On Thursday, August 1st, DCI and the Colorado Municipal League (CML) hosted the 2nd annual Downtown Mobile Tour and DCI Districts Committee lunch in Colorado Springs. We had DCI and CML members join us from around the state including representation from Colorado Springs, Denver, Lakewood, Manitou Springs, Wellington, Florence, Centennial, Woodland Park, Brush, Longmont, Monument, Central City, Frederick, Golden, and Littleton.
The event included a stop in Castle Rock for a presentation from the Castle Rock Town Hall and Downtown Alliance, a tour of the Colorado Springs Ivywild School, lunch at Phantom Canyon in downtown Colorado Springs with a panel of Colorado Springs leaders including Susan Edmondson, Jill Gaebler, Jeff Greene, Jonathan Neely, Carl Schueler, Jariah Walker, Peter Wysocki. The day ended with a tour of Downtown Colorado Springs.
DOWNTOWN CASTLE ROCK
Our first stop on the mobile tour was in downtown Castle Rock. Kevin Tilson, president of the Castle Rock Downtown Alliance joined the bus ride to provide a driving tour of downtown projects. The tour group enjoyed coffee and pastries at the new river park and pavilion that is a Downtown Development Authority project, where Dave Corliss, Castle Rock Town Manager, discussed upcoming projects and the processes, partnerships, and funding necessary to get them off the ground. Kevin provided the group with a map of the downtown development projects as well as a short summary on the proposed Encore development project.
COLORADO SPRINGS IVYWILD SCHOOL
The Ivywild School is an exciting urban renewal project in Colorado Springs. The Ivywild Elementary School in Colorado Springs opened in 1916 and was one of seven elementary schools closed in 2009 because of declining enrollment. With the help of visionary developers, Joseph Coleman and Mike Bristol, working with the Colorado Springs’ urban renewal, the 20K sq. ft. building was transformed with over $5M in investments so the bustling development is once again a vibrant heart of the neighborhood. The school hosts a variety of businesses and public spaces within the different rooms of the school: Bristol Brewing Company in the former cafeteria, a bar in the principal’s office, community gathering space in the gym, along with many other merchants throughout the building. The Ivywild presentation was led by Jariah Walker of the Colorado Springs URA and Joseph Coleman, a developer on the project. Read a short description and background of the Ivywild project here.
COLORADO SPRINGS LEADERSHIP LUNCH
Colorado Springs’ Leaders joined the mobile tour participants at Downtown Colorado Springs’ Phantom Canyon restaurant. Mayor John Suthers welcomed the audience and gave an inspirational talk about the vision and work that has been done to further downtown and commercial districts in the city. The group then heard from featured panelists:
The panel discussed various collaborations between the downtown partnership, the URA, and the city. The discussion focused on private-public partnerships and the vision of downtown Colorado Springs within the next 10 years.
Following lunch, Susan Edmondson led us on a tour of downtown Colorado Springs with a focus on recent development and projects. She pointed out businesses who have repaired and increased the value of downtown historic buildings, a public mural art program, a new sports field near downtown, the potential development of a small entertainment district at the south end of downtown, among other exciting projects in the area.
With a blossoming “new south end” of downtown at Tejon and Moreno, separated from the city center by a block of parking garage, Susan explained that it is a struggle to connect the two. The parking garages cause many tourists and pedestrians to stop walking before completing the full downtown strip. The city is using strategic public art to draw pedestrians past the parking garages towards the south end.
Downtown Colorado, Inc. is honored to have partners and supporters like Colorado Municipal League, Town of Casle Rock, the City of Colorado Springs, Downtown Colorado Springs Partnership, and Colorado Springs Urban Renewal. Special thanks to Susan Edmondson, Kevin Tilson, and Jariah Walker for helping to coordinate and plan this event.
Last week Downtown Colorado, Inc. partnered with Congress for the New Urbanism - CO Chapter, Denver Housing Authority, and Youth on Record to host Mariposa: Urbanism Reimagined in the heart of the Mariposa District. The event featured a panel discussion with a Q&A session, a walking tour of completed and upcoming housing projects throughout the district, and a project-board open house of the Mariposa redevelopment.
The Q&A session opened with a performance by a student of Youth on Record’s FEMpowerment program. The young artist, Edwina, performed a short set that included both covers and original tunes. You can check out links to her performance below:
Go Tell Yesterday
Joni Mitchell Cover
The panel showcased perspectives from multiple parts of the project including residents, Youth on Record – a nonprofit located in the neighborhood, architects & designers, Denver Housing Authority, and public artists.
