First Friday: May 20209 min read
Good morning, Superior! This morning before hosting First Friday, I took my new foster dog Sugar out for a run on the social trails on the property on the south side of Superior, bordering Highway 128. In case you missed it, at Monday night’s Town Board meeting, we voted unanimously to approve a purchase agreement for this land, so it can forever belong to Superior! It is such a joy to run on these beautiful trails knowing that they will now be protected by our town for generations to come.
On an announcements front, I have two things I’d like to let you know. First, I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve launched a podcast! The Laura for Superior podcast has the same content you get from my blog and Facebook video posts, so if you’d prefer to get those my from a podcast you can more easily work into your routine (I love listening to podcasts while running!), I’ve now got you covered 🙂
Second, I’m really excited that Superior resident Carlin Dornbusch has organized a socially distanced way for us to celebrate our Superior high school and college graduates. On Saturday May 16th, she has put together a parade route – graduates can jump in their family’s cars to drive on the route, while neighbors can come out on their lawns to cheer for them while staying completely socially distanced. I am so excited about this creative way to celebrate our grads! Click here for more info, and please help spread the word.
And now to the meat of the post. This morning, I hosted May’s First Friday in our virtual format along with Trustee Sandie Hammerly, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis, and Trustee Kevin Ryan. The virtual format is slightly different in that it’s more of a Q&A than a group discussion, but I’m thrilled that we’re able to do this format and allow people to chime in from wherever they may be. But overall, we received very positive feedback, and I’d declare this virtual version a success!
As usual, I will not try to fully recap the discussion, but will give a short rundown of the topics covered, which can help provide a pulse of the town.
Topics discussed at May’s First Friday include:
- Composting: CAPS committee member Rachael Tittle asked about the trash / recycling contract for downtown Superior, and inquired whether composting could be added. She also asked for an option to offer different sizes of trash cans based on individual resident needs.
- CenturyLink property acquisition: PROSTAC committee member Susan Stanish commended us for our decision to purchase of the 183 acres of property from CenturyLink, and asked about our future plans. I can’t speak on behalf of my fellow Board members, but the general intention is that once we close the deal, we will rezone it from commercial to Open Space. There were some questions about whether this acquisition also includes the mineral rights. Unfortunately, it does not; those are separate. However, on the bright side, the only place where rigs could feasibly reach the oil here would be close to Rocky Flats (which would likely run into environmental challenges) and the northwest corner of Broomfield. Resident Suzanne Devenny asked whether the purchase of this land leaves room in our Open Space budget for any future acquisitions. Unfortunately, it does consume our Open Space budget for the foreseeable future. However, if another property were to become available for acquisition, our Board could always explore other funding options – like taking a tax increase to the voters for additional Open Space funding.
- Health of the Sports Stable: Resident Tami Katz asked whether we knew anything about the economic health of the Sports Stable. Another member of the Board pointed out that the Sports Stable is actually a collection of several dozen businesses. Several businesses within the Sports Stable have applied for (and received) grants from both the federal government and the Town of Superior to assist with making it through this difficult time.
- Downtown Superior construction delay: Resident Rainer Kunz asked about a slowdown he’s noticed in construction in downtown Superior, around Promenade Drive. The downtown retail core currently has development on hold due to COVID19; however, resident Rachael Tittle reported that residential construction on her side of downtown Superior seems to still be busy and ongoing (with workers being careful to wear masks).
- Face coverings in public places: Today, our Mayor intends to issue an executive order requiring everyone in Superior businesses (both customers and employees) to wear face coverings at all times; this will go into effect on Monday. I have been asking our Board to issue this for five weeks, and am glad we are finally doing so, but am disappointed that we waited for others to lead the way before we got on board.
