Urban Land Institute to Advise Communities of Loveland, Fort Collins and Estes Park on Developing Strategies for Riverfront Resiliency
A group of nationally renowned land use, property development and urban planning experts has been convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to make recommendations to the communities of Loveland, Fort Collins and Estes Park on improving the resiliency of riverfront properties along the Big Thompson River. The ULI representatives will be recommending redevelopment approaches to help minimize damage in flood-prone areas and expedite community-wide recovery efforts following floods. Many neighborhoods in the three communities were damaged by severe flooding in the fall of 2013.
Conducted through ULI’s advisory services program, the panel, which will be visiting the communities June 22-27, 2014, will be evaluating many aspects of community resilience, including the use of natural resources for flood protection; property acquisition strategies for flood-prone areas; and ensuring that major transportation routes remain accessible following major weather-related events.
As part of its work, the panel will be exploring ways the Big Thompson River corridor through Loveland can serve as a community amenity, and making recommendations on the redevelopment of Viestienz-Smith Mountain Park to be more flood resistant. It will also offer guidance on building an effective organizational framework for a holistic, regional response to long-term recovery.
Now in its 67th year, the ULI advisory services panel program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panel members, who contribute their time pro bono to important community development issues, have developed more than 600 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.
The ULI panel assignment for the Colorado communities is part of a series of advisory panels being supported by a $800,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to advance the institute’s pursuit of urban design and development practices that are more resilient and adaptable to the impacts of climate change. The panel is being sponsored by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado.
Through the grant from The Kresge Foundation, ULI is leveraging the substantial expertise of its members to provide guidance on community building in a way that responds to inevitable climate change and helps preserve the environment, boost economic prosperity, and foster a high quality of life.
The communities chosen for advisory panel assistance through ULI’s community resilience work are being selected on the basis of 1) the community’s long-range resilience challenges and vulnerabilities to severe weather-related events, and 2) the opportunity for the results to be applied to other communities with similar vulnerabilities.
The panel assisting the Colorado communities is being chaired by longtime ULI member and sustainability expert Jim Heid, founder of UrbanGreen, Inc, Healdsburg, California. Heid, who has been involved in community design, development and redevelopment for more than 30 years, is currently a member of ULI’s Responsible Property Investment Council. “ULI looks forward to bringing the expertise of its members to Loveland, Fort Collins and Estes Park,” Heid said. “We hope that what we learn in Northern Colorado can be applied around the country to demonstrate how communities can be built to be more resilient, while improving their economic, environmental and social well-being in the process.”
In addition to Heid, other panelists are: Molly McCabe, founder and president, HaydenTanner, Bigfork, Montana; Nancy Montoya, former senior community development manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans; Sharon Pandak, partner, Greehan, Taves, Pandak & Stoner, PLLC, Woodbridge, Virginia; Phillip Payne, principal and chief executive officer, Ginkgo Residential, LLC, Charlotte, North Carolina; Alan Razak, principal, AthenianRazak, LLC, Philadelphia; Damon Rich, urban designer and waterfront planner, City of Newark, New Jersey; and Andrew Watkins, associate, SWA Group, Laguna Beach, California.
According to Thomas Eitler, vice president of the ULI advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 32,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”
ULI has a long history of advising communities on developing and redeveloping in ways that are environmentally conscious, economically sound, and which provide community-wide benefits. As recently as July 2013, ULI convened a panel of the nation’s foremost authorities on real estate and urban planning to evaluate local and federal plans for strengthening resilience in the Northeast communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, and to offer guidance on rebuilding efforts in those areas.
Candid insights and observations from these experts formed the basis for After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-Term Resilience and Adaptability, a set of 23 recommendations focused on four areas — land use and development; infrastructure, technology and capacity; finance, investment and insurance; and leadership and governance.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (http://www.uli.org) is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 32,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.