Each of these panelists were involved in the creation or activation of the Mariposa neighborhood. Youth on Record is located in the bottom space of an apartment complex which provides music lessons and studio experience for youth interested in music. Denver Housing Authority executed interviews, community meetings, and home visits to gain feedback and an understanding of resident needs for the upcoming project. Shaina and her DHA colleagues spent facilitated these meetings and put hours of time into building relationships with residents in order to create the most effective plan for redevelopment. Rita, who currently resides in Mariposa and lived there prior to redevelopment, offered her thoughts on the entire process, from gaining community insights and opinions to project execution, she only had positive things to say about the redevelopment. David Griggs, a public artist with works all over the United States, is on the neighborhood board and talked about the value of art reflecting the community it represents. Brandy LeMae of Workshop8, an architecture and design firm, was hired to work on phase six of the project. She discussed how valuable resident’s input was in creating effective building plans.
DHA approached this project with the intention to meet the needs of the pre-existing community. They hosted multiple community meetings and used various strategies to collect as many voices as possible. All residents were provided temporary housing during throughout the project and over 50% of residents chose to move back once their updated homes were completed, which is well above the national average. The development offers market-rate, public, and affordable housing. All types are integrated and provide the same amenities for residents, no matter income. DHA’s goal with the redevelopment was to create a space in which all residents feel valued and heard. We are proud to partner with organizations who are so committed to equity and ensuring that the needs of all community members are equally valued.
A Big Thank You to Our Event Sponsors!
Engage & Activate: A DCI Downtown Institute
This presentation and discussion, led by Brian Corrigan of Futures United Network (FUN), demonstrated the value of incorporating creatives and creative entrepreneurship into the problem solving process within urban planning and community development. He works at the intersection of the creative economy, technology, and community development and shared strategies on how to activate vacant buildings through various avenues, including pop-ups, incubators, and public art.
Creative Placemaking: Intentional integration of art, artists, and creativity into the community planning and development.
Creatives, Entrepreneurship, Creative Businesses
After the presentation, Brian led a brainstorming session asking participants to think of the possibilities that could be done with a vacant space – we used our example space across the street as inspiration. Post-It Note ideas included:
Barriers + Barrier Solutions
June 11, 2019 | Lamar, CO
Downtown Colorado, Inc. hosted Engage & Activate: A Downtown Institute in Lamar, CO on June 11, 2019. We had representation from multiple communities from the southeast Colorado area including the City of Lamar, community members and business owners in Lamar, the City of Florence, Kiowa County, City of Central City, and Prowers County.
The event consisted of multiple presentations by Ben Levenger of Downtown Redevelopment Services and Brian Corrigan of Futures United Network. Below we've summarized key points from the Community Engagement Toolbox presentation on how to increase community engagement at public meetings.
Community Engagement Toolbox
This presentation, shared by Ben Levenger of Downtown Redevelopment Services, focused on strategies to engage all members of a community while adapting to a changing and digital world. He shared several examples of how to modernize your typical approaches to increase community participation in public meetings. Ben shared three helpful tactics to increase revitalization efforts: 1) Effective Public Engagement, 2) Vibrant Community Assessment, and 3) the Revitalization Roadmap.
Effective Public Engagement & Input: How to Effectively Gather Input in the Digital Age
Roadblocks to Engagement
Strategies to Increase Engagement:
Vibrant Community Assessment: The VCA is used to help gain a deeper understanding of your community. This type of assessment is vital because it is the first step in creating an achievable and implementable redevelopment plan.
Components of a VCA:
Revitalization Roadmap: This tool can help guide you create change by utilizing available resources and helps municipalities “set a course to a strong community”.
Elements to the Roadmap include:
Stay tuned for Part II, featuring presentations from Ben Levenger and Brian Corrigan on activating vacant buildings!
On May 29-31, 2019, Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI), the City of Durango, and the City of Montrose held the first Western Slope Redevelopment & Reinvestment Symposium in Durango, CO. The goal of the symposium was to blend informal connections, case studies, and interactive dialogue to reshape ideas for redevelopment and reinvestment in Western Slope communities. This will be the first of a series of symposiums that will be held across communities along the Western Slope. The next event will take place in Montrose, CO on September 16-17, 2019.
