|Population||17,159 (2000 Census)|
|Area||9 square miles (23 square kilometers)|
|Focus Areas||Civic engagement, comprehensive planning, downtown planning, neighborhoods, transportation|
|Methods||Civic engagement, dialogue, public-private partnerships, storytelling|
|Tools||CommunityViz®, digital storytelling, keypad polling, surveys, web tools, word clouds|
|Coordinator Contact|| |
|Project Website||Golden Vision 2030—the Heart & Soul of Golden|
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Technically a suburb of Denver, Golden is, without a doubt, its own city. Situated between the high plains and the Rockies, and bisected by Clear Creek, Golden is rich in history, adventure, industry and culture. World-class rock climbing, whitewater kayaking and paragliding keep local residents active and draw adventurers from all over.
A number of businesses and institutes call Golden home: the Colorado School of Mines, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, MillerCoors and the American Mountaineering Center.
Golden has experienced spurts of rapid growth throughout its history. Golden’s population grew more than 30 percent between 1990 and 2000, presenting challenges of walkability, community engagement and affordable housing. In the 1990s, residents became concerned about the pace and consequences of growth and worked to impose strict regulations on development and expansion. In 1993, voters adopted ordinances that limited the construction of new residences to one percent per year and curtailed the physical expansion of the city limits.
In 2013, Denver’s FasTracks light rail reached the edge of Golden, expanding on the existing highways and bus networks that connect the two cities. The values articulated by the community during the Heart & Soul project guided decisions around this major change.
With further growth projected, Golden wanted to proactively involve the entire community in discussing potential challenges.
The city’s Community Heart & Soul project, Golden Vision 2030, drew residents to discuss the future of their city at engagement events that included block parties, chili socials, festivals and community summits. Over 2,000 residents took part in the project (12 % of the population)a high water mark for Golden. Over the course of an eight-month story-gathering phase, community members collected more than 360 stories from people across the city, which translated to over 2000 individual values statements distilled by story listening groups.
At a community summit, the value statements were translated into 11 core values and 35 supporting statements, which formed the foundation of the Golden Vision 2030 Plan as well as the City’s updated Comprehensive Plan.
Three guiding themes emerged:
Accessible and Walkable;
Safe, Clean, Quiet Neighborhoods.
The shared values identified by the process became the starting point and guide for future comprehensive plan updates, neighborhood plans, land use decisions, code changes and community investment decisions.
For example, anyone with a project up for city review must state how it makes a positive impact or contribution to the three guiding themes. Developers must fill out a form that includes these specific themes and they must say how what they are doing contributes to these themes.
“It’s really given staff, the planning commission and city council a lot more confidence that they understand the desires and interests of the community, which is a helpful compass during the decision-making process,” said Rick Muriby, planning manager. “In my own observations, these decision-makers have been able to refer to the Golden Values during particularly difficult or divisive land use hearings, sometimes compelling the applicant to do more to meet these goals in order to gain approval and sometimes to stand up to strong opposition from neighboring residents or owners.”
IAP2 Award from the International Association of Public Participation
Denver Regional Council of Governments award for community outreach and public education
The City of Golden has a city council/city manager form of leadership, consisting of an elected mayor and six city councilors. Among the boards, commissions and committees addressing community issues are the following: the Bike Task Force, Community Sustainability Advisory Board, Economic Development Commission, Urban Renewal Authority, Historic Preservation Board, Housing Advisory Task Force, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Walkability Task Force, Historic Preservation Board and Planning Commission.