URBAN DESIGN STUDY
Urban Design Study
Downtown Castle Rock
Thesis Project for a Masters Degree in Urban Design Mark E. Kieffer Spring Semester, 1987
John Prosser, Advisor
AN URBAN DESIGN STUDY FOR DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter One. INTRODUCTION Overview Purpose of this Study Overall Goals of this Study Description of the Study Area
Chapter Two. EXISTING OPPORTUNITIES Historical Significance Environmental Significance Development Potential Socio-Economic Characteristics Employment Characteristics Land Use and Zoning Considerations Circulation and Parking Considerations
Chapter Three. DESIGN OBJECTIVES Background Circulation Entry Features Parking Streetscape
Chapter Four. LAND USE OBJECTIVES Background Downtown Land Use Plan Downtown Overlay District
Chapter Five. IMPLEMENTATION OPTIONS Background Downtown Development Authority Tax Increment Financing Sales Tax Revenue Financing Special District Options Local Development Corporation Conclusions
Chapter Six. BIBLIOGRAPHY References
------ Chapter One
The City of Castle Rock is undergoing tremendous development pressure. Even within the constantly changing boom-bust economic climate in the state, the city will continue to undergo incredible transformation. Every aspect of this once quiet railroad town is subject to an unrelenting evolutionary process. From the outlying residential enclaves, to the historical downtown center, this inevitable change will render most of the area unrecognizable at some time in the near future.
To many people, this change is welcomed. Those who have accepted growth consider this activity a necessary attribute within their environment. "Growth is inevitable" is a phrase heard on the streets as well as read in more than one plan or study for the area. It is a reasonable assumption that, at least today, there is a general recognition by both constituent and the elected official that Castle Rock will not be the same in the long run. While this is a prevailing attitude shared by many, there is a growing concern within the community that the city must maintain new development with prescribed parameters. Unchecked suburbanization is seen by some as being detrimental to the economic as well as environmental health of Castle Rock. Many issues are becoming more and more critical as the area experiences further growth. A long-term water supply is by far the most important issue on the minds of several residents. Transportation and economic development run a close second to concerns about water supply. Environmental issues such as open space preservation are also items that are attracting more attention recently as a result of suburbanization. Each of these concerns have been discussed at length over the past decade within the city. Much of this discussion has resulted in new plans and policies utilized by town officials in their consideration of new development projects within the city. These are important tools that did not exist ten years ago when Castle Rock was being positioned in a strategic economic market along the front range. Today
these documents provide a sense of security, if not confidence, by the town in its evaluation of future growth. Only time will tell if these fundamental issues of water, transportation, balanced economic growth, and open space preservation will be resolved in the future.
There is a more recent issue that appears to be coming to the forefront today. With increased suburban residential growth around Castle Rock, there are some that believe the city should refocus and reclaim its downtown as a central place. Many of the aforementioned studies looked primarily at those areas outside of the downtown. Little if anything has been said about the preservation of the older core of the city from which all new development areas radiate. Clearly this lack of attention has led to an increased deterioration of public infrastructure and a subsequent lessening of private investment. While this issue is a fairly recent discussion item in the local media, it is one that has been continually brought up by local merchants and landowners for many years. In the past those who were concerned about the declining conditions of downtown were in the minority in relation to the growing interests of suburban developers. Now there seems to be a clear shift favoring the redevelopment of downtown and maintaining its position as a central place within Castle Rock. Several members of the city council and many more residents are speaking out on this issue. In the near future, the city may experience a significant change through reinvestment by both the public and private sectors. While this emphasis on downtown redevelopment is growing, it still is not the highest priority the city has today. As is the case for many smaller communities that face an accelerating growth rate, there are a multitude of problems that need a direct response immediately. The manner in which a community prioritizes these concerns should indicate the direction that city will take in its ongoing development process. Recent awareness of the requirements for a healthy downtown has placed this concern in a higher priority within
Castle Rock. It may never replace water or transportation issues in terms of this importance, but it will remain a concern to be reckoned with.
As it has been previously stated, Castle Rock will continue to grow rapidly both now and in the future. The city has changed rapidly since the early 1970's when growth manifested itself in several new suburban developments around the central city. Interstate 25 is probably responsible for much of this recent development activity when it opened up much of the front range in the early 1960's. The Interstate remains a contributing factor to much of this area's continued growth today. However, the primary reason Castle Rock has developed as rapidly as it has is the result of its location along the front range of Colorado. The city lies exactly between the two overlapping markets of Denver and Colorado Springs. Each of these outlying metropolitan areas have contributed to Castle Rock's development. The city's general location lies 30 miles to the south of Denver and the 30 miles north of Colorado Springs. Both Denver and Colorado Springs have grown in the direction of Castle Rock over the past 50 years. Denver remains, by far, the greatest single influence in the development of Castle Rock today. To a certain degree, Castle Rock has been subordinate to the Denver Metropolitan Area by becoming a bedroom community serving the outer employment areas of the larger city. Colorado Springs has also exerted this type of influence on the city, but to a much lesser degree than Denver. From this effect on residential development as well as the supporting service industries, Castle Rock has grown substantially. This being the case, residential activity will continue to be the predominate activity for some time to come. The pleasant climate and unique land forms also contribute to increased residential demand in the city. However, even these attributes of environment and location, the city's major economic opportunity lies in the fact that it is a true central place in the entire region. By encouraging its own employment base to be developed, Castle Rock will through time break the bedroom community image and regain its status as a self-supporting front range community. The economic development of this area is of primary concern to local officials. Through this concern, the city has encouraged new employment opportunities by approving many office and industrial parks within the vicinity of the downtown. As will be the case for all
communities within Colorado, Castle Rock will face the inevitable roller coaster of its economy. In the long run, however, the city will probably fare better than most in the state in terms of further economic growth and development. As industry matures in this area and additional employment activity is attracted to Castle Rock, the city will continue to grow for a long time to come. If it can solve the larger problems of water and transportation development, Castle Rock could be one of the largest cities along the front range in the 21st century.
Wilcox Street looking north as seen in 1927.
Downtown Castle Rock has always served as the central focus of trade for this portion of the front range. This picture portrays a time when the town was the only activity center between Denver and Colorado Springs.
PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY.
Castle Rock is at the crossroads in its development history. The two choices are clear. One option is to allow further decentralization of the city and increased suburbanization as supported by its policy today. This policy outlined by the current master plan places emphasis on external development outside of the city center. It provides for the new development of many commercial nodes in direct competition with downtown. The second option Castle Rock has is one that establishes a direction promoting the further development of the central area. What this entails is the prioritization of downtown in the city's planning process. Reinvestment in the core of Castle Rock by both the public and private sectors is an important focus of this study. In doing so it creates a downtown environment that is capable of competing with surrounding commercial centers within the city. By providing for this new emphasis on downtown, it enhances many of the existing competitive advantages found in the central core today. An additional benefit will become apparent utilizing this approach. As a city continues to grow, the downtown becomes increasingly important in regards to community identification. Many bad examples exist today as a result of tremendous growth with little regard on preserving a central place. In the opinion of Jane Jacobs, the downtown or central place of a city is its heart. It plays a crucial role in the formation and function of the surrounding city. In her book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," she places a great emphasis on the central place of a community. The following is an excerpt of this book:
"Probably everyone is aware of certain general dependencies by a city on its heart. When a city stagnates or disintegrates, a city as a social neighborhood of the whole begins to suffer: People who ought to get together, by means of central activities that are failing, fail to go together. Ideas and money that ought to meet, and do so often only by happenstance in a place of central vitality, fail to meet. The networks of city public life develop gaps they cannot afford. Without a strong and inclusive central heart, a city tends to become a collection of interests isolated from one another. It falters at producing something greater, socially, culturally and economically, than the sum of its separated parts."
The downtown of Castle Rock has historically been the primary focus of activity within the city. In this constantly changing evironment, now more than ever, this central place should remain a priority. The unique sense of place a downtown can provide is of economic, cultural, aesthetic and spiritual importance. To lose this special characteristic inherent to the downtown is to lose the identity of Castle Rock.
The two directions Castle Rock faces in the near future are not mutually exclusive. Emphasizing the downtown does not necessarily result in an economic loss to the suburban ring around the city. Both approaches can work toward the successful partnership that will enhance the economic development of each location. In fact, the economic health of one area is directly related to the well being of the other. Each area has its own unique potential in terms of a market area. The suburban "village centers" can be developed to serve the surrounding residential development. Convenience retail, groceries and automobile service stations support the new residential growth around the central area. The downtown itself would enhance the suburban locations by providing more destination oriented projects such as restaurants, specialty retail and office development. By ensuring the compatibility of each area, both locations can be developed to benefit the city as a whole.
It is the purpose of this study to illustrate certain competitive advantages that set downtown Castle Rock apart from the rest of the city. Advantages found in the downtown area include its central location, comfortable scale, historic significance and developed employment base. It would appear all the raw materials are present to develop an active downtown environment. Perhaps the single most important element missing is that of vision. It is hoped that this study will bring together several ideas and concepts already discussed by many and provide for a clear direction for the redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock.
OVERALL GOALS OF THIS STUDY.
In order to provide for these competitive advantages within the downtown, a set of five primary objectives have been developed for this study. They are meant to establish a central vision for the future of downtown and provide direction to further develop the central area as a desirable place to live, work, and play. The overall goals of this study are as follows:
Renew downtown Castle Rock as a major focus of activity within the region.
In doing so, the city will once again reinforce its position as a central place between Denver and Colorado Springs.
Establish an overall design concept that serves as a central vision for area residents, merchants, and city officials. Through this concept, a marketing strategy will evolve to promote downtown Castle Rock to those who would not normally use the area.
