- Permanent Link:
- Image of western rural communities case study, town of Olathe, Colorado
- Alternate title:
- Case study, town of Olathe, Colorado
- Alternate title:
- Town of Olathe, Colorado
- Lee, Georgina K. B
- Publication Date:
- Physical Description:
- 76 pages : illustrations, maps (some folded), plans ; 22 x 28 cm
- Subjects / Keywords:
- City planning -- Colorado -- Olathe ( lcsh )
City planning -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Landscape architecture -- Colorado -- Olathe ( lcsh )
City planning ( fast )
Landscape architecture ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
Colorado -- Olathe ( fast )
- bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
- Includes bibliographical references (page 76).
- General Note:
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Landscape Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
- Statement of Responsibility:
- submitted by Georgina K.B. Lee.
- Source Institution:
- University of Colorado Denver
- Holding Location:
- Auraria Library
- Rights Management:
- All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
- Resource Identifier:
- 11968370 ( OCLC )
- LD1190.A77 1982 .L427 ( lcc )
IMAGE OF WESTERN RURAL COMMUNITIES CASE STUDY: TOWN OF OLATHE, COLORADO
SUBMITTED BY: GEORGINA K B LEE MAY 1982
THIS THESIS IS SUBMITTED AS PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR A MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE DEGREE AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER
COLLEGE OF DESIGN AND PLANNING
GRADUATE PROGRAM OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
AND UNDERTAKEN BY THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN
daniel b. young/ program Director
This project was funded by the Division of Commerce and Development State Department of Local Affairs through a contract with the University of Colorado at Denver and carried out in response to a request from the town of Olathe.
Participants in the project include the Town of Olathe, the Division of Impact Assistance, the Center for Community Development and Design and the University of Colorado at Denver.
The author would like to thank the following individuals for their generous and timely assistance in the preparation of this study:
* Steven Walker, Landscape Architect (professional advisor)
* Steven Schrock-, Town Manager of Olathe
* Jon Schler, Division of Impact Assistance
* Lynn Murphy, Western Slope Projects Director, CCDD
* Daniel Young, Program Director, UCD
In addition, the author would like to thank the Mayor, John Harold and the residents of Olathe for their hospitality, and Cathy Shipley and family for being such wonderful hosts. Special appreciation also goes to the various people who have contributed to this project in one way or another.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Funding and Acknowledgments
Table of Contents
Purpose/Direction/Scope of Study
Quote, Kevin Lynch
Quote, Jane Jacobs
Goal and Objectives
Inventory and Analysis
4 6 7
PURPOSE/DIRECTION/SCOPE OF STUDY
This study is meant to be a general comment on the subject of community image of rural communities in western Colorado and the design process in the case study of Olathe, Colorado is by no means comprehensive nor exhaustive. It is hoped, however, that this document will be a vehicle for further discussion and review and the ideas generated be a springboard for further improvement of the community image of Olathe and perhaps other western rural communities.
RESEARCH TOPIC ISSUES
THE PROBLEM COMMUNITY IMAGE THE REGION HYPOTHESIS
GOALS & OBJECTIVES INVENTORY & ANALYSIS DESIGN CONCEPT DESIGN RECOMMENDATIONS
The direction and scope of this study is influenced by the requirements set by the graduate program of Landscape Architecture, the brevity of time, the lack of some information as well as the diver-si ty of opinion.
Although the best effort has been made to verify base information used, some assumptions are necessary during both the research and the design processes to arrive at certain conclusions.
A beautiful and delightful city is an oddity, some would say an impossibility. Not one American city larger than a village is of consistently fine quality, although a few towns have some pleasant fragments. It is hardly surprising then, that most Americans have little idea of what it can mean to live in such an environment. They are clear enough about the ugliness of the world they live in, and they are quite vocal about the dirt, the smoke, the heat, and the congestion, the chaos and yet the monotony of it. But they are hardly aware of the potential value of harmonious surroundings, a world which they may have briefly glimpsed only as tourists or escaped vacationers. They can have little sense of what a setting can mean in terms of daily delight, or as a continuous anchor for their lives, or as an extension of the meaningfulness and richness of the world.
Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, Cambridge, Mass., 1959.
The choice of the topic "Image of Rural
Communities" is prompted by two factors:
1. The growing visibility and importance of rural communities on the West Slope.
2. The lack of an identifiable community image of western rural communities.
Following are some basic characteristics of
western rural communities:
1. The economy is primarily based on agriculture, ranching and energy-related acti vi ties.
2. They are usually separated by large areas of open space.
3. They have lesser levels of sophistication in lifestyle as compared to urban centers.
4. They have populations of less than 2500.
Two major issues of western rural communities are gAototh and change and the resultant change in community image. Growth and change are viewed as more dramatic because these rural communities, unlike large urban centers, are less able to absorb sudden changes. As a result of these disrupting forces, rural communities tend to lose control of the changing community image.
