Patrons and neighbors of the coming North Boulder Library will enjoy a playground, learning garden, outdoor maker space and more complete family civic plaza, thanks to a $700,000 grant the Boulder Library Foundation has been awarded by The Colorado Health Foundation.
The concept for the outdoor amenities was developed in consultation with the surrounding community by Boulder Public Library staff and Growing Up Boulder, a nonprofit organization housed at the library.
“Boulder Library Foundation is thrilled to receive this game-changing grant award, which will help realize the vision for the outdoor spaces around our newest library – a vision created in collaboration with our north Boulder neighbors,” said Chris Barge, Executive Director of the Boulder Library Foundation. “The Colorado Health Foundation’s significant support for this project affirms the strong work in lifting up community voices done by the staff of the library and Growing Up Boulder.”
Construction on the new North Boulder Library, near Broadway and Violet Avenue, is scheduled to break ground in January and is expected to take about a year to complete. The outdoor amenities funded by this grant were cut from the original budget due to escalating construction costs. The Boulder Library Foundation is actively raising money to restore the cuts as part of a $1.5 million capital campaign. With this grant, the Foundation has now raised $915,000 towards its overall goal.
The grant comes from a new funding opportunity from the Colorado Health Foundation, titled “Infusing Equity into Built Environment for Better Health.” It aims to support capital investments in the built environment – such as playgrounds, parks and outdoor spaces – across Colorado that allow children, youth and families to engage in physical activity more regularly. It prioritizes communities living on low income, communities of color and rural communities in Colorado.
“Outcomes around health equity are most closely achieved when projects invite and embrace partnership and co-creation with youth and community voice,” said Camila Lara, Program Officer at The Colorado Health Foundation. “We are proud to support this element of the NoBo Library Branch, designed in the spirit of ensuring that its community feel reflected and always welcome.”
Plans for the outdoor spaces surrounding the NoBo Library were developed in a community engagement process involving meetings with neighbors, including residents of Boulder Meadows and Ponderosa mobile home parks, which are directly to the east and west of the site. The new library and grounds will replace the tiny NoBo Corner Library to become the first public building in north Boulder.
“This grant will allow us to more fully realize the community’s vision for a multipurpose, dynamic community anchor in north Boulder, making this long awaited library the most amazing family amenity in the area!” said Antonia Gaona, the library’s Public Services Manager.
The community engagement process included thorough input from students at the nearby Crestview and Foothill elementary schools, as well as Boulder Journey School. Student input was facilitated and collected by Growing Up Boulder.
“The more than 250 local children who contributed their vision to the outdoor space of the library will be delighted when they see that vision become a reality in their neighborhood,” said Mara Mintzer, Executive Director of Growing Up Boulder. “This grant and collaboration prove to our young people that even little voices can make a big impact in the world.”
In addition to the grant award, The Colorado Health Foundation will fund Boulder landscape architecture firm Urban Play Studio to evolve the concepts into buildable plans, with further input from the community, starting soon.
About The Boulder Library Foundation:
The Boulder Library Foundation increases funding for services that help the people of Boulder develop and grow by raising money, increasing awareness, advocating for the library, and encouraging community involvement.
About The Colorado Health Foundation:
The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy, learning and capacity building.
About Growing Up Boulder
Growing Up Boulder offers young people opportunities to participate, deliberate and influence local issues that affect their lives.