In the beginning of 2018, the Old Colorado City Special Improvement and Maintenance District (OCC SIMD) began discussions with Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and the other Old Colorado City (OCC) partners to consider a District Assessment to help plan for the future of OCC. We held the visit from September 17 through 19, 2018 to work with all OCC stakeholder groups to outline a direction and some phased improvements to consider. The assessment also discussed what short, mid, and long term improvements the SIMD can work on partially as test projects to engage stakeholders in a dialogue about what they want to see in both the SIMD three block area, and throughout OCC’s three mile corridor.
Prior to this visit, DCI collaborated with the OCC SIMD staff to identify key stakeholders for focus groups and explore the history of OCC SIMD’s downtown revitalization efforts and obstacles maintaining and improving the district. DCI worked with SIMD and the City of Colorado Springs to conduct individual interviews with local community organizations and stakeholders.
DCI organized an assessment team with combined experience in various backgrounds in signage and wayfinding design, landscape architecture, local government, community development, organizational development, and financing mechanisms. Upon arrival in the community team members were given an introduction by City of Colorado Springs planning staff of their current projects and vision for the future of transportation planning in the City and how Old Colorado City fits into the Comprehensive plan update called Plan CoS. Then, representatives from the SIMD Board informed the team of the formation, responsibilities, financing mechanisms, and obstacles to providing services to the district. The team was then taken on a tour of the three block SIMD district to familiarize them with the areas for improvement and opportunities.
That afternoon, the DCI team met directly with stakeholders including City of Colorado Springs staff, the Old Colorado City Association and Foundation, the Organization of Westside Neighbors, and residents and heard multiple perspectives about the issues facing the downtown. These meetings provided a chance for team members to ask the stakeholders about the perceptions, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities related to Old Colorado City.
DCI team members gathered data and feedback from the focus group participants and discussed their observations and formulated recommendations the next day. The team worked diligently to compile a public presentation and formulate this report, and the following night, presented their findings in the form of a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session open to the community at-large.
We were honored to have been a part of Old Colorado City’s corridor assessment and want to give a special thanks to the SIMD Board, the City of Colorado Springs, community members who attended our public meetings to give their input, and all the stakeholders who we met with including local businesses and community organizations! We couldn’t have done it without you!