First Friday: September 20207 min read
Well, September finally came in with some cooler temperatures, huh? Although I am not quite ready for summer to be over, I’ll admit that the cool morning air is lovely for running. I am spending the holiday weekend up at my mountain house in Minturn, and it is downright cold in the mornings here – a nice reminder that fall is on the way! I hope you and your family are able to enjoy the long holiday weekend while still distancing yourselves from others. This weekend is expected to cause a sharp peak in COVID cases because of people not remaining cautious; let’s ensure Superior residents buck that trend and continue to isolate. With the smoke in the air from the fires gone, it’s a great time to celebrate by exploring the great outdoors! I’m looking forward to a long trail run on the Two Elk Trail, and my hope is that by getting out today instead of tomorrow, I’ll avoid seeing many other people. (For other ideas on what to do this weekend, my friend Elisabeth Nelson put together a great list of Boulder-area fall activities here – including our own CAPS committee’s prairie dog popup!)
This morning, I hosted September’s First Friday virtually, and was joined by Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis and Trustee Kevin Ryan. As usual, I will not attempt to provide a complete recap of every point, but will provide a short rundown of the topics I heard, which can help provide a pulse of the town.
Topics discussed at September’s First Friday include:
- 88th Street: Residents are happy that the road has reopened, though it’s ironic that we were rushing to get it done in time for school and school is now happening remotely 🙂
- Rocky Mountain Fire Department (RMFD): Mountain View Fire Rescue (MVFR) and RMFD entered an agreement to merge effective January 1, 2021 and will operate as one under Mountain View Fire Rescue. Resident Suzanne DeVenny, who is also the Secretary of RMFD, was in attendance and will continue on as Secretary for the new MVFR. You can read more details of the merger here.
- Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport citizen advisory board: The existing RMMA Advisory Board was looking for additional community members, but their announcement required that people be an advocate for the airport, which had a resident concerned. I agree that this seems like stacking the deck to have this requirement; I would hope that the Advisory Board could be a more balanced representation of those who want airport growth and those who want to limit noise in town, so we can find compromises between the two groups.
- Squirrels: A resident remarked that there has been an overpopulation of squirrels on the Open Space on the south side of Rock Creek, which is particularly concerning with the diseases they can carry. He was wondering if there was a Town policy against people feeding them, since he’s seen many of them carrying corn cobs, indicating that someone is feeding them. We discussed potentially putting a “please don’t feed the wildlife” message in some of our Town communications.
- Fence color: At our May 26th Town Board meeting, the Board voted to begin painting the Town-owned fence on the south side of town Cabot Dune Gray. The HOA voted last Thursday to go along with the Town’s choice of reverting to the original Cabot Dune Gray (which is more gray / neutral than the current yellow color). They will be putting an announcement out shortly, but in short, they will not ask residents to repaint their fence / mailbox posts immediately, but simply move over as their fences deteriorate and need repainting. They are also working to obtain a discount from a contractor to do the repainting for you. Mayor Pro Tem Lacis suggested that the HOA
- Pickleball: Pickleball courts have multiple layers, and we are likely only a few weeks away from having six pickleball courts over by Autrey Park. In the meantime, people can play at Wildflower Park. If you’d like to get better at pickleball, check out this article, or you can take a class / private lessons at Impact Sports; email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
- Trees: The Town of Superior Tree Plan outlines removal and replacement of ~200 trees each year, targeting trees that are damaged / diseased. Specifically, Town Staff are trying to address the Emerald Ash Borer impact, removing ash trees that are more susceptible to disease. They are then replacing them with new tree species from the Recommended Trees for Colorado Front Range list, to provide a diversified tree inventory of desirable species recommended for Superior climate and soil conditions.
- Events: A resident asked whether we would be having any events this fall, and we discussed a potential event that’s being planned by the Superior Youth Leadership Council (SYLC) for a Halloween parade.
- COVID Impact: A resident asked how Superior residents are doing with COVID, as the quarantine continues. We talked about food insecurity (Coal Creek Meals on Wheels and BVSD’s food distribution are great resources), as well as statistics around COVID cases in Superior. While reporting is not ideal, we have currently counted 41 cases of COVID in Superior, and 1 or 2 deaths (the exact number is not provided until we get 3 or more, but it is more than zero).
- School reopenings: We discussed various opinions on local schools’ decisions to teach virtually rather than in person. The Town does not have jurisdiction over schools, but we are currently working to set up a joint meeting between the Town Board and BVSD Board to discuss. One thing I am concerned about is whether teachers are truly comfortable going back to in person or if they feel pressured to say they would do so, for fear of losing their jobs. Although it is about universities rather than K-12, I found this article surveying college professors / staff really interesting (please forgive the rude title).]
- Cows on the trails: There have been a number of charging incidents recently with cows on the Meadowlark Trail, including a hospitalization. We discussed additional communications to make the community aware that they need to be careful around the cows – particularly when a mother and her calf end up on opposite sides of the trail, where runners / bikers inadvertently get between the two.
- Open Space: Ryan Welch from our Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) raised the point that we are running out of land that could potentially be acquired by the Town for Open Space, and we discussed whether it makes sense to continue charging residents the Open Space tax once we have paid off our current Open Space acquisitions.
- Commercial vs residential: Finally, we had a lot of discussion about the remaining space in our town and its suitability for commercial vs residential development. In my opinion, so much of this comes down to whether we are willing to put our money where our mouths are. The main reason residential is so much more certain is that it’s easy for developers to find residential tenants / buyers to be profitable; it’s harder for them to find retail buyers, and COVID has only made that worse. For Superior to attract retail, we need to be as attractive as possible to those retailers. We need to provide strong economic support to our Superior Chamber of Commerce to continue fostering a great business community and be the “welcome wagon” to attract new businesses; we need to put out a PR campaign to remind Superior residents to frequent Superior businesses and restaurants; and we may also need to provide flat-out monetary incentives to businesses to locate here. The question is, do we want retail badly enough to put money behind it?
- Election: With regard to the previous topic, it was brought up several times that who you elect to the Board of Trustees this fall will be critical, since a lot of these decisions will be made in the next four years and would be unlikely to be reversed. Although I have another two years in my term and so am not up for reelection until 2022, I would highly encourage everyone to take some time to explore the candidate websites for this year’s Trustee election, attend the virtual candidate forums (starting with Face the Chamber on September 30th), and ask discerning questions of the candidates – particularly around development, business / economic development, and COVID response, which in my opinion are among the three most critical issues we’ll be tackling.
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 Board meeting on Monday September 14th, where you may speak up in public comment, or email the full Board at email@example.com.