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City of Boulder
|— Satellite city —|
|Boulder County and the State of Colorado|
|County||Boulder County Seat|
|Settled||1858 as Boulder City, N.T.|
|• Type||Home Rule Municipality|
|• Mayor||Matthew Appelbaum|
|• Deputy Mayor||Lisa Morzel|
|• Satellite city||25.4 sq mi (65.7 km2)|
|• Land||24.4 sq mi (63.1 km2)|
|• Water||1.0 sq mi (2.6 km2)|
|Elevation||5,430 ft (1,655 m)|
|• Satellite city||97,385 (city proper)|
|• Density||3,884.1/sq mi (1,499.9/km2)|
|Time zone||MST (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC-6)|
|ZIP codes||80301-80310, 80314, 80321-80323, 80328, 80329|
|Area code(s)||Both 303 and 720|
|GNIS feature ID||0178680|
|Highways||US 36, SH 7, SH 52, SH 93, SH 119, SH 157|
|Website||City of Boulder|
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 5,430 feet (1,655 m). The city is 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Denver.
Boulder is famous for its status as one of the most liberal cities in Colorado, its colorful Western history, being a choice destination for hippies in the late 1960s, and as home of the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state's largest university. Furthermore, the city of Boulder frequently acquires top rankings in health, well-being, quality of life, education, and art.
On November 7, 1861 legislation was passed making way for the state university to be located in Boulder and on September 20, 1875 the first cornerstone was for the first building (Old Main Building) on the C.U. campus. The university officially opened on September 5, 1877.
As of the census of 2000, there are 94,673 people, 39,596 households, and 16,788 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,884.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,499.9/km²), making Boulder's population density higher than Denver's and among the highest in the state; of Colorado's twenty-one largest cities, only Englewood and Northglenn (two close-in Denver suburbs) have greater population densities. There are 40,726 housing units at an average density of 1,670.8 per square mile (645.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 88.3% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 4.02% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.50% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. 8.9% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. In December, 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau officially estimated Boulder's population to be 99,466.
There are 39,596 households out of which 20.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.3% are married couples living together, 6.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 57.6% are non-families. 33.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.20 and the average family size is 2.84.
Boulder's population is younger than the national average, largely due to the presence of university students. The median age is 29 years compared to the U.S. median of 35.1 years. In Boulder, 14.8% of the residents are under the age of 18, 25.9% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% are 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there are 106.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and older, there are 107.4 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median household income in Boulder is $50,209, and the median family income is $85,807. Males have a median income of $41,829 versus $32,100 for females. The per capita income for the city is $31,539. 17.4% of the population and 6.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.4% of those under the age of 18 and 6.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. The higher population poverty line is due to the large number of college students living in the area. Aside of that, Boulder is one of the most affluent communities in Colorado.
Boulder housing tends to be priced higher than surrounding areas. For the 2nd quarter of 2006, the median single family home in Boulder sold for $548,000 and the median attached dwelling (condo or town home) sold for $262,000. According to the National Association of Realtors, during the same period the median value of single family homes nationwide was $227,500.
The City of Boulder is in Boulder Valley where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains. Just west of the city are imposing slabs of sedimentary stone tilted up on the foothills, known as the Flatirons. The Flatirons are a widely recognized symbol of Boulder.
The primary water flow through the city is Boulder Creek. The creek was named well ahead of the city's founding, for all of the large granite boulders that have cascaded into the creek over the eons. It is from Boulder Creek that Boulder City and hence Boulder is believed to have taken its name. Boulder Creek has significant water flow, derived primarily from snow melt and minor springs west of the city. The creek is a tributary of the South Platte River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.4 square miles (66 km2). 24.4 square miles (63 km2) of it is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it (3.94%) is water.
Boulder lies in a wide basin beneath Flagstaff Mountain just a few miles east of the continental divide and about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Denver. Arapahoe Glacier provides water for the city, along with Boulder Creek, which flows through the center of the city.
