Living Waters of Larimer
DIRECTOR LaVerne Peakes
A PROJECT OF The Kingsley Association and the Living Waters Project Team
Living Waters of Larimer is a community development project that will demonstrate how green infrastructure can be integrated into the urban spaces, cultural life, and economic infrastructure of a community.
Raise community capacity to advocate for wise long term rainwater management.
Activate the community through place-based rainwater demonstration projects.
Define best practices for urban placemaking with high performing rainwater systems in different scales of development.
The project will examine four areas in Larimer that are at various stages in the redevelopment process, including a large single parcel redevelopment project, a scattered site redevelopment project, multiple adjacent vacant parcels publicly and privately owned, and publicly owned road right-of-way areas. These types of development can be found in communities across the region; the findings of the Living Waters project will be applicable far beyond the boundaries of Larimer. The project will bring together the community with disciplinary expertise and resources to produce real and achievable results including:
- Design proposals that identify site specific best practices for rainwater management and opportunities for placemaking
- The value proposition and business case for each development scenario
- Recommendations for catalytic programs or policies to support long term planning and adoption
- Community activation and education, including 3-4 demonstration art projects
- Reduction of flow to existing stormwater system
- Increased capacity to meet EPA Consent Decree requirements
- Offsetting of potential financial liabilities that may come with new stormwater utility models
- Cost benefits to new development
- Healthier communities and more beautiful public spaces
- Job training and economic development
- Improved water quality and ecological habitat
- Decreased urban heat island effect
In 2011, the Larimer community created the region’s first ecodistrict plan by setting goals and identifying strategies around energy, water, food, transportation, and equity. Led by the Kingsley Association and evolveEA, the plan had ambitious water related goals to use green infrastructure to decrease Larimer’s stormwater runoff to predevelopment runoff levels. In addition, the plan called for no net increase of the community’s domestic water usage in the face of an anticipated threefold increase in population.
The community has taken many actions towards these goals, including commercial property bioswales, rainwater gardens at the EECO center, and art installations with Betsy Damon and Bob Bingham. Upcoming projects like the shipping container farm station and the 15206 rainwater district will bring continued attention to stormwater recapture technologies. Newer projects, such as a HUD Choice Neighborhoods application has signaled new development pressure and projects that seemed distant in 2011 are now advancing.
This project is intended to advance the community’s ecodistrict goals given the emerging development activity. It will be performed by and with the community and will grow the considerable knowledge already within the community; The project will strengthen the community knowledge with tools that navigate the various processes required to bring rainwater infrastructure projects to the Larimer neighborhood.
Larimer is an ideal community for this type of project as it has already made considerable investment in projects and in building community capacity and will enable the community to leverage additional funding from environmental and climate resiliency sources. Larimer’s development scenarios are found in other communities and the results of this project will be immediately useful to Larimer’s goals as well as transferable to other communities. Lastly, collaboration with the local government, agencies, and non-profit partners will add insight to the ongoing development of governance and policy.