Board expected to select senior center site

General Manager Mike Renshaw recommends Highlands Ranch Parkway site.

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To keep the process moving forward, Mike Renshaw, general manager of the Highlands Ranch Metro District, is proposing the board approve the Parkway location for the new senior center.

Following a 30-day public-comment period, Renshaw summarized the results for the board during a March 23 study session. With 357 total responses, Renshaw said 222 residents, about 62% favored the site at Highlands Ranch Parkway, just east of the intersection with South Broadway.

The results showed the public was less enthused about the proposed site on Plaza Drive.

Digging deeper into the comments, Renshaw said the Parkway location is favored because of accessibility and the proximity the proposed $12 million project will have to restaurants and local retail.

Renshaw said about 43 of those commenting on the proposed site location said they did not care where the senior center is built, they just want the project to finally move forward.

While Renshaw said he will continue to research other options, including finding an already established site and building, such as a church, he feels it is time to take an official step forward by approving the Highlands Ranch Parkway site.

Renshaw said selecting a site has delayed the project since at least 2017, with at least three rounds of public comment periods, and multiple proposed sites and discussions.

“I agree we have to continue to do our due diligence,” he said. “But I want to keep the project moving forward. I would like to wrap up the site evaluation in the first quarter of 2021.”

Residents and board members questioned if the Parkway site would have issues with flooding.

Renshaw said the concern is based on an incident that happened in 2018 when the area flooded.

Jeff Case, director of public works for the district, said in 2018 it was a “100-year event” where a cloud burst hit the area with a lot of rain in a matter of minutes. With a lot of rain in a short amount of time, Case said the inlet near the Safeway shopping center filled quickly, leaving water ankle deep.

It was an isolated incident, Case said, and the area is adequate to handle rainwater and building on the site will not impact nearby homes or businesses along the flood plain. Case said even the 2018 storm did not cause damage to any homes or businesses.

Even with board approval to move forward with the Highlands Ranch Parkway site, Renshaw said the project has a long road ahead as the site will need to be analyzed and the senior-center design will have to come together.

The board was expected to take an official vote on the proposal earlier this week. Results of the vote were not available at press time.

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