If you go

What: Boulder City Council meeting

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway

More info: To read the memo on Civic Area implementation and see the complete agenda, go to bit.ly/1lrrnOM.

Crews are spending this summer sprucing up park land along Boulder Creek in the first stage of implementing the Civic Area Master Plan adopted by the City Council last year.

Boulder planners hope to add appeal to the area so that more people will want to spend time there, even before some of the larger capital projects that are part of the Civic Area plan — such as a performing arts center and a year-round farmers market — get designed and built.

"Along with the physical changes, we want to change people's perceptions of the area," Boulder spokesman Mike Banuelos said. "In order for this to be successful, people have to want to go there."

The Civic Area encompasses the area between Ninth and 17th streets and between Arapahoe Avenue and Canyon Boulevard, with Boulder Creek running through the middle. It includes the main library, the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Farmers Market along 13th Street.

The master plan aims to guide redevelopment of the area into a widely used public space dedicated to nature, science and cultural activities, while preserving many of the more popular attractions.

The Boulder City Council unanimously adopted the master plan in 2013, but there is now no funding for the projects. Boulder planners hope that a "pay-as-you-go" short-term sales tax for capital projects can provide funding for some of the initial projects, with bond funding and public-private partnerships completing the rest.

Elise Soika, 5, joins her mother Kelli and the rest of the family for a picnic in the grass area between the Boulder Municipal Building and the library on
Elise Soika, 5, joins her mother Kelli and the rest of the family for a picnic in the grass area between the Boulder Municipal Building and the library on Sunday. (Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera)

Banuelos said the projects in 2014 and 2015 will develop the park element along the creek. How that goes will drive much of the decision-making around what belongs on the "bookends" of the Civic Area along Ninth and 13th. (The Civic Area planning process extends farther east, but most of that land is in private hands.)

The work being done this year is largely cosmetic. The historic Glen Huntington bandshell has been cleaned and repainted. The lawn between the library and the Boulder Municipal Building has been reseeded and repaired. Workers are putting new landscaping along Canyon Boulevard. The "Winnie the Pooh Garden" near the Arapahoe Avenue entrance to the library had become overgrown, and workers plan to clean and restore the small courtyard. The historic railroad tracks in Central Park will be removed and stored, and volunteers will plant daffodil bulbs there in the fall.

Jeff Dillon, director of parks and recreation, said the projects are small and covered within the department's maintenance budget. However, the collective effect should be to make the area nicer and more appealing.

Boulder planners have identified roughly $8.7 million in projects that could enhance the area in the next two years and fit within the pay-as-you-go capital program.

The pay-as-you-go proposal involves asking voters to approve a short-term sales tax for capital projects that would be paid for as the money comes in, rather than taking on debt that would be paid off over a longer period of time.

The plan calls for $4.425 million for projects along the creek. The largest piece of that would be $2.5 million to transform the south side of the creek and the library into a large nature play area that would attract families, according to a memo to the City Council. The plan calls for most of the library parking lot to be removed to create natural areas, with parking to be provided at new garages.

Another $3.075 million would go toward creating "community spaces," such as a new library cafe with an outside courtyard and new seating, lighting, art and electrical power to support food vending and performances at the Farmers Market, the Sister Cities Plaza and other areas.

The last $1.2 million would go toward improved connectivity, with art used to create gateways, new paths and signage.