Celebrating Local Character.
Supporting Independent Businesses.
Strengthening Colorado's Downtowns.


DCI's Vibrant Downtowns Event, IN THE GAME, is a three day interactive educational experience. We harness national, state, and local resources to expand the way our downtown champions think and provide real problem solving opportunities. 

Check out our Schedule at a Glance, complimentary tours and lunches, and our amazing speaker line up.  We can't wait to see you there!

In need of some financial support to get to the conference? Fill out our scholarship form: 


Parking: Rembrandt Yard does not have on-site parking, but there are a variety of parking garages and lots located within one block of the gallery. You may also use the on-street metered parking. Most City of Boulder public parking garages and lots are free on Saturdays, Sunday and city holidays. For a map of all nearby parking, click here.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Thank you to our Sponsors!

2017 Conference Preview

2017 Conference Recap

Featuring Keynotes from:

Elizabeth is the State Demographer with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, an agency focused on strengthening the capacity of Colorado’s communities and local governments. She leads the State Demography Office, which produces population and economic estimates and forecasts for use by state agencies and local governments. Elizabeth has over 25 years of experience analyzing population and economic trends in the state, and her current areas of research include aging in Colorado, characteristics of migration, and poverty. Elizabeth is an economist and received her B.A. in Business at the University of San Diego, her masters in Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. She is also a Colorado native, something only 43% of the state’s population can claim.

Brad Segal is the founder and president of Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.), a Denverā€based real estate economics and planning consulting firm providing management, marketing and economic development services to advance downtown and community development. The firm has served more than 200 clients in 34 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the Caribbean. Brad has nearly 30 years of downtown management and community development experience as both a practitioner and consultant. He is one of the nation’s leading authorities on downtown trends and issues, strategic planning for organizations involved in downtown and community development, and creating business improvement districts. Prior to establishing P.U.M.A., Brad designed and managed economic development programs to attract jobs and investment to downtown Denver as senior director of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
NRC Vice President Michelle Kobayashi has helped local governments, other public-sector organizations and non-profits maximize public opinion for more than twenty years. She is a thought-leader in the field of survey research and evaluation, and has written numerous books and articles on the subject. She travels the country to speak professionally and lead workshops on strategic planning, resident surveys, and moreVery recently, Kobayashi gave multiple presentations and facilitated workshops at the annual ICMA conference in San Antonio.  Responses were very positive when attendees were asked if they would recommend Kobayashi as a speaker, giving her a 5-star rating.  She would be an excellent asset to the DCI conference in Boulder as a keynote speaker.
Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. Homewood is the community that is the driving force behind German’s powerful performance work, and whose cast-off relics form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures. As a citizen artist, German explores the power of art and love as a transformative force in the dynamic cultural ecosystem of communities and neighborhoods. She is the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of her historic Homewood neighborhood. Her work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in The Huffington Post, O Magazine and Essence Magazine. She is the recipient of the 2015 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant. Vanessa German is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York.

 Colorado Briefs: Wednesday, April 11

 Colorado Briefs: Thursday, April 12

Dine Around Sessions | Wednesday, April 11

Community Heart & Soul Program | Orton Family Foundation

What if you knew the global trends that influence downtown growth and vibrancy? What if you had waypoints to guide downtown revitalization projects? What if you had strategies and action steps you could implement today in your downtown? This session will share research to help you take meaningful steps forward updating your downtown area, no matter how big or small.

How Music Made the Hill | AEG Live

University Hill, or “The Hill” as it’s called by locals, sits west of CU on the central Broadway corridor. The district offers a vibrant mix of people, uses, and just plain fun. Boulder's music scene has a stand-alone reputation, and much of it was earned on The Hill. From the Fox Theater to The Sink, The Hill is unique and music is a large part of the history. Join music gurus Chuck Morris and Don Strasburg as they talk about music and the placemaking process on The Hill.