The Symposium featured delegates from Buena Vista, Cortez, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction, Ignacio, La Plata County, Montrose, Mountain Village, Pagosa Springs, Ridgway, Silverton, and Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
Brief Synopsis of Sessions
Creating a Shared Community Vision
Scott Shrine, City of Durango Ann Christensen, DHM Design, and Brandon Stam, Downtown Grand Junction opened up the main portion of the symposium by breaking down what redevelopment means; the importance of involving the community early on in the development process; which tools to use when gathering community input and how to effectively visualize redevelopment ideas to the public. Case studies included vision work for Durango’s Camino del Rio district, Longmont’s St. Vrain District, and Grand Junction’s Downtown Plan update.
Identifying Projects and Partnerships for Redevelopment
David Fishering, Storm King Distilling Co., and Chelsea Rosty, City of Montrose, used an interview style format to open up discussion about the redevelopment timeline of the Storm King Distilling Co. project which saw a neglected site turn into a successful business. They discussed the financial tools, incentives, partnerships and grit required to create quality redevelopment. The conversation also looked at common misconceptions about the redevelopment process.
What Does Successful Redevelopment Look Like?
Savannah Lytle, City of Durango Ann Christensen, DHM Design, and Elizabeth Boone, Reynolds Ash + Associates broke down the fundamentals and history of crafting design standards to correctly guide redevelopment; what it takes to have a sense of what communities want buildings to look like and how they should function; and the importance of a building’s context, scale and relation to public realm. Examples included: Main Street Pagosa, 3rd Ave in Durango, and the Cheyenne West Edge neighborhood plan.
Redevelopment & Reinvestment Perspectives
Troy Bernberg, Northland Securities, moderated a lunchtime panel of Bill Bell, Monica Rosenbluth, Paul Benedetti, Diedra Silbert, and Doug Dragoo. Discussion topics included the importance of collaboration; knowing which partners are involved at different stages in the redevelopment process; what a municipalities needs from a developer to effectively evaluate a project and what a developer needs from a municipality.
Urban Renewal Authorities 101 & 201
This series of breakout sessions were led by Steve Art, Paul Benedetti, Bell Bill, Troy Bernberg, and Monica Rosenbluth is DCI’s signature session which gives an overview of how urban renewal authorities work in Colorado. Attendees gained an understanding of the tools, laws and structure that an urban renewal authority has. The 201 portion took a deeper dive into how tax increment financing (TIF) works and how to structure deals with developers.
Brownfields, Historic Preservation and Other Unique Aspects of Redevelopment
Doug Jamison, Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Virgil Turner, City of Montrose, and Savannah Lytle, City of Durango, gave attendees an overview of what brownfields are; where brownfields are commonly located in communities; the history of redevelopment incentives involving brownfield remediation and the benefits associated with brownfield redevelopment. Virgil Turner shared case studies on how historic preservation efforts and brownfield remediation led to excellent redevelopment projects in Montrose. Examples include d Art Moderne-style City Steam Laundry building; the plans for developing the Bullock Power Plant and the Sharing ministries which utilized CBDG Grants and incentives granted by the City of Montrose to be completed
Creative Districts: Arts & Culture as a Redevelopment Tool
Redevelopment Financing Tools & Layering Opportunities
An expert panel of Troy Bernberg, Northland Securities; Doug Jamison, CDPHE; Laura Lewis Marchino, Region 9; Chelsea Rosty, City of Montrose; Brandon Stam, Downtown Grand Junction discussed the tools and programs that can be used in helping create vibrant downtowns. Brandon Stam gave an iverview of how Grand Junction is utilizing BIDs, DDA and a Creative District to plan for development, events, streetscaping and planning for the future. Chelsea Rosty talked about how Montrose uses a combination of URAs, DDAs and a development and revitalization team to help its downtown and businesses grow.
Doug Jamison covered the incentive programs and grants targeted towards brownfield remediation such as Colorado’s Voluntary Cleanup Program; Colorado Brownfields Revolving Lof enterprise zones; the basics of opportunity zones and how layering different tools and zones can lead to successful projects. Examples of layering included the Commons Building in Durango. The Commons Building hosts the Durango Adult Education Center, Southwest Conservation Corps and other small nonprofits. It was developed by a combination of an Enterprise Zone, USDA Community Facility Loan & Grant Program, and New Market Tax Credits.an Fund; Colorado Brownfields Grant (H.B. 1306) Program and the Colorado Tax Credit for Remediation of Contaminated Land.
