Residents voted on safety improvements and a new pollinator garden as the community projects to be funded from last year’s Grandoozy festival. The community fund received $130,000, said Maggie …
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Residents voted on safety improvements and a new pollinator garden as the community projects to be funded from last year’s Grandoozy festival.
The community fund received $130,000, said Maggie Thompson, a senior aide to District 7 Councilmember Jolon Clark. District 7 includes the Platt Park, Overland Park, Ruby Hill neighborhoods and more.
Those funds will be split between safety improvements for the Florida Avenue bridge and a new pollinator garden at Sanderson Gulch Park and Trail, 4000 W. Mexico Ave.
Thompson said the bridge is often referred to as the “Florida Avenue bridge of doom,” by residents due to its narrow sidewalk, which is 18 inches wide. This makes it hard for a single person to cross, let alone bikers or parents with strollers or children.
The funds will provide a painted bike lane across the bridge, which will also help connect the street to nearby bike lanes.
“It was a missing link,” Thompson said of the new path in regards to Denver’s overall bike network.
Both projects have to be programmed into their department’s respective budgets, which will likely happen next year, Thompson said.
Grandoozy, a multi-day festival held last September in the Overland Park Golf Course, will not be returning this month after its organizers, Superfly, announced a break earlier this year. Part of the festival’s contract with the city required Superfly to give a portion of ticket sales back to community projects.
Public Works and Parks and Recreation received $130,000 each for projects, Thompson said.
In February, Clark began to organize community meetings to get ideas on what types of projects District 7 residents wanted the money to go toward.
Thompson added that during that community process, the councilman’s office received more than 50 ideas for projects, and that most residents were in favor of using the funds for one or two larger projects, rather than spreading the money out for several small ones. Residents proposed ideas for different trail improvements, safety lighting, crossing improvements and many more during meetings.
Clark’s office worked with staff members at Public Works and Parks and Recreation to see if funds could potentially be pooled together for larger projects. He then narrowed the list of ideas by cost and feasibility, giving residents a condensed list of projects to vote on in May. Clark’s office then picked the top projects that could be paid for with the funds.
Thompson joked that they accidentally created a pilot for participatory budgeting through the process.
“This was a really fun opportunity for people to directly impact where funds were going,” she said.
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