Wellington Neighborhood

The local planning director, after hearing our vision, said,
“It will never happen.” Three years later we were at the
National Building Museum in Washington, DC with the EPA
Administrator presenting us the EPA’s National Award for
Smart Growth Achievement.

Wellington NeighborhoodWhen we first saw what would be the future site of the Wellington Neighborhood, it was dominated by 30 foot high piles of basketball sized rock left over from nearly 100 years of dredge mining. The site was part of an 1,800 acre tract that garnered the attention of Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Justice, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, and the Colorado Attorney General, among others; all of whom were concerned with environmental impacts from historic mining activities. At initial meetings of the French Gulch Remediation Opportunities Group, upwards to forty representatives of a dozen federal, state and local agencies discussed remediation strategies without a clear consensus on how to proceed.

Our value added was to define the possible outcome in terms of a three legged stool, the legs of which consisted of remediation, open space and affordable housing. Over the years, a public / private partnership evolved which ultimately resulted in the construction of a water treatment plant to address water quality issues; the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County acquiring the undeveloped portions of the property for preservation as permanent open space; and, development of the Wellington Neighborhood.

The Denver Post in an editorial, concluded: “enlightened public-sector incentives and gutsy entrepreneurship have combined to provide a model for the entire state.”  Find more information at www.poplarhouse.com.