Citation
Oxbow Park study

Material Information

Title:
Oxbow Park study
Creator:
Rice, Elizabeth
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
33 pages : illustrations, charts, maps, plans ; 22 x 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Parks -- Planning -- Colorado -- Aurora ( lcsh )
Landscape architecture -- Colorado -- Aurora ( lcsh )
Recreation areas -- Planning -- Colorado -- Aurora ( lcsh )
Open spaces -- Colorado -- Aurora ( lcsh )
Landscape architecture ( fast )
Open spaces ( fast )
Parks -- Planning ( fast )
Recreation areas -- Planning ( fast )
Colorado -- Aurora ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (page 33).
General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
[Elizabeth Rice].

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
08895005 ( OCLC )
ocm08895005
Classification:
LD1190.A77 1981 .R52 ( lcc )

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The role of this brochure Is twofold. First, it Is to serve as a documentation of a practicum project for the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Colorado, Denver. This type of project is a requirement of all third year students completing the masters program in Landscape Architecture. It is with the permission of Mr. Bruce Waldo, Director of Aurora Parks and Recreation, that this project was undertaken.
Second, it is hoped that this plan will give direction to the City of Aurora in the development of Oxbow Park.


This Brochure Is Presented by: Elisabeth Rice
Graduate Student Department of Landscape Architecture University of Colorado, Denver
Spring 1981


TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
PROCESS
DESIGN CONCEPT SCHEMATIC DESIGN DESIGN CRITERIA
I PARK PROGRAM II VEGETATION III PARKING IV CIRCULATION ANALYSIS
I MAJOR SITE CONSTRAINTS II DRAINAGE ANALYSIS III CIRCULATION ANALYSIS IV SITE CHARACTER ANALYSIS V ADJACENT SITES ANALYSIS VI AURORA PARK SYSTEM ANALYSIS ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1
3
5
11
13
17
29
33


DENVER
Vicinity Map
CITY CENTER
I


INTRODUCTION
Oxbow Park is a 15 acre site owned by the City of Aurora, Colorado. It is located on Alameda Avenue near the Aurora Mall Shopping Center. No formal plans have been made for the site except that it will remain parkland.
This park site is important to the City of Aurora because it is part of a bigger picture the Aurora City Center. The City Center concept was conceived in the 1970's. The city government felt that Aurora was in desperate need of an identity and a focal area. The Aurora City Center is an effort to satisfy these needs. The 654 acres comprising the City Center have been specially zoned and feasibility studies have been completed. The intent is for high density, multi-use development. The core area will be the highest density and primarily office space. The fringe area will be mainly commercial. The government complex of the City of Aurora will also be located here. The periphery of the City Center will be primarily multi-family residential such as high rise apartments and condominiums. It is estimated that by 1990, 23,000 people will be living in the City Center complex.
Small green spaces will be scattered throughout the City Center, but Oxbow Park is the only parkland set aside in the complex. It represents 2.37. of the total City Center acreage. The park is important for another reason. It is the pedestrian gateway into the City Center from the Aurora Parks System. This is the park that links two of the city's major people spaces -- the City Center and the Park System.
Presently, the site is an open meadow, gently sloping toward the center. It is surrounded on three sides by the Highline Canal, an irrigation ditch built around the turn of the century. As the canal follows a contour around the park, it creates a very strong edge. The park derives its name from the shape of this boundary. A bike path meanders along the canal all through Aurora. It is significant because it is a regional recreational corridor for pedestrians and bikers. It is at Oxbow Park that the bike path penetrates the City Center providing a good access point for pedestrians.


One structure exists on the site, the small Gully Homestead. This 450 sq. ft. farmhouse was donated to the City of Aurora In 1978 when It was about to be destroyed for subdivision development. Interested citizens raised $8,000 to move Gully Homestead to Oxbow Park. The city assumed responsibility for the building at that time. Much authenticity was lost In the move. The orientation of the house was changed from east to south. Also, Gully Homestead sat on the banks of Tollgate Creek and this relationship was lost.
GULLY HOMESTEAD
First Impressions make one feel that this farmhouse Isn't worth saving; however, two points should be recognized:
1. Gully Homestead has historic significance since It was built In the 1880's.
2. There Is a great deal of community support Including a Gully Homestead Committee.
For a city such as Aurora struggling to establish Its own Identity and a sense of history, this building takes on extra significance. The Interest of the government and the community suggest that Gully Homestead be Incorporated Into the final park design.
Three city agencies were of primary Importance In the Initial project organization -- the Aurora Parks Department, the Aurora Planning Department, and the Aurora Historic Commission. Initial Interviews with these people provided direction and gave a broad view of the thoughts of the agencies ultimately responsible for developing the site. Although no firm concepts for the park have been developed, many exciting Ideas were voiced. Determining the type of park best suited for the Oxbow site became one of the main challenges of the project.