The problem, created by growth and change, facing these communities is how to control and gtu.de the change tn community tmage fioA the benefit of, the community and fteg-ion.
There are numerous ways of defining community image. However, for the purpose of this study community image shall be defined in terms of
Identity and Atnuctusie.
The identity of a place is subjective to the observer and may be interpreted in different ways by the resident and the visitor. It is the quality or qualities that give it that sense of place. Structure, on the other hand, is objective. It is the spatial or pattern relationship as perceived by any observer. For instance, the structure of a town is the layout and the relationship of the districts, nodes, edges, paths, etc. within the town. Together identity and structure form the spiritual vitality of the communi ty.
Kevin Lynch in his book The Image of the City says that "a good environmental image gives its possessor an important sense of emotional security." My premise and basis of this study is that a btAong community tmage uxLti promote economic and social health.
The following photographs introduce the West Slope landscape and the setting of these rural communities:
its changing landscape
the diverse land uses
In summary, rapid growth and change have - j|._ *
affected rural communities in western Colorado
in one way or another, the negative effects S.
of which are of growing concern to the residents and others. The purpose of this study is to develop a basic program that can be used and expanded upon by these rural communities in terms of improving community image.
The general hypothesis for this project states that:
The unique image of western rural communities can be preserved, enhanced and created if the design process responds to:
a. the natural and cultural characteristies of the region,
b. the present and future growth and/or change,
c. a flexibility in melding the above together.
To preserve: for example the historical landmarks and other unique features that are part of the region or town.
To enhance: taking the existing environment and improving on it, eg. downtown revitalization.
To create: introducing new elements that would fit the existing environmental fabric, eg. creating a new park.
One must bear in mind, however, that these three actions are usually intertwined and are difficult to separate.
Some of the natural chanacteruAticA include climate, topography, open space, and drainage systems. CuLtanat chan.actenJAtd.cA include history, economic and social factors, community thinking and the built environment. Gnoaxth and/ on. change must be examined in terms of what is happening at present and projecting those changes into the future in terms of local and regional change. FZexdbdttty is an important element in each stage of the design process, especially in the implementation stage.
This general hypothesis can be applied on a smaller scale to a single town, such as the town of Olathe, in the next section.
To approach a city, or even a city neighborhood, as if it were a larger architectural problem, capable of being given order by converting it into a disciplined work of art, is to make the mistake of attempting to substitute art for life.
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities,
New York, 1961.
Cotonado HiAtosvLcaJt Society
/Mown of WLATHE
Olathe is located on the western slope of Colorado along U.S. Highway 50 between Delta and Montrose, two larger service centers approximately 10 miles equidistant from Olathe. The basic structure of the town follows that of the typical western Colorado settlement pattern of river-railroad-highway. Olathe rises 5,346 feet above sea level in the heart of the Uncompahgre Valley and is surrounded by fertile mesa lands such as the Ash, the High and East Mesas.
The valley is approximately 40 miles long and 12 miles wide in a succession of mesas rising from the river. The Gunnison flows through the granite ridge on the northeast with the Grand Mesa rising in the-north. Because of the sheltered valley, the moderate climate, rich soils and a good irrigation system,
Olathe is surrounded by thousands of acres of irrigated cropland, fruit orchards and ranch-land. Crops include vegetables, wheat, oats, rye, barley and alfalfa. Primarily the town provides goods and services and housing for the agricultural community.
Olathe was first settled in 1882, immediately following the opening of the Ute Indian Reservation in the Valley, by the Roberts brothers who owned a ranch where the town now is. The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, arriving in the same year gave a new impetus to industry throughout the valley. The town was laid out in the classic grid pattern of the typical frontier town of the western United States with the railroad running through the middle of the
town in a north-south direction; flanked by U.S. Highway 50 on the east side and the Uncompahgre River on the west side. Two important streets, Main Street and Colorado 348 run east-west almost dividing the town in equal halves. There had not been much change in Olathe over the years since its incorporation in 1907. Population figures had been relatively constant until 1980 when the population increase was quite significant. The reason was partly because of a new trend involving newcomers, working in Delta and Montrose and other nearby towns,who began living in Olathe, taking advantage of cheaper housing costs.
