2018 Community Improvement Program

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  Your City Your Future

The Loveland City Council in late April directed City staff to suspend its efforts in connection with the “Your City – Your Future” 2018 Community Improvement Program. That decision was widely supported, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the 2018 general election ballot, and the likelihood the Thompson School District would seek voter approval for measures to address their funding needs.

City Manager Steve Adams sent the following letter to the 30 members of a Citizen Task Force who had spent many hours evaluating the package of civic projects. The letter explains specifically the City Council action, and opens a door for the continuation of the “Your City – Your Future” program at a later date.

Dear Task Force Members,

City Council members at Tuesday night’s study session directed City staff to postpone planned public outreach activities associated with the 2018 Community Improvement Program.  Their consensus rose from uncertainty over the Thomson School District’s plans to bring bond and mill levy questions to voters this November, and a desire to avoid any potential threat to the success of those measures.

Council Members voiced their appreciation for the work you all have done up to this point, then discussed ways this community-wide planning effort and the energy behind it can be sustained. Our staff and consultants will meet Monday to discuss a plan to carry this work forward. We look forward to meeting with you all again soon to assess options for keeping the strong work of the Task Force in the minds of Loveland residents.

Please know that time and energy you invested in this pursuit has enduring value. The resulting product is the basis we have for moving ahead, and stands as a way to broaden support that can become even more inclusive and representative of our community. We hope that most of you, if not all, will continue your engagement with that work.

I want to especially thank the Task Force members who came to Tuesday night’s meeting. Your chairman, Roger Clark, and vice chairman John Bradley, were passionate and eloquent in sharing their thoughts on your commitment. The Loveland Reporter-Herald article describing the meeting can be found online by clicking here.

I look forward to seeing all of you again soon.

With gratitude,

Steve


A legacy of commitment

None of the things that make Loveland a great place to live, work, raise a family or retire happened by accident.

Our community amenities are here because we, as a community, built them. Together we decided what features would make our city more beautiful, livable, comfortable and enjoyable – and together we found means to make them real.

A promise renewed

A citizen-driven effort is underway today to tap into that community-building spirit. Thanks to the commitments made by Loveland citizens in past decades, we have benefited from some remarkable amenities. Now it is time to ask what projects will benefit our community as we move ahead.

A new path forward

Elected members of our City Council have directed the City staff to work with citizens on a new initiative called “Your City, Your Future: 2018 Community Improvement Program.” Its purpose: To identify projects that our citizens have said they want, but have no or very limited funds to build them.

A fast-growing, grassroots collaborative of Loveland residents will work together to define projects that are “do-able” in our near future, and explore ways to pay for them.

How we got here, where we’re headed

Take a trip to Foote Lagoon, the scenic heart of our Civic Center, and look around. To the east are the Chilson Recreation Center and Loveland Senior Center, providing an array of services to Loveland residents of all ages. Nearby, the Loveland Public Library provides big-city offerings uncommon for a town Loveland’s size. Flanking the Civic Center Park, its amphitheater, plaza and lagoon are the repurposed, century-old schoolhouse and an adjacent newer building that together make up our “city hall.”

Loveland’s Civic Center complex, including all those features, was built as a result of a 1 percent sales tax that a group of committed citizens placed on the 1984 general election ballot. The measure earned the support of 61 percent of voters, and the $15.5 million Loveland Civic Center Project opened in 1988. That year marked the last time our citizens supported with their votes such a sweeping revival of our City facilities.

Growing city, growing needs

The needs and wants of Loveland’s 37,000 residents in 1985, and their commitment to meet them, paved the way for success then. Today, as our population nudges close to 80,000, our needs and wants have grown in proportion. The City’s “to-do” list is long, and outstrips our current resources as well as our pay-as-we-go public finance tradition.

That is what brings us together in this venture for “Your City, Your Future.”  We want to hear from you!

The projects

As citizen leaders of the Community Improvement Program initiative develop a list of projects for consideration, they will be fully described and illustrated here. For starters, here are a few candidates:

 Branch library rendering

Loveland Public Library branch - 
Community members would guide  design,
location and features for 
satellite library in a 
new area of the City, perhaps on west side.

 Taft widening project

Taft Avenue improvements - No funding exists for
Phase 3 of Taft Avenue construction,
including rebuilding Eisenhower intersection
and widening north of that area.

 Trail underpass

Recreation Trail underpasses - Essential links in
the City’s trail network, underpasses under arterial
streets greatly enhance the safety of pedestrians
and bicyclists.