PROCESS
The following process was used in the development of the Oxbow Park site. It provided a systematic approach to organizing, analyzing and solving the design problems. Through this process much information was gathered and compared. Plant specialist, a Denver Water Board planner, landscape architects, the Aurora city engineer and other city officials were consulted for viewpoints about the park. Regional, historic and site specific characteristics were analyzed.
Oxbow Park was also reviewed as it related to the total Aurora Park System. The process allowed prioritization of facts considered most important to the park's development. This led to a definitive final design. The process is outlined as follows:
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DESIGN
CONCEPT


DESIGN CONCEPT
The design concept evolved from combining the Impute of the people interviewed, the information from the site analysis and a site program. The following goals were guidelines for the park:
1. To Incorporate the park into the City Center Complex.
2. To help provide an identity for the City of Aurora.
3. To provide diveristy in the Highline Canal sequence.
4. To provide a variety of experiences for the park user.
5. To meet the needs of a high density population by providing an escape from the urban intensity.
The final design is based on the concept of "An Urban Oasis." The park is to be a contrast to the City Center and a special gathering place in the park system.
The park design proposes the following:
1. The middle of the park should be respected as non-buildable land.
Wet alluvial soil and a natural drainage basin exists here. This area should be a retention basin
for major floods and a habitat for native wetland vegetation. The drainage ways are defined as dry stream beds and planted with water loving plants. These plants should absorb some of the excess water
DRY STREAM BED


that makes the site boggy in spring when the water table is high. Native salt tolerant grasses and wetland wildflowers should be left to naturalize along the stream banks and in the low lying areas of the site. A stepping stone walk a-cross the dry stream beds would add Interest and diversity. It would slow movement in an area of the park where there should be a sense of awareness.
2. A berm at the north end of the park creates a retention basin and screens the parking lot. Forty-four parking spaces are provided to prevent onstreet parking in the residential area.
3. Provide two open fields for passive activities. Each field should be large enough to accommodate pick-up team sports. These types of spaces are necessary in an area where 23,000 people live with very little open space around their dwellings. It is a place where people can come and do a variety of things.
4. Preserve the Gully Homestead and restore it to a museum. An outbuilding and corral exist which can be incorporated into the site design. The museum should focus on early Aurora history and life on the plains. It should also be an interpretive center for the Highline Canal and the native wetland vegetation used in the park. The Gully Museum should be screened to create a special setting.
Preserve the Gully Homestead and restore it to a museum.
6


A tot lot is recommended in the area of the multi-use shelter. It should be within view of the bike path so the children can see the riders as they pass. The lot should be designed for children of grade school age and younger. The tot lot area is graded to provide an elevation drop of 4' to 6'. With this grade change, walls and slides can be integrated to create interesting spaces for children to play. The materials used to construct the play equipment should reflect and reinforce the character of the site design.
The playground adds animation to the bike path.
6. A multi-use shelter with restrooms is proposed for the northern end of the park. This facility should be designed specifically for Oxbow Park. It will be a major activity center providing space for large gatherings, picnics, bands, bazaars, exhibits and other programmed activities sponsored by the Aurora Parks and Recreation Department. Orientation should be to the south.
7. At the apex of the park an entry zone with sitting steps and a special stage area are proposed.
This area serves as an entry zone from the City Center. It should be an extension of the plaza proposed in the core zone across Alameda.
It ties the two contrasting areas together. This is the most important pedestrian access into the park. The transition, including the pedestrian crossing at Alameda, must be safe and clearly defined. The sitting steps provide a park overlook and a place to eat a brown bag lunoh. These steps should have low risers and long
LOW RISEF AND LONG
The stage area should be small and Informal to offer a space for planned or Impromptu performances.