The increase in new conventional housing and mobile homes made long time residents (and there are many) suddenly realize that growth and change have come to Olathe, albeit later and slower than other "boom towns" in the area. Concerned citizens began to realize the need in planning to cope with new pressures by evaluating existing resources and upgrading them and also finding new ways of creating a unique community image for the once charming river community. Thus the town saw the birth of the Community Improvement Committee, which began the preservation and beautification projects, this study being part of the effort.
residential neighborhood, Main Street
The population forecasts for Olathe, as prepared by the Montrose County Planning Department, pro-
jected a constant but slow increase over twenty-year period. Population Forecasts 1970-1990
However, the unofficial numbers by early 1982 has surpassed the 1300 mark. In order to encourage residents of Olathe to spend their money in town, facilities, goods and services will have to be improved and expanded.
mobile home park
historic structure, Odd Fellows Hall
GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
A clear goal and a set of objectives provide a framework and help to give focus to the project.
GOAL: To preserve, enhance and create identity and structure of Olathe's community image.
1. To define identity and structure of Olathe's community image.
This definition is similar to the one given to "community image" in the research section of this document.
2. To define specific assets and problems in Olathe's community image.
Through the inventory and analysis process assets and problems will become clearer.
3. To make general recommendations for improving Olathe's overall community image.
A list of ideas resulting from the inventory and anaylsis process that will help improve community image. The recommendations are general enough that there is room for adaptations as and when they are implemented.
4. Provide specific guidelines and recommendations to preserve, enhance and create community image.
A schematic plan (concept) at this stage helps to focus on major problem areas that most criti cally affect community image. Guidelines and recommendations will apply specifically to these focal points.
5. Design detail for community image focal point.
Provide detail design guidelines for the most important image focal point, as perceived by the author and community.
6. Educate and involve citizens in the process
Through town meetings, informal meetings, other interviews and discussions at various stages of the study.
INVENTORY & ANALYSIS
The future land use plan for Olathe is based on existing land use and consists of eight categories .
The largest land use area is devoted to housing. This includes general residential, mixed residential and mobile home parks. Since 1976 mobile home housing has been on the increase. Public land use which is not specifically identified is scattered and includes schools, ball fields, City Hall, Post Office, County shops, the cemetery, and land along the irrigation canal.
The Central Business District is the main shopping center for the Olathe community and is the hub of the town. The Highway Commercial Districts are intended for the auto-oriented public and include a general store and a gas station. Light manufacturing activities are included. Land proposed for industrial development is located exclusively along the railroad right-of-way. The flood prone area along the Uncompahgre River is a natural hazard zone and will have stringent development regulations .
The following table land use: gi ves a summary of existing
Category Acreage % of Total Acreage
Residential 72-23 12-02
Public 36-56 6-00
Commerci al 10-31 1-67
Total Developed Land 120-10 19-72
Open Land 235-48 38-67
Flood Prone Area 109-62 18-00
Ri ght-of-Way 143-80 23-61
TOTAL 609-00 100-00
As the above figures indicate, there is considerable land available for future development
within town limits.
GENERAL COMMERCIAL INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT FLOOD PRONE DISTRICT CENTRAL BUSINESS MIXED RESIDENTIAL MOBILE HOME PARK RESIDENTIAL
OLATHE TOWN STUDY
GEORGINA LEE THESIS 1982
SOURCES: MONTROSE COUNTY LANDUSE DEPT BASE SHEET
ROAD & ENTRY HIERARCHY
The pattern of auto circulation is a major consideration in developing community image because the image of a town on the west slope is essentially experienced by the motorist.
Three basic types of roadways fall into this pattern: major arteries, secondary routes and residential routes. Of similar importance to the pattern are the major entry and identification point, secondary entry and identification points and other major intersections.
Major Artery: (U.S. 50) This is a fast high-
volume highway which carries most of the through traffic between Montrose and Delta and most of the traffic into Olathe.
Secondary Routes: These carry considerable local traffic within town and act as feeders to the main highway. Included among them are U.S. 50 (business loop), 4th Street (Main St.), and 5th Street (Colo. 348).
Residential Routes: Usually low volume traffic of a residential nature and are links to the secondary and major routes, such as 1st to 7th streets, Wortman Ave., Horton Ave. among others.
Major Entry and Identification Point: (inter-section of U.S. 50 and Colo. 348) Most of the traffic enters and leaves town via this entry. This is therefore the most visible point of the town.
Secondary Entry and Identification Point:
(U.S. 50 north and south entry, Colo. 348 west entry). These entries are primarily used by local residents and residents in the neighborhood and in the neighboring towns.
Major Intersections: (U.S. 50 business loop at 4th St. and 5th St., Colo. 348 at 5th and 4th St.) Clear directional and informational markers will provide a smoother and easier flow of traffic at these points.
