1.) What’s the latest schedule for completion of CPB Bridge?
The bridge will be open to traffic by late August 2018, according to Nancy Kuhn, Denver Public Works. The A Line was stopped from April 28 to April 30 due to bridge construction and passengers were rerouted to an RTD bus.
2.) What’s the latest schedule for completion of MLK?
The project will go out to bid in the coming weeks and construction is expected to start this summer and last about a year, according to Nancy Kuhn in Denver Public Works.
3.) Construction is starting on “Moline @Stapleton” affordable apartments
Moline @ Stapleton apartments is a 180-unit affordable housing development located at Moline and MLK Blvd. Denver Housing Authority and the State of Colorado have obtained 22 vouchers for veterans and funds to provide apartments for low and very low income households. The project will include a community room, recreation room, bike storage area, leisure areas, children’s play areas and 209 parking spaces. The building has a combination of one, two and three bedroom units. The anticipated date of completion/move-in is May, 2019.
4.) Isabella Bird Elementary Principal Resigns
Isabella Bird Community School principal, Brian Ricker, announced his departure in an April 18 letter to parents. Ricker had been the Izzi B principal for two years, succeeding founding principals Sonny Zinn, Traci Bushnell and Jeff Bushnell, who opened the school in Stapleton in 2015.
Parents and the school community were surprised by Ricker’s announcement, which held no clue as to the reasons for his departure or for his future plans. The principal turnover rate in Denver is nearly 19%, meaning approximately one in five principals leave their positions in a given year.
Although Ricker had previously been placed on administrative leave due to an investigation, according to parent sources it was unrelated to his departure. The nature of the investigation is not available due to confidentiality issues, but in a letter, Instructional Superintendent Monica Nurrenbern wrote, “…the use of administrative leave should not indicate that any misconduct occurred.”
April Slater, elected parent participant member of the Izzi B Council, which serves as a parent-teacher association for the school, feels optimistic about the future at the school. “Despite Brian’s leaving, [Assistant Principal] Laura Glaab is committed to making sure there are no hiccups,” noted Slater. She and other parents, teachers and community members will participate in the search process for a new principal, which is already underway. A community forum where the principal finalists will be introduced will take place on May 3 with a hiring decision occurring during the week of May 14.
5.) What’s the plan for Stapleton’s northernmost neighborhoods?
Section 10 is a square mile of land just north of E. 56th Ave and west of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The first neighborhood there, Beeler Park is in the “football” shaped area west of the north-south greenway. Filing 54, just east of Beeler Park, will be the next neighborhood to be built. It will have 646 lots—and with some homes in the affordable program, the price range will be from the $200s to the $900s.
The centrally located dark green square will be a 7-acre park, swimming pool and pool house managed by the Master Community Association. The pool will be the biggest in Stapleton, with 8,000 square feet of surface area, and will have a slide feature.
The regional open space will have some playgrounds and soccer fields and some native open space. The area south of the pool originally contained residential, but the discovery of bedrock there drove a decision to reconfigure the plan and make that area a park.
The residential in the far northeast corner will be a later neighborhood.
6.) Cell coverage in Section 10?
Infrastructure work is underway in the northernmost part of Stapleton referred to as Section 10, a full square mile north of E. 56th Ave. That land borders the federally-owned Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge on the north and east, Dick’s sporting goods on the west, and a street with no tall buildings or cell towers on the south. To someone with knowledge of cellular coverage, that land configuration creates a challenge. Ross Kauffman, whose company builds private towers and leases them back to carriers, emphasizes the importance of getting towers situated before development happens. “If nothing happens you’re going to have a really big challenge covering that neighborhood,” he says.
Recognizing the potential for cell coverage issues, Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) member Jason Buszta brought two cellular experts to the April CAB meeting. His introduction to the issue got the attention of the group. “Imagine building a house and you want it to have a basement and two stories, but you don’t have the money to dig the basement, so you build the house without it. Five years later you want to build the basement…how easy does that sound? That’s effectively how the carriers work. They come in and retrofit after the fact, based on demand. They rarely speculate. That’s the problem we have here.”
Putting a tower on federal land is difficult and Dick’s Sporting Goods has its own system for guests, so the northernmost part of Stapleton does not have surrounding signals coming in. People in the mountains use microcells. Small cells are meant for dense areas like downtown, where 500 people live in a small area, said Buszta, adding that the equipment is expensive so it’s not a viable option for seven single family homes on a court.
The best options for Section 10 are likely to be commercial properties and land owners agreeing to lease air rights for space where they can place their equipment. In Stapleton, the Design Review committee has to approve what a tower or facility on a rooftop is going to look like, like they did with the clock tower in Eastbridge. Another possibility would be to get approval for a tower or rooftop equipment at the new pool, which is in a central location in Section 10. Carriers pay about $2,000 a month for rooftop space. Kauffman suggests getting the tower or facility built in a way that it will “disappear like the clock,” before the homes get built.
7.) No WCMD election after all.
Last month we wrote that Westerly Creek Metro District would be having an election and ballots would be mailed to those who live in that special district. Because a candidate dropped out, the existing representatives will simply retain their seats and no ballots will be mailed.