KEEP PINE CURVE HISTORIC

 

 Design standards for Parker's Historic Center were developed not only to establish an architectural standard for the area, they were designed with an economic development goal in mind. In this case, the economics are based on "walking traffic" rather than automobile traffic. The Town of Parker owns the Pine Curve property, but wants to sell it. The problem is that developers willing to purchase the property don't want to build according to the standards that are in place for the economic center. They want to build an automobile centric strip-mall on this corner that has the potential to harm the rest of the walking centric district. Please contact Parker Town Council and let them know how you feel about what happens to Pine Curve. Email: council@pakeronline.org.

In an effort to preserve the plans, protections and design for the Historic Center, I made the following presentation to Parker's Town Council on December 6, 2010:

Town Council – December 6, 2010

Tonight I want to present some background from the 2002 Parker Downtown Strategic Plan Task Force that put together the original goals and objectives for "Greater Downtown" Parker. First, we divided what was called the “Village Center” into five functional districts with complementary architectural standards, being the most protective and restrictive in the Pikes Peak and Historic Centers as these are "special character centers." There were contentious moments between members of the task force made up of business owners, citizens, planning commissioners, developers and run by the Parker Planning Department. Some members of the task force began complaining that developers were being favored over citizens regarding use decisions. At one point in the Pine Curve discussion, Dave Faestal said, “The only thing you will ever see on [Pine Curve] is a gas station.” There were other developers that agreed with the citizen and planning department vision of developing Pine Curve as part of the civic and cultural heart of the town.  Jack Taylor, builder of Parker Station said, “The image of the town is the result of what its citizens make it.” Dennis Niewoehner, another developer, said "Our vision must include…a sense of place [such that] one feels they are arriving at a distinctive destination."

In order to protect Pine Curve and the Historic Center and ensure the Historic Center becomes the cultural and character heart of Parker, automotive uses of all kinds, including gas stations, were prohibited. Animal care facilities were also prohibited. Existing uses of these kinds were grandfathered.
So now, how would selling Pine Curve to a developer who is thinking about building a grocery store and gas station there create a sense of destination? Developers don’t build a Town’s character. Town’s build the Town’s character. That’s why the Town needs to keep Pine Curve until the Town can build the character that citizens want.

As a follow up, I sent the following email to all Town Council Members on January 3, 2011:

Following up on my 3-minute talk on December 6, 2010, I wanted to emphasize that the task force involved in creating the standards for the five downtown centers specifically included Pine Curve in the Historic Center in order to protect it as a pedestrian oriented site. The Town bought Pine Curve and initially wanted to develop it as a civic center to complement Town Hall. The Town seems to have lost interest in developing the land as a civic center and now wants to sell it. In November 2009, the Town invited citizens to suggest new ideas for Pine Curve. The results show that citizens continue to want a pedestrian oriented development on that corner (see designs from citizens on the right). Their designs contain small buildings, meandering pedestrian walkways, parking behind buildings, and preserving most of the hill for trails and trees. They suggested several civic uses such as a new library and senior center. (Citizens still seem to want a civic center on that corner even though the Town seems to have lost interest in that endeavor.)

Citizens have confirmed that what is desired on Pine Curve is something that attracts downtown WALKING TRAFFIC. A school or medical campus would be ideal. A medical campus could be developed with Adventist Hospital and Sky Ridge as partners. Pine Curve is not quite big enough for a full-blown community college. However, in addition to other small businesses, it could support a college extension building. Or how about a County Extension Bldg? What about a convention center similar to the Wildlife Experience with an art and/or history museum? What about a new senior center? Have any of these anchor suggestions been presented by developers?
Citizen's are patient. They don't mind waiting for the right solution on Pine Curve.

Comments on MillerWeingarten Plans:
From an economic perspective, I cannot see how a big grocery store on Pine Curve helps the economy in the Urban Renewal District. It wouldn't increase sales tax revenue over what we are already getting from the other grocery stores in the URD. It would only move sales from Safeway to King Soopers. While KS would love that, another big grocery store in the URD doesn't help the Town economically from the perspective of generating NEW revenue, or the perspective of creating retail diversity, or a job creation perspective since most of the positions would likely be filled by out-of-towners. But the worst case is that it does not create the WALKING TRAFFIC we need in order to help sustain and grow the OTHER businesses on Mainstreet. In other words, the MW plans do not blend into or support the economic structure associated with Historic Mainsteet. I think it actually opposes it. If you look at 4.3 of the Parker Historic Center design standards, the MW design is totally off the mark. The standards say that "buildings shall orient facades and entries toward all primary public streets"--that's Mainstreet and Pine Drive, not internal parking lots. MW didn't even attempt to orient to the main public streets. MW plans look like a traditional strip mall with a tree-lined parking lot in front. It is supposed to be a "pedestrian-oriented environment." It looks like a "car-oriented environment" to me with its gas station and drive-thrus.

I love that my tax dollars are used to build the PACE Center, Field House, Rec center, and Town Hall. I would support using more tax dollars to build a senior center, ice rink (with curling), aquatic center, or library (let's build a new library ourselves without a library bond from the library district). I don't even mind supporting small retail. Parker still needs a good butcher, baker, and candlestick-maker. I'd even buy into a privately-owned convention center/museum, school, or even a bookstore in a pedestrian oriented setting. But I am not interested in helping build another King Soopers or a gas station in a car-centered strip mall on Pine Curve which is the eastern "bookend" for Historic Mainstreet. (A gas station is needed at the intersection of Lincoln and Pine Drive.)

I see from the MillerWeingarten TimeLine, that Dec-Feb 2011 is allocated to "Visioning Discussion with Council and Staff." Do citizens need to be at these meetings to explain to MW what our vision is? The Town should not sell this property to anyone whose vision, like the current one from MW, is so totally opposite from ours--i.e. car-centered instead of pedestrian-centered, thus, contributing nothing to, and possibly weakening, the overall economic structure of Historic Mainstreet. We (the Town) should simply keep the property until the right solution is presented to us or we develop the property ourselves.
Compare the images created by Parker Citizens following the Historic Center Standards to those submitted by MillerWeingarten.

Alternative I by Parker Citizens:



Alternative II by Parker Citizens:



Alternative III Parker Citizens:



MillerWeingartner design: Super market and gas station.



KEEP PINE CURVE HISTORIC
DON'T LET PINE CURVE BECOME PART OF THE "DOWNTOWN GATEWAY"

Town Council now wants to create a new area including Pine curve that will allow automotive and "big box" uses in order to eliminate the no automotive and big box uses that currently apply to the Historic Center. Sign the petition and keep Pine Curve Historic.