<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   Next >  Last >> 
  • 02/11/2019 11:20 AM | Andrew Curtis (Administrator)

    DCI was honored to present our DCI Downtown Capacity Builders VISTA program at the Colorado Preservation, Inc. (CPI) conference this week. CPI requested DCI’s input in sharing how our Capacity Building VISTA program can assist in strengthening preservation organizations and partners throughout Colorado. DCI was pleased to highlight the work of our VISTA members including Hunter Hovenga, Destinee Lukianoff, and Andrew Wallace in Buena Vista, Leadville, and Trinidad, respectively.

     

    Katy Welter, Founding Chair of Historic Preservation Commission. Worked with VISTA member Hunter Hovenga from August of 2016 to August of 2018 in conjunction with the Town of Buena Vista and the Buena Vista Main Street Program. 

    The presentations showcased preservation accomplishments including a resulting increase in staffing, funding, and new partnerships developed from our VISTA members’ work in their communities. Some of those other program accomplishments include:

    • Linking preservation to economic development,
    • Better planning for and creation of historic preservation commissions, recruiting board
      members and commissioners,
    • Historic structure assessments,
    • Architectural guidelines,
    • Historic architectural survey,
    • Creating programs for adaptive reuse and façade revitalization,
    • Linking to DCI’s statewide network,
    • Participation in the DCI Colorado Challenge Program, held at the DCI IN THE GAME annual conference.

    Destinee Lukianoff, Leadville Main Street Revitalization Specialist during her VISTA term from May 2016 to April 2018. Currently, Destinee is the Administrative Assistant/Leadville Main Street Program Manager for the City of Leadville.

     

    Andrew Wallace, Downtown Development Coordinator VISTA member for the City of Trinidad from September 2017 to September 2018. 

    Preservation resources highlighted:

    • DCI Colorado Challenge Program: A team building accelerator to turn your challenges into opportunities and give you a plan of action.

      Destinee Lukianoff in particular used the Challenge Program last year at our 2018 Conference to come up with solutions regarding the fact that many of their projects are smaller in size (8-13 units) and the state and federal funding typically favor bigger developments. Through the Challenge Studio, Destinee was able to identify more resources that help Leadville preserve its heritage and strengthen the community (see examples below).
    • Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE): C-PACE enables owners of eligible commercial and industrial buildings to finance up to 100% of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation eligible improvements. Financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive rates with repayment terms up to 25 years.
    • Colorado Housing and Financing Authority (CHFA): Colorado’s authority for tax credits, affordable housing, and partnerships around housing.
    • DCI’s Urban Renewal Training and Education: these 101 and 201 sessions educate individuals on the basics of urban renewal and also take the conversation further for more advanced urban renewal practice.
    • Colorado Opportunity Zones: The Federal Opportunity Zone (OZ) program provides a federal tax incentive for investors to invest in low-income urban and rural communities through favorable treatment of reinvested capital gains and forgiveness of tax on new capital gains.
    • SHF Support for Deferred Maintenance Emergency Fund: Emergency Grants are awarded to provide assistance to significant resources that are in imminent danger of being lost, demolished, or seriously damaged, and when the threat is sudden and unexpected, such as a fire, flood, hail storm, or other act of nature.
    • Partners in Preservation National Main Street Competition: Main Streets campaign invites the public to #VoteYourMainStreet to decide which historic sites along 20 of America’s favorite Main Streets should receive $2 million in preservation funding from American Express. The campaign runs from September 24th to October 26th.

    More Information

    For more information on how DCI can help you access a DCI Downtown Capacity Buildiers AmeriCorps VISTA, contact VISTA Leader Andrew Curtis at vista2@downtowncoloradoinc.org. For other DCI resources including access to our IN THE GAME event and Colorado Challenge Program, please contact Will Cundiff marketing@downtowncoloradoinc.org.

    We can’t wait to participate at next year’s CPI Saving Places Conference where our VISTA members can offer and learn more about historic preservation!