Solving for Redevelopment: Breakout Exercises
Attendees were asked to engage and interact with each other by breaking into groups and answering three dynamic questions focused on shaping the future of redevelopment on the Western Slope. The three groups were:
Each group had around 45 minutes to an hour to answer the question(s). The guidelines for the exercise were to answer the main question(s) by addressing: the tools, methods, and/or polices that will help achieve the goal, the key partnerships and communication that need to take place, and to address the next steps.
What are the Components of Equitable Design and Engagement to Create Successful Projects? How do we Accomplish this in Smaller Communities?
Moderated by Diedra Silbert, Ridgway and Ann Morganthaler, Montrose
Findings: Equitable design to this group meant meeting the community where they are, and recognizing that different people within the community have different needs. A major issue that was identified was how and when developers/ municipalities reach out to the public during the development process.
Stakeholders: The group identified a list of stakeholders who are or should be involved in the development process. This includes: developers, property owners, tenants, local government, the planning department, architects, and the community-at-large. The group felt that it is coming for the tenants to be left out of the process, although a lot of times along the Western Slope tenants have been in the community for a long time and should have their voices heard.
Tools for Implementation: Next steps and tools mentioned included a re-structured design review process that allows for greater review of the sketch design and sketch subdivision portion so there are less 11th hour challenges from the public. In conjunction with the idea of re-structuring the design review process was for those involved to use layman’s terms instead of “industry lingo”, as it will help the public understand and not become as frustrated with the idea of the project. Another tweak to the development process would be to offer meetings at different times (not just after traditional work hours), as different people within the community are available at different times of the day.
What does Redevelopment and Resilience mean to the Western Slope?
Moderated by Imogen Ainsworth, City of Durango and Kate Busse, Department of Local Affairs Resiliency Office
Findings: Shocks and stressors as related to resiliency were two major topics discussed by the group. Shocks are “external short-term deviations from long-term trends, deviations that have substantial negative effects on people’s current state of well-being, level of assets, livelihoods, or safety, or their ability to withstand future shocks” (Zseleczky and Yosef, 2014). Shocks that effect the Western Slope include wildfires, floods, rapid loss of extractive industry and the pace of technological change.
Stressors are seen as the long-term societal, economic, climatic or geographic issues that have negative effects on a communities or person. Stressors that were identified include affordable housing, climate change, long-term drought, connectivity/ transportation, lack of diversity, and .geographic remoteness.
There was lots of discussion on how shocks and stressors affect the mental health of the community. The question “how are you supposed to create a sense of community after a shock such as a fire?” was raised.
Stakeholders: The group identified a list of stakeholders that need to coordinate to in order to have a positive response to shocks and stressors along the Western Slope. Stakeholders included: Local government, DOLA, media, EMS, social services, teachers, local business leaders, developers, banks, mental health professionals, and other regional partners (county).
Tools for Implementation: The group discussed the need for communities to create readiness and/or resiliency plans. The need to define metrics or find metric on how to track success short-term as well as long-term is crucial for these plans to be successful. There was discussion about creating a committee to search for funding opportunities to help begin the process of writing a resiliency plan for the region. An example of how Fort Collins has a “Futures Committee” that meets on a regular basis to discuss long-term trends for the community, and how they want Fort Collins to development over the course of the next 40-60 years. Communication is key, and a structure to elevate community voices in Western Slope communities will be an important step.
How do Developers and Property Owners Navigage teh Development Process?
Moderated by Monica Rosenbluth, Butler Snow and Brandon Stam, Grand Junction
Findings: The key finding for this group was how important building and nurturing relationships between the public and private sector are for successful development and redevelopment projects are. Clear definitions of the roles each of the stakeholder and how they interact with each other are important to share so groups do not get tunnel vision and lose site of the big picture.
Stakeholders: Stakeholder include property owners, developers, local government, planning department, community-at-large, downtown organizations,
Tools for Implementation: The key takeaways revolve around building relationships within the community and to develop a cohesive vision for what future development in the community should look like. That should happen long before projects are brought to the table. Private sector stakeholders should build relationships with those in the local government and define the role that each entity will play during the development process.
