Breckenridge adopts new plan to manage its public art collection
June 14, 2017
Breckenridge's public art collection features 30 unique pieces spread out across town, and exactly how this collection will be curated going forward is now spelled out in a new, 59-page document adopted Tuesday on first reading by Breckenridge Town Council.
As described in the document, public art pieces can be traditional, like paintings and mosaics, or they can be more abstract, such as lighting installations and projections. Public art can also include detail work integrated into benches, walkways and retaining walls, or it can be found inside community facilities, such as bus stops, the rec center or government offices.
Most basically, public art covers pretty much any piece of artwork in the public realm, whether it's a large-scale, site-specific sculpture that forms the centerpiece of a community-gathering place or a much smaller piece perched inconspicuously along a public trail.
Regardless of what it might be, public art is widely viewed as a great tool for town beautification, strengthening a community's identity and economic development, and many municipalities across the country are integrating public art into their planning processes, especially in terms of downtown revitalization.
Officials at Breckenridge Creative Arts produced the new public art planning document — the Breckenridge Public Art Program Master Plan + Policy 2016 — as an update to a similar, but less-detailed document adopted in January 2006.
Unlike the 2006 document, the new plan breaks down into three major parts: the Public Art Master Plan giving creative direction to the Breckenridge Public Art Program, the Public Art Policy outlining the specific policies and procedures to put the plan into action and a third part offering a visual tour of the public art collection in Breckenridge as it now stands.
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The updated plan first came before council during a May 23 workshop, and when asked flatly what he wanted the town to do with it, president and CEO of BreckCreate Robb Woulfe responded that he hoped the council would pass it.
While passage of the plan was never really in question, council members did take issue with a few line items at the workshop and asked for revisions.
Primarily, the council's biggest concerns centered on awarding multiple positive points to developers who incorporate public art and off-site improvements into their building plans, where they've only awarded a single point in the past.
Even with the town only awarding a single point, council members said they've felt shortchanged with pieces of public art before, in which a point was awarded but the end result wasn't what they had envisioned it would be.
As a result of those concerns, one bullet point referencing the opportunity of increasing positive points for public art and off-site points in the new plan was removed, and an "s" on the word "points" in another part of the document was nixed as well.
Also deleted was a sentence referring to a separate Capital Improvement budget that was to be requested by BCA from the council to fund approved public art projects within public projects.
With those changes made, council voted on two agenda items Tuesday related to the plan, as it required the council's consent on both resolutions to adopt the new public art plan and add it to the town's comprehensive master plan, which includes almost two-dozen different documents pertaining from off-street parking to storm drainage and trail management.
All votes Tuesday were a unanimous 6-0 with Councilman Mike Dudick not attending the meeting.
In other business:
• Council voted in support of two resolutions, one backing local immigrants and another critical of federal actions to roll back climate-change controls set in action by the previous White House administration.
• Council passed on second reading a lease agreement with Colorado Mountain College, allowing the college to rent out 20 housing units inside two buildings built by the town on Denison Placer Road for the next three years. During that time, CMC can exercise an option to buy the two apartment buildings housing the 20 units, along with 10 others, for $5.8 million, or cost of construction.
• On second readings, council passed an ordinance requiring short-term rental listings include the corresponding town business license number in all their advertisements and another setting term limits for the members of the town's planning and open space advisory commissions.
• On first reading, council also voted to set term limits for members of the Breckenridge Marijuana and Liquor Licensing Authority. Originally, town officials had lumped term limits for the five-member pot and liquor panel in with the same ordinance as the planning and open space advisory commissions. However, worries about forcing the most senior members off the board before new members were fully up to speed led council to separate the ordinances and delay the point at which the term limits kick in for the pot and liquor board members.
• Council passed on first reading an ordinance updating town code concerning licensing agreements for use of town-owned property. The move was framed largely as a housekeeping measure, or a necessary update to an ordinance passed in 1998. The town has granted these agreements in the past for a number of public and non-public uses of town property, such as fences or private walkways that encroach into the town's right of way. However, they are unlike easements in the sense they can revoked at any time.
• Mayor Eric Mamula suggested the town should look into building a small campground, possibly something within the neighborhood of eight to 12 campsites, where people could park their campers or pitch a tent. Looking at other mountain towns with small campgrounds, Mamula said Breckenridge could benefit from having one.
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