  • 01/22/2019 2:31 PM | Val Peterson (Administrator)

    In 2018, DCI was awarded a USDA Rural Business Development Grant focused on Digital Marketing and Planning for Creative Entrepreneurs. Our project focused on providing digital marketing technical assistance to creative entrepreneurs throughout rural Colorado communities with two phases, the first working on regional coordination to establish action plans for cohesive efforts and the second working with specific entrepreneurs in need of digital marketing support.

    Phase I: Planning for Regional Attraction

    To identify our grant recipients, DCI member communities submitted letters of interest to be included in our grant. DCI decided to focus on three rural regions, the San Luis Valley, Southeast Colorado, and the Western Slope, with partners in Gunnison, Eads, Limon, Center, Saguache, and Paonia. To determine digital presence and marketing needs for each community DCI completed surveys, planning meetings, and held a stakeholder meeting in each community in fall of 2018.

    With a deeper understanding of each community’s unique attributes and individual needs shared through meetings with community members, business owners, and entrepreneurs, DCI is excited to share our findings and some suggested the actions for each community through our partnership. While we are still in the process of sharing action plans with communities, we wanted to share a short introduction for you to meet our recipients:

    Eads: Eads highlights the recreational assets centrally located near several reservoirs and the Eastern plains, making it a great destination for water birding, and hiking enthusiasts.

    Center: Center is near the Great Sand Dunes, the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, and the recently reworked mountain biking and hiking trail system at the Penitente Canyon Special Recreation Area.

    Gunnison: Gunnison celebrates its Western roots with the annual Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo. This event brings the community together and has shaped Gunnison’s heritage for over 100 years.

    Limon: Known as the “Hub City”, Limon also boasts a trail system in the wetlands for biking and hiking, local history museums, and community spaces for gathering and entertainment.

    Paonia: Paonia has carved out an identity for itself through the combination of agriculture and arts. It is also home to a Certified Creative District and is a part of the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition.

    Saguache: Rich in local history, Saguache is home to three hotels, two historical museums, and two theaters. Popular ski areas and the Great Sand Dunes are also nearby Saguache.

    Each of these towns is supported by community leader, stakeholders, and entrepreneurs who want to see it continue to grow and develop. As we move forward, we hope to highlight the ways that these communities move forward with recommendations to increase the impacts of digital marketing.

    Phase II: Digital Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs

    The second phase of our grant allows us to do just that by partnering with these community stakeholders. DCI will select a handful of businesses to develop an individualized strategic digital marketing plan. We are in the process of selecting our partner businesses right now, based on criteria such as potential job creation, ability to attract local or tourist traffic, current and potential impact on the town, and other considerations.

    We are so excited to continue with Phase II of our grant and to work one-on-one with creative local entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for our business selection as we continue moving forward with this project.



  • 12/13/2018 12:36 PM | Val Peterson (Administrator)

    The holidays can be busy, stressful, and exhausting. These simple tips and suggestions can help create a more smooth and calm December for small business owners by streamlining expectations, product knowledge, and customer service. How can you create a positive holiday shopping experience for your customers? Easy! 


    Start with...