An idea of creating business-to-business meetings or coffee dates between businesses, property owners, and developers was discussed as it has been successful in communities such as Grand Junction and Castle Rock. The creation of a “development checklist” that can be shared to property owners and developers on how to navigate the process would also allow for greater clarity and show those looking to redevelop property if it will align with the community’s goals as well as if it will work on said property.
Aaron Schultz has served at the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce in an Americorps VISTA capacity building position over the past year. He is finishing up his final month there and has shared what the past year in the Americorps program has meant to him:
Despite having visited a number of small mountain towns, I never thought I would end up living in one - at least not so soon. Still, I came across an opportunity in Manitou Springs, CO that seemed to tick all the boxes: experience in strategic planning and municipal governance through AmeriCorps VISTA. I interviewed for the position over the phone and had the fortune of visiting as DCI was giving a presentation to the local community. After a warm invitation, I took the plunge and accepted the offer.
I spent much of my time in the first couple of weeks just trying to remember all of the new faces I’d met. I was surprised then when a near complete stranger invited me to have Thanksgiving with her family if I would be alone for the holiday. We shared a lot of conversations over a meal, and leftover food from a meeting or event would often be boxed and sent home with me. It was around that time that I started getting roped into community events, like volunteering for the community potluck or supporting the local heritage center fundraiser. Whether or not I had noticed, I was becoming a part of Manitou Springs.
Spending a year in AmeriCorps in a small town comes with unique benefits and challenges that I am only beginning to understand at the end of my service. I got to see up close how cities work and play a role in shaping its future. The local volunteer parks group and a city council member asked me to help submit a grant to rebuild a flood-damaged park, and we ended up getting $293,000 to build out the first phase. I was tasked with piloting a new marketing campaign and with the help of some paint and power tools, I designed and built a selfie-station for a special event called the Fruitcake Toss. Each day has been an adventure, but I learned that Manitou Springs is full of people are willing to think creatively to solve their problems and I got to be along for the ride.
Manitou isn’t the only Colorado community testing creative solutions. At quarterly trainings for AmeriCorps VISTAs, DCI gave us the chance to share projects in our host community. It was helpful to meet peers and build a support system for navigating AmeriCorps. Moreover, DCI provided opportunities to meet leaders from around the state. Not only was this valuable for building my professional network, it also showed me how they are tackling the issues facing their communities and the lessons other cities can learn from their experiences.
I was skeptical moving to a small town, but as my service comes to a close the hardest part is knowing that I might have to leave. Over the course of a year, I have met incredible people who have put me to work. They helped me to grow personally and professionally every day. More than that, they opened up their homes, made sure I had enough to eat, and made me to feel truly welcome in an adopted home. I am so grateful for the experiences I have gained as an AmeriCorps VISTA and only hope that I have given as much with my service as Manitou Springs has given me.
In recent years, DCI has been lucky enough to work with Derek Berardi, a Colorado based graphic designer. He created our regional IN THE GAME map for us and has worked with various clients to help construct and share their story. He focuses on creating and sharing community identities through illustration, story-telling, and graphic design. As a guest on our blog, he's sharing a few benefits of infographics and visual storytelling:
In the community planning world, we are often busy comparing ourselves to places or people that are doing it better. We limit ourselves with thoughts like, “Well, we just aren’t big enough.”, or “They have a fancy welcome sign...we need a fancy welcome sign, too.” We get lost in generic expectations and preconceived notions of what we think we should be to the point that we all end up with same goals and messaging. Say it with me, “…a downtown to live/work/play”. While vitality is not to be discounted, it’s the story that makes the place. Are you telling the story in a way that really captures your place?
My name is Derek Berardi and I’ve worked with Downtown Colorado Inc. for the past several years during their annual conference. You may have seen the Colorado map that breaks down each of the member regions. In my work, I help “places” (municipal stakeholders) to extract and leverage their unique story through strategic graphic design. Whether that’s through infographics, data visualization or illustration, the idea is to step away from generic expressions and to highlight the authentic story of your place. Thoughtfully distilling the message down to the most interesting or surprising points adds value beyond traditional marketing approaches.