Create downtown Castle Rock as a significant entry into the city and its
outlying areas. This will serve to redevelop a strong sense of identity for
Enhance and protect existing amenities, such as historic buildings and mature vegetation in order to maintain downtown Castle Rock as a unique environment. This will further establish the desirability of the area as a place where people want to live, work, and play.
Utilize these significant attributes such as architecture, history and
convenience as competitive advantages to further the redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock. Consider this environment to reinforce the
development objectives of the overall city.
DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA.
The area considered in this study is roughly defined as the initial town plat filed in 1874. Over the years, this area has developed very specific edges generally regarded by many as the downtown. The southern boundary is made up by Sellar's Gulch. This is a large, dry stream bed that has been designated as a 100 year flood plain. Its banks are steep and erosive with very little vegetation. The eastern edge is the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. This is a regularly used rail facility located within a 160 foot right-of-way. This is a significant edge in that it clearly indicates an area of older residential neighborhoods to the east and the downtown area in the west. The northern boundary is the entrance and exit ramp to Interstate 25. It also includes Wolfensberger Road, a major east and west roadway outside of the study area. This location also contains the Castle Rock formation which provides for the predominate visual focus for the entire region. The western edge is defined by Interstate 25. This boundary is impenetrable and as is the case for the eastern boundary, it is very disruptive to the established grid fabric of the central city.
The study area is platted on a true north-south grid with Wilcox Street being its central axis. Wilcox has served as a "main street" since the beginning. This street is an old state highway that is now designated as a business route along side the Interstate. As a main street, it is the only north-south street that penetrates the edges of the study area in these locations. No other street connects to Interstate 25 or crosses Sellar's Gulch. Wilcox has been the focus of retail activity for much of Castle Rock's history. The downtown core area is located along Wilcox between Third and Fourth Streets. Across the road from the core area is the Douglas County Administration Building, the largest employer within the city. Wilcox is also lined with many large and mature cottonwoods.
Originally planted during the turn of the century, they remain a central amenity of the downtown.
As is characteristic of many other older cities, the study area has the highest mix of land use within Castle Rock. While the area is predominately non-residential, there are some single family homes within the downtown. Most of these residential uses are currently rental properties. Land use within this area will be discussed in a later chapter.
Two major east-west streets enter the study area. They are Fifth and Second Streets. Second Street is the southern most paved road in the study area. It serves as a link to the residential areas in the southeastern portion of the city. Fifth Street is another state highway and turns into a major arterial outside of the study area. Along with Wilcox, Fifth Street is the only other arterial roadway within the study area. While it never developed historically as a commerical street, many structures that were once single family homes are now commercial properties.
The study area was chosen because it is both a definable location as well as an area that is generally understood as being the downtown. It is characterized by a large portion of run down buildings, poorly maintained streets, drainage problems, old water and sewer lines. Looked at as an opportunity, it also provides several amenities. As previously stated, it is the highest mixed use area within the city, it has a very high employment base relative to other areas of the city, and the highest concentration of historic structures in the region. Most importantly is its location to other areas within the city. Very few areas in Castle Rock can be reached without first driving through this area. In its overall contribution to the city, this is one of the primary reasons it should be considered a major resource within Castle Rock.
Early settlement of the Castle Rock area came about because of its equidistant relationship between Denver and old Colorado City (Colorado Springs). Before the town itself was formed, travelers in covered wagons and stages stopped there enroute. The Castle Rock formation proved an invaluable monument to the western development of this area of the country. It was the rock that marked the site of the new town that was eventually platted in 1874 by Philip Wilcox, Jeremiah Gould, J. D. McIntyre, and John Craig.
The original plat designated Wilcox as the central axis of the grid. The square in which the current Douglas County Adminstration Building lies was created as a central focus in the new town. As was the case for many of these new frontier towns, the plat bore little empathy to the existing landforms of the time. An area found along a non-existent portion of First Street is at the bottom of a dry gulch and extends towards the confluence of Plum Creek and Sellar's Gulch. Needless to say, that area was never fully developed in the town's history.
During the same time the town was being formed, Douglas County needed to choose a county seat as required by the new state of Colorado. Two other areas were being considered in 1874 for this honor. The Rocky Mountain News backed its choice recommending Castle Rock to the state by publishing this editorial:
"If not 'one of the seven wonders' of Colorado, Castle Rock is a real wonder.
It is a tremendous rock, standing up in bold relief several hundred feet in height, rising abruptly out of the plains, being visible from the cars of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad for many miles as they pass, either way, up or down the valley. I know that interested parties will try and ignore this as mere fancy of the mind, but a thing of beauty is a joy forever and cannot be ignored without doing violence to the feelings of all lovers of beauty Castle Rock is a point. It is somewhere. Nature has done something just at that place. It has erected there a great landmark Castle Rock has the
advantage of being near the geographical center of the county the county seat will not, of course, be located away from the railroad cheaper if not better water can be obtained here ... If the county seat is located at Castle Rock, it will be a permanent location, and a town will grow up there of no ordinary beauty."
The newspaper went further in commenting on its unique position within the state:
"It is one of the most picturesque points in the whole territory, adding to the charms of natural scenery a proper geographical location, with all the surroundings necessary to make a thriving and attractive town."
Even at that time there was a recognition that Castle Rock will continue to flourish through time. Its natural setting and central place identity had created many economic advantages from the start. Castle Rock was chosen as the county seat later that year. The efforts of the local townspeople with the support of the Rocky Mountain News were well rewarded. From that time onward, Castle Rock remained the largest city in Douglas County.
One other historic reference is important in the development of this city. In an area just south of the original town plat, a gold miner by the name of Silas Madge found a large quantity of pinkish-grey stone he had thought contained gold. He took his findings to Denver to have it assayed for its gold content in 1872 after filing claim to the entire area along Plum Creek. To his disappointment, none of the precious metal was found in the sample, but he was told that the stone had tremendous value as a building material and a large market for this product had just opened up in the young city of Denver. Madge began a quarry to mine this rhyolite, and in no time, the stone was in great demand. The structural quality of the lava rock allowed it to be easily cut while at the same time provided the required strength for many of the large buildings under construction at that time. The pinkish-grey to purple color was also sought after, and even today, many of these original buildings utilizing Castle Rock rhyolite still maintain the same unmistakable hue it once was many years ago.
This became the city's largest industry well into the twentieth century. Because of the demand for this product, it required two railroad lines to be built serving the area. The first line built in 1872 was the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Its original route was established to serve only Colorado Springs and Denver passengers. In the early years, Castle Rock was only a tank town on this line. But after the stone quarry started to gain national recognition, Castle Rock became a destination for many trains. The Sante Fe line was added in the 1880's as needed competition in the transportation of this valuable product. The quarries closed because of the lack of demand in the late 19^0's, but both rail lines still remain. Neither railroad currently stops in Castle Rock, now that the quarries are closed; and the advent of the automobile has made this type of transportation more expensive.
The significance of this rhyolite goes beyond the mere historic development of a small town. Not only did this stone help build Castle Rock in a structural sense, but also an economic sense as well. It served to extend the city's influence by adding to the architectural heritage throughout the country. Building historians will easily recognize this unique building material used during the turn of the century. As is the case for its rare and beautiful geographic setting, it is an attribute that clearly identifies Castle Rock as a unique and desirable environment within the western United States.
Castle Rock is a land of many diversified environmental forms. The first town settlement took advantage of an old stream bed along side Plum Creek that had been laid flat over the past million years. Plum Creek and its direct tributary, Sellar's Gulch, have extensive geologic histories indicating many large floods. This active geological history is characteristic of riparian environments found in many areas along the front range of Colorado. Even today the quiet trickle of a sandy bottom gulch can turn into a raging torrent over night. This was the case on June 16, 1965. What was considered a one hundred year storm event occurred within the Plum Creek basin a few miles south of Castle Rock and had devastating qualities all the way into Denver. The storm turned that damp sand of Plum Creek into a raging river for one day that destroyed many homes, bridges, and other man-made articles that got in the way. Interstate 25 had only opened one year before, large portions of it were washed away within the town. After that flood, not many took to reclaim what they had lost that day along the creek. Much of the area at the confluence of Sellar's Gulch and Plum Creek, which at that time was a boiling cauldron, is still an open sand bar. Small patches of vegetation are becoming established in that area that once had large cottonwoods and several small frame buildings. It is this area that defines the southern edge of the study area. With much work, this area could become a significant green space running through town. But because of the erosion that has been left unchecked after the most recent large flood, any reciaimation project will become more expensive as years go by. An effort is underway to restore much of the floodway found along Sellar's Gulch. Because of its location, it provides a great opportunity to link the outlying residential areas with the downtown. The Castle Rock Greenway Foundation is a locally organized group of citizens exploring options to build this open space system along Sellar's Gulch. While there are several other floodplains found throughout the city, this area in particular has been given the highest priority. One
other reason Sellar's Gulch provides a great opportunity for open space development is found within the confluence area with Plum Creek. The previously mentioned flood of 1965 left the entire area flattened. No development has occurred in this location since then. The resulting landform is a ten acre open area immediatiey adjacent to the downtown. This area has potential for parkland development that would not only be accessible to the downtown and residential areas to the east, but also provide for a strong visual amenity from the interstate as well as Wilcox Street. Although it is outside of the scope of this study, it is a strong recommendation to begin this open space project in the very near future.
