The streets of Olde Town Arvada will likely be closed to motor vehicle traffic for the foreseeable future. The City of Arvada and the Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District held a public meeting on March 17 to gauge reception of their proposal to make the closure semi-permanent for up to five years.
Attendees of the meeting overwhelmingly supported the proposal, which maintains the boundaries currently in place from the initial closure on June 12, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olde Wadsworth Boulevard between Grant Place and Grandview Avenue, and Grandview Avenue between Olde Wadsworth Boulevard and Webster Street have been closed since last summer, with multiple extensions pushing the closure expiration date to March 31.
In a poll posed by Arvada Director of Community and Economic Development Ryan Stachelski to the meeting’s attendees, 55 respondents marked “yes” when asked if they would support extending the street closure for the foreseeable future, compared to six “no” responses and seven “neutral” responses.
A separate poll which asked respondents “Are you more likely or less likely to visit Olde Town if the streets remained closed?” received 54 “more likely” responses compared to 13 “less likely” responses.
These responses support those from a survey conducted by the BID in fall 2020, which found that 90% of the survey’s 1,165 respondents support the street closure, while 88.4 percent said they would like the closures year-round.
The BID’s proposal includes between $1 million and $1.5 million for beautification of the barricades, medians, and furniture around Olde Town. Stachelski said that if the City decides to make the closure permanent within the next five years, more money will be invested into converting the area into a walkable open-air mall.
“If we were to go further and make it permanent, the cost could be considerably more than that,” said Stachelski. “Before we would even consider that type of investment, we absolutely want to make sure that we are doing it the right way. This gives us to the time period where we can study this a little bit more and then and determine whether or not a bigger investment is appropriate.”
Jamie Hollier, owner of Balefire Goods, a jewelry store in Olde Town, praised the closure, saying that she believes it makes people feel safer when they spend time in the area.
“We are excited about being able to use that space in the summer when it’s nice out,” said Hollier. “And people just feel safer being able to walk around and spend more time down here. There are parts of this area that were always a little hard as a pedestrian. Now, people come down and they spend more time and they hang out for longer. It’s been way better.”
Stachelski said that his team is currently working on designs for the medians, but hope to have them constructed by mid-April, with a summer rollout to follow. He said due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic he was unable to give a concrete answer as to when the full implementation would take place.