    1. Being Social: Your social media should be engaging, relevant, relate to your customer and sell when appropriate. You want to humanize your social media content more than you want to monetize it.  Your social media platforms are not just display ads, but a face-to-face conversation with your customers.
    2. Building Your Database:  Use email marketing besides social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.  Keep your brand in front of your customers at all times.
    3. Expect Prepared Salespeople: Have all salespeople read company ads, catalogs, literature, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs before customers come in with questions and inquiries. An uninformed salesperson is bad for business.  Also check out everything about the competition including the services offered.
    4. Establishing and Enforcing Dress Codes: Set expectations for employees and enforce them. If there is a uniform, it should be clean, neat, etc. Employees are the representatives of the business and should project the image the business wants to convey.
    5. Greeting Everyone Who Walks Through the Door:  Coming up with different greetings -- so customers don't hear the same greeting over and over when shopping in the store.  Make it personal and inviting.
    6. Making it Comfortable for Customers to Shop:  Adjusting the thermostat because customers may be wearing coats and the staff can wear a sweater. Perhaps a rack for customer's coats and a place to check their packages.  Offering the customer a basket or shopping tote makes it easy for them to buy more.
    7. Having Employees Identify Themselves When Answering the Phone: This adds a professional touch and provides the caller with a person to identify with on the other end of the line. 
    8. Cleaning Up the Cash-wrap Area as-you-go: Expect that employees are cleaning up and putting everything in its place throughout the day. Customers are concerned about transaction accuracy and your services (i.e. shipping) if this area is a mess with clutter, drinks, and food.
    9. Listening. Really Listening to Customers: If you don't really listen and show customers the wrong merchandise -- they will assume you don't have what they are looking for and leave.
    10. Having All Cash Registers Open When the Store is Busy: An extra staff member can mingle with the customers in line -- making additional suggestions.
    11. Getting everyone on board:  Ensuring that everyone in the organization understands what the winning advantage is and what their role is in supporting it.
    12. Knowing what other merchandise and services are offered around town: Keep customers shopping in your community by knowing what all is available.  The customers will be thrilled, always come to you first and will let the other businesses know you sent them.
    13. Stocking and Cleaning Only When the Store is Closed:  Doing these chores when the store is open is inconsiderate to shoppers and doesn't convey a professional image. Instead, have the staff mingle with the customers and help with suggestions.


    Deciding to adopt these small changes will help you build a more successful business environment. Making change is always easier said than done, and sometimes we have old habits that inhibit our ability to follow-through with change. We challenge you to let go of these common, but not-so-helpful habits:

    Stop...

    1. Trying to get a Head Start on Store Closing Times: Vacuuming while the store is still open is rude and should be done after the business closes.
    2. Helping Phone Inquiries While In-Store Customers Wait for Help: The customer in the store should take precedence.  Have someone besides the cashier answer the phone.
    3. Running Out of Advertised Specials Early on the First Day of the Promotion: A product or sale item should not be advertised unless there is sufficient stock. 
    4. Using the Store Phone or Cell for Personal Calls on the Selling Floor: Have employees step away from customers to take any personal calls instead. 

    Thanks to Barbara Wold of Barbara Wold International for these tips. She has years of experience in the customer experience, customer-relationship management, marketing strategy, human resources, consumer buying patterns, image, sales and service quality, public relations, redevelopment, and tourism industries. She is an excellent resource and we thank her for sharing her knowledge with us!

  • 11/16/2018 11:24 AM | Kylie Brown (Administrator)

    Can you believe that 2018 is almost over? We have been incredibly busy traveling around the state this year and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We want to thank all of our members, partners, and sponsors that helped make this year incredible and possible. This year we focused on growing our membership, increasing resources on our website, and expanding programs like our Urban Renewal trainings and Emerging Leader events. We are excited to continue all of this work in 2019 and some of our plans include developing Urban Renewal Case Studies, growing our VISTA program to encapsulate more of our membership base, and expanding on our Challenge Studio Program.


    We were lucky to have some great partner events this year including: two events with Happy City in Idaho Springs in January considering development impacts and best practices, a DDAs in Action Mobile tour with CML in Fort Collins and Windsor in August, and Community Building Colorado-Style Conference with many partners in Boulder in October. You can read the Happy City report here and the recap of the DDA tour here. We are always inspired by what communities and our partners are doing for community development. We also expanded our Emerging Leaders program this summer with a few events that featured speakers that are emerging leaders in their own right including topics on Millennial Transportation Habits and the revitalization of Colfax. Here are a few Testimonials from these events:

    We have loved working with DCI to help us engage the community, sharing ideas from other communities and providing resources that we can use to further our efforts in Downtown.” -Madeline VanDenHoek, Town of Monument

    “The tools/ideas presented in the workshop to bring together city/county government officials, local business owners, and local residents help open the dialogue when discussing redevelopment within a community. When each party can provide a different approach to an issue within a community, a more solid & positive solution can be found.” - Idaho Springs Happy City Workshop Participant


    As mentioned above, our Urban Renewal Program was enhanced this year to better provide for our Urban Renewal Partners and members. We brought board training to Northern Colorado in Fort Collins and Central Colorado in Lakewood culminating in our Southern Colorado Urban Renewal Summit in Pueblo. We also developed a resource page to house all of the training and educational materials specifically for URA’s and Districts. Through the Summit we were proud to present the idea of the Entrepreneurial URA especially for rural URAs. See what our URA members have to say:

    The session helped me to get a "big picture" view of URAs as they relate to communities, municipalities, developers and special districts”

    “[My biggest takeaway from the event was] Understanding this new environment for URA creation and the cooperation and timeline necessary.