One of the most predominate land forms are the many buttes and cliffs found all around Castle Rock. The rock formation that once gave the city its name is part of this rich geologic environment. Its unique setting has given Castle Rock an incredible opportunity to develop a special identity along front range communities. At any given point within the city, this feature remains the most significant visual resource around. The most prevalent formation seen anywhere in this area is still the Castle Rock itself. Because of this predominance, the city owes its existence. There are, however, many other significant rock outcroppings in this general location. They all serve to define a very specific edge to the city. It has only been in the last ten years that some of these buttes have been developed into housing projects. Even with this type of encroaching development, they remain fortress-like, protecting the city as the medieval castles of Europe once protected their countryside.
an URBAN DESIGN STUDY for DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCKj
1965 Flood Showing Confluence of Sellar's Gulch and Plum Creek, South of Study Area
an URBAN DESIGN STUDY for DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
Castle Rock and the surrounding area will experience tremendous development activity. Both the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and the state demographer predict this area centered by Castle Rock will experience some of the most rapid growth rate within Colorado. Between 1985 and 1990, the city is expected to increase from 6,800 persons to approximately 19,900; almost tripling in size. While this area has continued to grow at a steady pace over the past thirty years, the next decade will be one of exponential growth has been predicted to experience an exponential development rate.
Table One. AREA POPULATION GROWTH
Year 1970 1980 1985 1990 2000
Castle Rock Douglas County 1,531 8,407 3,921 25,153 6,800 47,565 19,950 156,506 50,845 369,089
Source: Denver Regional Council of Governments
Douglas County Planning Department
The reason for this large increase in population into the next century is mostly an accident of geography. Its location between Colorado Springs to the south and Denver to the north, puts the entire city in an area of two overlapping urban markets. These two market areas are the largest in Colorado and will affect growth in all sectors from residential development to new employment opportunities. As previously mentioned, this condition is a major reason why Castle Rock continues to grow. But in the long run, its location as a central place will result in more substantial growth in the future. Castle Rock in its equidistant position between two developed markets of Denver and Colorado Springs will develop its own autonomy as a self-supporting municipality. While the external activity of the two overlapping marketswill cause Castle Rock to grow for the next several years, particularly in the residential sector, a larger and more extensive
employment base will occur. This will also be spurred by a regional transportation system such as Interstate 25, the availability of large land parcels, and fairly inexpensive energy costs. This is one explanation for the growth Castle Rock will experience later this decade. There are, however, some limits to growth that are becoming more evident today. Several issues such as a relatively slow economy within the state, a dwindling water supply and a deteriorating utility system all have an effect on slowing development. These concerns are often associated with high growth areas throughout the country. In anticipation of these problems, Castle Rock is currently planning for the next phase of activity that will occur. Development of water and sewer facilities top the list of capital improvement projects for the next several years.
Coupled with the location criteria for additional growth over the next twenty years, the city is in an advantageous position because of its designation as county seat in the fastest growing area of the state. As is the case for Castle Rock, Douglas County is facing explosive growth today. As the requirements of a rapidly urbanizing area increase, so to will the employment base generated by a larger demand for county services. The county is currently the largest employer in the city. At its current rate of growth, it may remain so for a long time to come. The study area is the geographic center of this activity. In addition to being the center of the town and county adminstrative services, it offers many more opportunities for further economic development.
an URBAN DESIGN STUDY for DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
A study prepared by the Douglas County Economic Department Council in conjunction with DRCOG has found that the median annual household income in Douglas County exceeds $50,000. This would indicate that the surrounding area is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions within the state. Castle Rock itself boasts of an income level of approximately $37,000 annually. As this area continues to grow, income levels will become more comparable to the rest of the state. Until then, this statistic represents a double edged sword to the city. While it creates increasing demand for retail goods and services, thus raising sales revenues, it places Castle Rock in a non-entitlement position for any financial help from the state or federal government. Today, this does not seem to be a hinderance with budgetary cutbacks due to a more conservative financial policy in Washington. But there are still some programs that could be targeted for deteriorating infrastructure within the older portion of the city. Road improvements and storm sewers that could have been funded by the federal government in the early 1970's are no longer available to the residents of Castle Rock. Developing financial options for the redevelopment of this area will have to be derived internally.
One of the reasons for the higher than average income level within the area is a result of a very pronounced demographic shift the entire region is currently facing. Basically, a low population base such as that found today can move income levels in either direction. The current demographic profile of new residents moving into the area indicates young white collar workers who commute to higher paying jobs in either Denver or Colorado Springs. There are also a majority of two income households within the area. The conclusion that can be drawn from this finding is that area residents will have a larger than average share of disposable income. Because of this current mix of employee commuters, a large portion of this money leaves Castle Rock and goes to the larger
metropolitan areas. The city would be well advised to capture this potential revenue source and maintain it in the local market area. It is for this reason the study area becomes increasingly important for retail development within the city. Because of its convenient location adjacent to existing and proposed residential areas, it is in an excellent position to regain these lost revenues.
Given the nature of the type of population currently residing within the city as well as that projected in the future, there is the potential for several new market areas to open up. In addition to the growing employment base (which will be discussed in the next section), the existing residents would benefit from new restaurants, day care centers and additional retail development. This characteristic is particularly relevant to the downtown area of Castle Rock.
As is the case for population growth, the employment sector will continue to develop for many years to come. Within the study area, many new options must be developed to keep up with the projected demand for goods and services. The previous discussion about the growth of Douglas County's administrative services, as well as the town government function within Castle Rock, indicates more space will be required in the very near future. According to a study done by the Douglas County Economic Development Council, during the next two years approximately one-half million square feet of non-residential space will be needed to serve the existing population. This could easily use up all of the existing land within the study area. However, there are many competing factors outside of downtown that need to be counted. It is further estimated that by the year 1990 an additional 250,000 square feet will be needed in Castle Rock. The downtown area must position itself both to attract as well as accommodate this projected growth in the area.
Approximately one-third of the study area is vacant or under-utilized in terms of existing development. As previously mentioned, this land has tremendous development potential in the near future. Employment projections for the next ten years could use this inventory to develop additional office space within the study area.
Table Two. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT AND SPACE REQUIREMENTS
1985 1990 Increased Employment 1985 Current Square Footage 1990 Demand Square Footage
Castle Rock 42 140 98 12,000 31,600
Douglas County 220 930 710 70,000 212,000
School District 80 160 80 3,000 16,000
TOTAL 342 1,230 888 85,000 259,600
Source: King and Associates, Inc.
NOTE: THE MAJORITY OF LAND AREA BETWEEN SECOND AND SOUTH STREETS IS LOCATED WITHIN THE FLOODPLAIN
Vacant and Underutilized Land Area
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Table Three. ESTIMATED EMPLOYMENT IN THE CASTLE ROCK STUDY AREA
Retail 320 880
Office 500 2,100
Industrial 290 800
TOTAL 1,110 3,780
Source: Douglas County Employment Forecast
Douglas County Economic Development Council King and Associates, Inc.
Table Four. DISTRIBUTION OF SQUARE FOOTAGE, 1985
Retail 112,780 342,100
Food 8,300 80,700
Clothing 1,500 13,900
Restaurant 19,200 48,350
Automotive 13,950 70,270
Other 69,920 128,970
Office 68,375 115,775
Industrial 55,000 101,350
Government 52,900 93,200
Motel 4,360 11,060
Vacant 1,010 28,610
Miscellaneous 23,650 53,900
TOTAL 318,075 745,995
Source: Town of Castle Rock
Douglas County Assesseor's Office
Table Five. CURRENT DEMAND FOR RETAIL ACTIVITY
Speciality Shops 11
Movie Theatres 6
Shopping Malls 5
Sporting Goods 3
General Store 3
Ice Cream/Soda 3
General Merchandise 3
Department Store 3
Five and Dime 2
Fast Food 2
Art Gallery 2
Source: Castle Rock Business Area Survey, October, 198^
In considering Table Five, there appears to be a deficiency in certain employment categories. The mix of goods and services within this area are heavily weighted towards manufacturing and storage (industrial uses). The categories that need to be reinforced to accommodate these aforementioned demographic profiles are in the retail and office categories. By doing so, it would allow the cultivation of more employment activity in the central area as well as attract more people that would not normally use downtown today. The old adage that "people attract more people" could be well utilized in this employment mix.
LAND USE AND ZONING CONSIDERATIONS.
Existing land uses within the study area are quite diverse. Single family dwellings are combined with light manufacturing and commerical uses. There are large vacant lots found throughout the area indicating an under utilization of existing potential. Land alongside of Wilcox is the most varied. On the northern end of the strip many highway related uses are present. These include gas stations, convenience stores and motels. Driving south on Wilcox, a transitional area becomes apparent. This portion of the street is tree lined and has several medium density residential developments intermixed with single family structures that have been converted into office space. Roughly in the center of the study area around Fifth Street, an area of predominately office and retail use occurs. This type of use continues to the southern edge of the study area. Between Third and Fourth Streets on the west side of Wilcox is the Douglas County Administration Building. As tradition has it, the "courthouse" square is surrounded on four sides by office/retail activities. This area seems to be wholly dependent upon the Administration Building and the various uses found around it are support services to this central use. As a result, this area, as well as all of the Wilcox Street corridor is fairly quiet after hours and on weekends. The only activity occurring at these times are related to a restaurant and lounge found downtown.
The remaining land within the study area is also quite transitional. Many single family dwellings that are either converted to office or retail use are found in this area. There are a few homes still being occupied within this area, but they are by far a minority.
The City Hall sits on the eastern edge of the study area. It appears detached and unrelated to the remaining portions of the city. It is a fairly new structure built in the past twenty years and rehabiliated for the city five years ago. Across the street is
Castle Rock's only high rise. It is a housing project for senior citizens that has had a very low vacancy rate since it was built in 19S1. In addition to this senior housing project and the City Hall, other uses along this edge were at one time related to the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. These include warehousing, outside storage, a lumber store, and construction yards. No new development has occurred is this area, except the senior housing project, for several years. This is also where most of the vacant land is found within the study area. Some lots are currently being used for employee parking adjacent to the City Hall area.