At First Friday, we had some debate between members of the Board about whether it’s the place of the Town to issue such an order, or if this should be done at a regional / state level. One member of the Board stated that the Board is aligned on a regional approach; however, I would like to make clear that I am currently not supporting a regional approach. The county (and state, and country) have many factors to consider, which is why I believe they have waited so long to issue a directive for people to wear masks in public places. However, I believe that our Board is well-positioned to see the issues within our small four square mile town, and therefore, should have felt empowered to do the right thing for our residents and act sooner. As I mentioned in my commentary on Monday’s Town Board meeting, I would much rather see us be proactive in protecting our residents, even if we make mistakes that we need to later correct. (Freakonomics just released an excellent podcast reiterating this point here: How Do You Reopen a Country? Click through to either listen to the podcast or read the transcript; it is excellent.) No, Superior doesn’t have a public health department, but just because we don’t have quite as much information as we would like, I don’t think that means we should be hamstrung into doing nothing; even our esteemed public health officials don’t have as much information as they would like.
Ultimately, I am glad that we are going to finally be issuing this executive order, though still remain disappointed that it will not go into effect until Monday. The purpose of doing this is to align with Costco (who took a lead in retail by announcing that they will begin requiring masks in their stores), but I pointed out during First Friday that while consistency is ideal, I don’t believe it is required. For example, Boulder’s trails connect to Superior’s, but that didn’t stop the city of Boulder from making their trails unidirectional even though Superior’s are not. I experienced this firsthand when I took the Coalton Trail from Superior into Boulder; it really wasn’t that confusing, since the signage was clear. Imagine if Governor Polis deferred issuing the statewide shelter-in-place because the federal government (or for that matter, the United Nations) hadn’t done so? Our shelter-in-place would have been even more effective in preventing COVID19 transmission if it had been issued by every state simultaneously, but that didn’t stop Governor Polis from doing what he could to at least protect Colorado.
- Remote vs in person meetings: Several residents commented that they really like the virtual approach we’ve taken for both First Fridays and Town Board Meetings and wish to see it continue. Even as the shelter-in-place lifts and people start going out more, resident Kathy Carty-Mullen pointed out that many of our more vulnerable residents (older people, those with pre-existing conditions) would not be comfortable going to Town Hall to make public comment. As I’ve championed numerous times before, I would really like our Town to permanently allow for remote public comment so that more people can participate.
- Coalton and Indiana: A resident noted that this intersection has a lot of potholes and is quite bumpy. On March 27, we tried to repair a portion of it again, but a true fix would require us to take the road down to the underlayer (like the extensive construction we did on Coalton Road as a whole last year), but we do not have in the budget right now.
- Rock Creek HOA Update: Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis attended the Rock Creek HOA meeting last night, and reported that they discussed improving engagement with the Town Board, and also discussed changing the fence color throughout town from Cabot Dune Gray. It was discovered that while the official color listed in the covenants is Cabot Dune Gray, the color throughout town is actually not Cabot Dune Gray; there was a mixup somewhere along the way and when you go to the store and ask for the Rock Creek fence color, what you get is not the original Dune Gray that was intended. Last night, Mayor Pro Tem Lacis reported that the HOA decided to reach out to the Board to convey the three options they are considering:
1 – Keep the status quo (even though it’s not Cabot Dune Gray
2 – Revert to the actual Dune Gray (that is, not the current color that’s painted all throughout Rock Creek)
3 – Take a request to the residents to amend the covenants and remove Cabot Dune Gray from being named, so that the HOA has more flexibility in picking a different color without needing a majority of households to respond.
Mayor Pro Tem Lacis also reported that he expressed concerns to the HOA with how they noticed the agenda and let people into the meeting, which I was glad to hear. For this particular HOA meeting, anyone who wanted to attend had to fill out a form requesting the link to the meeting, and I filled it out but never received a link and so could not personally join.
With that, I hope to see you at next month’s First Friday! If you have thoughts on these or other topics, I would encourage you to attend our next virtual meeting on Monday May 11th at Town Hall and speak up in public comment (yes, you can do that virtually), or email the full Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe, stay well, and stay home. Best wishes to all of you!