    2018 IN THE GAME was such an inspirational, educational, and fun event. The event was full of changemakers, big thinkers, and downtown champions. This year, we showed off one of the most vibrant downtowns in the state, Boulder, through our speakers, lunches, and tours. We continued to defy the traditional "talking heads" conference with our discussions of Tourism and Entrepreneurship through different lenses, our lightning ideas from brilliant Colorado thinkers, and of course our Challenge Studio Workshops. You can see the entire recap here. We hope to continue these themes of resiliency and collaboration and we can't wait to see you all IN THE GAME in Aspen in 2019! Registration is now open here! Here what attendees had to say:

    “This conference was refreshingly energetic. Most conferences I go to consist of people talking about things they've already done, but here you can be inspired by people who are doing things now - who are in the midst of a challenge.”

    I love how interactive the DCI In The Game Conference is. It's a whirlwind week of learning and strategic planning but also celebrates community, art and culture of the host city. I will definitely go again.”

    This year was an exciting year of progress as we developed our Challenge Studio program to increase the amount of support the Challenge Studio communities get before and after the conference. We started a partnership with the CU Denver School of Public Affairs to have a class of Master’s in Public Affairs students take on a Challenge Studio Community as their main project focus for the semester. We got the opportunity to visit the communities before the conference and establish background and create a report for these communities. You can read the reports here. We have also been following up with our CS Communities throughout the year with workshops relating to their challenge area including Monument and Longmont. We had an inspiring event tackling tactical urbanism in Monument in July as a follow-up to Monument’s challenge around Civic Pride. Through the CS process, DCI realized the next steps for Monument were in Tactical Urbanism to engage people, reshape space for the use of people over cars, and to just have fun telling the Monument story! You can read the recap blog here.


    We are so excited for 2019 and for many more informative, innovative, and fun events. We continue to strive to serve our Colorado communities with everything we do and we hope you will be a part of the future of vibrant downtowns in Colorado. We are able to accomplish all this work through our members, partners and sponsors but we are NOT a nationally funded organization. We work FOR Colorado and to make the whole state more connected and vibrant. Which why we hope you will be able to support us on Colorado Gives Day. The day is on December 4th. You can schedule your donation now at https://coloradogives.org/downtowncoloradoinc/overview

  • 11/01/2018 12:38 PM | Kylie Brown (Administrator)

    Estes Park, Colorado - October 25, 2018 -- The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announced the 2018 EDIE award recipients, recognizing economic development excellence during its annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference at The Ridgeline Hotel. “Many aspects of Colorado’s economic success can be attributed to the hard work, dedication, and contributions of communities, institutions and individuals that our awardees represent,” said Jeremy Riemann, EDCC Board Chair.

    Small Community of the Year – City of Wheat Ridge, Colorado

    The award for ‘Small Community of the Year’ was presented to the City of Wheat Ridge, Colorado – a city that has been extremely active in economic development over the past 36 months with much activity culminating in 2018. The City has nearly 100,000 sq. ft. of new retail space, 400 residential apartments, and 9,000 sq. ft. of maker space all under construction or planned for the community and supported by funding through the Urban Renewal Authority. Another 85+ acre development on the City’s west side, Clear Creek Crossing, will break ground this month bringing to fruition more than 3 years of work on this important economic development project for Wheat Ridge. 


  • 10/29/2018 12:41 PM | Kylie Brown (Administrator)

    On Oct. 18, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued proposed regulations under Section 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) regarding qualified opportunity zones and gains that may be deferred as a result of a taxpayer’s investment in a qualified opportunity fund (“QOF”).