Zoning in downtown Castle Rock is mostly the General Business (B-2) District of the city's zoning ordinance. A strip of Highway Commercial Zoning (B-l) is found within the northern Wilcox corridor along with small areas of Multifamily Residence (R-3) mixed in. The southeast corner of the study area is zoned Light Industrial (1-1). This area is adjacent to the railroad tracks and contains a marginal amount of development.
The development criteria within each of these zoning districts found in the downtown included a standard 15 feet front yard with the B-l District requiring 25 feet along an arterial roadway. Building heights vary from 35 feet in the B-l and 1-1 Districts, and 50 feet in the B-2 and R-3 Districts.
The B-l and B-2 zoning districts cover almost the entire study area. Both districts are fairly inclusive in nature allowing for many office/retail related uses. None of the allowed categories appear to be incompatible with the development of a traditional downtown area. However, there are some uses that have a questionable benefit to the central area. These would include plant nurseries, automobile sales and service related function. The industrial zoning in the study area does have the most detrimental effect on the area. The uses found in this area include manufacturing and warehousing, and allows for outside storage.
CIRCULATION AND PARKING CONSIDERATIONS.
Traffic circulation within the study area is limited in every location except along Wilcox and Fifth Streets. Very few east-west streets go anywhere and no other north-south streets exist with the exception of Wilcox Street. Sellar's Gulch creates a formidable barrier for any north-south movement in this area of the city.
Fifth Street transitions into State Highway 86, which is the only east-west arterial in central Douglas County. Just outside of the downtown area to the east, the road becomes very steep with a 5% grade for almost one mile. The intersection of Fifth and Wilcox seems to be Castle Rock's busiest. It is a signalized crossing in which most west bound traffic will inevitably turn north or south on Wilcox. During the peak hours in the morning and early evening, this location as well as all of Wilcox becomes congested. It is particularly slow in the southern portion of the study area around Second Street. Traffic is often backed up two blocks in this location. Very little traffic is found in the outlying areas around Wilcox.
Pedestrians do no appear welcome in this area of the city. Sidewalks, when they can be found are broken and poorly maintained. It would be literally Impossible for a handicapped person to travel across this area of the city. The only area that is relatively compatible with pedestrian activity is in the vicinity of the old courthouse square between Third and Fourth Streets. Even in this area, many obstacles are found by the pedestrian.
Perhaps the only thing worse than the pedestrian environment in Castle Rock is its current parking situation. While there does not appear to be a shortage of parking spaces, there are many other hazards associated with the downtown area. A large amount of the on-street spaces are reserved for angle parking only. This seems to have been done to
increase the available parking in the downtown shopping area. This type of activity is found mostly around the courthouse square and on Wilcox between Third and Fourth Streets. Much of the traffic congestion is directly related to the proliferation of this type of parking downtown. It presents a particular hazard to bicyclists who would be taking their life in hand trying to maneuver through downtown Castle Rock. Many large vehicles such as trucks use these spaces often. This creates an additional sighting problem for adjacent vehicles trying to enter or exit each space. There are no curb blocks to prevent the encroachment of the vehicle into the pedestrian space. As previously mentioned, this space is a scarce commodity for the downtown walker.
Vacant lots along the railroad are also used for parking. Much of this land is privately owned and not maintained for parking cars. These areas are predominately gravel or loose dirt with no delineation for parking stalls.
In order for downtown Castle Rock to effectively compete with the newer suburban shopping centers and business parks, it must address these major issues of traffic circulation and parking. Once these problems are to the point of becoming manageable, the other benefits that have been mentioned will create a stronger attraction to relocate and use the central place.
Angle Parking on Wilcox Street C
(Looking North) J
4r Primary Linkage ^Secondary Linkage
an URBAN DESIGN STUDY for DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
ca: County Administration
Public Parking Lots
an URBAN DESIGN STUDY for
DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCKJ
It becomes immediately apparent that the physical environment of downtown Castle Rock has deteriorated quickly over the past several years. The transportation system as it was originally designed for a small town is now ill equipped in dealing with increased congestion. Curbs and gutters are cracked and broken leading to several hazards to automobiles and pedestrians alike. Sidewalks, when they can be found, are in poor repair and are often encroached upon by parked cars. These problems have been partially caused through a lack of interest and money on the part of the city and were worsened by increased suburban growth. Captial improvement projects funded by Castle Rock never seemed to be directed to the central area. Many downtown area landowners and residents have been frustrated by lessened interest on the part of the city. As a result, many of the properties within the central area also began to deteriorate. The structures that once fronted Wilcox Street were boarded up or demolished indicating a disturbing trend for the central area. Marginal land uses, such as coin operated laundries, began to take the place of retail oriented store fronts forcing the decline to continue. The newer buildings that were built during this time also reflected the level of interest of the city and its landowners. Metal structures and cheap remodeling began to proliferate all around the downtown area.
This downward spiral can be seen throughout several cities today. What is suprising is the rate at which this deterioration has occured. According to several landowners, this dramatic change for the worse has happened in a little over ten years. One can attribute this decline partially to suburban growth around the downtown thus using funds originally intended for the older areas and redistributing them to the outlying locations of the city. One other turning point for the downtown occurred when the old courthouse burned down in 197S. This seemed to have very significant consequences on community pride felt by many residents of the city.
The redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock should begin at the city's most basic service. Providing for this redevelopment process, the first design objective required in this task concerns transportation. This approach is intended to develop the basic framework in which the other design elements will fit. As it has been previously described, the current transportation network is in disarray. Automobile circulation is inefficient in this area because of a lack of through streets even on a secondary or collector level. Bicyclists and pedestrians are discouraged from using this area because of a lack of basic amenities to provide them safety and comfort. What this situation adds up to is a downtown that cannot compete with the suburban projects surrounding the city today. This area of Castle Rock does not present any incentives for people to use the street, other than to drive their vehicles from one place to another. In fact, the users of downtown try to park their cars as close to a destination as possible. While this situation is not any more unusual than other cities in the region, sometimes the cars and trucks found along Wilcox come within a few feet of the front door of certain establishments.
Coupled with the angled parking found throughout the downtown, the traffic volume found along this business loop exceeds the capacity of the street causing severe traffic congestion that rivals many larger cities in the region. Until a new road network is built that provides for additional traffic flow along side of Wilcox, this situation will become worse. The problem of congestion is not only an issue relating to automobile traffic, this concern has many related consequences that must be addressed before the downtown area will flourish. The development of an efficient and compatible traffic plan for automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians should be a requirement to maintain the economic health of Castle Rock.
There have been many suggestions and several plans to improve the traffic situation downtown. One solution has been to extend Perry or Jerry Streets across Sellar's Gulch intending to open up additional north-south traffic through the central area. It is recognized by several downtown interests that some type of improvement of this sort is needed. However, the city's most recent long-range transportation plan for this area almost ignores downtown completely. As previously mentioned the central area of Castle Rock has not been included in many of the city's plans or policies. The current transportation plan is a good example of this bias. The plan document strongly recommends a loop road to circle the entire suburban fringe and connecting to the Interstate in two locations. This design concept will most certainly have a very detrimental effect on downtown Castle Rock. The loop road serves the outlying regions of the city very well, but has an eddy effect on the central place. Traffic will be circulated around the city by means of this bypass, leaving downtown Castle Rock economically dead in a very short period of time. Assuming that the loop road, which is referred to as Miller Boulevard, is not going to go away, other measures are required to prevent the economic collapse of the downtown. One solution proposed in this study entails a new arterial roadway that would refocus attention in the central area, by providing a parallel system to the Interstate as well as Wilcox Street. The right-of-way is already in existence today as well as an efficient location for a new bridge over Sellar's Gulch. This new arterial is proposed to be built within the existing Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad corridor.
The railroad is still used quite frequently. Approximately ten trains per day use this corridor. The type of rail traffic is limited to mostly coal and freight cars. Many of these trains are very long and can be quite disruptive to an already overtaxed ground transportation system. In addition to the noise and inconvenience, there have been several accidents every year involving trains in this general location of the study area.
Certain hazardous cargos often travel through the city at all hours of the day. If a major accident were to occur in this location north of Sellar's Gulch, serious traffic problems resulting from blocked street crossing will create a significant crisis within the city. Railroad companies are faced with this issue all around the country. Old rail routes that caused small communities to proliferate at one time were welcomed lifelines in the region. This attitude of acceptance has changed dramatically over the years. Cities and towns are demanding improved road crossings and signalization in their jurisdiction. Some communities have begun to force some railroads out of town, or limit the existing traffic to more managabie proportions. This has, over the years, placed an increasing hardship on some rail companies and has caused them to evaluate certain routes within urban areas. In addition to these concerns, some companies have begun consolidating rail facilities with other organizations to minimize maintenance and insurance liabilities. While the Denver and Rio Grande Western line currently does not have any plans to relocate this route through Castle Rock, it will most likely be pressured to do so in the next several years.
There has been one regional option that several railroads are considering today. In light of the increasing costs of the older routes through the metropolitian area, some companies, along with other interests such as the development industry and public utilities, are looking at combining the existing routes into one large transportation corridor along the entire front range. The area that is under consideration today is approximately ten miles east of downtown Castle Rock in a sparsely inhabited portion of the county. Some feel this route is important to the further development of the eastern portions of Colorado Springs and Aurora. With the new regional airport being planned in this sector of the Denver Metropolitian Area and new development opportunities east of Colorado Springs, this corridor development could be relevant. If and when this connection is built and new rail facilities are provided, the current route through downtown Castle Rock could be vacated. However, this project is beginning to be studied
today and given the other priorities the state faces in the near future, the new "superslab" is at least ten to fifteen years away.