Boulder has a rather dry climate typical of much of the state, and receives many sunny or mostly sunny days each year. Under the Köppen climate classification, central parts of the city have a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk). Winters are cool to occasionally bitterly cold, with highs averaging in the mid to upper 40s °F (7−9 °C). Lows may plummet below -10°F (-23 °C) on a few nights per year, but extended subzero cold is uncommon. Because of orographic lift, the mountains to the west often dry out the air passing over the Front Range, often shielding the city from precipitation in winter, though heavy falls may occur. Snowfall averages 85 inches (220 cm) per season, but snow depth is usually shallow; a strong warming sun due to the high elevation can quickly melt snow cover during the day. Occasionally, Chinook winds bring rapid warm-ups. Summers are hot and dry, with 27 days reaching 90 °F (32 °C) or above. Nights are significantly cooler than days year-round due to the high-elevation dry climate.
The all time highest recorded temperature in Boulder of 104 °F (40 °C) occurred on June 23 and July 11, 1954. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Boulder was −24 °F (−31 °C), which occurred in February 1989 and December 1990.
|Climate data for Boulder, Colorado|
|Record high °F (°C)||73
|Average high °F (°C)||45.7
|Average low °F (°C)||19.2
|Record low °F (°C)||−22
|Precipitation inches (mm)||.70
|Snowfall inches (cm)||11.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||4.7||5.7||7.5||9.5||12.1||9.5||11.5||10.3||8.2||6.4||5.5||5.6||96.5|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||4.6||5.3||5.8||3.9||.3||0||0||0||.6||1.5||4.7||5.0||31.7|
|Source no. 1: NOAA (normals, 1971−2000)|
|Source no. 2: Weather.com (extremes)|
Politically, Boulder is one of the most liberal and Democratic cities in Colorado. As of April 2012[update], registered voters in Boulder County, which includes Boulder's more conservative suburbs, were 41% Democratic, 20% Republican, 1% in other parties, and 38% unaffiliated. To residents and detractors alike, the city of Boulder is often referred to as the "People's Republic of Boulder," and "25 square miles surrounded by reality." Similar epithets are applied to other liberal cities surrounded by more conservative areas, such as Madison, Wisconsin and Austin, Texas.
In 1974, the Boulder City Council passed Colorado's first ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Boulder voters, however, repealed the measure by referendum within a year. In 1975, Boulder County Clerk Clela Rorex was the second in the United States to ever grant same-sex marriage licenses, prior to state laws being passed to prevent such issuance. In 1987, Boulder voters reversed their 1974 vote, and the city became the first in the United States to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation by a direct vote of the people.
Coexisting with the liberal tendencies of the population at large are the less numerous but politically active conservative and libertarian residents. Bob Greenlee, a Republican, was briefly the mayor of Boulder and ran against Mark Udall in 1998 for Colorado's 2nd congressional district. The Promise Keepers, an evangelical organization for men, was conceived of in Boulder in 1990 by then-coach of the University of Colorado football team Bill McCartney. Bill McCartney's son, Tom McCartney went on to coach the Fairview High School football team, where he has formed a large community of high school "Promise Keepers." Fundamental to his strategy has been the use of reptiles to portray the strength which he believes young men should wield. The organization has since relocated to Denver.
Boulder is surrounded by more than 36,000 acres (150 km2) of recreational open space, conservation easements, and nature preserves. There are world class hiking trails throughout the city-owned and county-owned open space. The most popular trailheads are near Chautauqua Park in southwestern Boulder, while others are at the Western edge of the city or a short drive away. The trails vary in difficulty: some are quite easy while others are challenging. The City of Boulder Open Space website is a resource for information about outdoor activities and volunteer opportunities. Shorter summit hikes include Flagstaff and Mount Sanitas to the North. Mountain biking single track is also available. North Boulder is the road biker's most popular starting point. There is an abundance of rock climbing for all skill levels.