    Section 1400Z-2 was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, (P.L. 115-97) (“TCJA”) and due to the breadth of the new statute, Treasury has elected to release multiple sets of proposed regulations. This guidance will have a significant impact on the taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships, S corporations, trusts and estates engaged in qualified opportunity zone investments.

    Contemporaneously with the issuance of the proposed regulations, the IRS released Rev. Rul. 2018-29 addressing the application to real property of the “original use” and “substantial improvement” requirements of Section 1400Z-2 and clarifying that when a QOF acquires an existing structure, the substantial improvement test can be satisfied by reference to the adjusted basis of the structure, without taking into account the cost allocated to the land.

    Background
    Congress enacted Section 1400Z-2, in conjunction with Section 1400Z-1, as a temporary provision to encourage private sector investment in certain lower-income communities designated as qualified opportunity zones for years beginning after 2017 and before 2027. Under this provision, taxpayers may elect to defer the recognition of capital gain to the extent of amounts invested in a QOF, provided that the amounts are invested during the 180-day period beginning on the date such capital gain would otherwise have been recognized. The inclusion of the deferred gain in income occurs on the date the investment in the QOF is sold or exchanged, or on Dec. 31, 2026, whichever comes first.

    For investments in a QOF held longer than (i) five years, taxpayers may exclude 10 percent of the deferred gain from income; (ii) seven years, taxpayers may exclude 15 percent of the deferred gain from income; and (iii) 10 years, taxpayers may exclude the entire post-acquisition gain on the qualifying investment in the QOF from income. In turn, a QOF must hold at least 90 percent of its assets in qualified opportunity zone property.

    The Proposed Regulations
    The proposed regulations address the type of gains that may be deferred by investors, the time by which such gains must be invested in QOFs, and the manner in which investors may elect to defer specified gains. The proposed regulations also include rules for self-certification of QOFs, valuation of QOF assets, and guidance on qualified opportunity zones businesses.

    The proposed regulations are organized into seven substantive areas:

    1. Deferring Tax on Capital Gains by Investing in Opportunity Zones: The proposed rules clarify that only capital gains are eligible for deferral and place other requirements on the capital gain to be deferred. The proposed rules allow individuals, C corporations, partnerships and other pass-through entities to elect gain deferral. The guidance clarifies that the investment in a QOF must be an equity investment to qualify for deferral (though the equity can be pledged as collateral for debt), and provides examples of the 180-day period for deferring gain by investing in a QOF.
       
    2. Special Rules: This area addresses the definition of “eligible gain” as well as the determination of the 180-day period with respect to Section 1256 contracts. It also defines “offsetting-positions transactions” and clarifies that any capital gain from a position of an offsetting-positions transaction is not eligible for deferral under Section 1400Z-2.
       
    3. Gain of Partnerships and Other Pass-Through Entities: The proposed rules permit a partnership to elect deferral under Section 1400Z-2 and, to the extent that the partnership does not elect deferral, provides rules that allow a partner to do so. The proposed rules state analogous rules would also apply to other pass-through entities (including S corporations, decedents’ estates, and trusts) and to their shareholders and beneficiaries.
       
    4. How to Elect Deferral: Deferral elections are required to be made at the time and in the manner proscribed by the IRS. While additional IRS guidance is expected, it is currently anticipated that taxpayers will make deferral elections on Form 8949 and attach it to their federal income tax returns.
       
    5. Section 1400Z-2(c) Election for Investments Held at Least 10 Years: The proposed regulations specify that expiration of a zone designation will not impair the ability of a taxpayer to elect the exclusion from gains for investment held for at least 10 years, provided the disposition of the investment occurs prior to Jan. 1, 2048. Congress provided an incentive through this gain exclusion benefit, which is integral to the primary purpose of the provision (i.e., Congress’ intent to attract an influx of capital to designated low-income communities).
       
