Q: Who owns this property between Stevens Elementary, 38th Ave, Upham St., and High St.?

    A: The Jefferson County Public School District owns the property. The City will enter into a long-term lease with the school district for the site (e.g. 50 years)

    Q: What is the timeline for this project?

    A: In 2018, the City, Jeffco Public Schools, and the Architerra Group met with a stakeholder group and gathered input that helped create the initial design concepts. This group included representation from Jeffco Public Schools, Stevens Elementary, local businesses, the City, and Localworks. The group created a vision statement for the project: “Create a flexible and safe gathering space that can be used for community events, concerts, and festivals while also providing a physical buffer and separation from the school space.”

    In 2019, initial concept layout and design options were presented to Wheat Ridge City Council. In 2020, the project was put on hold due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Community engagement began again in 2021. Public engagement, and concept and design decisions will continue into 2022. The design of the improvements is estimated to take approximately nine months once those decisions are made. A construction schedule will be determined following the design phase in coordination with the needs of Stevens Elementary School.

    View more details about the project on the “Project Timeline” tab on the right side of the main project page.

    Q: How is this being paid for?

    A: The City of Wheat Ridge and the Jefferson County School District are collaborating to fund this project. The City has utilized some general fund dollars, but has primarily budgeted this project through our Open Space Fund. The Open Space Fund is a restricted fund, supported by the half-cent sales tax per capita allotment through Jefferson County Open Space. The fund was established for the purpose of acquiring, developing, and maintaining open space and park properties within the City of Wheat Ridge and through park impact fees from the new multi-family residential developments at 35th and Wadsworth and 38th and Upham.

    Q: How will the parking and student drop-off/pick-up at Stevens Elementary be impacted?

    A: The project will retain the exact amount of parking spaces currently available at Stevens Elementary. The student drop-off/pick-up system will remain similar to the current system, with parents/guardians entering the school parking lot off of Upham St. The new parking design will improve the pick-up/drop-off flow since it will be longer running east to west in front of the school.  

    Would the interactive water feature waste water?

    The interactive water feature would use a recirculating system rather than sending clean drinking water to the sanitary sewer.  The system would operate using an underground reservoir of water, typically around 5,000 gallons.  The water is treated similar to how swimming pools are treated.  The water is sprayed up through the nozzle, drains back to the reservoir to be treated, then is recirculated to the nozzle.    

    Are there safety and/or liability concerns with the fire pit concept?

    While not a “typical” park amenity, public fire pits are features that can be found in a variety of public spaces including parks, plazas, and urban areas in Colorado and nationwide.  Fire pits are very common in public areas at ski resorts throughout the state as well.  Should the park design include a fire pit, it will include safety features such as screens or guards to ensure the safety of park users.

    Why aren’t there any bike racks or trash and recycling receptacles in the concept?

    These alternative plans are conceptual.  As the design continues to develop, site furnishings such as bike racks, trash and recycling receptacles, drinking fountains, and other elements will be included in the design.

    What is the project team going to do about people experiencing homelessness utilizing this area and potentially making it unsafe for others to use?

    Wheat Ridge Police Department officers routinely patrols all public areas and addresses safety concerns. Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation staff members perform regular maintenance and inspection of outdoor public areas and inform users of rules and policies. The City has a Homeless Navigator who specifically works with people experiencing homelessness. They will continue to do outreach work in this area and throughout Wheat Ridge. All people have a right to access the space as long as they are following rules of the space.