Next Steps: Taking Action on Survey | National Research Center

Local governments, downtown organizations, districts and other public sector entities have lots of data about downtowns, but data today is bigger than ever. Taking action on numbers and reports is easier said than done. Recommendations drawn from research don’t always make it straight to the ballot. Discover simple, yet effective Action Strategies to create successful local government initiatives. See municipal examples using resident opinion data to make communities better. We look forward this lunch workshop, and taking the next steps with you and your downtown!

Strategies to Enhance Downtowns | RG Engineering | At Capacity

What if you knew the global trends that influence downtown growth and vibrancy? What if you had waypoints to guide downtown revitalization projects? What if you had strategies and action steps you could implement today in your downtown? This session will share research to help you take meaningful steps forward updating your downtown area, no matter how big or small.

Taxonomy of a Team | CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement

Join academics and professionals in an exciting exploration of the various persona(s) we each wear in a team or project setting. We will reflect on the personal and disciplinary attributes of each participant and how skill sets become assets on solution-based team. Learn how to creatively connect the expertise and perspectives of various personas to real world scenarios.

Dine Around Sessions | Thursday, April 12

How we got Here: Catalyzing Change in Downtowns | DHM Design At Capacity

Join DHM Design as we discuss hot springs and the role they play in our communities around the state. Walker Christensen will highlight enhancements at several facilities and how strategic and creative thinking can spur economic development, create community hubs and drive regional tourism. From funding through design and construction solutions, we will highlight successful strategies and take questions about these geothermal amenities so distinctive to the west.

Marijuana & Community Building | Native Roots

As the leading marijuana dispensary in Colorado, Native Roots works to improve the communities in which we live and work through partnering with local non-profits, donations, and more. Join us as we discuss the marijuana industry, Colorado workforce, and how we can make this partnership even stronger.

Parcels, Partners, and Planning for a Hotel on University Hill | Sage Hospitality

Boulder's University Hill is a destination for students and music lovers. The area, though connected to Pearl Street by the city’s central Broadway corridor, feels isolated and faces challenges in drawing new businesses because of a lack of year-round pedestrian activity. Through a dynamic assemblage process, the city and the University Hill General Improvement District are partnering with a private developer to pursue a dynamic and engaging mixed use project, with a 175-room hotel, 200 parking spaces and 16,000 SF of retail/dining. Join us for a tour of the site by city staff and a presentation by the city’s real estate attorney to learn how the partnership was structured to overcome significant obstacles.

Programs to Shape Downtown Initiatives | Colorado Department of Local Affairs | At Capacity

The Colorado Main Street Program offers support for community-led downtown revitalization. Main Street provides a customizable framework to focus efforts, energy, and resources to create a more vibrant community. By focusing on current community strengths and assets, the Colorado Main Street Program is a catalyst to move you forward, one step at a time.

Resources for Rural Communities and Cooperatives | Rocky Mountain Farmers Union

Formed in 1996, the Rocky Mountain Farmer's Union (RMFU) Cooperative Development Center has worked with and helped grow more than 100 cooperatives, with a focus on areas and professions suffering from economic stress, high unemployment or high poverty. RMFU offers assistance with assessing feasibility, identifying funding streams, building stronger capacity of board and membership, and linking projects to resources.

Tours | Tuesday, April 11

Downtown Nederland 2017 Challenge Update and Tour | Nederland DDA

Join with Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) as we highlight the small Town of Nederland! Nederland is just thirty minutes from Boulder and five minutes from Eldora Ski Area. The Town, Nederland Downtown Development Authority (DDA), and local developers are incredibly proud of the projects and opportunities that this rural but centrally-located community has to showcase. In 2015, a Downtown Assessment, highlighted some ideas for working on housing, increasing business, and building a stronger stewardship of the land. Downtown Nederland was a Challenge Studio host community at the 2017 DCI IN THE GAME event. The Nederland Challenge looked at how the community can work with one property owner who holds 20+% of commercial properties. The focus was finding ways to work with developers on their big ideas without losing the character of the town. Come visit the Town of Nederland and experience this exceptional place and the leaders who are making a difference! After the Downtown Nederland Tour, you are welcome to head to Boulder for the other Tuesday options (Pearl Street Tour starting at 5:15PM), or stay in Nederland for the Small Business Conference Closing. If you want to attend the Pearl Street Mall Tour, be sure to leave Nederland by 4:30PM.