    6. Rules for a QOF: The proposed regulations generally permit any taxpayer that is a corporation or partnership to self-certify as a QOF. While additional guidance is expected, it is currently anticipated that taxpayers will use Form 8996 for initial self-certification and annual reporting of compliance with the 90 percent asset test in Section 1400Z-2(d)(1). The proposed regulations clarify that there is no prohibition to using a pre-existing entity as a QOF, and also provide an important safe harbor for working capital that allows cash to be held for up to 31 months (if the safe harbor requirements are satisfied) in computation of the 90 percent asset test. Additionally, in determining whether an entity is a qualified opportunity zone business, the proposed regulations provide a 70 percent threshold for determining whether the “substantially all” requirement is met, but explicitly state that this definition is only applicable to Section 1400Z-2(d)(3)(A)(i).
       
    7. Section 1400Z-2(e) Investments from Mixed Funds: The proposed regulations clarify that a partner’s increase in outside basis from a deemed contribution under Section 752(a) is not taken into account in determining what portion of the partner’s interest is subject to the deferral election under Section 1400Z-2(a).

    Next Steps
    Treasury and the IRS are working on additional guidance, including the meaning of “substantially all” as it is used throughout section 1400Z-2(d), transactions that may trigger inclusion of deferred gain, the “reasonable period” for a QOF to reinvest proceeds from a sale of qualifying assets, and information-reporting requirements. Treasury has asked for written comments on the published guidance within 60 days of the date the proposed regulations are published in the Federal Register. We anticipate comments will be due in late December as a public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.

    Given that these rules will significantly impact the taxation for investors in designated distressed communities, we believe it is important for such investors to engage in the rulemaking process. By doing so, policymakers will have a better understanding of the impact these rules will have on businesses and the challenges businesses will face during the implementation process.

    The Brownstein Federal Tax Policy team can assist you in assessing the impact that these rules will have on your business. In addition, we can help you determine whether to submit written comments to the proposed guidance. Our team has significant experience with the rulemaking process. To the extent questions are unanswered or the rules are not clear, our team can facilitate a dialogue with policymakers to help resolve your issues.

    If you want to learn more about Opportunity Zones from BHFS, join us for our Southern Colorado URA Summit on November 8th


  • 10/18/2018 9:55 AM | Kylie Brown (Administrator)

    Written by Jeremy Cristensen

    Help Extend this critical program and expand the available credits from $3 million to $7 million per year

    Whether or not you’ve ever purchased or used Colorado brownfields tax credits, chances are you have benefited from them! Over the past 17 years, this program has helped Colorado become a healthier, more prosperous place to live and work by cleaning up polluted properties in our communities, spurring on economic development, and helping to address the housing needs of our growing population.

    In 2014, the Colorado General Assembly reinstated the Colorado Brownfields Tax Credit Program with the passage of SB 073. The legislation authorized $3 million in tax credits to be issued annually with a cap of $525,000 for individual projects. Since 2015 (when the program was reinstated after a 4-year hiatus):

    CDPHE has issued approximately $8 million in tax credits, spurring on nearly $3 billion in infrastructure development and private investment in Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment.

    • Nearly 300 acres of property have been cleaned up

    • Approximately 2,100 new jobs were created

    Over 4,000 new infill housing units were built to serve the needs of our growing population.

    By having these redevelopment projects done through the Voluntary Cleanup Program, CDPHE indicates it was able to facilitate better cleanup outcomes, resulting in a cleaner environment. (Statistics were provided by CDPHE and are current as of Aug, 2018).

    The program has been a resounding success, however demand for these credits far outpaces their availability. A coalition of interested stakeholders are working reauthorize, refine and expand the Colorado Brownfields Tax Credit Program. Together we are organizing support for new legislation in the upcoming session of the Colorado General Assembly that would reauthorize the program beyond 2022 when it is currently set to expire, and expand the yearly cap of available credits from $3 million to $7 million so that more projects in more areas can utilize them to clean up our communities and accelerate our economic growth.

    Join our coalition! We are also seeking businesses, local governments, and other stakeholders to sign on to a letter of support to the Colorado General Assembly, encouraging the legislature to pass the reauthorization and expansion bill when it is introduced. Read the letter here.

    For more information, and to add your name to the list of supporters, visit www.taxcreditconnection.com or call (970) 532-9865.