8. The canal edge la the strongest and most unique feature of the park. In the design, the bank has been completely regraded to make the canal more accessible to people. The bike path has also been Integrated Into the park site. The relationship between the bike path and the canal
HIGHLINE CANAL AT OXBOW PARK
should be varied to add Interest to the bikers experience. The historic value of the Hlghllne Canal should also be recognized.
Pedestrian access should connect the different use areas surrounding the site. All but one access will have to be bridged over the canal. These bridges provide a unique design potential. They are transitional areas and the entry zones Into the park. Although bridges are expensive, enough money should be budgeted to make them attractive.


SECTION A A'
SECTION B-B
SECTION C-C
The relationship between the bike path and the canal should be varied to add interest to the bikers experence.
9


PICNIC
SCHEMATIC
DESIGN
PARKING
HELTER-REST ROOM
Judicial Complex
GULLY
homestead
City Canter Plaza
Pedestrian Circulation
Special Use Areas
^Vegetation
OXBOW PARK
AURORA, COLORADO
ELIZABETH RICE PRACTICUM PROJECT UNIVERSITY OP COLORAOO. OENVER DEPARTMENT OF LANOSCAPE ARCHITECTURE SPRING 1981


SCHEMATIC DESIGN
The schematic design illustrates the underlying theme of the park design. It shows the basic elements that are necessary to give the park diversity, interest and a strong
framework. This framework can be seen starting at the center and working toward the edge of the park. ^
' The native vegetation area acts as a backdrop for the surrounding play areas. This backdrop can be viewed from all over the park.
The stage areas are the large passive play fields. These open grass areas are not marked for field sports; however, they offer ample space for pick-up games, kite flying, frisbee throwing and other activities.
Special use areas surround the playing fields. These areas offer a diversity of activity to the park user. The special use areas view outward toward the playing fields. These two zones are closely related. Visual ties must be strong. Relationships in the special use areas are also Important. Major picnicking should be no
Picnic table in special use area views should be outward toward the playing fields.
H


more than 300' from parking. Parking and the multi-use shelter located in the northern part of the site should relate to each other. The tot lot should be visible from the shelter area but not too close. Facilities should be oriented south whenever possible. The busiest activity areas should be on the public side (east) of the park with the quieter activities by the residential development.
The edge of the park is reinforced and strengthened with wetland vegetation repeating some of the central park character. Viewlines into the park should be maintained. The canal bank and bike path should be varied to add variety and sequence to the bikers' experience.
* Provide pedestrian access to the mix use areas around the park. This would Include five bridges, and a pedestrian crosswalk at Alameda with a flashing light. A sidewalk connector at the northern end of the park would serve the single family housing units. This access system provides linkage but retains
the strong border provided by the canal. This border, the dense screening at the northern edge of the park, and the multiple buildings on higher land facing the park will impart an intimate feeling to the site.
Present park access is limited. Provide pedestrian access to the mix use areas around the park.


DESIGN CRITERIA
I PARK PROGRAM
The proposed program for Oxbow Park is based on Input from the client, advisors and a user matrix that relates to the groups sur-rounding the park.
a USER E MATRIX PARK USERS Jogging to E a u *r4 a u £ Biking Siccing Toe Lot to 5 11 n H tu r-4 l -S fl M Kit. Flying Horseback Riding Scrolling Special Evanca Sunning o H.S US t U 3 Eon m to 5 15 U 3 fH I
Single and Multi-Family Realdents of the City Center o O o o O o o O o o o o o
People Working In Offices and Commercial Establishments of the City Center o o o o o o o o
People Visiting The Library o o o o o o
People Recreating Along the Highline Canal o O o o o o o O o o o
Park Visitors from Greater Aurora O o o o o o o o o o
The activities listed above are mainly physical. They could be programmed Into any park In the country. The key factor la to make these activities special by creating a park setting that Is Indigenous to Aurora. This can be partially accomplished by emphasising the plains riparian ecosystem which Is part of the essence of Aurora's character. The historic aspects of the park also contribute to Its sense of place.
It is important that the park program offer diversity and an escape from the urban mainstream. It should be a place where spontaneous and creative activities can occur.
Park Program
1. Gully Museum
2. Passive recreation areas
3. Multi-use shelter and restrooms
4. Picnic areas
5. Tot lot
6. Parking
7. Highline Canal bike path
8. Sitting and viewing areas
9. Sitting steps and stage