ROAD & ENTRY HIERARCHY
PRIMARY TOWN ENTRY & IDENTITY R)INT
SECONDARY TOWN ENTRY
3. IDENTITY POINT
MAJOR INTERSECTIONS MAJOR ARTERY SECONDARY ROUTES
SOURCES: MONTWOse COUNTY CANOUSE DEPT BASE SMt.VT
GEORGINA LEE THESIS 1982
OPPORTUNITIES & CONSTRAINTS
Opportunities and constraints in the landscape are important factors in the development of community image. Opportunities are assets or potential assets and constraints are obstacles that should be minimized or removed, as the circumstances allow. Sometimes, too, these landscape features can be a combination of both opportunity and constraint, such as the Uncom-pahgre River and its flood plain.
The major opportunities are the regional open spaces, the wonderful views and vistas, the existing parks, the river and river plain, the school grounds and the east canal. These are areas with the potential for developing a unique Olathe image.
The constraints include the 100-year flood plain, which is a potential life and property hazard; the primary entry zone, which is a barren, alkaline, erosion-prone area. Finally the agriculture-related business along the railroad right-of-way is a very major constraint because of its incompatible land use, situated in the middle of town. These constraints, however, can mostly be overcome to a degree with careful planning and design.
OPPORTUNITIES & CONSTRAINTS
REGIONAL OPEH SPACE MAINLY AGRICULTURAL REIHFORCES RURAL QUALITY. A VlSuAL AMENITY.
OLATHE HIGH SCHOOL- DOMINANT ARCHITECTURE. HAS HISTORIC VALUE POSSIBLE FOCAL POINT .
OLATHE ELEMEHTARY SCHOOL: ffcSSIBLE FOCAL ftDIHT AWAY FROM MAlH ACTIVITY CORRIDOR PROXIMITY TO RIVER & OPEH SPACE ARE. A666TS .
uqn'S para potential recreational resource for high school a community usage .
City Parr potehtial for improvement as major powmtowm recreatiomal facility.
RIVER PLAIH PROVIPES AH AESTHETIC % RECREATIONAL RESOURCE TO COMMUNITY 8, REGION
East canal Potehtial for development ihto linear parkway
views many Significant views of mesas open SPACE. SHOULD e>E OPTIMISED .
River plain too-year flood plaim health 1 PROPERTY hazard .
MAJOR TOWH ENTRY: VISUALLY UNATTRACTIVE BARREN APPEARANCE. EROSION PRONEP. LITTLE N
RAILROAD ZONE: DISHARMOMIOUa WITH * ^
APJACEHT AREAS VISUALLY DIVISIVE .
HOWEVER AGRICULTURE BUSINESS IS DF PRIME IMPORTAHCE TO TOWH .
SOURCES WONTHOSE COUNTY IANOUSE DEPT BASE SHEET
0 50 300 600
GEORGINA LEE THESIS 1982
U C DENVER
EXISTING & POTENTIAL RECREATION AREAS
Community image is greatly enhanced by the availability of good parks and/or recreation areas or systems. The existing recreation areas in Olathe are the high school and elementary school grounds, Lion's Park and City Park. The river and the irrigation ditch are potential recreation resources. The cemetery, as a historical landmark, could also become part of the recreation system.
A major potential recreation resource is the land designated flood prone, along the Uncom-pahgre River, which could become part of a regional recreation system spanning the towns of Delta, Olathe and Montrose.
EXISTING & POTENTIAL RECREATION AREAS
EXISTING RECREATION AREAS
'OLATHE. HIGH SCHOOL. GROUMPS OLATHE ELEMEHTARY SCHOOL GROUHpS 'LIOH'S PARK 'CITY PARK
AUL. AAAAS POSSESS PIPFEreHT LEVEJ-9 OF PBVEU3PMEI1T
AU- AREAS HAVE. POTENTIAL. TOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT
IMPROVEMENT SHOULP REINFORCE SuRKOUHPIHG ACTIVITY OP BALM AREA.
POTENTIAL RECREATION AREAS
RIVER ahd RIVER PIAIH EAST CAMAL-"OLATHE CEMETERY
REQUIRE SUBSTANTIAL LAHPSCAPE PEVELOPMEHT EVCE.PT FOR. -THE CeMETERY WHICH IS LAHpSCAfBp
POSSESS PGTEHTIAL FOR PEVELOPMENT INTO PASSIVE RECREATION AREAS BOTH AS COMMUNITY AMP REGIOMAL AMEHITIE6
EXISTING 8. POTENTIAL RECREATION AREAS ARE WELL PI5TRI0UTEP
across towh. Possibility or
LIHKIMG AU- AREAS .
SOURCES MONTROSE COUNTY IANOUSC DEPT BASE SHEET
0 150 300 600
GEORGINA LEE THESIS 1982
ZONES OF EXPERIENCE
At first glance the town appears to be made up of bits and pieces haphazardly put together. However, on closer analysis, a basic pattern of 3 zones begins to emerge, each with a different identity and offering a different experience. It would be desirable and logical to develop and reinforce the different flavors of each zone along existing lines because the future land use plan follows the existing land use very closely.