World-class rock climbing is found in nearby Eldorado Canyon (traditional protection), near the small unincorporated community of Eldorado Springs, six miles (10 km) south of Boulder. Eldorado Canyon is most famous for its hundreds of world-renowned rock climbing routes. There are also high quality climbing routes available in the city open space, including climbing routes of varying difficulty on the Flatirons themselves (traditional protection). Boulder Canyon (sport), directly west of downtown Boulder, also has many good routes. All three of these areas are affected by seasonal closures for wildlife.
Boulder is home to USA Ultimate (USAU), the governing body for the sport of Ultimate in the United States. USAU is a player-run non-profit organization, founded in 1979, with over 27,300 members and hundreds of volunteers.
Boulder is also the Headquarters of USA Rugby.
BIFF is held each February by the Colorado Film Society, a nonprofit organization founded by local filmmakers Kathy and Robin Beeck. BIFF is dedicated to providing the urban, film–hip audiences of the Denver/Boulder metro area with an early look at the best new films in international cinema. There also are conversations with directors, producers, and actors; world–class food and parties; and an opportunity to rub elbows with filmmakers in a winter wonderland. BIFF has hosted over 150 filmmakers from around the world since the Boulder–based Beeck sisters led the inaugural event in 2005. In 2009, actor Chevy Chase attended and was honored with an award.
Founded in 2004, The Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival Boulder has attracted filmmakers and film lovers from across the Front Range with its annual festival in which filmmakers are challenged to make a short film within 24 hours using in-camera editing techniques only and including five of the eleven items required by the organizers. The Top 10 Films are screened and awarded prizes at the Historic Boulder Theater on the same weekend of the event. The Worldwide Event Guide from Frommers wrote that "Hollywood may take years to create a film, but Shoot Out throws down the gauntlet with a challenge to make one in 24 hours." The Shoot Out Boulder is listed as one of the unique events that "Keep Boulder Weird". Denver's Westword Weekly Editors honored The Shoot Out Boulder as the Best Local Film Festival 2009, Best Film Festival 2007, Best New Festival 2004.
The Bent Lens Cinema film series was founded in 1998 to provide Boulder County GLBT persons an outlet to counter invisibility and misinformation about GLBT life through community screenings of quality first-run GLBT films. "Equal parts political activism and community building," Bent Lens is also known for the community salons following each screening where patrons can socialize and connect with one another.
The International Film Series is Boulder's first art-house film series established in 1941. Since its establishment the IFS has continued to show over 100 films a year in correspondence with the University of Colorado at Boulder's fall and spring semesters. The IFS has brought world renowned directors and actors for special screenings followed by meet and greet sessions with the public.
Boulder is home to a variety of music, from classical to jazz to pop, and from informal street performances to concert music performed in historic Macky Auditorium.
Founded in 1958, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra is a critically acclaimed professional orchestra that offers dynamic programming under the leadership of its Music Director Michael Butterman. In addition, every year during the second week of January, Boulder is the host city of Colorado MahlerFest, an annual celebration honoring Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. Each summer features the acclaimed Colorado Music Festival, a six-week classical music festival with professional musicians from around the world, at the historic Chautauqua Auditorium. The most recent addition to Boulder's classical music scene is the emerging Boulder Chamber Orchestra. Founded in 2004 by Bahman Saless, this group offers unique and alternative programming and outreach to the community.
On Wednesday nights from June through mid-August, local bands perform on the Pearl Street Mall just south of the Courthouse. Bands on the Bricks, as the event is called, features a different band each week, with styles ranging from zydeco to oldies, and bluegrass to funk. Buskers are frequently in downtown Boulder especially on warm days and weekends.
Northstar Studios 1975 - 1982 was built at 1831 1/2 Pearl Street. Notable recordings made there included "Got to Get You into My Life" by Earth Wind and Fire and "Netherlands" by Dan Fogelberg. Other notable musicians who used the studios include Zephyr, Firefall, Little Feat, Isaac Hayes, Carol King, Gerard McMahon, Cells, Gangbusters, Jerry Granelli, Don Cherry, ELO, Oregon, Rachael Faro.