  • 09/06/2018 8:40 AM | Andrew Curtis (Administrator)

    Downtown Colorado, Inc. is partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service which is the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps VISTA among other services. The VISTA program specifically has AmeriCorps members go to either non-profit organizations or public entities to build organizational capacity in order to allow those organizations to execute poverty reducing measures.


    DCI currently has 7 VISTA members across the state including Steamboat, Montrose, Durango, Manitou Springs, Trinidad, and Denver, working in those communities to reduce poverty through economic and community development.

    Recently, the team had their third quarterly training to learn more from experts and speakers about grant writing, fundraising, BIDS, state tourism, and opportunities for small business loans through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

    Kim Grant of Colorado Preservation Inc. talked about the basics of grant writing and fundraising, explained common mistakes, and tips for success. One of the most important aspects to recognize is to have a diverse revenue stream and not to rely on one source, even if it’s lucrative.

    Tara Tubb, the Energy Impact Assistance Fund Program Manager at State of Colorado, talked about how her program, “assists political subdivisions that are socially and/or economically impacted by the development, processing, or energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels” which effects many of the smaller rural communities that our VISTA members are often placed in. Some of the funds and grants available through this program are the administrative grants (up to $25,000 and require a 50/50 match), tier I grants (up to $200,000 and require a 50/50 match, and finally tier II grants which are $200,001-$1,000,000 and require a 50/50 match.

    Elizabeth O’Rear of the Colorado Tourism office (CTO) informed the VISTAs of the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) program where the tourism office will come to your community to conduct participatory studios or workshops that give entrepreneurship and professional support, conference sponsorships, or implementation funding. Two of our current VISTAs, Andrew Wallace of the City of Trinidad, and Carl Young under the Huerfano County Economic Development office, both are collaborating with the CTO to bring to light the rich heritage and tourism opportunities that Southern Colorado has to offer. Look into the “Highway of Legends” coming soon to Walsenburg and Trinidad!

    The VISTAs also got some 101 information regarding Business Improvement Districts (BID) from Erin Lyng and Amanda Kannard of Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) which could serve to benfiti our other VISTA host site communities of Manitou Springs and Montrose, the latter of which is looking to adopt some of the services geared toward those experiencing homelessness which the Colfax BID in Denver currently conducts.

    VISTA members attend Historic Denver’s Colfax tour after the training to learn about Denver’s history, BIDs, and how policy shapes a streetscape.

    Our next VISTA training will be during the fall at one of DCI’s events, hopefully in a location other than Denver so the VISTA team can experience a diversity of Colorado communities.


  • 09/04/2018 3:31 PM | Kylie Brown (Administrator)
    Written by Morgan Cullen of Colorado Municipal League


    In August, the Colorado Municipal League conducted its first ever economic development mobile tour in partnership with Downtown Colorado Inc. (DCI). The day-long outing offered an opportunity for CML’s members to learn more about Downtown Development Authorities (DDA) and the potential economic benefits they can provide for a city or town’s central business district.


    The tour bus departed from CML headquarters for Ft. Collins and Windsor, Colorado whose DDAs have revitalized the downtown areas of both communities. Participants met with the DDA directors from both municipalities as well as elected officials, business owners and developers who have all played a role in the success of these areas. Even Windsor Mayor, Kristie Melendez and Ft. Collins City Councilman, Ray Martinez were present to offer their perspectives on how local governments and DDAs can support each other for the long-term benefit of their communities. The tour also included two panel discussions the first over lunch at a Ft. Collins brewery and the second included desert at a coffee house that recently opened its’ doors inside the Windsor DDA.

    C:\Users\mcullen\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\3LRG5EYM\IMG_3019.JPGBrinkman Developer Todd Park, discusses a brand new development in Ft. Collins that serves a business incubator for new business owners in the city. The development worked collaboratively with the Ft. Collins DDA to get off the ground.