The Highway-Commercial zone is dominated by scattered wholesale and retail business, along U.S. 50 business loop, which caters to the traveller and motorist. General stores, motels, cafes, and gas stations are appropriate here.
The Downtown-Industrial zone is nestled in the center of town which is also the hub of the town. The downtown district is the main shopping area for Olathe residents and should be improved and expanded to attract high quality businesses.
The agriculture-related industry, being located so close to the center of town, seem to emphasize the agricultural tradition of this town. The River-Open Space zone is the most "rural" part of town. It is primarily dominated by cottonwoods, willows and open and framed views of the surrounding mesalands. Threading these three major zones together are the residential areas.
OLATHE TOWN STUDY
GEORGINA LEE THESIS 1982
SOURCES MON7WX* COUNTY i ANOUSF MPT BASE SHEET
MOST VISIBLE ZOHE
Spotty retail a wholesale commercial Generally Barren a ruh-dowh appearahce
FUTURE: TREMENDOUS POTENTIAL TOP COMMERCIAL
development, likely to happem im near. Future, consideration for overall
VI5UAL QWAULITY OF WHOLE ZOH& OF
Prime importance .
Railroad/agriculture strip- runs through center of town in north-south direction, visually DIVISIVE. Scale of structures incompatible with apjaceht Builpihgs Cresioehtial & COMMERCIAL}
Future- agriculture related eusiNess is maihstay
OF COMMUNITY. WILL PROBABLY REMAIM. HEED TO PEAL WITH VISUAL DISPARITY .
POWHTPWM i AUTO DOMIHAYED. MAIM ACTIVITY HOPE OF COMMUNITY. INCLUDES RETAIL COMMERCIAL,
professional offices & public Builpihgs.
Future-.Expansion capacities limited but possible, develop different flavor from highway
COMMERCIAL. CONSIDER DEFINED PEDESTRIAN AREAS.
RIVER -OPEM SPACE
Most rural part of town- large opeh spaces.
RIVER & RIVER PlaiM Ah AMENITY. ALMOST CONTINUOUS GREEN SELT. SOME PERMANENT STRUCTURES. M
Future: valuable resource for community L
8 REGION. POSSIBLY PRESERVE &
DEVELOP AS NATURAL PARK . * i ^
NOTE: OLDER RESIDENTIAL AREAS LOCATED IN
highway % downtown zones, river zone has Suburban' type homes . ^
ZONES OF EXPERIENCE
These general recommendations are formulated after analyzing the results of the Olathe Community Survey, the inventory and analysis of the town in the foregoing pages, and conferring with members of the Community Improvement Committee and other concerned citizens at town meetings.
1. General Cleanup Program. Town regulations may be more strictly enforced in order to rid the town of junk and unsightly clutter on commercial, business and residential premises.
The town could also provide incentives for cleanup programs such as annual awards for the most beautiful and cleanest neighborhoods.
2. Street Improvement. Improve, repair and maintain streets, sidewalks and curbs.
Attention to paving details can have both functional and aesthetic uses, eg. differences in type, color of paving between sidewalk and street surfaces .
3. Pedestrian Safety. Create sense of safety for pedestrians by providing sidewalks, curb extensions (or neckdowns) and screen pedestrian zones from streets with planters, trees, etc.
Safer pedestrian zones would enhance the "village" quality of the town.
4. Street Furniture. These include signage, trash receptacles, benches and street lights. Type of material used and scale of street furniture should be appropriate to setting.
Enhance overall setting by using clear and attractive street signs and markers.
5. Parking. Create more efficient parking by defining areas and spaces and consider appropriate screening of parking areas with landscape materials, such as strategic location of trees and shrubs.
Town could acquire vacant lots when appropriate to provide more parking facilities in the business district.
6. Major Activity Centers. With a "system" of pedestrian/bike paths/horse trails the major activity centers can be linked together for a more leisurely experience.
They should include the river, schools, parks, the business district, the cemetery and other historic sites.
Activity centers should be linked wherever possible and be made accessible by trails as well as by road.
The trail system should also be safe with a minimum of pedestrian/auto/train conflicts.
A regional trail system between Delta, Olathe and Montrose could be part of a long term plan.
7. Revitalize historic buildings. Downtown revitalization should include architectural and storefront improvements with attention to scale, form, color and overall unity.
Preserve and renovate historic buildings for public uses, eg. Odd Fellows Hall and historic churches.
8. Preserve Important Natural Features. The Uncompahgre River, parks or land in natural hazard areas such as the flood plain should be preserved for recreational use or be kept in a natural state.