Boulder is home to a branch of the Revels organization (www.rockymountainrevels.org) which presents an annual Solstice production at the Boulder Theater. The local branch, called the Rocky Mountain Revels, formed in Boulder in 2001. The Rocky Mountain Revels is the local satellite for the Revels organization founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971, and is the only Revels troupe in the Intermountain West.
Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys is originally from Boulder, as are The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Rose Hill Drive, Baldo Rex, 3OH!3, and The Samples. Jazz musician Chris Wood of Blue Note Records' Medeski, Martin and Wood grew up in Boulder. Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker of the industrial rock group Ministry went to school in Boulder. Award-winning blues musician Otis Taylor has lived in Boulder since 1967. Acoustic Junction, one of the original "Jam Bands" started in Boulder in the early 1990s. Acoustic Junction was led by Boulder resident and much acclaimed singer/songwriter Reed McGregor Foehl.
The Colorado Chautauqua has presented programs every summer since 1898 including lectures, music, cinema, adult education classes, and nondenominational sermons. Its grounds, including the historic Chautauqua Auditorium, are located about one mile (1.6 km) southwest of downtown Boulder, just south of the intersection of Ninth Street and Baseline Road. In recent years the Colorado Chautauqua has become a year-round operation.
When the Colorado Chautauqua (then known as the Texas-Colorado Chautauqua) originated, it was part of a large, nation-wide Chautauqua movement. The Colorado Chautauqua is (and was) an example of an Independent Chautauqua with permanent buildings at a fixed location, in contrast to Circuit Chautauquas, which were itinerant operations that traveled to temporary tent facilities across the U.S. and Canada performing shows. At the peak of the Chautauqua movement in the 1920s, there were more than 200 Independent Chautauquas around the U.S. and thousands of temporary tent sites.
In recent years, the Colorado Chautauqua has featured many notable artists such as Andrew Bird, The Indigo Girls, CAKE, Marc Cohn, John Lithgow and The Weepies. Notables from the early years included William Jennings Bryan and Billy Sunday.
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, founded 1958, is a summer festival of Shakespeare held at the outdoor Mary Rippon Theater on the University of Colorado campus. The staging of Shakespearean plays at this outdoor venue dates to 1944.
The Conference on World Affairs, started in 1948, is an annual one-week conference featuring dozens of discussion panels on a variety of contemporary issues. Roger Ebert attends the conference every year and conducts his "Cinema Interruptus" lecture, spending many hours over a number of days closely analyzing one film. It was at the conference in 1996 that Ebert created the Boulder Pledge not to purchase anything offered through email spam.
Considered one of the top comprehensive university museums of natural history in the U.S., the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, located on the University's Boulder campus, contains over four million biology, anthropology, and geology/paleontology research specimens. The Museum also sponsors lectures, classes, tours, and workshops for all ages and interests. Exhibits include fossils, animals of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, and ancient Southwestern cultures.
The Hiking Club at the University of Colorado at Boulder is the longest-running student organization on campus. It organizes member-run trips throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region for university students and affiliates.