II VEGETATION
One of the goals of this park is to increase Aurora's sense of place. Aurora is a plains community. This geographic location should be recognized as a potential and used to the city's advantage whenever possible. Two types of plant ecosystems exist in the plains the grassland ecosystem and the riparian or wetland ecosystem. Grasslands are broad, open fields. They are generally flat and offer no human enclosure. Important park elements such as trees and water are scarce; variety in human scale is limited. This is not a suitable landscape to adapt to an urban park like Oxbow.
The riparian ecosystem exists along the stream banks of the plains. Trees, shrubs and grasses coexist in these areas. The plants have deep root systems and many can withstand extended periods of drought. This ecosystem has a fit with the Oxbow Park site. Oxbow Park is a natural drainage way, it has a high water table, and it is surrounded by a' man-made irrigation canal which contains water most of the year. Adapting a plains riparian ecosystem could be a strong identifying factor for the park. This concept could be applied to many Aurora parks that are located in drainage ways. It would add a unifying effect to the park system while creating a sense of fit with the native landscape.
The following plant list suggest native and adapted plants suitable for the planting design of Oxbow Park:
Trees
Plains cottonwood Lanceleaf cottonwood Boxelder
Hackberry
Wild Plum Willow
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Russian Olive
Shrubs
Wild Plum Gooseberry Wild rose Shrubbing willow Skunkbush Serviceberry
Chokecherry
Dogwood
Ninebark
Western Hawthorn
Populus sargentii Populus acuminata Acer negundo (salt tolerant)
Celtis occldentalis (salt tolerant, more dry land) Prunus araericana (tree form)
Salix species Juniperus Scopulorum (salt tolerant, more dry land) Elaeagnus angusti-folia (not native but this plant has naturalized along many plains waterways)
Prunus americana Ribes inerime Rosa species Salix exigua Rhus trilobata Amelanchler (salt tolerant)
Prunus melanocarpa Cornus stolonifera Physocarpus inter-medlus
Crataegus succulents


Saltbush
Snowberry
Atrlplex canescens (salt tolerant) Symphorlcarpos alba
Host species listed above can be found in the plans riparian ecosystem. Some are more common in the foothills; however, they
Willows along the Highline.
are easily adapted to the plains waterways since seeds wash downstream and naturalize along the banks.
Some native plants are not readily available in nursery stock; however, similar varieties of the same species can be
Three cottonwoods In Oxbow Park.


Ill PARKING
Utilize and share existing parking areas adjacent to Oxbow Park. Bridges into the park should be visible and accessible from parking areas. The Judicial Building should offer parking for weekend visitors.
Multi-story parking garages are part of the City Center concept. It is possible that such a facility could be located in the core area in close proximity to the park. This would provide additional parking for special events.
Forty-four parking spaces are provided on the park site at the end of Elkhart Street. This is to prevent parking along the residential street curb in the single family housing area.
It is felt that most park users will live or work in the City Center or come via the Highline Canal blkepath.
The major emphasis in the park is on pedestrian and bike traffic; however, automobile access and parking have to be considered.
IV CIRCULATION
Circulation is developed as a hierarchy to prevent confusion and provide the park user a choice. The Highline Canal bike path skirts the edge of the park and serves as a regional collector. The person riding along
this path should clearly have a choice of entering the park or continuing along the canal. The interloop is a pedistrian path providing circular access between the park entry zones. Minor circulation connects special use areas.


SABLE AVE
concepts.
17


I MAJOR SITE CONSTRAINTS
A. UTILITIES
There are significant site restrictions due to existing utility easements. A major 60' easement running north-south bisects the park. It contains storm drainage, sewage, and water lines. The storm drain culvert is approximately 120 Inches in diameter. No gas or electric lines exist on the site at this time. Buildings and heavy landscape materials are prohibited in easement areas. See the major constraints map for detail locations and existing line types.
B. SOILS
According to the Arapahoe Soils Conservation Survey, the two types of soils existing in Oxbow Park are wet alluvial and Reno-hill-Bulck. The soils are typical of areas in and near dralnageways. They are a reminder that Oxbow Park previously drained an area as far south as Mississippi Avenue.
The wet alluvial soil exists throughout the middle and southwest portion of Oxbow Park. This soil type is usually about 4' deep and predominantly sandy. A high water table is characteristic and water loving plants are recommended in these areas. Wet alluvial soil has a low shrink swell potential; however, seepage and flooding can occur where this soil exists.
The other soil in the park is Renohill-Buick. It is a loam to clay loam. Located in the eastern third and northwest section of the park, this soil is commonly found adjacent to established dralnageways. Reno-hill-Buick has a moderate to high shrink swell potential. If structures were to be located in the park special backfill and drainage would have to be considered.
Some helpful soils information was obtained from the soils analysis done for the Aurora Public Library. The library site is adjacent to the park, and the soil is part of the Renohill series. Twelve sample borings were taken on the library site. These borings showed claystone and shale occurring at depths as shallow as 2%' but averaging 7*. Claystone and shale are very hard substances and extremely difficult for plant roots to penetrate. When selecting plant materials for the park, the depths of claystone and shale should be considered. If they occur close to the surface, grasses would be the best choice of plant material. Trees and shrubs should have a 3' or greater root zone.
C. 100' R.O.W. OF THE DENVER BOARD
The 1001 R.O.W. surrounding Oxbow Park is owned and maintained by the Denver Water Board. The R.O.W. contains the Highline Canal and bike path. Any adjustments made in this area must be approved by the Denver Water Board. Their main concerns are canal maintenance, bank failure, and bank erosion. They realize that the canal plays an important role in recreation. Cooperation seems possible if maintenance responsibilities are shared. The R.O.W. is the edge of the park. Its treatment is important to the overall park design.