Where appropriate acquire open space for recreational use or to buffer different land uses.
9. Special Facilities. Commercial, business and industrial growth and development should enhance the community by giving support to community projects.
Agricultural identity of Olathe could be reflected in annual agricultural fair for town and region. Consider special facilities such as fairgrounds.
Other special facilities should include public restrooms and water fountains.
10. Expertise and Financing. Contribution of town planning and revitalization expertise from state and federal agencies and financing of projects by special recreation district and/or by bonding are possibilities.
Â£\town of wLATHE
EAST-WEST CORRIDOR CONCEPT
While the preceding section attempts to interpret the existing identity and structure of the town of Olathe, this section will narrow the focus to the most important areas and how the existing identity and structure may be modified in order to improve the town image. From the analysis in the previous section, the East-West corridor appears to be the most highly visible section of the town; hence it would be logical to start from this corridor and work outwards. The rest of this document will concentrate on the East-West corridor concept.
The basis of the East-West Corridor Concept is simply that there are 3 focal points along an east-west direction that form a strong linkage via their connectors. In addition to the general recommendations for improving the community image outlined in the previous section, the design recommendations in the following section will provide specific concept guidelines for improving community image based on this concept.
create Sense op awval
IDBHTIFICATIOM OP TOWH AHTIOPATI OH
fcHCOURAGE- PARTICIPATION IH SOCIAL- SPACÂ£_
PESTlHATl OH POlHT
PROV1PE POP. REUAVATIOH INFORMAL, RURAU, HAT U R. At
THREE Fixal. POINTS IH BACH ZONE OF
experience- umkep en haih 5th Streets
TRAHSIT I OH AL ZONE.
OLATHE TOWN STUDY
GEORGINA LEE THESIS 1982
landscape architecture UC-DENVER
SOURCES: MONTROSE COUNTY LANOUSE 0EP7 BASE SHEET
Intersection of U.S. 50 and Colo 348, including four corners and traffic islands.
Landscape is open, stark and undefined. Has poor cover of weeds and native grasses and lacking taller vegetation.
Soil is extremely alkaline, structurally unstable and highly susceptible to erosion.
Ineffective entry identification signs.
Highly visible landmark located at major town entry and a focal point of Main Street, looking east.
Existing dominant monolithic architecture and minimal landscape elements.
Requires a separate detailed landscaping plan. COMMERCIAL STRIP
Strip runs roughly north-south on U.S. 50 business loop, intersecting main street and 5th Street. Sprinkled with highway-oriented businesses. Potential for the development of this strip with businesses that cater to the traveling public.
Can be a very important zone in terms of future retail expansion.
Agriculture-related industry along railroad ri ght-of-way.
Whole zone has undefined edge that spreads into the residential and business districts. Large structures create disharmony in scale with adjacent structures.
Industrial clutter is visually unattractive. Location next to residential district undesirable; however this industry is mainstay of economy and is dependent on the railroad.
Includes two face blocks of retail businesses and professional services; the town hall, post office, fire department and the city park.
Typical mainstreet architecture of rural west slope towns that has been remodeled over the years. Storefront signage clutter contributes to visual disharmony.
Wide auto-dominated main street creates autopedestrian conflicts.
Need additional efficient parking areas.
City Park most formal park in town. Has potential as a functional, attractive downtown park.
River and river plain defines western edge of town. Most "rural" part of town.
River fairly inaccessible. Has thick undergrowth of grasses with scattered stands of cottonwoods, willows on river plain.
Steep banks and surrounding covered with debris.
An essentially ignored section of town but is an important recreational and visual resource.
Residential area east of downtown consists primarily of single family one and two story homes.
Western section includes other types of housing such as mobile homes and a senior housing complex. Streets are approximately 60' wide, lined with mature street trees.
Older homes are located in the eastern section.
Main and 5th streets are fairly busy streets and have the potential of becoming even more so with downtown improvement. Solutions should enhance the residential atmostphere.
Attractive, bold entry statement that reflects the character of Olathe.
Massing of appropriate plant materials would provide a strong and "natural" focal point and help stabi-1i ze the soi1.
Entry identification signs should be eye-catching and of appropriate scale, located on right side of highway.
*The entry design will be discussed in detail in the last section of the document.
A landscape plan for the whole site is necessary to set off the strong architectural lines of the buildings and to create more functional and aesthetic outdoor spaces.
Being a highly visible element in the landscape careful attention should be given to landscaping adjacent to the site such as screening of the parking lot, storage and utility area that front the highway.