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The arrangement of electric lights in the shape of a star on the east side of Flagstaff Mountain is a familiar symbol in Boulder. First turned on as a Christmas decoration in December 1947, the star survived several controversies to become what it is today—part of the area’s history and culture. In April 1948, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce converted the star into an Easter cross. Then, for two decades, the long string of lights alternated between the two symbols. In 1955, 1956, and 1960, someone, or some group, painted the bulbs red, speculated to have been part of a Communist conspiracy. In 1969, the star/cross was changed again—this time into a gigantic peace sign. Finally, some Boulder residents had had enough. They filed a complaint with the Boulder Human Relations Commission on the grounds that the star and the cross (both considered Christian symbols and located on city park property) violated the U.S. Constitution in its separation of church and state. Although the lights had sparked a controversy, they stayed on. The debate resurfaced a year later. In 1970, the same group brought to the Boulder City Council a resolution banning all lighted displays on Flagstaff Mountain. Of the Flagstaff star, a Boulder City attorney stated, "It is our job to guarantee rights of free speech, but that does not mean that one is guaranteed a platform which gives him a captive community audience." The termination of the cross was something people could accept, but the possibility that the star might have to come down caused an uproar among the majority of Boulder citizens. Eventually, the council determined that the cross had to go, but the star represented a "sense of community". In 1980, the star served yet another purpose. It was left on month after month as a reminder of the Americans held hostage in Iran. This ongoing use of electricity, however, upset environmentalists who removed the bulbs, chopped down the wires, and publicly announced that the man-made object disturbed wildlife and wasted energy. Even so, the majority of Boulder's residents still wanted their star, and, once again, they rallied to its defense. It has survived the test of time and appears to be here to stay.
Boulder has hosted a 10 km road run, the "Bolder Boulder", on Memorial Day, every year since 1979. The race involves over 50,000 runners, joggers, walkers, and wheelchair racers, making it one of the largest road races in the world. It has the largest non-marathon prize purse in road racing [media guide[dead link] (PDF)]. The race culminates at the University of Colorado's Folsom Field with a Memorial Day Tribute, "one of the largest Memorial Day gatherings in the United States."
Every year during Memorial Day Weekend, a three-day festival takes place between Canyon Boulevard and Boulder Creek in downtown Boulder. Local vendors participate by setting up tents and selling their products, but the festival itself is free of charge. It features unique flavors of food and live music stages with performers young and old. In addition, there are activities for children, art shows, and a rubber duck race along Boulder Creek. Often, people who participated in the Bolder Boulder stop by after running. Sponsorships are run by Boulder Creek Events.
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From 1980 until 2007, local radio station KBCO and other corporations sponsored Kinetics, a race from the banks of Boulder Reservoir and back by human-powered vehicles timed on speed and judged for style. The idea for a kinetic sculpture race was imported from Ferndale, California. KBCO 97.3 Radio suspended Kinetics for 2008, citing decreasing attendance and increasing costs for the last several years. In 2008 and 2009, the Kineticists Trials and Exhibition were organized by the participants. The 2008 event was held at the Twenty Ninth Street mall and the 2009 event was held on the Harvest House Hotel grounds. The water and land event was held in 2010 and 2011 at Union Reservoir, in neighboring Longmont.
Beginning in 1983, hundreds of people head to the Boulder Reservoir on New Years Day to take part in the annual polar bear plunge. With rescue teams standing by, participants use a variety of techniques to plunge themselves into the freezing reservoir. Once the plunge is complete, swimmers retreat to hot tubs on the reservoir beach to revive themselves from the cold.
Starting in 1998, dozens of people have taken part in a Halloween run down the city's streets wearing only shoes and a hollowed-out pumpkin on their heads. In 2009, local police threatened participants with charges of indecent exposure and no naked runners were reported in official newscasts, although a few naked runners were observed by locals.
Every year on April 20th, thousands of people have gathered on the CU Boulder campus to smoke marijuana at and before 4:20 pm. The 2010 head count was officially between 8,000 and 15,000 with some discrepancy between the local papers and the University administrators (who have been thought to have been attempting to downplay the event). Eleven tickets were given out whereas the year before there were only two.
In 2012, the University administration closed the campus to the general public on Friday, April 20, as a means of preventing this event. The size of the 2012 gathering was greatly reduced as a result.
Boulder has gathered many top rankings in recent years for health, well-being, quality of life, education and art. The partial list below shows some of the nominations.
The Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) administers the public school system in Boulder and also in the neighboring cities and towns of Broomfield, Lafayette, Louisville, and Nederland. The two largest high schools (grades 9–12) in Boulder are Boulder High School and Fairview High School, both part of BVSD. The District also operates the smaller New Vista High School in the building formerly occupied by Baseline Middle School, specializing in innovative and hands-on education. Boulder Valley administers several middle schools (grades 6–8) in Boulder. BVSD elementary schools (grades K–5) in Boulder include University Hill Elementary School and a number of others.
Charter schools (receiving public funding but under private management) within the city of Boulder include Preparatory High School (9–12), Summit Middle School (6–8), Horizons Alternative School (K–8), Peak to Peak Charter School (K-12) and Justice High School (9–12). The last is unusual in that it is operated in rented space in the Boulder County Justice Center, which also houses courtrooms, the sheriff's office, and the coroner's office.
A variety of private high schools, middle schools and elementary schools operate in Boulder. Well-known private schools in the Boulder area include The Acorn School for Early Childhood Development (infant-age 6), Boulder Journey School (6 weeks to 6 years), Boulder Montessori School (18 months to 6 years), Mountain Shadows Montessori School (12 months - 6th grade), Bixby School (K–5), September School (9-12), Jarrow Montessori School (K-6), Bridge School (6–12), the Watershed School (6-12), Shining Mountain Waldorf School (K–12), Sacred Heart of Jesus, a K-8 Catholic school, Tara Performing Arts High School (9-12), Catalyst and Boulder Country Day School in Gunbarrel, Hillside School, an alternative for children with learning disabilities, and Patience Montessori School (6 weeks to 6 years).
The Boulder MSA had a gross metropolitan product of $18.3 billion in 2010, the 110th largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
Previously Sirna Therapeutics had its headquarters and its laboratory in Boulder. In 2005 the company announced that it would move the headquarters to San Francisco. The headquarters moved, while the laboratory facilities remained in Boulder, with administrative, manufacturing, and research facilities. Sirna Therapeutics was acquired by Merck & Co. in 2006 in a cash transaction deal worth $1.1 billion.
Since Boulder has operated under residential growth control ordinances since 1976, the growth of employment in the city has far outstripped population growth. Considerable road traffic enters the city each morning and leaves each afternoon, since many employees live in Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, Broomfield, Westminster, and Denver. Boulder is served by US-36 and a variety of Colorado State Highways. Parking regulations in Boulder have been explicitly designed to discourage parking by commuters and to encourage the use of mass transit, with mixed results.
Boulder has an extensive bus system operated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). The HOP, SKIP, JUMP, BOUND, DASH and STAMPEDE routes run throughout the city and connect to nearby communities on a frequent basis, with departures every ten minutes during peak hours, Monday-Friday. Other routes, such as the 201, 203, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209 and 225 depart every 15 to 30 minutes. Regional routes, traveling between nearby cities such as Longmont (BOLT, J), Golden (GS), and Denver (BMX/BV/BX/DM/HX/S/T), as well as Denver International Airport (AB), are also available. There are over 100 scheduled daily bus trips on seven routes that run between Boulder and Denver on weekdays. Route, schedule and fare information is available on the RTD Web site , or by calling their Telephone Information Center at 303-299-6000. NextBus provides real time arrival information for RTD routes.
A 41-mile RTD commuter rail route called the Northwest Rail Line is proposed to run from Denver through Boulder to Longmont, with stops in major communities along the way. The Boulder station is to be north of Pearl Street and east of 30th Street. At one time this commmuter rail service was scheduled to commence in 2014, but major delays have ensued. As of 2012, the plan is to open a 6-mile segment from downtown Denver to southern Westminster, at 71st Avenue and Lowell Boulevard, in 2016, but the remaining 35 miles of the Northwest Rail Line have no stated completion date.
