After years of waiting, the almost 25-acre park along 26th Ave. is moving toward reality. Forest City has submitted a plan for residential and park development in Aurora. Click here for the final article with links to larger images.
The Aurora-Stapleton parcel of land spans most of the area from Westerly Creek to Moline between 25th and 26th. The 24.7 acres from Westerly Creek to Fulton will be a park maintained by the Stapleton MCA. The 47 acres from Fulton to Moline is platted with 322 lots for homes to be built by Stapleton homebuilders in a similar style and quality as the rest of Stapleton.
Pedestrian and Bike Connections
A curving 10-foot-wide concrete path will be built toward the north side of the park, then continue from Fulton to Kingston along 25th Drive by the drainage channel. The bike path will continue through the residential area with 10-foot-wide walkways on the south side of 25th Dr. from Kingston to Moline and on the west side of Moline to MLK. The Moline/MLK intersection will have a signal when the MLK extension is built.
Toward the south side of the park, a maintenance road and a 6-foot-wide crusher fines path combine with the concrete path to create a loop around the park.
A 5-foot-wide concrete walkway will also be built from 26th Ave at Clinton to the Stanley Marketplace entrance—and Stanley will have paths that link to the west side of Westerly Creek.
An additional 4-foot-wide crusher fines path connects the two pocket parks at Dayton St and Clinton Way.
At intersections along 26thAve., four pocket parks will offer a series of flat grassy areas for play, picnics or gatherings. The two parcels that jut out on the south side of the park will be a multi-purpose field/youth-sized baseball field and a second baseball field. An additional pocket park will be located by the youth baseball field.
Irrigated trees and shrubs will create sub-areas within the park, but much of the central area will be native plants that will only be irrigated for the first three years to get them established. The native landscaping will have similarities to Westerly Creek Park.
A drainage channel will run the entire length of the Aurora-Stapleton parcel, but it won’t carry much water except when there is storm run-off. The water quality pond helps remove sediment from stormwater.
No community gardens are planned for when the park opens, but if that becomes a priority in the community, there is an irrigation tap and space where it could be built in the future.
After the park is built, the Stapleton MCA will be responsible for ongoing maintenance.
Changes to 26th Ave.
26th Ave will have two lanes of traffic, with bike lanes and parking on both sides as well as a turn lane at intersections. The boundary between Aurora and Denver runs down the middle of the street.
Residences in Aurora
A total of 322 residences will be built in Aurora. A row of homes will face 26th Ave. from Fulton to Moline—and backing up to them, a row of homes will face 25th Drive. From Kingston to Moline, where Stapleton property juts to the south, homes will also be built on the south side of 25th Drive and on the north side of 25th Ave. Some will face courtyards.
If this agreement receives final approval, it will also include almost 1.7 acres of land donated by Forest City to Aurora Public Schools. The parcel is on the north side of 25th between Galena and Fulton. Residents of Stapleton in Aurora will attend Aurora Public Schools.
It is hoped that construction will begin this fall. Prairie dogs will be euthanized with carbon monoxide, as there is no possibility of relocation. Many of the existing trees are a species that are not allowed to be planted in Denver or Aurora, so they will be removed to make way for new landscaping after regrading is complete.
The park, the residential and the new Emporia/Dayton street connection will all be built at the same time. Forest City hopes to deliver its last lots to builders by spring 2016, with the final homes in the new neighborhood being completed around the fall of 2016. The hoped-for schedule is to plant the park landscaping in the spring of 2017. The plans state, “upon three years of issuance of the first certificate of occupancy, landscaping installation in the park shall be complete.”
Forest City has been in discussions with Aurora about tax increment financing for the necessary public infrastructure, but that plan has not yet received final approval.
View the plans at http://aurora4biz.org/developmentplanreviewpub. The project number is: 1023151. Comments are no longer being accepted (July 24 was the deadline). Contact Stephen Rodriguez in the Aurora planning department for further information about the Aurora approval process: 303-739-7186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Aurora planning office is collecting comments from their staff and from the public and sending them to Forest City. In Forest City’s next submittal they will address the comments, and Aurora will post the responses.
Forest City will hold a meeting on August 18 to share the plans with the community. The location is still to be determined. They presented the plan to the Stapleton Development Corporation’s Parks Advisory Group (PAG) on July 15.