A more realistic option that may be feasible in the short-term would be to relocate the Denver and Rio Grande line along side the other railroad within the city. The Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railroad is located west of Interstate 25 and in an area that is relatively unoccupied. This location does not have the same problems found in the city and will probably remain so for many years to come. The practice of combining routes is not uncommon is the rail industry, and given the increasing costs of running a system such as this, it becomes a more cost efficient option in the long run. This is particularly true when they are forced to build separate grade crossings at every urban intersection that now cost between 800 thousand to well over a million dollars. Combining these costs becomes very important to each company. This being the case, the relocation of the existing Denver and Rio Grande Railroad will be inevitable within the next decade.
Once the 160 foot right-of-way has been secured by the city, plans should be made to develop this corridor into a new parkway that will benefit the entire city. This type of road project is not without precedence in Colorado. Canyon Boulevard in Boulder was at one time a railroad along side Boulder Creek. The city took over the abandoned railway and built an important link in their central area plan. This boulevard proved quite beneficial to the city's downtown area along Pearl Street. In comparing the two cities, the building of a new parkway in an area such as the one proposed is very similar to Boulder's history. The location of this new parkway is only two blocks east of Wilcox Street. In addition to this new road providing efficient through traffic within the city, it has the possibility of bringing more traffic closer to downtown Castle Rock. The width of the existing right-of-way combined with several vacant and historically unusable parcels along the route presents a great opportunity to build an attractive parkway that will
enhance the entry into Castle Rock as a whole. With the commitment of the city, this monumental task can be undertaken. The benefits Castle Rock will receive as a result of this type of project will make this effort worthwhile.
Outside of the more apparent benefits for traffic circulation proposed by the parkway concept, bicycle and pedestrian environments may also be enhanced. As previously mentioned, bicycle riders as well as walkers are not made to feel welcome within downtown Castle Rock. Traffic congestion and poorly designed and maintained sidewalks preclude any incentive for people to use these areas. By lessening the through trip demand on Wilcox and thereby creating a more destination oriented downtown, comfort and desirability will increase within the central area.
The parkway also has additional benefits to bicyclists. The large right-of-way could include adequate room for a regional bicycle route running through the city and parallel to 1-25. The interstate currently allows for bicylce traffic on the shoulders of the highway. However, this area is not very conducive to bicycle traffic and many are discouraged from using this Denver to Colorado Springs route. The parkway would allow for the increased safety and comfort of the ride along this portion of Castle Rock. The flat grade that once caused the railroad to locate within the corridor is also very compatible with bicycle traffic. This concept is also beneficial to Douglas County High School located north of the city and next to the new parkway. By providing incentives for alternative transportation opportunities such as those created by the parkway, every portion of the city could benefit.
Downtown Castle Rock as well as the entire city needs to develop significant and strong points of entry in order to provide for identification. The Castle Rock formation itself has served this function before the town itself was founded. Indeed it provides a very predominate view on the entire horizon. Seen five miles away in almost any direction, the rock provides the single most important identity feature any community could have. While it indicates to the traveler approaching the city that something is ahead, the effect of this point diminishes the closer one gets to the central area. A system of other features are required to guide the visitor into the downtown area.
The downtown area itself is a significant portal into the city. As previously mentioned, many of the outlying suburban developments are reached through the downtown. This being the case, the entire downtown should be considered an amenity. There are other areas as well that need to be reinforced around the central place. These specific locations are equally as important to the experience of entering a downtown location as that of entering the city itself. There are three primary locations that should be considered in the redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock. They are as follows:
Wilcox Street and Interstate 25. This area is just south of the Wolfensberger Road overpass and next to the northbound ramp off the Interstate. The area has several underdeveloped parcels located in the right-of-way that could be utilized as an entry feature. This area is perhaps that most significant entrance into the city off Interstate 25. It sits in the shadow of the Castle Rock formation to the east. The design of this entry monument should reflect the rock in design. The surrounding environment is composed primarily of highway related uses such as service stations and convenience stores. There is little or no landscaping in this area and the highway interchange offers little ground
cover other than native grasses. The following recommendations are made to enhance this site as the downtown's primary entrance:
A. Develop a landscape program for the interchange as well as the surrounding land within the right-of-way. Plantings should relate to the area and include cottonwood, ash, and scrub oak.
B. Planting outside of the intersection area should transition into the existing street trees along Wilcox.
C. Replace existing traffic signals with a system that incorporates street signage and traffic lights. This traffic signal should be unique and attractive serving as an apparent gateway onto Wilcox.
D. Emphasize the intersection area by developing the shoulder on the west side of Wilcox. Flower beds should be planted to enhance a dramatic and permanent sculpture signalizing the entrance into the city.
Wilcox Street and Second Street. This area is located north of Sellar's Gulch and east of Wilcox. It was once the site of an old landfill that has long since been abandoned. The banks of the gulch are steep and erosive. A wire wall holds portions of this bank from further deterioration. The following recommendations are made to create a sense of entry in this portion of town:
A. The entire parcel on the southeast corner of the intersection should be acquired for use as a park site.
B. Establish new vegetation on this site making it more park-like by adding ground cover as well as providing more trees on site.
C. Similar to the Wilcox and Interstate 25 location, replace the existing traffic signals with a system that incorporates street signage with traffic lights. This area is also to be developed as a gateway amenity.
Fifth Street and Gilbert Street. This location is outside of the study area, but signifies the transition from a primary arterial to an urban street. Fifth Street
is designated as State Highway 86 and is a major link to other outlying communities to the east. This location is at a base of a hill that would indicate an eastern wall around this area of Castle Rock. There is a small triangular parcel of land within the right-of-way containing some trees that are not well taken care of. The following recommendation should be considered to identify an eastern entrance into the downtown as well as adjacent residential neighborhoods:
A. The triangular shaped island should be heavily landscaped in a manner that reinforces the existing vegetation found throughout this area.
B. Entry signage should be incorporated into the landscape program on this site.
C. The intersection of Fifth and Gilbert Streets should be redesigned to allow for signalization. Traffic signals should be similar in design with those proposed for Wilcox Street. In this redesign of the intersection, the small segment of Fifth Street south of the triangular parcel should be vacated and incorporated into the proposed park.
Fifth and Gilbert Street Concept Sketch
Wilcox and 1-25 Concept Sketch
Wilcox and Second Street Concept Sketch
an URBAN DESIGN STUDY for DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
With the exception of a two hour time limit on street parking, Castle Rock has no other plan nor policy concerning downtown parking. There are a few vacant lots found in this area that have been designated as public parking, several of which are only leased to the city for public use. One parcel that Castle Rock does own for public parking lies several blocks away from Wilcox Street along the Interstate. The intended purpose of this lot is for employee parking for Douglas County offices and other area businesses. Not surprisingly, this lot is underutilized primarily because of its out-of-the-way location.
As the downtown area grows so will the demand for additional public parking. It is a recommendation of this study that additional lots be developed adjacent to the proposed parkway to allow for the easy access and visibility of public parking. There are two recommended options for undertaking this type of program in Castle Rock today. The first, and perhaps the easiest to implement, is an ordinance allowing for parking lot development financing on a cash-in-lieu basis. The developer is allowed to build a new project downtown without providing for on-site parking. Instead the developer would pay a fixed fee for each parking space required and not built on the site. This provision is generally described in the next chapter. The city would apply the money it receiyes from this arrangement, and build larger, more centrally located parking lots serving the downtown. This type of arrangement is currently used in many cities throughout the state including Aspen and Glenwood Springs. The disadvantage of this approach is that the development fees used to aquire land and build, are based upon new construction within the downtown area. If very little is built over the next several years in this kind of program, the city will have to provide a larger share of development costs upfront. While this may cause Castle Rock to come up with a large amount of money in the short term, it
does allow for future reimbursement through new development in the future. In the long run, it may prove a very wise investment strategy for the city as a whole.
The second option in developing new parking facilities is provided for in Colorado law. This entails the formation of a downtown parking authority. The benefits of this solution are primarily financial in nature. It enables an authority, created either through the city council or general election, to levy a tax in the downtown area in order to build new parking structures. The City of Boulder currently uses this type of financing for its downtown area parking lots. The tax can be in the form of a special assessment on each property owner for a specific period of time, or a new property tax allowing the authority to use these revenues to retire the debt on bonds used to develop the facilities. This approach is used mostly to build large parking structures that are required in downtown areas and sports complexes. They can be applied to smaller areas, such as downtown Castle Rock. The two major disadvantages entail another layer of government within the city as weil as an additional form of taxation. Because of this potential debt structure that could be created through the bonded indebtedness of the authority, this option should only be considered at some time in the future when the downtown becomes established as a high growth area.
As previously mentioned in the sections concerning traffic circulation, a large portion of the on-street facilities are designated angle parking only. It was originally intended to maximize the number of parking spaces along the courthouse square. But as can be seen on any workday, this is a high price to pay for this convenience. Much of the traffic congestion on Wilcox and the surrounding area is directly related to angled parking. This also presents a significant hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists, if and when they are found. In a recent study by the Colorado Department of Highways, Division of Highway Safety, this problem of the apparent difference in the number of angled versus parallel
parking spaces were examined. The results of this study indicated there is very little difference, if any at all, between the two categories.
(See Note 1) No Parking Zone
No Parking Zone
1. Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 42-4-1104 states there shall be no parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection. This distance shall be 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing beacon or signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of the roadway.
2. CRS 42-4-1105 states angle parking shall not be permitted on any state highway unless approved by the State Department of Highways.
3. Parallel parking contributes to a much safer and smoother flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and is recommended for all on-street parking.
