Land experts to offer riverfront-resiliency strategies

FORT COLLINS – A group of land-use, property-development and urban-planning experts has been assembled by the Urban Land Institute 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 group will recommend redevelopment approaches to help minimize damage in flood-prone areas and expedite communitywide recovery efforts following floods. Many neighborhoods in the three communities were damaged by severe flooding in fall 2013.

Conducted through the institute’s advisory services program, the group will visit the communities June 23-27. It will evaluate the use of natural resources for flood protection; property acquisition strategies for flood-prone areas; and how to ensure that major transportation routes remain accessible following major weather-related events.

As part of its work, the group will be exploring ways the Big Thompson River corridor through Loveland can serve as a community amenity, and crafting recommendations for making Viestienz-Smith Mountain Park more flood resistant. The September 2013 flooding destroyed the south end of the mountain park.

Also, the group will offer guidance on building an organizational framework for a regional response to long-term recovery.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit institute’s advisory services panel program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land-use planning to participate on panels worldwide.

The group is led by sustainability expert Jim Heid, founder of UrbanGreen Inc. in Healdsburg, Calif.
“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.”

Other experts in the group are:

Molly McCabe, founder and president, HaydenTanner, Bigfork, Mont.;

Nancy Montoya, former senior community development manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans;

Sharon Pandak, partner, Greehan, Taves, Pandak & Stoner PLLC, Woodbridge, Va.;
Phillip Payne, principal and chief executive, Ginkgo Residential LLC, Charlotte, N.C.;

Alan Razak, principal, AthenianRazak LLC, Philadelphia;

Damon Rich, urban designer and waterfront planner, city of Newark, N.J.;

and Andrew Watkins, associate, SWA Group, Laguna Beach, Calif.

The institute’s advisory panel series is supported by an $800,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation. The group’s visit to Larimer County is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado.

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