC rh PARKS VC RE, :F-AT N CEP T. PHASE 1 CCNSTRUC nCN Nb l SAN y~ SAN u ~ p 30' ol,, +'irC.lc - F oz. / 67-n a• or_ Fr~IAH o o oL. I Fri } 473 SF KUM VALMONT CITY PARK AND WONDERLAND CREEK CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS PARKING LOT AS SHOWN ON CURRENT PLANS DECEMBER, 2000 5H EF-T t OF Z 3 QU u I GE G - M055 51 _ - = 2 EU - 1 wjC4 S~ FDECEMBER, NT CITY PARK AND WONDERLAND CREEK RUCTION DOCUMENTS G LOT AS SHOWN ON CURRENT PLANS 2000 DROP-OFF AREA PLAN' SHE Z cw z ATTACHMENT E BOULDER PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT Forestry Division December 7, 2000 MEMORANDUM TO: Kate Bernhardt, Assistant Superintendent of Parks, Planning & Construction FROM: Kathleen Alexander, Forestry Assistant Ellie Bussi-Sottile, City Forester SUBJECT: Feasibility of Retaining Siberian elm mus oumila) trees at Valmont Park site The documented benefits of urban area trees aside from the obvious aesthetics, include reduction in carbon dioxide, reduction in other air pollutants, improvement of water quality, stormwater runoff reduction, energy saving through shading surfaces, and sociological benefits to name a few. These benefits must be considered when deciding which trees should be retained on a site. Structural integrity, existing health and tree maintenance costs must also be weighed. Siberian elm is a high maintenance tree species. There are several large specimens on the Valmont Park site that should be considered for inclusion in the park plan because they are established trees, in good condition, are structurally intact and provide many environmental and aesthetic benefits to the community. After evaluating the site however, there are numerous Siberian elm "clumps" and several larger diameter elms for which the Parks & Recreation Forestry Section has recommended removal. These trees should be replaced with a diversity of other tree species to promote a more "pest free", healthy tree population. The reasons for our decision are as follows: • Dutch elm disease (DED) is a fatal fungal disease that is responsible for the death of millions of American elms across the country. Siberian elms are resistant to Dutch elm disease. They will not die from the disease but can become infected and act as "carriers" and have pockets of the fungus within their wood. These "carriers" cannot be identified and targeted for pruning or removal because they often do not show symptoms of the disease. Siberian elms over S" diameter harbor the European elm bark beetles that carry DED. If beetles colonize the infected pockets of wood they will exit carrying the fungus to nearby healthy elm trees. • Siberian elms grow very fast, but because of this are weak wooded and tend to have poor structure. The tight crotch angles and included bark (bark enclosed between branches with narrow angles forming a wedge and creating a structurally weak point in the tree) increase the likelihood that these trees will fail during wind or snow storms. Our local Front Range Urban Forestry Council rates Siberian elm as a high hazard species because of these defects. As such, the pruning costs associated with Siberian elms tend to be considerably higher per prune and these trees must be pruned more often. The multi-stem "clumps" over time will grow together and would require multiple thinning operations and individual trees would require structural pruning every few years. jor-z • Siberian elms are not on the approved street tree list within the City of Boulder Design and Construction Standards (Revised November 16, 2000). They are classified as an "undesirable" tree species because of the reasons listed here. • Siberian elms have infestations of elm leaf beetle that in some years can completely defoliate the trees. The Forestry Section receives complaints each year pertaining to Siberian elm trees in street rights-of-way because the insects enter homes by the hundreds in winter months and are considered a nuisance. This is an insect that the Forestry Section does not currently chemically treat. If the large number of Siberian elm clumps is retained at the Valmont Park site however, chemical usage may increase if the elm leaf beetle population threatens the life of the trees. Staff s objective however, is to reduce the need for chemical treatment of insects by reducing the species prone to insects or disease. • Siberian elms are not well adapted to the temperature extremes so common in Colorado. Although these trees are native to a very cold region of the world, it gets cold and stays cold there. They do not have the hardiness to survive extreme temperature fluctuations. In 1991 in Boulder alone, 259 large Siberian elms were lost as a result of the "Halloween freeze" on city property. There are no estimates of Siberian elms lost on private property but the damage was considerable. • Siberian elms tend to have heavy annual seed crops but every few years is exceptionally heavy. Their seeds also have a high germination rate and therefore create a nuisance for the horticulturists who are trying to maintain shrub or annual flowerbeds around any Siberian elm trees. • Several cities and counties along the Front Range have ordinances against having Siberian elm firewood within city limits because it might contain disease-carrying beetles. In Boulder, the Forestry Section has required property owners to remove elm firewood based upon Chapter 6 -6 -2 (Removal of Dead, Diseased or Dangerous Trees) of the City Ordinance. z Of Z ATTACHMENT F Valmont City Park Public Process Summary (January 1, 1997 to January 1, 2001) Public Meeting: Spring, 1997: Noble Park Neighborhood Association April, 1997: Community Review Group Public Review July 9 and 19, 1997: Two community design review meetings Parks and Recreation Advisorv Board: Public Review Meetings (23 meetings total) • April, 1997: Informal approval: Valmont City Park Planning Goals and Working Assumptions • August, 1997: Approval of concept plan including park program directives • December, 1997: Approval of revised concept plan for CEAP (Community and Environmental Assessment) submittal • March, 1998: Approval of CEAP and Final Concept Plan • November, 1998: Informal approval of proposed Site Review Plans • February, 1999: Approval Wonderland Creek Channel Concept Plan and request that staff add cross country ski trail extension to plans • June, 1999: Informal approval of proposed Public and Private Partnership Process and Policy • August, 1999: Approval of designation of private easements • September, 1999: Approval of Valmont City Park Phase 1 scope of work and budget • June, 2000: Additional direction to proceed with Valmont City Park Phase 1 design as shown in plans June, 2000: Approval of proposed Design Guidelines for Valmont City Park and Phase I • November, 2000: Requested that staff proceed with additional wildlife studies of site • December, 2000: Requested staff to change bid form and return in January with parking lot options Transportation Advisory Board • February and April, 1998: Approval of proposed changes to the Transportation Master Plan Functional Classification Map for proposed roadway system within park • Joint meeting with Water Resources Advisory Board: Approve Wonderland Channel concept plan Open Space Board or Trustees • February, 1998: Approval of proposed changes to Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) Land Use Map for proposed park land use designations Planning Board • February and March, 1998: Approval of proposed changes to the BVCP • October, 1999: Approval of Annexation, Initial Zoning, Site Review, and request for designation of private easements • May, 2000: Approval of Cline water collection line easements Landmarks Advisory Board • September, 1999: Recommendation for landmark designation for two farmhouses on parksite City Council • April, 1998: Approval of Valmont City Park Concept Plan and request for changes to the BVCP Land Use Map • November and December, 1999: Approval of Annexation, Initial Zoning, Site Review and request for private easements • June, 2000: Approval of Cline water collection line easements