L
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IASLE AVE


II DRAINAGE
Oxbow Park ia In a natural drainage basin. Before the Highline Canal was built, this drainage basin extended from the area near Mississippi Avenue northeast to Toll-gate Creek. Many parks in Aurora exist in drainageways. They not only serve the city's recreational needs but double as retention basins for major floods. It was a request of the Aurora Parks Department that Oxbow Park serve as a retention basin for the City Center area.
On the Aurora flood plain map, the Oxbow Park area is classified in zone C.
This represents areas of minimal flooding potential; however, a high water table and seepage are known to occur in this area.
Large storm sewers in Oxbow Park control area runoff.
20


___SABLE AVE


Ill CIRCULATION
Circulation is a key factor to the development of Oxbow Park. At the present time the City Center is completely separated from the park site by the canal. There is no park access to the City Center area.
The Highline Canal bike path is on the inside of the canal adjacent to the park.
This path is a regional recreation corridor and significant to the park and the City Center. It is at Oxbow Park that the bike path penetrates the City Center and provides an opportunity for a pedestrian gateway from the park system to the City Center.
The only automobile access to the park is Elkhart Street which dead ends at the northern boundary of the site. This is a residential street with minimal traffic.
On street parking and increased traffic could create tensions in the neighborhood.
If parking is provided in the park, it is logical that it should occur at the end of Elkhart Street. Parking alternatives should be discussed with the neighborhood group.
Alameda Avenue is a busy, noisy thoroughfare. It is a definite barrier between the park and the core area of the City Center. A pedestrian crossing must be provided at Alameda. A bridge is one alternative. Although
expensive it would completely separate pedestrian and auto traffic. A well marked crosswalk with a flashing light would also provide safe access to and from the park. The develop ment of this access has to be coordinated with the design and circulation of the City Center core area.


ABLE AVE.
CIRCULATION ANALYSIS
PERIPHERY AR
ELKHART ST |S THE G>N L.-f auto Access To THE PARK. THE -STREET IS RRSlPEWTlAL, INCREASE TtVSTFiC- COULR CREATE A CONFLICT-
EXISTING HI^HLIHE PIKE PATH ARoukip THE RAKK- 7HI3 ffePESTKIAM WAT LINKS OXPovv T<5THE cc?MMUHirr ANP OTHEE-PARKS | Ki AURCTvA
THE HKjHUHE cakIAL IS A ST* owe, physical- ARRiee. 6ETWEEM TME tatk AMP the c-itt cekJtek, Access
AC-RO^ THE CAWAL- IS-
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6 DC
CORE AREA
^-Alamepa is a noisy
eXISY STREET. CTOSb-OVEKS SHOULP 0E COMSIPEREP
OXBOW PARK
AURORA, COLORADO
ELIZABETH RICE PRACTICUM PROJECT UNIVERSITY OF COLORAOO.DENVER DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE SPRING 1981 _ .
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93


