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By Jocelyn Rowley
Editorial@LHVC.com 

Niwot LID considers art installation in Community Corner

 

August 18, 2018

Jocelyn Rowley

The Niwot Business Association has issued a “Call to Artists” for up to seven pieces of public art to be installed in the Community Corner at 79th Street & Niwot Rd.

The agenda may have been light, but the concerns were weighty at the Aug. 7 meeting of the Niwot LID Advisory Board. Facing a supplement budget allocation in order to continue funding activities for the remainder of the year, the board discussed its finances and, more broadly, setting priorities for upcoming expenditures. Board members also considered a funding proposal from the Niwot Business Association (NBA), and heard about some upcoming transportation projects slated for the area.

Boulder County liaison Mark Ruzzin led off the meeting with an update of the district’s finances. Through July 31, the LID has approved $153,104 in funding requests, which is just over $20,000 more than the county approved budget of $133,000 for 2018.

Member Bruce Rabeler asked for clarification about the source of funds for the supplemental allocation, and Ruzzin explained the district’s capital reserve fund, which holds the LID’s surplus tax collections. After last year’s $192,000 purchase of vacant land from BNSF for a parking lot, the district’s reserve fund dropped to below $80,00, but is slated to grow again after last year’s sales tax collections outpaced spending by more than $50,000.

“From my perspective, it’s good to have priorities,” Rabeler responded, after citing future expenses such as parking lot construction. “In my mind, we need to be cautious of using too much of our supplemental without keeping in the mind the bigger picture.”

He also noted that LID sales tax collections through May 2018 ($67,471) are down from the same period in 2017 ($70,059). Rabeler is in the process of taking over treasurer duties from member Harris Faberman, who relinquished his long-held post earlier this year.

The NBA’s Chuck Klueber was up next, with a request for $2,000 to help fund a public art installation in the newly landscaped Community Corner at 79th and Niwot Road.

“We would like to have something that draws people from 2nd Avenue towards Cottonwood Square,” Klueber said. “This is the kind of place that does that.”

With input from the Niwot Sculpture Park Committee (a seven-member board consisting of Niwot artists and residents plus representatives from the NCA, NBA, NCAA, Niwot Future League, and Cottonwood Park West Homeowners’ Association), the NBA has issued a “Call to Artists” seeking seven sculptures for a one-year installation. From the submissions, the committee will choose up to three finalists, and the winning artist will be awarded a $750 stipend. Another $250 stipend will be award to the “People’s Choice” winner, as voted on by Niwot residents.

“We’re hoping to attract some very good artists,” Klueber said. “For timing, we’re hoping to have something installed by the end of September. That’s extremely aggressive, but we’re still trying to get something done this year.”

LID funds will be put towards the stipends and labor for the installation, which is estimated at $1,000. The NBA and NCAA have also pledged a combined $500 for ongoing upkeep and maintenance.

The request spurred more discussion of the budget and the looming supplemental allocation when Scott Firle asked about upcoming expenses for the year before making his decision about the art funding.

“Going forward, there’s probably another $5- to $8,000 in expenses, which puts you about $30,000 above your budget, which is right in line with what spending has been in past years” Ruzzin said. “The outlier is the 2nd Avenue tree project, which Chuck explained last month could be as much as $30,000, and that really bumps you up to that $180,000 amount….But even with the tree project, you’re probably in pretty good shape.”

There was additional discussion of the merits of spending for community events and “place making” as opposed to allowing the reserve to grow to fund future capital expenses, such as parking lot construction and sidewalk repairs. Eventually, the request was approved unanimously.

Up next was Kathy Koehler on behalf of the NCA and the Niwot Historical Society with an after action report about this year’s 4th of July celebration, as well as the ongoing Firehouse Museum restoration efforts. In total, the historical society raised more than $20,000 for the museum’s renovation, with $5,000 from the LID going towards improvements in the streetscapes outside of the tiny wooden structure, which was constructed to house the town’s fire cart more than a century ago, and was moved to its current site next to the Left Hand Grange in the 1990s.

In new business, Ruzzin announced that the Boulder County Transportation Department will be making concrete repairs and ADA upgrades to various pedestrian crosswalks around town for later this fall, including the ramp at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Niwot Road. In total, the project is expected to last up to five days, and will probably begin in October or November.

The committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at the Niwot Fire Station.

 

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