Sean Caffrey 0

Stapleton Uplands Park Priorities

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Re.: Uplands Park Development Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of residents in Stapleton filings 12, 20 and 21 interested in the “Uplands” open space area along the south bank of Sand Creek and east of the Westerly Creek confluence to Havana Street, we appreciate the opportunity to provide input regarding future park development in that area. Our neighborhoods have been meeting on this issue since late 2012 and look forward to hearing about your next steps to resolve safety concerns and fulfill plans that helped sell many of residents on the lots adjacent to this currently undeveloped land. As you are likely aware, homes have been completed adjacent to the proposed park space for nearly 8 years. A number of the residential lots, particularly those located along East 35th Avenue and Florence Way were sold at a premium with the understanding that those residences would soon be adjacent to a greenway corridor developed as an open space park. These plans were conceptualized in the Stapleton Development Plan (Green Book) and in Forest City’s 3-Dimensional Map located in the Stapleton Visitor Center. It has further been represented by a variety of parties, including multiple builders and Forest City Stapleton Inc. that a park space similar to the Westerly Creek Park open space could be expected in the near future. While the park space has yet to materialize after over seven years, the area in question has been used extensively as an access point for ongoing construction and remediation activities since 2006 . These activities have been disruptive to the neighborhood resulting in ongoing dust, noise, visual impacts, and heavy truck traffic. The construction access has also led to issues with unauthorized access and illegal dumping. For example, there is carpet, furniture, wire fencing, cement, and other items that have been dumped between Florence Way and Sand Creek. As you are also aware, the area also contains a significant amount of concrete debris left behind by the old airport that lies along the slopes leading to Sand Creek on the eastern portion of the property. This debris includes literally tons of cement, rebar, and other rusted metal items. Despite these challenges; however, the area is frequently used and has developed an organic trail system that offers access to the Sand Creek. The area also supports abundant wildlife. As you might imagine, the adjoining residents are ready for the park area to be cleaned up and developed as described in the Stapleton Development Plan (Green Book). Understanding that the northern portions of the Westerly Creek Park open space and the adjoining eastern and western uplands areas of Sand Creek will soon be developed into park space, the Stapleton residents north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and south of Sand Creek collectively submit the following development priorities for the Uplands including: • Develop the area as a largely natural space reflective of the high plains landscape that existed in the area prior to commercial and residential development similar to the current Westerly Creek Park open space, • Utilize some of the existing informal trail systems and improve essential trail connections to adjacent parks, residential areas, the Sand Creek Regional Greenway and the Bluff Lake Nature Center, • Mitigate existing concrete and other debris issues and ensure safe access to the south bank of Sand Creek, • Create an appropriate noise and visual buffer between the residential area to the south and the industrial, commercial, correctional, highway and railroad uses to the north and east. This buffer is most needed along Florence Way in the area between Dayton Court and Havana Street. The priorities noted above, while not universally accepted, represent the overwhelming consensus of the neighborhood based on recent discussions held amongst interested neighbors. Should additional funding be available after the incorporation of the priorities noted above, a number of residents would further desire consideration of the following items in current or future plans: • A pedestrian and/or bicycle bridge to the north bank of Sand Creek, ideally with access to the Urban Farm. • Development of a small, in-tract improved pocket park(s) or improved edge park, ideally ½ acre or smaller maintained by the Stapleton MCA with limited seating, shade and/or a play structures that could be used by residents, primarily between Fulton and Havana Streets where such facilities do not currently exist, as small neighborhood park space. We would further note that the additional considerations noted above will likely require additional discussion, planning and funding prior to implementation. These items may also be suitable for future development of the park. Overall, while there was consensus that the area needed to be cleaned up and made usable as an open space park, there was less agreement among neighbors about the level of development to be done after the initial development phase. As the park development and planning process proceeds, the local community would also like to pass along the following suggestions for design and construction purposes: • Complete removal of the concrete debris is not an essential concern of the neighborhood provided the above ground safety issues and any hazardous materials concerns can be adequately addressed. • Trail systems in the Uplands area do not need to be paved to the extent seen in the Westerly Creek open space with the exception of key regional bicycle path connections. Sand, cinder or gravel pathways would likely be suitable for most trails. • Irrigation systems should be tied to the existing recycled water system located in the area and the use of drought tolerant vegetation should be encouraged. • Trees are desirable as a buffer material but should be restricted to the edge areas along Florence Way. • Earthen berms may be useful as a buffer in some portions of the space and fill material from the site or adjoining sites should be used where practical. • Specific height and location of visual buffers was a matter of significant discussion amongst our group. Overall, where buffer materials are used they should be comprised of natural materials intended to minimize the intrusion of nearby man-made activities while enhancing the natural beauty of the area. • The edge area of the Greenway Park, particularly the along the north side of 25th Drive between Central Park Boulevard and Beeler St provides an excellent example of an appropriate edge and with trees and an unpaved pathway. • The Greenway Park in south Stapleton further provides a number of examples of small improved areas with grass, seating or play structures which might also work well as a template for small improved park spaces. Our neighborhood appreciates your consideration of these comments and looks forward to continuing to work with any of the associated organizations to assist with the timely completion of the design and construction of this important open space park. Please let us know if we can answer any additional questions regarding these comments and we look forward to hearing about next steps. Sincerely,


Sean Caffrey - Resident 3182 Fulton Street


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