Clearly, the downtown area would be far better off in terms of traffic circulation as well as in the physical environment by making this minor change. Currently, there are approximately 200 angled parking spaces on downtown streets. By making this adjustment, restriping the stalls to allow for parallel parking, the area would only lose around 40 parking spaces. With additional parking lots in the vicinity of Wilcox, this apparent loss of parking will be compensated for in the long run. It is strongly recommended that Castle Rock consider this type of parking program for the downtown area. By doing so the downtown will benefit through better traffic circulation, bicycle safety, and pedestrian comfort.
PARKING OPTIONS FOR DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
The single most visible problem in downtown today centers on the lack of any street design or identity. Wilcox and the surrounding roadways have been built and maintained in a strict utilitarian manner. No thought has been given to create an environment capable of pedestrian comfort and safety. Building fronts are random and disjointed with no relation to the street or sidewalk. Wide and irregular building setbacks also create the appearance of a suburban strip center instead of a downtown space. Sidewalks, when they are found, are narrow, broken, and obstructed by parked cars. No street furnishings are found in this area except a few trash containers along the sidewalks. In addition to these problems are inadequate street and sidewalk lighting as well as underutilized public space such as that found around the Douglas County Administration Building.
As previously mentioned, the downtown is a major entry to almost every location within the city. This central place should represent the identity and reflect the pride of Castle Rock. By doing so, the economic health of the entire city will be strengthened as well as the desirability of the downtown as a place where people want to live, work and play. The following contains recommended guidelines for the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock:
Architectural control should be established for downtown Castle Rock. The purpose for these guidelines should be to create harmony of the built environment within the study area. In addition to this overall goal, the historic charactor of the area should be enhanced as well as a simple theme or identity formed through these guidelines.
A. Wilcox Street should develop a "main street" appearance that creates a defined and enclosed space along the pedestrian area. A uniform wall composed of store fronts is important to this look.
B. Existing historic structures within the study area should be preserved and renovated to allow for new uses. The Masonic Lodge building on Wilcox and Third Streets will provide a significant historic anchor to the street. It should be considered an important element or design motif for Wilcox
between Third and Fourth Streets.
C. Building scale along Wilcox should be tolerant of pedestrians and reflect a small town atmosphere by not exceeding four stories.
D. Building fronts along Wilcox should be retail oriented at the ground level with display windows, awnings, and signage being the most predominate features at
E. New buildings should be developed in a manner to express a small, western town style in order to establish a specific theme for the overall marketing of this area.
The street environment along Wilcox should be redeveloped to encourage additional pedestrian desirability for downtown. Providing for the safety and comfort of the pedestrian should be a major prerequisite for the development of this area of Castle Rock.
A. Eight foot sidewalks within the public right-of-way should be built with brick or similarly textured surfacing between Second and Fifth Streets. North of Fifth Street a new, detached walkway should be built to enhance the tree lined streetscape of this area of the city.
Western Town Concept is strongly encouraged.
Ml If Ilf f 1 nm
B. Benches should be placed on every other block along Wilcox Street.
C. New development is encouraged to provide a small sitting area or small plaza space facing the street.
D. Drinking fountains and at least one water feature located within the open space around the Douglas County Administration Building should be developed in order to focus attention and desirability on this area.
E. Awnings or sidewalk covers are encouraged to be utilized on the eastern side of the street to protect the pedestrian areas from the summer sun.
Small sitting areas
eastern side of street.
Signage within this study area should be condusive to the pedestrian as opposed to an automobile orientation. Guidelines should be developed in addition to those already found in the city's sign ordinance to distinguish the uniqueness of the downtown from that of the surrounding city.
A. Signage is encouraged to be externally illuminated.
B. Signs should be composed of wood or some other type of non-reflective material resembling wood. They should be designed to provide some type of surface relief and not be simple two dimensional surfaces.
C. Roof top signs are strongly discouraged in this area. Facia signs should be designed to complement and not contrast with signs on adjoining buildings.
D. Window front signs are encouraged for pedestrian oriented businesses along Wilcox Street. Flags, banners and accessory signage, such as barber poles, may also be considered, provided they serve to enhance the sidewalk and not create any conflict in the movement of pedestrians or vehicles.
Street lighting within the study area should accomodate both vehicular traffic as well as the pedestrian environment. One type of fixture could be applied in both situations. This type of light should also reflect the historic character within the older portion of Castle Rock.
A. The use of high pressure sodium vapor or mercury vapor lighting that casts unnatural colors such as orange or blue is strongly discouraged.
B. The standard utility lights attached to the power poles that currently exist today should be removed and replaced.
C. Wall and surface mounted light fixtures on areas adjoining streets and pedestrian areas should be avoided whenever possible. They may be used effectively in alleys and parking areas that are adjacent to buildings.
D. The standard acorn globe fixture
should be utilized throughout the downtown area. This is the type of street light used up until twenty years ago. With existing
technology they may be fitted to illuminate both sidewalks and streets in a safe and efficient
Acorn type globe fixture.
Chapter Four LAND USE
Downtown Castle Rock is and will remain the geographical center of the city. This area should continue to be the central focus of all activity. In order to maintain this level of activity, the previous chapter has set out to develop an environment condusive to this goal. Equally important, however, is the establishment of realistic land use objectives to ensure the positioning of the downtown in the future. By doing so the various functions within the central area are further reinforced in terms of increased economic viability. While it is important to present an aesthetically pleasing streetscape, it has been shown time and again that the purely visual approach to downtown renovation is meaningless without the supporting fiscal and physical infrastructure in its redevelopment. This plan serves to balance the design issues pretaining to the physical environment of the street with that of the long-range economic health of the central city. Through this process, a more comprehensive approach to the redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock will occur.
One of the support systems in this perspective entails the development of a future land use plan for the downtown area. This can be an important tool for the city in their evaluation of future development proposals in this location. Over the past several years, land use within the study area has been a random pattern of haphazard development. While it is understandable why this has occurred in the past, without vision and commitment it will continue to be a problem today and in the future as well. As had been previously mentioned, the study area was the original town plat many years ago. Up until the 1930's, the entire town of Castle Rock had been contained within this area. Because of this history, the downtown has long since been a highly mixed use area. This phenomena is not unique to Castle Rock, and indeed, is found in almost every city throughout the country. As is the case for these other cities, including Castle Rock, there have been certain land uses that are slowly being forced out of the downtown.
Unfortunately, the two most vulnerable uses are also the greatest assets of a central place. These are the residential and retail oriented actitivities that will ultimately determine the success or failure of a downtown. Both of these activities are moving from the historic central area where they once thrived, to the dispersed suburban locations scattered loosely throughout the countryside. This has the effect of not only hurting the economy of the downtown area, but also dilutes the economic viability of the entire city. By building roads, water and sewer to these outlying areas any potential revenue from suburban development is spent maintaining these extended systems. Per capita expenditures on the residential population also increases as one moves out to a less dense, suburban development. While it would be foolhardy to reverse this trend that has occurred more frequently since the Second World War, one partial solution the city may offer entails the densification of the central place. This objective provides several benefits to the city which may include lessening the per capita expenditures for a centrally located, denser population base. Another advantage is increased retail and service activity located within a well defined geographic space in the city. This can in the long run become very advantageous to Castle Rock in that increased activity resulting from new residential and retail sources will have a synergistic effect on the city. Not only will identification with the city core become greater within the region, but it will also serve to attract new employers that would consider Castle Rock as a whole a better place to live, work and play. On the other hand, should the city continue to ignore this trend as has been the case for the past several years, this area will continue to deteriorate, losing potential revenues, destroying the "front door" of the city, and ultimately turning into a bland, homogenous, single use area. The choice becomes clear if Castle Rock wishes to provide a viable economic environment for the entire city, it is important they consider the downtown as a continuous priority in the overall development of this area. The potential to lose many economic opportunities exists not only in the central area, but also in other locations throughout the city.
DOWNTOWN LAND USE PLAN.
The Downtown Land Use Plan sets out to develop a central vision in the ongoing evolution of the central place. Its interest is to formulate a clear understanding of what the downtown is currently, and what it should be. As a plan, it establishes several goals and policies for the city to utilize in the development process. They are meant to be broad, inclusive statements designed for interpretation. One of the principal reasons for this approach is that many interests shape a downtown environment. Landowners, business concerns, developers and residents all have a distinct idea of what downtown should be. While they may seem a collection of diverse interests, these ideas are centered on one or more concepts that each have in common.
The Land Use Plan goes beyond the previous chapter concerning the built environment within the downtown study area. Its purpose is to provide the underlying support of an active, viable, mixed use development. Through this additional perspective, a more comprehensive view of the downtown should become apparent.
Goal Statement To encourage and develop downtown Castle Rock as a viable, mixed use activity center within the region.
Retail Activity. Retail use within the downtown area shall be given the highest priority over all development. To focus retail trade within this area the following objectives should be recognized:
A. The central area should provide a safe, clean and convenient environment condusive to all types of trade.
B. The central area should provide a multitude of goods and services covering the entire spectrum from specialty shopping to hardware stores.
C. The central area should compete on an equal basis with surrounding commercial projects within the city.
Residential Activity. An additional 1,000 dwelling units should be developed within downtown Castle Rock. In order to provide a desirable living environment within this area the following objectives should be implemented:
A. New residential development should include a diversity of housing types and price ranges.
B. New residential development should be encouraged in the outer fringe areas of downtown Castle Rock.
C. Higher density residential development exceeding 32 dwelling units per acre should be located in the vicinity of Wilcox Street, outside of the area bounded by Third and Fourth Streets.
D. Higher density residential projects adjacent to Wilcox Street should have a non-residential use with a retail orientation on the first floor.
E. Mixed use projects with a residential element are strongly encouraged throughout the study area.
Qffice/Employment Activity. Office and service related employment areas are encouraged to locate along the major north-south thoroughfares within the study area. To ensure compatibility within this area the following objectives are proposed:
A. Large employers or large users of space are not encouraged to locate downtown. This type of project is better suited for the Interstate 25 corridor within the city.