So what gives infographics and data storytelling a leg up? This is a no-brainer. The way we consume information has changed. We live in an era of shortened attention spans. Gone are the days of producing or reading 130-page reports. Websites have simplified, articles have become more concise, and the consumer wants to cut through all the static to get to the juiciest bits. And then there are some things that don’t change. Since you were 5 years old until now, you’re probably still more engaged with the books that have pictures. There’s a reason for that. Infographics provide the following benefits:
This design approach is especially effective in delivering another dimension to marketing within the planning realm. Sense of place is carried through visually and paired with quantitative and qualitative data. Instead of asking people to learn more about your locale through black text on white paper, you can capture their imagination and deliver high-quality information in a way that they’ll be excited to consume.
If you’d like to learn more about infographics and how they might better capture the authentic story of your place, reach out or visit my website.
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!
The DCI District Committee lunch was held in Greeley Downtown on February 19, 2019. We had broad attendance from DCI Members from Castle Rock Downtown Alliance, Castle Rock Economic Development Council, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, City of Wheat Ridge, Downtown Boulder Partnership, Weld County Government, Havana BID, Tax Credit Connection, Longmont Downtown Development Authority, and the City of Greeley. Event sponsors included Greeley Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant and our event partner included the Greeley Downtown Development Authority.
The event consisted of a Downtown Greeley tour, Downtown Development Authorities (DDAs) and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) updates, a lunch discussion of relevant downtown development topics, and a presentation on Demonstrating the Value of Downtown to Community Members.
Demonstrating the Value of Downtown to Community Members Presentation by Cole Judge of Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.)
The presentation focused on how to codify and define place management as a profession to ensure that planning, tracking, and reporting are diving into the real purpose of what we do. The presentation considered a process completed by DCI’s partner, International Downtown Association (IDA) to help members identify five areas that together create a well-rounded approach to Place Management. The five components outlined included:
Economy: Understanding the financial impacts of downtown in creating a strong region. Generally, downtowns are a small portion of the geography, with a huge return on investment.
Inclusion: Considering access and equity in opportunities and essential services is an important part of Place Management.
Vibrancy: Monitoring the balance business mix, density, mixed-use, walkability, and considering how uses and users interact in the place establishes vitality.
Identity: The image and messaging of a place is established through social media presence, “hashtags”, celebrating unique characteristics, and a strong brand.
Resilience: The ability to adapt and thrive is evidenced through response and planning for social and environmental change.
Fun Stats to Share
Typically, downtowns only take up 3% of land area, but bring in a much larger percentage of money for the area:
16% property tax
42% hotel tax revenue
28% of citywide jobs are in downtown
Planning vs Promoting Events: How do Place Managers treat business and property owners equitable when some are more involved in events and active in the community?
Have outside writers create top 10 lists for specific groups (Top 10 for college students, Top 10 date night ideas, Top 10 spots for moms, etc) and then share content
Have businesses create itineraries for how to spend time in the community.
Share social media and business’ posts instead of creating posts about the businesses. That way you’re just supporting an already active social media presence
Use pre-existing local/colorado bloggers to feature your town or do a things-to-do post
Use cinemark commercials
Use hotel key cards to gather data
Follow and share people/bloggers who are already writing and sharing about downtowns
Tips for Promoting Partner Events
Many DDAs do not host their own events and only support and/or promote community or citizen-led events, as developing and hosting own events is labor-intensive
Use a tiered sponsorship program with specific fees and requirements for each tier. This also helps to avoid favoritism. Tiered requirement examples: event must be partnering with 3-5 local businesses in order to co-sponsor, must be working on a current project or program together, etc.
How to Ensure Event Quality?
Engage all the businesses in the district, At a minimum, receive approval from each business. Create situations where local business are reaping the benefits (ex: selling local beer at events).
Good marketing strategies: Plan around free resources on social media and facebook (using “boost” as well). Town scavenger hunts (letsroam.com) is a good resource to show off your community. n
Parking language should consider parking opportunities vs parking problems. The real problem would be lots of unused and open parking spots.
Managing Murals: Graffiti vs Art
Use temporary mounts to gauge feedback and community response
Get a member of the HOA on the jury selection committee
Place art bios next to each piece, which helps it appear similar to a gallery, provides artist credibility
Remind community members that all pieces will be approved by the art commission.
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:
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:
For more information on how DCI can help you access a DCI Downtown Capacity Buildiers AmeriCorps VISTA, contact VISTA Leader Andrew Curtis at email@example.com. For other DCI resources including access to our IN THE GAME event and Colorado Challenge Program, please contact Will Cundiff firstname.lastname@example.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!