Lion's Park, high school, recreati onal borhood.
located across the street from the could be improved to complement the facilities of the school and neigh-
Prepare plan for whole strip as a long range goal such as outline types of businesses that would complement downtown business, signage regulations, streetscaping, pedestrian areas, parking etc. Consider appropriate landscaping buffers between strip and adjacent residential areas.
Integrate Lion's Park in general development.
Edge of industrial zone can be more clearly defined with fences, landscaping and other buffers.
Low fences and trees will also help hide clutter and mitigate the disparity in scale of structures.
Concept of a marketplace; to encourage local shopping and social interaction.
Improve pedestrian areas and pedestrian safety. Create human scale streetscaping.
Create comprehensive downtown district by tying separate areas together such as shopping area, city park, town hall, post office, using a unified landscaping plan, including attractive street signs.
Clean up, preserve as natural park, maintain existing ecosystem.
Make river accessible as a recreational facility, e.g. provide informal trails.
Long Term Goal :
Develop pocket parks, selective clearing and planting to create/enhance views of river, mesas. Eventually developing a "system" linking Montrose, Olathe and Delta.
Discourage new homesite development, e.g. floodpla ordinance.
RESIDENTIAL Improve sidewalks.
Program for street tree planting/replacement. Create "boulevard" effect with street trees.
Will enhance residential area.
Create pedestrian safety with curb extensions (neck downs) and pedestrian crossings.
Human scale street lights will also contribute to residential feeling.
The design recommendations in the following pages are guided by the matrix below. For instance part of the concept for the entry is to create a sense of arrival and anticipation at a gateway; a functional element of which would be to mass plant materials, creating visual interest with seasonal color.
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The barren appearance of the intersection at the major entry can be eliminated by the strategic location of plant massing. The effect of layering these plant materials also create interest in the landscape. The entry concept will be discussed in more detail in the design detail section.
a) Agriculture related business: Use of a low wooden fence helps to conceal most of the clutter and the planting of street trees also tend to visually screen the large structures, thus reducing the disparity in scale between adjacent areas. Street trees should extend to adjacent areas in order to provide some continuity of scale.
b) Retail business: Since this is the main activity node in town, the image should be that of a people space. This can be achieved by bringing down the scale of street lighting, intensifying the pedestrian zone, e.g. the use of planter seaters as a visual as well as psychological barrier for the pedestrian. Providing crosswalks and curb extensions will also improve pedestrian safety. Architectural and storefront improvement (as mentioned in the general recommendations section) will also add to the overall unity of the downtown district.
Parking: Provision of crosswalks at intersections (maybe painted on the street) and neckdowns increase safety for the pedestrian. Sidewalks delineate the edge of the street and allow clear demarcation for street parking.
Well defined parking spaces also increase parking efficiency, allowing more parking spaces than ever before. Screening of parking areas creates the sense of an edge as well as reducing the harshness of a parking lot.
The development of the river and river plain will naturally be a long term process in acquiring parcels of land as they become available. The long range plan could possibly involve the towns of Delta and Montrose and their collaboration for a regional park and trail system linking those three towns. In the meantime, it would definitely enhance the community image and provide the town with more recreational areas if some initial steps were taken to open up the river plain and provide a few amenities, such as cleaning up the banks of junk and debris in the river, riprapping the edges to make the water more accessible, and providing benches and lighting, as well as selective clearing and planting of trees and shrubs.
One of the problems of these wide streets is speeding motorists. A few ways to encourage motorists to slow down would be to narrow these streets by putting in sidewalks, attractive human scale street lights and trees/shrubs, and clear directional and speed limit markers. By slowing down the motorists these connectors would act as transitional zones that allow them to discover other activity nodes such as the downtown district and the parks.
A successful landscape design depends on a variety of factors such as the condition of the soil, the availability of irrigation water, climatic conditions and continued maintenance.
In terms of the entry design in Olathe, soil conditions are far from ideal for most plant materials because of the high salt, low organic content and poorly drained soil. It would be advisable to obtain a soil analysis before anything else is done to determine the severity of the salt problem. It may be possible to correct the problem by irrigating before or after planting.
Soil preparation is the next important step. This includes choosing a suitable top soil, tilling, watering, fertilizing and levelling. Depending on the severity of the problem, salinity in the soil may be treated in different ways; (the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservationist should be consulted on this) and/or using salt-tolerant plant materials.
Two alternatives are proposed for the entry. Alternative one is a high cost, high maintenance solution that may become feasible in the future when the surrounding highway commercial district is being developed. The four corners of the intersection, traffic island and median strips are landscaped in entirety, providing a "gateway" effect, with the gradation of heights and sizes of trees and shrubs. This design would require total irrigation.