These future transit projects are part of FasTracks, an RTD transit improvement plan funded by a 0.4% increase in the sales tax throughout the Denver metro area. RTD, the developer of FasTracks, is partnering with the city of Boulder to plan a transit-oriented development near Pearl and 33rd Streets in association with the proposed Boulder commuter rail station. The development is to feature the Boulder Railroad Depot, already relocated to that site, which may be returned to a transit-related use.
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Boulder, well known for its bicycle culture, boasts hundreds of miles of bicycle-pedestrian paths, lanes, and routes that interconnect to create a renowned network of bikeways usable year-round. Boulder has 74 bike and pedestrian underpasses that facilitate safer and uninterrupted travel throughout much of the city. The city offers a route-finding website that allows users to map personalized bike routes around the city. In 2008 the city was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Platinum-level bicycle friendly community.
Walk and Bike Month is celebrated throughout June, with Bike to Work Day held on the last Wednesday in June. The event is presented by GO Boulder and is produced by Community Cycles. Begun in 1977 as Bike to Work Day, Boulder's annual celebration of biking is believed to be one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
While friendly to road cyclists and bicycle commuters within the city, Boulder closed most of the Boulder Open Space/Mountain Park trails to bicycles in the mid and late 1980s. In March 2011 the City again voted to keep the ban in place against mountain bikes, specifically in the west TSA portion of open space.
Government preservation of open space around Boulder began with the Congress of the United States approving the allocation of 1,800 acres (7.3 km2) of mountain backdrop/watershed extending from South Boulder Creek to Sunshine Canyon in 1899.
Since then, Boulder has adopted a policy of controlled urban expansion. In 1959, city voters approved the "Blue Line" city-charter amendment which restricted city water service to altitudes below 5,750 feet (1,750 m), in an effort to protect the mountain backdrop from development. In 1967, city voters approved a dedicated sales tax for the acquisition of open space in an effort to contain urban sprawl. In 1970, Boulder created a "comprehensive plan" that would dictate future zoning, transportation, and urban planning decisions. Hoping to preserve residents' views of the mountains, in 1972, the city enacted an ordinance limiting the height of newly constructed buildings. A Historic-Preservation Code was passed in 1974, and a residential-growth management ordinance (the Danish Plan) in 1976.
The City of Boulder has created an Urban Wildlife Management Plan which sets policies for managing and protecting urban wildlife. Also, the city's parks department has a Conservation Team which monitors parks (including wetlands, lakes, etc.) to protect ecosystems. From time to time, parks and hiking trails are closed to conserve or restore ecosystems. Traditionally, Boulder has avoided the use of chemical pesticides for controlling the insect population. However, with the threat of West Nile Virus, the city began an integrative plan to control the mosquito population in 2003 that includes chemical pesticides. Residents can opt-out of the program by contacting the city and asking that their areas not be sprayed.
Also in 2005, the city experimented with using goats for weed control in environmentally sensitive areas. Goats naturally consume diffuse knapweed and Canada thistle, and although the program was not as effective as it was hoped, goats will still be considered in the future weed control projects.
Boulder's main daily newspaper, the Daily Camera, was founded in 1890 as the weekly Boulder Camera, and became a daily newspaper the following year. The Colorado Daily was started in 1892 as a university newspaper for CU-Boulder. Following many heated controversies over Colorado Daily's political coverage, it severed its ties to the university in 1971. Newspaper conglomerate Scripps acquired the Colorado Daily in 2005 after its acquisition of the Camera in 1997, leaving the Boulder Weekly as the only locally owned newspaper in Boulder. Scripps relinquished its 50 percent ownership in both daily papers in early 2009 to Media News Group. Boulder Magazine, a lifestyle magazine, was founded in 1977. Boulder Magazine is published three times per year.
Non-commercial community radio station KGNU was founded in 1978 and commercial music station KBCO in 1977. KBCO programs an adult album alternative format and is owned and operated by Clear Channel Communications. KBCO transmits from atop Eldorado Mountain south of Boulder.[not in citation given]
KVCU, also known as Radio 1190, is another non-commercial radio station run with the help of university-student volunteers. KVCU started broadcasting in 1998. Boulder hosted Boulder Free Radio (KBFR), one of the longest running pirate radio operations in the country, from 2000 to 2005.