IV SITE CHARACTER
Site character la an interpretation of the relationship of all the site elements (topography, vegetations, structures, etc.). Site elements work together to create a total image or feeling. Every site has its own unique features. If the park design and the designated land are to have a sense of fit, the site character must be analyzed.
Oxbow Park is 15 acres of open meadow. Although there are few trees, the site has an intimate feeling because of the inward orientation. This is provided by the slope and the Highline Canal bank. The canal creates a well defined edge which gives the park a strong image.
The southern tip of the park is significant for several reasons: it is the apex of the park, it is where the park, the bike path and the core area meet, and it is the high point of the park. This area has the potential as a focal point.
The northern boundary of the site is nondescript. This is the only boundary not bordered by the canal. A screen needs to be created with heavy vegetation. This will reinforce the existing site character.
i
Oxbow Park is 15 acres of open meadow.
24


AURORA, COLORADO
ELIZABETH BICE PRACTICUM PROJECT UNIVERSITY Of COLORADO.DENVER DEPARTMENT Of LANOSCAPE ARCHITECTURE SPRING I9SI ,
SITE CHARACTER ANALYSIS


V ADJACENT SITES
The park is surrounded by mixed use which is a wonderful asset. It provides a variety of users at many different times during the day and week. Schedules will vary and so will the times that people use the park. This helps keep the park an active space and minimizes dead times when the park is empty.
All buildings adjacent to the park except for one group of houses, face the park or have the potential to face the park.
This strengthens the identity of Oxbow Park and makes it a focal area. Views into the park from adjacent buildings and views down onto the park from multi-story structures are important.
The following numbers correspond to the map on the opposite page and describe the buildings and uses surrounding the park.
1. RIVER FALLS APARTMENTS
This complex consists of approximately 30 buildings. These buildings are attractive, two story brick structures with 16 units per building. They are centered around inner courtyards with some units facing outward.
Many apartments have excellent views of the park. Pedestrian access from these apartments to the park should connect to inner courtyards. Certain views into the park should be maintained.
2. AURORA ALAMEDA CENTER
This small shopping center is centered around Western Federal Savings. It houses a liquor store, several restaurants and various other shops. The development of Oxbow Park could be an economic stimulus for this shopping area.
Presently the service entrance area faces the park site. However, a simple facade could easily be constructed to reverse this rear area into a nice pedestrian space.
3. FUTURE CITY CENTER CORE
Tentative plans are for the development of a plaza fronting Alameda. Buildings would face the plaza. Presently the land is prairie but eventually it will be high rise office space. It is hoped that the park will appeal to Monday through Friday workers on short breaks.
4. MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
A. Aurora City Library: The new library is in close proximity to the park. Numerous reading spaces and windows will view the park. Most people using the library are on leisure time and can be expected to take advantage of the park during their visits.
B. Aurora Judicial Building and Parking Lot: This building houses the police department and other government offices. Most work is conducted during the week, and it
is hoped that the Municipal Building parking lot can be utilized on weekends by park visitors. A disadvantage of the parking lot is that it interferes with access from the building to the park.
5. SUNRIDGE
This is an attractive neighborhood complex with wood framed houses. The units are single family dwellings and very close together. The houses bordering the park are fenced and back onto the park site. This is the only adjacent use that cannot face the park. It is also the only area not separated from the park by the canal. Screening should be required to Insure privacy in this area.




VI AURORA PARK SYSTEM
An Important part of the site analysis Involves an understanding of the city park system. The map of the City of Aurora shows those parks which relate to the Hlghllne Canal as It winds through Aurora. Most parks along the Hlghllne offer sports activities and organized recreation facilities. This provides excellent recreational opportunities for the people of Aurora; however, It Is important to realize that diversity Is also an Important element In a good park system. The analysis of Oxbow Park clearly shows that this park site has the potential to be special In the park system. There are several reasons for this conclusion:
1. Oxbow Park Is centrally located In the park system and the city.
2. The 1980 "Parks, Open Space and Facilities Master Plan" study showed ample land designated for neighborhood parks In zone 4. This allows design flexibility for Oxbow Park.
3. Oxbow Park Is a pedestrian gateway Into the City Center, plus It Is the only park In the City Center complex.
Oxbow Park Is the park that links two of the city's major people spaces The Aurora City Center and the Aurora Park System.
28


ALTERNATIVES
Before deciding on a final design concept for Oxbow Park, several alternatives were considered. These alternatives were responses to needs that became apparent in the site research and analysis stage of the process.
ALTERNATIVE 1
URBAN SPORTS CENTER
This alternative was a response to the 1980 "Parks, Open Space and Facilities Master Plan" study. In this study the people of Aurora expressed a desire for sports oriented facilities featuring swimming, trails, tennis, golf, recreation facilities and organized open areas.
POTENTIALS:
* This type of park would provide public recreational facilities within walking distance of the densely populated City Center.
CONSTRAINTS:
* Night time sports activities with high intensity lighting could disrupt nearby residential areas.
* A 15 acre site limits the number of recreational facilities that can be attractively and effectively placed in a park.
* Site utility easements restrict placement of certain athletic facilities.
* The views of recreational facilities from a multi-story office building are not as pleasing as the views of open greenspace.
29