B. Banks and other financial institutions are encouraged to remain along Wilcox Street.
C. The City Hall and County Administration Building are strongly encouraged to remain downtown. Other governmental offices and
agencies, such as the School District, are also encouraged to locate downtown.
D. Professional offices such as those used by attorneys, doctors and accountants are recommended to locate on the upper floor offices above existing retail space. They are well suited for locations along Wilcox Street.
Cultural/Entertainment Activity. Downtown Castle Rock should contain a variety of entertainment facilities to ensure the type of activity that does not keep "business hours". The following objectives recommend various projects that are beneficial to downtown Castle Rock:
A. At least one multi-screen theater should be built within the downtown area. The best location for this type of use is located close to the intersection of Wilcox and Fifth Streets.
B. Wilcox Elementary School should be renovated to be utilized for a multipurpose community center and museum.
C. Open air markets and street festivals are strongly encouraged within the downtown area. These activities combined with music and entertainment could provide many advantages to the overall health of the central place.
DOWNTOWN OVERLAY DISTRICT.
The current zoning that has been applied to the downtown area is broad and makes no distinction between the study area and other locations within the city. In reviewing the exisitng ordinance, particularly the B-l and B-2 zoning districts, it becomes clear that these specific classifications are suburban in nature. No intent is formed to provide for a specific function such as a traditional downtown use. This is even more important in considering the development criteria such as heights, set-backs and parkings. These sections in the zoning ordinance pretain to suburban locations exclusively and are extremely difficult to apply to any downtown location. Historically, commerical lots within a central place are much smaller than in suburban locations found throughout the country. This would indicate that typical suburban criteria referring to front yard setbacks and parking are incompatible with a downtown location.
In addition to this problem of suburban zoning districts applied to the central city is a lack of site specific development criteria as proposed in Chapter Three. A different process should take place within this area outside of traditional zoning enforcement and review. New development as well as rehabilitation of existing structures should be evaluated in other terms instead of the typical zoning approach found in many other jurisdictions. The section that follows proposes a more site specific evaluation of new development within the downtown. It requires an amendment to the current zoning ordinance for the city by including a new section referred to as an overlay zoning district. The interest here is to augment the existing ordinance to allow for more flexibility and consideration for the central place. In doing so, this will further enhance downtown Castle Rock as a unique and desirable environment. The following example is patterned after the existing zoning ordinance for the City of Castle Rock and utilizes the same format found in the current code.
DOD Downtown Overlay District
17.61.020 Permitted Uses.
17.61.030 Development Standards.
17.61.040 Off-Street Parking Requirements.
17.61.050 Landscaping Requirements.
This overlay district is established to promote and protect the special character and pedestrian scale of development within downtown Castle Rock. A Downtown Overlay District Zoning Map is also established for this district boundaries which shall be considered supplementary and attached to this ordinance. An overlay district map shall also be used in conjunction with the city's Official Zone District Map. When the Downtown Overlay District Regulations are in conflict with the underlying zone district in effect, this regulation shall prevail in interpretation.
17.61.020 Permitted Uses.
A. All uses permitted in the underlying zone district shall be permitted with the following exceptions within the B-l Highway Oriented Commerical District and the B-2 General Business District:
1. Automobile Repair Garages.
2. Automobile Sales and Service.
3. Non-Commerical Concrete Batching Plants.
4. Outdoor Commerical Storage.
B. The following uses are additionally permitted by right:
1. Bazaars and carnivals subject to any additional permitting, or requirements from the city or any other affected agency.
2. Single family and multi-family dwellings except those as defined as mobile homes by Chapter 17.36 of this ordinance.
17.61.030 Development Standards.
In addition to all other applicable requirements of this ordinance, development standards for the Downtown Overlay District shall be as follows:
A. All front yard, side yard and rear yard set-backs shall be determined upon the final approval of the site plan as provided for in Section 17.61.070 of this ordinance.
B. All building heights shall be determined upon the final approval of the site plan as provided for in Section 17.61.070 of the ordinance.
17.61.040 Off-Street Parking Requirements.
Provisions within Section 17.64.130, Off-Street Parking shall be waived for any non-residential development within this overlay district subject to the following requirements:
A. The project is located within five hundred (500) feet of an existing public parking lot determined to adequately serve the development site within the overlay district.
B. A new parking facility is built in accordance with the city's ordinance and is within two hundred (200) feet off-site for the purpose of serving the proposed development.
C. A shared parking agreement, subject to the city's approval and recordation, between the developer and an adjacent property owner in which the property containing existing parking is contiguous to the proposed development. This agreement shall be in the form of a binding contract between all parties and shall run for the duration of the project's lifetime or until an additional proposal is considered acceptable by the city.
17.61.050 Landscaping Requirements.
Provisions within Section 17.62, Landscaping Requirements, shall be waived for any non-residential development within this overlay district, subject to the following requirements:
A. All areas with the proposed set-back as provided for in Section 17.61.030 shall be considered landscaped area except for those areas considered for automobile parking. This will include hard surfaced areas adjacent to pedestrian walks and plazas subject to design approval provided for in Section 17.61.060 of this ordinance.
B. Existing trees that are found to be in good health, not creating a public hazard, and are greater than two (2) inches in diameter will be preserved in the development process. Any proposed removal of this vegetation shall be subject to special review by the Planning Commission.
Any new proposal for development or major renovation of an existing structure that requires a change of use shall be required to submit a site plan. Each proposal shall be processed as a Planned Development as provided for by this ordinance and subject to the site plan process contained within Section 17.60.160, Zoning and Preliminary Site Plan Process, and Section 17.60.170, Final Site Plan.
Exhibit A. DOWNTOWN OVERLAY DISTRICT ZONING MAP
Chapter Five IMPLEMENTATION
Perhaps the greatest challenge in the process of redeveloping any downtown lies in the implementation of the plan. While there are several options available to the city, each has its own financial or political ramifications. In considering a specific course of action, the city must evaluate many financially related issues as well as intangable concerns such as the general acceptance of the local community. A downtown project may "pencil out" showing a tremendous benefit to the community in the long run, but lacks the support of the affected constituant. In this case, the project may fail from its onset. The initial phase in the implementation process as well as its most important step is in the realm of education. Each of the participant groups, from the elected officials, business concerns, development interest, to the area residents must be involved in this initial phase. This is particularly important if the project entails an election of some sort. This could be in the form of a vote on a general bond issue or a upcoming election of political leaders. Poorly defined issues or scarce, inaccurate information at this stage will be very detrimental to the overall redevelopment project. Many well intentioned improvements have been shut down because of this missing link. Castle Rock itself has had recent experience concerning this problem of constituant education.
The educational phase of a redevelopment project begins from the early stages of conceptualization. Surveys, workshops and task force appointments are made to gauge the political environment of the surrounding area. These strategies will serve two primary functions. First of ail, it allows the city to understand the magnitude of the problem as perceived by those who are involved in the area; and second, it creates an opportunity for several diverse groups with different interests to buy into the project or at least the process. This second attribute is very important in downtown redevelopment. As is the case for many downtowns throughout the country, they are composed of the
largest cross section of interests in the city. Every aspect of life is in some way connected to the central place. Political interests of residential neighborhoods, business leaders within the local chamber of commerce, landowners, speculators, etc., have something invested in the downtown. By allowing them to participate in either the study or offer their input through a blue ribbon committee, this collaboration of interests may find some common ground within this area of redevelopment.
Castle Rock has already developed this type of recommending body. It is composed of several small business owners, city council members, and planning commissioners. While this steering committee for the downtown is currently dormant, they have produced some change within the downtown. A report entitled "The Castle Rock Business Area Plan" was developed through their efforts. Participation by this group had once more refocused city policy on downtown. But recently, the momentum seems to have slowed considerably. With its past success, this ad hoc committee could restart this important first step of education. Once this is accomplished and this organization becomes firmly entrenched in the local political process, the redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock will proceed. This next step refines and replaces the current committee with one of a more formal organization with greater authority.
DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.
The purpose of this type of authority is provided for in Colorado law. The current statues enable this body to develop or redevelop a deteriorating central business district with limited autonomy. While they essentially work for the city council through recommendation, they have the partial authority to aquire and own land (without condemnation power), and also have the ability to levy a tax within a specified area. With this authority to finance public improvements through taxation, the downtown development authority has broad discretion in the redevelopment of a central place.
The first step in the organization of this type of agency, the city council must determine
the boundary of the proposed redevelopment area. Once this area is defined by the city
council, the issue is then placed before the entire voting population in a general election.
The residents of Castle Rock are asked to ratify this determination by city council. By
doing so the residents are not only asked to concur with the city council on a proposed
area, but they are also to vote on the creation of the authority itself. An affirmative
vote by the electorate approves the formation of the authority as well as the study area.
Once this has occurred, the city council will appoint members to the authority at a public
hearing. These appointments may be between five to eleven members and are generally
persons representing a specific interest within the downtown. Castle Rock has a fairly
large cross section of concerns within the downtown today. Because of this, there
probably should be several representatives on this board. Between seven to nine positions
could efficiently serve the various interest groups, such as the chamber of commerce,
small business owners, major employers, and residents within the area. The residential
sector would be the most difficult to determine representation in this area. While there
are several residents within the study area, they are mostly composed of renters. In
addition to this demographic profile, no homeowners associations or related organizations have ever existed within the downtown.