Boulder is part of the Denver market for television stations, and it also receives many radio stations based in Denver or Ft. Collins. For cable television, Boulder is served by Comcast Cable. Over-the-air television reception is poor in the western part of the city because of interference from mountain landforms.
Paladin Press book/video publishers and Soldier of Fortune magazine both have their headquarters in Boulder. Paladin Press was founded in September 1970 by Peder Lund and Robert K. Brown. In 1974, Lund bought out Brown's share of the press, and Brown moved on to found Soldier of Fortune magazine the following year.
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Notable births in Boulder include: John Fante (writer), Scott Carpenter (Project Mercury astronaut), Arleigh Burke (United States Navy Admiral, Chief of Naval Operations), Kristin Davis (Sex and the City actress), Tony Boselli (five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle), and Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra.
Chief Niwot or Left Hand, a tribal leader of the Arapaho, lived at the site of Boulder. In 1858, Captain Thomas Aikins and some would-be goldminers camped at present-day Setter's Park—in the midst of Arapaho territory. The chief and his people were camped at Valmont Butte: then and now a sacred site to the tribe. Niwot and his war party rode to the settler's camp whereupon he pronounced his legendary curse:
|“||People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.||”|
Notable Boulder residents include Albert Bartlett, emeritus professor of physics and frequent lecturer on the dangers of compound growth, and also one of the principal backers of the Blue Line in the late 1950s. Boulder is also home to Paul Danish, author of the Danish Plan of residential growth control and editor and publisher of the former weekly Boulder County newspaper Town and Country Review.
Boulder was also the home of JonBenét Ramsey when she was murdered, late on December 25 or early on December 26, in 1996. The body of the six-year-old was found on December 26 in the basement of her home on 15th Street. The made-for-TV movie Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder, based on the book of the same title, was released in 2000. It dramatized the investigation into the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. It was filmed on location in Boulder.
One of the most popular sections of Boulder is the famous Pearl Street Mall, home to numerous shops and restaurants. This four-block pedestrian mall is a social hotspot in Boulder, with dozens of restaurants of all kinds and specialty stores that include artisan shops and unique gadget shops. In the summer and on weekends, many street shows and acts can be found throughout the mall, along with street vendors and henna tattoo artists.
Boulder's traditional Downtown area, including the Pearl Street Mall, is in the western part of present-day Boulder. During the 1950s and 1960s, the city grew to the east, since the west side is bounded by the foothills. Downtown is host to a variety of restaurants, bars, and boutique stores. However, it has few grocery, hardware, or department stores and is therefore more of a "shopping destination" than a neighborhood with stores supporting the local population.
South of Pearl Street and adjacent to the CU-Boulder campus is another historic shopping center, The Hill. Featuring some of the city's landmark stores and venues, such as Albums on the Hill and the Fox Theatre, The Hill has been the center of college life for many of the nearby sororities and fraternities.
Near the Pearl Street Mall the Farmers' Market opens every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening, April through October on 13th Street next to Central Park. The market was started in 1986 by regional farmers.
Dushanbe presented its distinctive Dushanbe Tea House as a gift to Boulder in 1987. It was completed in Tajikistan in 1990, then shipped to Boulder where it was reassembled and opened to the public in 1998. More information about Boulder's sister city relationships can be found at Boulder's official website.
Boulder was a setting for Stephen King's book The Stand (1978), as the gathering point for the survivors of the superflu. King lived in Boulder for a little less than a year, beginning in the autumn of 1974, and wrote The Shining (1977) during this period.
The sitcom Mork & Mindy (1978–1982) was set in Boulder, with 1619 Pine St. serving as the exterior shot of Mindy's home, and the New York Deli, a restaurant on the Pearl Street Mall, was also featured prominently.
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