Land Use and Management Plan | Lyons, CO

Lyons, CO

When the Town of Lyons was flooded in 2013, the devastation that visited the town also created an opportunity. Through a federal hazard mitigation buyout program, this small Boulder County community of just 2,000 people acquired 20 acres of land in the heart of town. The land, much of which had lain directly in the path of the floodwaters, was now to be dedicated to recreational and open-space use.

Our team was selected to lead the planning process and, given the deeply-felt nature of the situation, we felt that community input and engagement should be a major component of our ongoing design project. As a result, we held public workshops and stakeholder interviews and met extensively with local boards, commissions, and community groups to ensure that the people of Lyons were centrally involved in the reinvention of their town, and that their needs, wishes, and hopes would find expression in our planning.

In addition, given the history of the Lyons area, our work on the project included not only recreation master planning, but also resiliency and flood recovery planning. We knew that our designs had to take into account the possibility of future flooding, and therefore had to be constructed to withstand the possible onslaught of large amounts of water with as little impact and as few long-term effects as possible.

Recreation Master Planning Excellence Strengthens Community and Resiliency

Pulling together all these disparate elements, we created both a master plan and a site plan (including mapping and cost estimates). The final design includes community gardens, open space, public shelters and small gathering spaces, public facilities and parking, a botanic garden, and walking trails that afford access to the river and to different areas of the city. As envisioned, the space functions both as a natural and recreational destination and as a central space which knits together the surrounding neighborhoods, schools, and shops.

Our hope is that this beautiful and resilient common area will reflect the enduring spirit of the people of Lyons, while providing them both recreational opportunities and an ongoing connection to nature.


Merit Award

American Planning Association,

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