LARGE DECID. CONIFERS TREES
MEDIUM WOOD &
DECID. STONE GROUNDCOVER SHRUBS SIGN
NOT TO SCALE
HIGH SCHOOL GROUNDS
ENTRY DESIGN \
SITE PLAN SCALE 1*100'
Alternative two is an immediate short term solution that would utilize existing irrigation water and requires a low budget. For immediate effect use only trees that are no less than 4' in height in different groupings. Only hardy and salt tolerant trees should be used. For a more manicured look a wood chip mulch may be laid under the trees.
This would also help keep the moisture in and weeds out.
Unfortunately the lack of irrigation water means that large expanses at the entry will remain bare because most ground covers will not survive. However, some grasses may be hardy and salt-tolerant enough (again a soil analysis is advisable) to cover these large areas adjacent to the highway as long as some water is available to help them get established. Some maintenance is also necessary afterwards .
Crested Wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) is a cool season, perennial bunchgrass well adapted to arid and semi-arid regions and can withstand temperature and moisture extremes. It grows best in spring and fall and is fairly easy to establish.
Bermuda grass (Cynadon dactylon) is a warm season creeping perennial sod forming grass. It is salt and drought tolerant, quick to establish; however, its hardiness in Colorado is not clear. It grows best in spring.
ENTRY DETAIL SCALE 1 = 50'
List of Hardy Salt Tolerant Plants
Common Name Latin Name Description
Evergreen (mature height 35' 60', spread 20' 25 ')
Blue Spruce Picea pungens large slow growing, needs room, little care, no pruning, very competitive
Rocky Mountain Juni per Juniperus scopulorum drought tolerant, needs space
Pinion Pine Pinus cembroides edulis common, low water requirements, likes sun
Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa native, grows on south side slope, dryland
Austrian Pine Pinus nigra fast growing, very hardy
Large Deciduous (mature height over 40', spread 30' - 40')
Tree of Heaven Allanthus altissima takes abuse, drought and poor soils
Green Ash Fraxinus Pennsylvania 1anceolata hardy, good tree, fast growing. Marshall Seedless Ash doesn't grow straight, no insect problems, makes nice clumps.
Western Catalpa Catalpa speciosa extremely tough, slow to get going, white flower in June, drought tolerant, accent.
Hackberry Celtis occidental is hardy, drought tolerant, nipple gall, nice bark, yellow fall color, nice winter form.
Boxelder Acer negundo native, hardy, drought tolerant, use for restoration work, has many pests.
Black Locust Robina pseudoacacia large straight tree with beautiful clusters of white, pea-like, fragrant flowers in spring prone to locust borers.
List of Hardy Salt Tolerant Plants
Small Deciduous (mature height under 40'
, spread 20'
Golden Rain Tree
hardy, tropical looking; nice yellow flower June September, red winter pod.
adapted to Colorado, nice foliage contrast, interesting bark, drought tolerant, mass screeni ng
shiny foliage, wide spreading, good red/orange fall color
Tamarix (Salt Cedar) Tamarix hispida
Scrub Oak Quercus gambeli
tolerates many extremes; fine foliage, resembling Juniper, has delicate terminal heads of flowers white pink, salt tolerant.
slow growing in nature, brown red orange fall color, dryland plant
Siberian Peashrub Caragana arborescens dryland, pea family, upright form, over 6'
Servi ceberry Amelanchier canescens native, drought tolerant, nice foliage, early bloomer, over 6'
Cea Buckthorn Hippohpae rhamnoides small tree or shrub, dryland, narrow thinleaf, gray green bright orange fruit, over 6'
New Mexican Locust Robinia neo-mexicana native, suckers, good for tough situation, over 6'
Scotch Broom Cytisus x praecox pea family, yellow flower, fast growing, specimen, hardy, likes sun. under 6'
Four-wing Saltbush Atriplex canescens dryland, very salt tolerant
Tatarian Honeysuckle Lonicera tatarica forms big, upright dense mass of twiggy branches, small pink or rose flowers in late spring, early summer, bright red fruit, background screens.
Juniperus chinensis 'Pfitzer'
evergreen shrub big plant-space filler
This has been an attempt to analyse the quality of the environment of Olathe through its existing community image and to generate ideas that may preserve, enhance and create that unique image of a western rural community. All recommendations are made in a broad, general way to incorporate maximum flexibility.
It is suggested that much planning and detail be worked into individual designs, however always keeping in sight the desired overall community image. With commitment and effort on the part of the people of Olathe, the businesses and Town Council, Olathe will in time be benefited by a quality environment for people to live in, shop and work.
Hi | I & P \ m\
COMMERCIAL HIGH SCHOOL STRIP
RIVER PLAIN RESIDENTIAL DOWNTOWN RAILROAD- RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL HIGH SCHOOL ENTRY
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Travel: 6 trips to Olathe @ 600 miles per trip 0 20
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