Pearl Street Mall: From Past to Present | Richard Foy, Pearl Street Mall Designer

Join Richard Foy, founding Partner of CommArts design firm, for a walking tour of the Pearl Street Mall. In the mid 1970s, Foy was a leader on the design team for the creation of the four block pedestrian mall. During the one hour tour, Foy will give a brief history of Pearl Street prior to the mall and also discuss how and why the mall was envisioned by the private sector business community. Foy will provide insights as to the success of the Pearl Street Mall and why other pedestrian malls have not survived. Learn why the Pearl Street Mall meets the social, economic and cultural aspirations of the city. The tour will begin in front of the Hotel Boulderado end at the Opening Reception (across the street from the Boulderado)! n 

Local Tours | Wednesday, April 11

Bridge House Community Table Kitchen Tour | Boulder Bridge House

Launched in 2013, Community Table Kitchen marries our twofold mission of basic needs and solution-oriented services. The state-of-the-art commercial kitchen space allows Bridge House to combine our commitment to feed the hungry in our community with our commitment to providing jobs to Bridge House's Ready to Work trainees as a stepping stone out of homelessness.

Creatives Creating (and Driving) Art Tour | Boulder Library & Artocade

Boulder is a crossroads of culture and ideas that foster art and artistic people. Join this tour that will highlight Boulder's public art, showcase the visiting Trinidad Artocade program, and tour the Boulder Public Library's BLDG 61 an all-ages public workshop dedicated to hands-on learning and cultivating valuable experiences in the community through ”creating”.

Crews, Brews & Views: Downtown Longmont | Longmont DDA

Hop on the BrewHop Trolley and ride in style to Downtown Longmont. Experience the new flavor of Downtown as you enjoy a taste of adult-crafted beverages (beer, cider & whiskey), nationally-acclaimed restaurants and see what has changed and what is in the works. Hop on, you will be glad you did! EXTENDED TOUR - INCLUDES PROGRESSIVE DINNER.

Downtown Boulder Underground Pub Crawl | Self-Directed

Innovators from Historic Boulder present a Downtown Boulder Underground self-guided tour and pub crawl that highlights some of Boulder’s oldest underground (literally underground) drinking establishments.

Local Tours | Thursday, April 12

 Afternoon Tea at the Dushanbe Tea House | Self-Directed

Come learn about the Dushanbe Tea House and the Sister City Program that brought this magnificent structure to Boulder. Yes... the Dushanbe Tea House is a quick tour but stay and play with an optional "pay-on-your-own" experience of tea and taste treats at one of Boulder’s most photographed locations.

Boulder Junction: A mixed-use, transit-oriented, affordable housing project| GO Boulder Transportation

Boulder Junction is a 160-acre redevelopment area located in the geographic center of the community, connecting west and east Boulder. It is becoming a state-of-the-art, transit-oriented development that features a bus rapid transit (BRT) station along with residential, commercial, and retail space that encompasses Google’s new campus. The centerpiece of this area will be RTD’s underground bus facility opening this summer and located adjacent to the new Hyatt Place Hotel.

Downtown Boulder Beer Trail | Self-Directed

Enjoy Boulder's finest brews with a crew of your choosing for this self-directed tour! See registration for your map to brewery fun!

Downtown Boulder History Walk | History Boulder

A long-time resident of Boulder once said that Pearl Street, in the 1940s, was “a good place to buy a pair of socks.” Whatever one’s objective, the town’s main thoroughfare has been many things to many people during its decades-long evolution from mud to mall. Boulder began as a supply town for gold miners in the mountains, and Pearl Street is believed to have been named for the wife of one of the town’s 54 founders. Boulder City Town Company was formed on February 10, 1859, when the land was part of the hunting grounds for roaming bands of the Arapaho tribe.

Location | Rembrandt Yard-Boulder, CO

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