ALTERNATIVE 2
CIVIC CENTER
Oxbow Park is adjacent to the Municipal Complex which is the future site of Aurora's city government. The Civic Center Park is a response to the close relationship between the park site and the Munivi-pal Complex.
POTENTIALS:
This alternative would combine all the open space around the Municipal Complex into a unified park-like setting which would spatially set off the complex.
This park concept provides an excellent setting for civic events.
A Civic Center Park would add diversity to the park system.
CONSTRAINTS:
The existing parking lot between the Judicial Building and the park is a major barrier which would have to be moved.
The Hlghline Canal is a strong edge around the park site. The eastern edge would have to be redefined if the park site and municipal complex were combined.
Most parkland used to set off government buildings has a southern exposure. Oxbow Park is west and northwest of the Municipal Complex. This is not the most desirable orient ation.
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ALTERNATIVE 3
URBAN OASIS
This alternative is a response to the small percentage of parkland in the City Center and the projected high density population proposed for the area.
POTENTIALS:
This type of park creates a natural setting where people can escape their urban surrounding.
A naturalistic green space is pleasant to view from high rise offices and apartments.
An urban oasis park can reinforce the existing topography and the natural character of the site.
CONSTRAINTS:
An urban oasis park would compliment the Municipal Complex; however, it would visually and physically have the feeling of a separate space.
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ALTERNATIVE 4
HISTORIC PARK
In 1978 a schematic plan with a historic theme was designed for Oxbow Park.
It was called Heritage Village. This plan centered around Gully Homestead and other historic buildings about to be demolished by construction. Today there are concerns regarding the feasibility of this plan.
The following potentials and constraints address these concerns.
POTENTIALS:
A historic park would be of educational value.
This concept totally Integrates Gully Homestead In the park design.
CONSTRAINTS:
The Heritage Village plan was ln-vlsloned prior to the concept of the City Center. The development of the City Center and a high density population put new demands on the Oxbow Park site. When considering land development, It is important to consider highest and best use. A Heritage Village is a good Idea for Aurora; however, Oxbow Park is no longer the best site for this type of park.
Many people in the city government feel a historic park is too specific and would be out of character with the new City Center.
They feel the park should be designed for all interest groups.
The Historic Commission says that the National Register of Historic Places is very hesitant to recognize historic buildings that have been relocated. Historians feel there is a loss of original character.
The alternative of a historic park was studied, but no additional schematics were developed. After reviewing and discussing all alternatives, the concept of the Urban Oasis was chosen. Historic aspects existing on the Oxbow Park site were integrated Into the final concept.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Christianson, Montey I.: Park Planning Handbook, Johnson, Wiley & Son, Inc., 1977,
2. Crowley, John and Worthington, Carl A., and Bowers, James M.: Aurora City Center A Marketability. Transportation and Urban Design Study. Englewood, Colorado, 1978.
3. DeChiara, Joseph and Koppelmon, Lee:
Urban Planning and Design Criteria. Van Nostrand Company, 1975.
4. Department of Parks Recreation and Public Properties, Aurora, Colorado: Parks, Open Space & Facilities Master Plan. 1979
5. llalprin, Lawrence: Cities, M.I.T. Press, 1963.
6. Lynch, Kevin: The Image of the City. M.I.T. Press, 1960.
7. Mutel, Cornelia F.: From Grassland to Glacier. Johnson Publishing Co., 1976.
8. Nairn, Ian: The American Landscape, A Critical View. Random House, New York, 1965.
9. Rondon, Joanne: Landscaping for Water Conservation in a Semlarld Environment, City of Aurora, Colorado, 1980.
10. Rutledge, Albert J.: Anatomy of a Park. McGraw-Hill, 1971.
11. Shomon, J.J.: Open Land for Urban America, Johns Hopkins Press, 1971.
12. Soil Conservation Service: Soil Survey. Arapahoe County, Colorado. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.,' 1971.
13. Whyte, William H.: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. The Conservation Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1979.
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