    Unlike the more common Urban Renewal Areas (URAs), DDAs are an economic development tool that has only been employed by 16 municipalities across the state. While each municipality is limited to jus one DDA, it can leverage a number of financing tools like Tax Increment Financing (TIF), mill levy increases and sales tax to make sizeable investments within the district. And the revenue generated can be used for many different purposes such as building renovation, infrastructure improvements, marketing, holiday decorations and landscaping. (If you would like learn more about the differences between the types of special districts, visit our partner PUMA's wonderful resource page)



    Following the tour, a number of CML and DCI participants commented about the tangible benefits that a DDA can provide and are seriously considering implementing one in their hometown.

    If you would like to tour an active DDA please join us on our Longmont DDA tour which will focused on activating plazas along with a progressive happy hour and a dìa de los muertos altar tour.

  • 07/26/2018 10:43 AM | Kylie Brown (Administrator)

    DCI was recently in Monument, CO holding a Downtown Institute that discussed unconventional and low-cost ways of implementing pop-up projects such as a painted crosswalk, a roll-out bike lane, and temporary signage to promote walkability as jumping-off points to bring interest and participation into the community.


    Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) has been working with the Downtown Monument Stakeholders groups since November 2017 to craft and implement objectives and action steps around Branding, Organizational Development, Placemaking and Wayfinding.  To achieve these goals, DCI works with the locals to understand assets and needs to further downtown initiatives. DCI has helped to develop and facilitate meeting agendas to engage the community in downtown.


    In April 2018, Monument served as a DCI Challenge Studio Community. DCI shaped the content of a workshop based on the Monument challenge around Civic Pride. The workshop was designed to transform the difficult challenges and problems into promising opportunities. Participants worked side-by-side with leading industry experts and local peer networks to craft problem-solving plans that result in improved futures for all. In the process, the participating communities are connected into supporting networks and resources; helping them to get the job done. Through this process, DCI realized the next steps for Monument were in Tactical Urbanism to engage people, reshape space for the use of people over cars, and to just have fun telling the Monument story!

    DCI worked to engage facilitators from C+B Design, Radian | Placematters, and Yes Plan Do! To come to Monument for a fun day to showcase the importance of engagement through test projects through education and actually doing!

    The community oriented design firm, Radian, Inc. presented on the critical nature of civic participation as being a core tenant of smart urban design. Communities often hold the view that impactful design is necessarily expensive and a large commitment. However, Ken Snyder from Radian, Inc. discussed how experimentation and pop-ups street amenities – known as tactical urbanism – can have a huge impact with low cost while allowing the community to gauge what is right for them.


    Promoting complete streets, often encompassing bike lanes, parklets, urban forestry, public art, etc., activates corridors such as your community’s Main Street and enables a “go-to-them” approach with your residents and stakeholders. Mr. Snyder was keen to note that this approach can be more effective than digital outreach and uses community connections and networks to do the talking for you.


    Radian and DCI set up a demonstration pop-up bike lane in less than 5 minutes!


    Rachel Hultin of Yes Plan Do! discussed an incremental approach to urbanism and described some of the common pitfalls of efforts to beautify downtown or to change a streetscape. One such pitfall is what she calls “Fuzzy Visioning” where a project is considered a problem to be solved instead of something that the community can create. This runs into the danger of relegating your vision to the background.


    Another issue that Ms. Hultin highlighted was the importance of incrementalism. There is a risk in committing to projects that are battles you are unlikely to win and to trying to tackle them all at once is a mistake. In tandem with demonstration and pop-up experimentation, taking small battles one at a time is a recipe for success.

    Residents are engaged to participate in the crosswalk painting as they make their way to the Art Hop


    Kristin Cypher of C+B Design gave a presentation on branding, signage, and how this can improve connectivity in the community. Signage is not merely to find directions, but also is involved in place making, it communicates an image, and it can also reflect the heritage of the community. Similarly to the previous speakers, Kristin made the point that signage does not have to be an in-depth and expensive project. Demonstration and temporary signage can do a long way to improve your streetscape and many of these temporary signs can last for a general time frame of one year.


    Participants work with Kristin Cypher to show Art Hop attendees around to local businesses around Monument

    Stay in the loop about all of our events and join us August 16th for a tour of DDAs in Action with Fort Collins and Windsor!


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software