Niwot LID tackles busy agenda at September meeting
September 14, 2017
The Niwot LID Advisory Committee held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5, where members considered funding requests for the upcoming holiday events, as well as an outdoor community seating area in on the west end of 2nd Avenue. The committee also heard an update on the search for Niwot’s new economic development director.
The committee heard first from Mike Hagerty, Suzanne Jurgens, and Adam Sirois, representatives of Powder Keg Brewing Company at 101 2nd Ave. in Niwot. They requested $25,000 from the LID to construct a 42-foot “patio structure” on the southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Murray Street.
Modeled after similar pieces in Louisville, the proposed “dog-friendly, outdoor seating area” would be open to the public in addition to brewery customers. The group is currently considering several potential designs, including a portable model, which can be disassembled and stored elsewhere during the winter months.
The owners contend that the enhanced community space, which will be visible from the Diagonal Highway, will “invite commuters into Niwot and provide increased Niwot business visibility.” It will also encourage foot traffic along 2nd Avenue by serving as a “pedestrian-friendly anchor” along the route between Old Town and Niwot’s main parks.
LID members expressed support for the idea of another community gathering area, but had a number of questions for the group.
Powder Keg was able to put one of the committee’s main concerns to rest immediately, by noting they had received approval from Boulder County to replace what would be two lost parking spots on 2nd Avenue with horizontal slots along Murray Street.
But uncertainty about whether the brewery’s liquor license permits such an arrangement and the actual final cost of the project gave the LID committee pause. Members also had concerns about whether public money should be spent on a project could disproportionately benefit a single business.
“I’m a little worried not just about precedent setting, but also the equity of that,” said committee Member Jay Champion. “Twenty-five thousand dollars is about a sixth of the entire LID revenue for a whole year. To spend 16 percent of the entire LID funding for a year, which really supports the whole district…it seems to me to be a little bit out of balance.”
Saying she wasn’t quite ready to “give a green light,” Co-Chair Laura Skaggs made a motion to table the request until further information was available, which passed unanimously. The Powder Keg group agreed to return to next month’s meeting with answers in hand.
The committee heard next from Linda Klueber, appearing on behalf of the Niwot Business Association (NBA), who requested $4,995 for Niwot’s 17th annual Enchanted Evening and Holiday Parade. Held during the post-Thanksgiving weekend, this event kicks-off the holiday shopping season in town, and typically brings about 1,500 visitors to Niwot’s retail districts.
Klueber’s projected budget for the event, which is about 30% higher than 2016, included amounts for strolling carolers, a classical guitarist, and a post-event cleaning crew. There were also minor cost increases for advertising, printing and lighting. The NBA will be contributing $500 to the event.
The committee agreed that Enchanted Evening is a key event for the Niwot business community, and voted unanimously to approve the request.
Next up was Chuck Klueber, chair of the NBA Streetscapes committee, with the first of two requests. Keeping with the holiday theme, Klueber requested $9,340 for decorations and lighting around town, another hefty increase over the 2016 amount. Klueber’s plans for 2017 include enhanced lighting and decorations for the Blue Spruce, and new lighting on the 32 lampposts on 2nd Avenue and utility poles along Niwot Road and 79th Street.
Not all of the committee members were sold on the idea of additional decorations, especially after the increase last year. In 2016, the NBA tripled its holiday lighting request after negative feedback about the 2015 display. This year’s proposed budget is 86% higher than that, and Skaggs wondered whether the additional expense was achieving anything worthwhile.
“Every year we watch the budget for this holiday lighting just grow and grow and grow,” she said. “I don’t know if continuing to gild the lily is the best way to beauty for us.”
She also argued that many of the proposed decorations, including 7.5” lighted balls and 24” lighted snowflakes, conflict with the historic aesthetic of Niwot.
In the end, the committee compromised, granting $5,500 to the NBA to be spent as they see fit on decorations and lighting, rather than try to “design by committee.”
Klueber then requested $3,500 to replace the wooden walkway in front of Bell, Book and Candle gift shop located in the Niwot Tribune Building on the northeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Franklin Street. However, because there is an open question about whether the sidewalk is in the county right-of-way, the committee voted to table the discussion until the ownerhship of the parcel in question can be determined.
The final request of the evening came from Pat Murphy for the Niwot Great Pumpkin Party. However, because Murphy was unable to attend the meeting, the committee members agreed to table her request until additional information was available.
In new business, Co-Chair Carrie Wise announced that the LID and NBA had hired Katherine McHale as Niwot’s new Economic Development Director, effective Sept. 1. She will be introduced to the committee at next month’s meeting.
In Old Business, Mark Ruzzin reported that the commissioners were pleased with what they heard at their joint meeting with the LID in August. He then briefly reported on county activity on Niwot’s potential parking lot, noting that the process is “on track,” with the proposed land use changes due to go before the Planning Commission in October and then the County Commissioners in November. He then added his impressions of the public hearing held on at the Grange Aug. 30, saying he felt the residents’ concerns had been heard and addressed fairly. However, he also noted that several residents had left the meeting still opposed to the lot.
The Committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the Mountain View Fire Station.