After the board is chosen by the city council, their first task is to prepare an overall development plan for the area. This type of document outlines the development objectives, priorities and financing strategies within downtown. The development plan is usually assembled by a team of consultants representing various disciplines and hired by the authority. The consultant team should be composed of architects or other designers, persons with various planning expertise such as traffic, land use and housing; a marketing firm; and a financial consultant such as an investment banker or underwriter. This last member of the team is vital to the financing of specific improvements and whose role will be discussed shortly. The plan document is then assembled and presented to the downtown board and then put forward with their approval to the city council. If the council approves the development plan, the authority is then responsible for its implementation. While the city council can have the final action on its approval, they could choose to put it before the public in a general election. This action does entail some risk to the plan document and should be seriously evaluated before going with this course of action. Generally, if the authority works closely with the council, this election issue is not warranted.
In order to implement these measures approved within the development plan, the authority has several financing options that will be discussed further. But it also has the ability to levy up to a five mil property tax within the study area just for its own operations. These operations could include setting up an office, hiring a full time staff, marketing, etc. Because of the limited valuation within the study area and its possible effect on other revenues, it is not recommended to utilize the full five mils within the downtown. It is important however, to establish some operating revenue for the authority. If it cannot be aquired through donations or revenue sharing within the city, a smaller portion of the prescribed mil could be used.
The advantages to Castle Rock having this type of organization implementing a downtown plan are several. First, it allows for a mostly autonomous board to act on behalf of the downtown area exclusively. By doing so it allows for the concentration on specific issues facing this area today. It takes the burden of day-to-day decisions off the city council and administration who are elected to represent the city as a whole. Through their ability to develop a revenue base, they are not subject to the type of competition for tax dollars the larger municipal environments are faced with daily. This allows locally generated revenues to be applied to the problem at hand; the redevelopment of downtown Castle Rock. In addition to the establishment of an ad valorum tax, the authority may consider other revenue sources. The examples found in the following sections have been chosen as possible revenues that could be applied to downtown redevelopment.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING.
One revenue option available to the Downtown Development Authority provided by Colorado statue is tax increment financing. It enables the authority to borrow funds up front in order to redevelop the study area. The ability to borrow these funds results from the sale of special tax free bonds which are backed through the projected increase in property valuation resulting through the redevelopment process. This projected increase in valuation is referred to as the tax increment portion of revenue. The marketability of this type of bond is based on the strong possibility that a substantial tax increment will result from the redevelopment of the area. This financing mechanism is a means of borrowing money from the market against anticipated property tax revenue increases which result from new development valuations in the area.
This option is particularly relevent to downtown Castle Rock in that the potential for increasing growth is high. This lessens the risk of this type of debt resulting in an increased marketability of the bond issue. The tax increment itself is the revenue resulting from the difference between the tax base within the downtown area when the project begins, with that of the current year the property tax is levied. This increase resulting from the growth of the tax base is used exclusively by the downtown authority to finance improvements in the study area. The only external participation is that of the city council. They are required to designate the targeted area as "blighted". The criteria for this determination is vague and has been applied successfully in such areas as downtown Englewood and Winter Park. Given these precidents, the central business district of Castle Rock could be considered as "blighted" by the definition of current law.
The advantages of this type of financing are diverse. First, it can be utilized without effecting other possible revenue strategies. Indeed it is often combined with other types
of financing such as sales tax revenues, special districts, and general fund appropriations. Another advantage is that it is only applied to the specific redevelopment area and shared by only those who are directly benefited by it. Because the development authority administers the debt, it has the authority in its application as well as not effecting the debt ceiling of the surrounding city. It requires no voter approval because it does not increase the mil levy per se. One final advantage is that if it is properly designed, it becomes self-liquidating thereby reducing the project budget to a zero sum. This is why it is important to have financial advise in the form of an investment banker in the initial consultant team. They would help prepare the project budget with the other team members and design the bond issue within these specific parameters. By doing so it results in a more realistic debt structure as well as enhancing the marketability of the tax increment backed bond issue.
One major disadvantage to this type of financing is that it will effect other agencies who depend on this valuation growth in long-term capital improvement planning. School districts for example will suffer because the increased revenue is taken from them and used for downtown improvements. Other city departments such as police and fire could also be affected because of its influence on the general fund. Again this emphasizes the importance of a short-term, self-liquidating debt structure. These outside agencies cannot exist if they were deprived of potential revenue growth for a long period of time.
SALES TAX REVENUE FINANCING.
A second source of revenue is through an increase in the city's sale tax. An additional percent on current sales tax is set aside for a special improvements fund earmarked for the downtown area. This fund can be administered by the authority through the city budget process and can be used for any capital improvement within the study area. Because of this, all projects that have been outlined in the downtown development plan should be included in the annual captial improvements plan that is developed for the entire city. While this percent of the sales tax is specifically set aside for downtown projects, it originates from the city's general fund.
The city may back a revenue bond based on this percent of the sales tax increase. This type of bond issue is very marketable because the revenue stream is more predictable, thus less of a risk to the bond holders.
The disadvantages of this approach are placed in two different categories. The first is that this type of revenue structure is based on the assumption that there will be a large retail base developing in the downtown and around the city. If a major shopping center were to be built outside of the incorporated city limits and not subject to a sales tax, this increased competition could be devastating to the city. The second shortcoming is that it requires a vote to raise the sales tax in the city. This means it requires selling the project to all residents within Castle Rock. In this more conservative climate, not only in this city but all over the country, any election to increase a tax is very hard to approve.
SPECIAL DISTRICT OPTIONS.
Colorado law allows for three types of special districts that may be utilized in a redevelopment project. None of these options require the formation of a downtown development authority, but on the same hand none preclude its existence. Two of the three districts use an ad valorum property tax while the third option is based on a special assessment in addition to property taxes. The first two options are referred to as a Metropolitian District and a General Improvement District. The only distinction between the two is that the Metropolitian District requires a separate, elected board and the General Improvement option uses the city council as its administrative board. Both of these options have limited application for a redevelopment project such as this and both require a general election for their formation. In addition to these faults, since each is based on a property tax as its principal revenue source, they will have a cummulative effect on the overall debt structure in the city. In an area that has little valuation to begin with, such as Castle Rock, this overlapping debt entails extra insurance or credit enhancement on the part of the city to maintain a reasonable rating on the bond issue.
The third special district is referred to as a special assessment district or special improvement district. This type of structure is more applicable to these improvements proposed in dowtown Castle Rock. Instead of a new property tax, each tax parcel is given an additional assessment that is used to retire the debt secured by the issued bond. This district is also self-liquidating and is only used for a specific improvement project. The city council authorizes this kind of debt which usually is paid back over ten to fifteen years. The special improvement district was not meant to develop large projects such as a complete downtown revitalization. It becomes very hard to sell on the market when the bond issue exceeds three million dollars. Its major purpose is to be used only for portions of the overall project such as drainage or street improvements. While it could never fund
the entire project, it can be used to augment other revenue sources in the overall redevelopment strategy. An additional advantage is that it does not require an election by the general public.
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.
One other option in lieu of the downtown development authority is the Local Development Corporation. This organization can be in the form of a non-profit corporation used to make available Small Business Association guaranteed loans, and other non-federal loan financing for small businesses by the state and federal governments. While this type of money used for small business development cannot be applied for street and drainage improvements, they are used for below market financing of land and building acquisitions as well as improvements such as interior renovations, facade enhancements and signage. The Small Business Administration that provides the seed money for incorporation requires a minimum of twenty-five stock holders for the initial board of directors. These stockholders must reside or own land in the development area and represent the neighborhood, business community, and city council. They also require at least one full time staff person to administer the funds to the local business community.
The Local Development Corporation is regaining popularity in many other cities across the country. Its supporters like the concept because it allows a more business-like environment in the redevelopment project. While it is not a taxing authority, it does have the potential to develop a large financial base.
Like the special assessment district it is not an end in itself. The corporation approach is one option in a larger strategy for downtown improvements. Each concept has its own specific application that can work towards the same result in the improvements to downtown Castle Rock.
As previously stated, each funding source can, if properly designed, be a complimentary vehicle in Castle Rock's downtown development strategy. Coupled with an acceptable set of design guidelines and a master plan to shape the area's vision, these implementation options work as a vital third link in the downtown's economic health in the future. Each of these three elements are meant to be utilized as a whole strategy. Furthermore, they cannot be individually considered as single solutions to solve any one of downtown Castle Rock's problems. As is the case with too many well intentioned plans and policies of other local governments, the success or failure of this type of approach is dependent on the determination of the constituant as well as elected official. Once the vision has been expressed and generally accepted by the landowners, residents and business interests, a strategy such as the one offered here becomes more relevant. The city should first recognize that downtown is worth saving and then understand it requires a partnership by both the public and private sectors to accomplish this task.
As we have seen, Castle Rock will continue to change regardless of what action is taken in terms of the downtown. However, to allow for the competitive advantages that are currently untapped within this area, the overall quality of growth in Castle Rock will be enhanced. Neither Castle Rock nor any other city, can afford to grow without its central place. Not only does it provide for community identification and security in a changing world, but it also provides an invaluable anchor in the city's overall economic development. This is a city in transition that will not be recognizable in the near future. Castle Rock should take the opportunity now to hold on to its historic fabric that caused this city and region to grow. Future generations depend on some type of action today and it is only the future that the results of these actions lie. Castle Rock should continue to invest in this future.
URBAN DESIGN STUDY
FIFTH STREET ( S.H. 86 )
4- New Bridge Over Sellars Gulch
PROPOSED PARKWAY TO BE LOCATED ON ABANDONED D. & R.G.W. RIGHT-OF-WAY
URBAN DESIGN STUDY
CONCEPTUAL LAND USE PLAN
Moderate Density ( 4 d.u.- 18 d.u./acre )
High Density ( 19 d.u.- 32 d.u./acre )
RETAIL DEVELOPMENT KB GOVERNMENT CENTERS liili OFFICE AND EMPLOYMENT wmm CULTURAL AND ENTERTAINMENT $ OPEN SPACE
----- Chapter Six
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