Highlands Ranch Metro District > Services > Parks & Open Space > Parkway Conversion Demonstration Sites

Parkway landscape conversion demonstration sites

The Metro District maintains more than 285 acres of landscape along the community’s major roads. Some of these parkway areas are almost 40 years old and were designed at a time when maintenance costs and water conservation were not as big of a concern.

Transforming our roadside landscaping

In an effort to move to more sustainable maintenance practices, the Metro District, with support from Centennial Water & Sanitation District, is exploring options for converting some areas of bluegrass along the parkways to more drought tolerant, lower maintenance landscaping. This is a Major Repair Fund project, and the intent is to reduce future operations costs.

Three locations have been approved by the Metro District Board of Directors as demonstration sites for conversion. After new landscaping at these three sites has had a chance to establish, input from the community will be gathered to determine the next steps of the program. Establishing conversion areas to their full potential could take multiple growing seasons. Updates will be provided to both the public and the Metro District Board of Directors. If you have any questions about the project, contact Park Planner Brittany White at bwhite@highlandsranch.org or 720-240-5923.

Goals and objectives of the Parkway Landscape Conversion Program

  • Reduce overall water and maintenance needs by providing a more sustainable landscape and irrigation program.
  • Maintain and enhance the existing aesthetics and experience of the streetscape.
  • Educate the community in the value of landscape conversions.
  • Create a realistic phasing plan which prioritizes areas for conversion.

 


 

Demonstration sites

Each site exemplifies challenging conditions: narrow strips of landscape, south-facing slopes and other areas of struggling turf.

Click map to enlarge

  • White Oak Lane: narrow strip on the north side of Highlands Ranch Parkway across from the intersection with White Oak Lane.
    Xeric plantings, cobble and wood mulch will replace bluegrass.

 

  • AMC Slope: south facing slope located on the north side of Plaza Drive, west of Centennial Boulevard.
    Native grass will replace bluegrass.

 

  • Fairview: wide area on the east side of Fairview Parkway, north of S. Cherryhurst Lane.
    Bluegrass next to Fairview will remain, while the grass between the sidewalk and the fence will be converted to a xeric, low-maintenance alternative grass.

 

Three examples of landscape conversion scenarios. Click to enlarge.

 


Project background

During the 2019 Citizen Survey, strong majorities of voters supported the Metro District’s plans to create more sustainable parkway landscape and convert some bluegrass to native and alternative plants along the parkways. In both scenarios, the proportions of voters in strong support of the initiatives far exceeded those in strong opposition.

  • Survey question 17: The Metro District maintains 57 miles (285 acres) of parkway landscape along the major roads consisting of irrigated bluegrass, a wide variety of trees and shrub beds. How much would you support or oppose a community goal to gradually create more sustainable parkway landscape (e.g., less maintenance and water usage)?
  • Response:

 

  • Survey question 18: Currently, the Metro District is considering a plan to convert some of the large areas of bluegrass to native and alternative plants and grasses to help conserve maintenance costs and water. Converting 95 acres of the parkway landscape would have an estimated total cost of $400,000 per year for the next 20 years. Funding would come from existing revenue sources without having to increase property taxes. The potential payback is 7 to 9 years. How much would you support or oppose this plan to convert some of the bluegrass areas along major roads?
  • Response:

 


If you have questions about this project, please contact Park Planner Brittany White at bwhite@highlandsranch.org or 720-240-5923.

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