 Fire Station 3

Fire Station No. 3 replacement - Now near the end of
life cycle, FS 3 will be replaced to accommodate
additional crews, apparatus to keep pace with City’s growth.

 Rec center rendering

West Side recreation center - 30-year-old Chilson
center is over capacity. Recreation study in
2015 validated demand and need for a new center
in west Loveland. 

 Museum expansion rendering

Loveland Museum Expansion - Architectural work
already complete for 26,000-square-foot,
on-site expansion with new exhibit space,
auditorium and classrooms.

 Fire Station 5

Fire Station No. 5 renovation - While scheduled for
replacement in 2024, renovations are needed to
keep the station functional and in mission-ready condition.

 US 34 upgrade

U.S. Highway 34 widening - Four miles of Eisenhower
Boulevard east of Boise Avenue remain a bottleneck
that generates most of residents’ congestion complaints.

 

Join in the process 

Attend one of the upcoming meetings of the citizen task force:

 

March 1, 6-8:30 p.m.: Loveland Public Library, Gertrude Scott room, 300 N. Adams St.

 

March 22, 6-8:30 p.m.: Chilson Recreation Center, Cherry/Hickory rooms, 700 E. Fourth St.

 

June 7, 6-8:30 p.m.: Loveland Museum, Foote Gallery, lower level, 503 N. Lincoln Ave.

 

June 28, 6-8:30 p.m.: Public Works Administration Building, 2nd Floor meeting room, 2525 W. First St.

 

 

FAQ

1. What is the 2018 Community Improvement Program?
Under the slogan “Your City - Your Future,” the Community Improvement Program is a citizen-driven effort to identify public projects that residents of Loveland say they want, and to find ways to bridge gaps in City funding to pay for them.   

2. Who came up with the list of project possibilities that appear here?
The City of Loveland, like all municipalities, has a lengthy “to-do” list of public projects, many of which have little or no source of funding. Some of those projects – ranging from public safety to streets to recreational and cultural amenities – have broad support in the community, indicated by surveys and planning studies. As a starting point, the City staff offered this list to a Citizen Task Force to evaluate. 

3. I have some other ideas about the project list. Can I share those?
Of course! That’s what the “Your City - Your Future” program is all about. Citizens of Loveland, rather than City officials, will decide how this list takes shape. Public open houses during April and May will afford opportunities for all residents of Loveland to weigh in with their thoughts.

4. Have other communities been through a process like this?
Many have. In fact, citizens in most cities and towns up and down Colorado’s Front Range have taken it upon themselves to push projects they want forward, and enlist their neighbors in supporting them. Loveland residents did so 34 years ago, when they voted for a 1-cent sales tax increase to build the Civic Center complex, including the Chilson Recreation Center, Loveland Public Library and Civic Center Park.   

5. What role will our City Council members play in this project?
The Citizen Task Force, after a series of meetings this spring to consider projects and ways to pay for them, will vote in June on a recommendation for City Council to consider. The recommendation might contain some, none, or all of the prospective projects. If a finance plan requires a vote of the people, the City Council would decide whether to refer that measure to the November 2018 ballot.

6. In exploring ways to pay for these projects, what options are available?
Most communities fund major projects like these through modest raises in sales taxes. Loveland, with the lowest sales tax in the Northern Colorado region, could do that and still remain one of Colorado’s least-taxed cities. Requirements of the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights – known widely as TABOR – mean that any tax increase would have to be supported by a majority of voters in a City-wide election. Sometimes, after a vote like that, communities sell bonds to speed up the progress of projects, repaying them with the revenue from sales tax.

7. I thought that fees paid by real estate developers paid the costs of projects like these. Why can’t that happen?
Loveland instituted Capital Expansion Fees – CEFs – in the 1990s as a way of having growth pay its own way. While CEFs go part way toward funding projects like street-widening and new public facilities, they can’t pay all the costs within the time that residents want the projects completed. The “Your City – Your Future” initiative would plug the funding gaps and allow projects to proceed more quickly.

8. If we move ahead on some of these, will it mean hiring more City employees?
In some cases, yes. For example, projects such as an expanded Loveland Museum or a new recreation center on the City’s west side would require new employees to staff them. Others, like street work and Recreation Trail improvements, would not require additional hiring.

9. If our citizen group recommends a small sales tax increase to pay costs, how “small” would it be?
Most likely, it would be a fraction of a penny. A half-cent sales tax in Loveland would go a long way toward paying for the project list, and would amount to a nickel on a $10 purchase. The Citizen Task Force would analyze possibilities, and make a funding plan part of their recommendation to City Council.


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