Trinidad Downtown: A Rural Redevelopment Case Study

03/04/2021 12:58 PM | Carly Mazure (Administrator)

On February 25th, DCI hosted Trinidad Downtown: A Rural Redevelopment Case Study call with Ed Griego with Trinidad Urban Renewal Authority, Mike Scholl of Ayres Associates and Wally Wallace with the City of Trinidad. DCI first started working with Trinidad in 2008, with a downtown assessment to support the reformation of urban renewal, creating a Creative District, and joining the Main Street program. One by one, Trinidad checked off the 70+ tasks in the plan and today Downtown Trinidad is seeing investment in housing, healthcare, and hubs for tourists. 

We started the conversation off with Wally Wallace who serves as the Economic Development Coordinator in Trinidad. He dove into details on how Trinidad has redeveloped in recent years and the plans they have for the future.

  • Old historic buildings have now been bought with plans to get housing and local businesses in them

  • A New Hilton Garden House hotel will be the first significant downtown hotel development in a long time

  • Space to Create

    • Affordable live/work space for artists and other creatives

    • Focus on retail and placemaking in commercial space

  • Fox West Theatre (builtin 1907) will be restored and used as a performance art space

  • Gravel race for cyclists coming to the Trinidad area in October 2021


Trinidad now has:

  • Main Street Board

  • Creative District

  • Urban Renewal Authority 

  • Designated county enterprise zone

  • Downtown District serving as an entertainment district

  • Historic District


Fishers Peak State Park

Established as a state park in 2020, Fishers Peak can help drive economic growth in Trinidad and surrounding areas. It is the second largest state park in Colorado.

Mike Scholl from Ayers Associates continued the conversation about Trinidad by sharing that the city has the highest number of historic buildings in Colorado along with other information about Trinidads redevelopment story.

  • Urban Renewal Authority was created in 2014 and certified in 2015

  • Re-opening of the New Elk Coal mine for metallurgical coal mining will increase job opportunities in the area

  • Space to Create is serving as an affordable housing project 

    • 41 units

    • 25,000 square feet of retail and commercial space

  • San Rafael Hospital development finished and will also help to create more job opportunities 

  • Plans for a food court at the marketplace

    • Multi-tenet restaurant space

    • 4 new restaurants opened

    • Plans for 7 more to open after the develop the rest of the property 

  • Champions Building

    • Future bank, mental health facility and holistic medicine center

  • Plans for a community gathering space and more housing development to keep up with the demand 


Questions + Answers

Question: Have you incorporated walkability in Trinidad, including multi-use?

Wally Answer: Yes, in addition to the holistic health center we are looking for ways to incorporate walkability. We currently have the Trinidad river trail system and a bike path to Trinidad Lake. Bike lanes and paths have been partially funded by CDOT grants.


Question: Do you have one piece of advice thats valuable for redevelopment projects?

Mike Answer:  Be persistent and don’t get frustrated with road blocks early on in redevelopment efforts. If you can control the real estate in your area you have more opportunities to develop the projects you want.

Wally Answer: Be very optimistic about the town and excited to see its potential!

Wally Wallace

Named by the Denver Post as “Trinidad’s Pied Piper”, Wally Wallace has used his experience in project management, creative marketing, and community building to lead the former coal-mining boom-and-bust town of Trinidad, Colorado through a major economic resurgence. Born and raised in the foothills of Colorado, Wally's work is driven by his passion for the Southwest and his vision for building creative, healthy, sustainable economies as a base to strengthen rural communities. His work in Trinidad was recognized by Denver Westword as one of the top Arts and Culture stories in Colorado in 2020. He believes that by creating collaborative partnerships within communities, and between them, and by utilizing the support of Trinidad's Urban Renewal Authority, Enterprize Zone, and Opportunity Zones, Trinidad and its regional partners can develop strategies to bring economic prosperity and sustainability to Trinidad, Southern Colorado and the surrounding region.

Mike Scholl

Mike has two decades of nationwide planning experience with consultants, community groups, and most recently as economic development manager for the City of Loveland, Colorado. More than five years as a legislative assistant to U.S. congressmen adds to the depth of Mike's understanding of planning, from funding through community implementation.

Mike's vision and persistence have brought success to many development projects. He managed Loveland's Gallery Flats redevelopment project, which was awarded the Governor's Award for best 2015 infill project in Colorado.

Mike's responsibilities include research and evaluation of data related to social, housing, economic, population, environmental, and land use trends; developing planning studies and reports; performing plan reviews; preparing permits; researching and analyzing residential and commercial development projects; reviewing and preparing environmental assessments, plans, and documents; and conducting field evaluations and assessments.

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