The streets of Olde Town Arvada might be a bit dustier than usual this summer, as work to convert the historic district into a pedestrian mall has begun.
The work started June 30 and will continue through Nov. 1. The renovations will include installing new medians, removing existing striping from closed off areas and repaving crosswalks.
Work will typically take place on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. A representative from PCL Construction, the firm heading up the project, said visitors to Olde Town can expect some construction equipment moving throughout the area and “relatively short road closures.” The representative added that well marked detour routes will be implemented to help visitors navigate the closures.
Concrete medians will replace the temporary barricades that currently block off the intersections of Olde Wadsworth Boulevard and Grant Place, Olde Wadsworth and 57th Avenue, Olde Wadsworth and Grandview Avenue, and Webster Street and Grandview. The crosswalks at these intersections will also be repaved.
Additionally, the existing road striping within the closed off area will be removed, including the center strip and the parking stall striping.
The streets of Olde Town Arvada initially closed to vehicle traffic June 12, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After reception to the closure was largely positive — a survey conducted by the Olde Town Business Improvement District in fall 2020 found that 90 percent of the survey’s 1,165 respondents supported the street closure — the BID proposed keeping the change in place on a semi-permanent basis.
Olde Town BID Director Joe Hengstler said that the transition to the semi-permanent phase of the closure signals a new era and added that his office would continue to look towards utilizing the space for public art and other amenities over time.
“I think for Olde Town and for the businesses,” said Hengstler, “it’s a sign that we are moving out of the era of COVID, but we are moving toward a revisioning of what the space can be and with that will come the opportunity to have some more outdoor space to have some more public art and to look at different activations over time.”
While the work that will take place this summer is part of the semi-permanent proposal, Arvada Director of Community and Economic Development Ryan Stachelski said at a March 17 meeting 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 an open-air mall. The initial proposal from the BID called for $1 to $1.5 million for beautification of the area.
“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.”
Henstler said that the majority of the work on the medians will be completed within the next few weeks and that after that phase, only minor installations would take place. Hengstler said that the work largely shouldn’t affect the overall visitor experience.
The BID is also working on the installation of street murals, according to Hengstler. The BID is currently in the process of selecting muralists, with painting slated to begin in mid-to-late August.
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