IN THE GAME A Vibrant Downtown Event

APRIL 2-5, 2024 | DURANGO

Check out this cool video!


We invite you to participate in our four-day interactive IN THE GAME experience happening April 2-5 in Durango. The first half is a deep dine into problem solving for communities, and the second half will feature cutting edge ideas around what is coming next for downtowns and our state. This unique event gets participants out of their seats and into the host community, exploring the places and projects that vibrant downtowns love to see.

Downtown Colorado, Inc.'s (DCI's) IN THE GAME Vibrant Downtown Event provides valuable educational opportunities and peer-to-peer exchange for the leaders of Colorado's communities who are responsible for economic and community development. The event annually features nationally recognized keynotes and Colorado-based speakers with the shared goal of inspiring participants to action. 

DCI’s highly successful Dine Around Sessions, that get participants out of their seats and showcasing Downtown Durango, and Challenge Workshops, that allow community champions to share insights to solve challenges together, will be once again be part of the program. IN THE GAME Durango will also feature some cutting edge ideas around what is coming next for downtowns and our state.  

Stay tuned to DCI’s website and newsletters for details on speakers, lunches, tours, Challenge Studio topics, and all things IN THE GAME!

Before December 31

Full Event
$375 Member | $450 Non-Member

First Half (Tues 4/11-Wed 4/12)
$200 Member | $275 Non-Member

Second Half (Thurs 4/13-Fri 4/14)
$200 Member | $275 Non-Member


After December 31

Full Event
$450 Member | $550 Non-Member

First Half (Tues 4/11-Wed 4/12)
$250 Member | $275 Non-Member

Second Half (Thurs 4/13-Fri 4/14)
$250 Member | $300 Non-Member



Be sure to say you are with Downtown Colorado, Inc. IN THE GAME

Strater Hotel | Rates start at $152 | IN THE GAME Registration will be here! 

Holiday Inn Express Downtown Durango | Rates start at $148 | Say you are with Downtown Colorado, Inc. IN THE GAME

General Palmer | Rates start at $135 | Say you are with Downtown Colorado, Inc. IN THE GAME

Rochester Hotel | Use Code DCICONFERENCE


DCI Sponsors often help fund Sponsorships for members in need. Please fill out our application form if you would like to volunteer at the event or are a DCI member AND:

  • Student, with proof of enrollment.
  • Small, rural community, under 5000 population or experiencing significant financial challenges, community scholarships may be available. 



IN THE GAME will be an experience like no other! We will have a uniquely choreographed series of interactions to establish a dialogue, network, and solution-oriented approach to challenges and action. IN THE GAME platforms keep our guests talking and learning together! We have a variety of opportunities for sponsors to shine through dine around lunches, tours, plenary speakers, and receptions to show off solutions + share great ideas. We also will host a Community Challenge Workshop to focus on projects that communities are looking to move forward by turning challenges into opportunities. 

If you'd like to partner with us and help make IN THE GAME the most amazing vibrant downtown event, check out the 2024 IN THE GAME Sponsorship Opportunities.

Members receive 25% off early-bird and regular registration

Member Log in (then Registration)

Not a member? No problem! Click the link below to register

Non-Member Registration


2023 IN THE GAME Vibrant Downtown Event was LOVEly in Loveland

IN THE GAME 2022’S structure was uniquely choreographed to establish a dialogue, network, and solution-oriented approach to challenges and action. IN THE GAME platforms kept our guests talking and learning together! We had a variety of dine around lunches, tours, plenary speakers, and receptions to show off our the community + share great ideas. We also held Community Challenge Studios to workshop plans for communities looking to turn challenges into opportunities. 

Here are a few highlights:

  • 300+ registered attendees
  • 18 Community and Downtowner of the Year Governor’s Award Winners
  • 80 Different Speakers and Facilitators
  • 57 Sponsors and Community Partners
  • 20 Dine-Around Lunch Sessions
  • 12 Community Tours highlighting Colorado Springs, CO
  • 3 Colorado Challenge Program communities

To learn more about the content covered at IN THE GAME, check out our 2022 SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE.

2022 IN THE GAME Vibrant Downtown Event was super FUN! 

HIGHLIGHTS |  IN THE GAME 2022’S structure was uniquely choreographed to establish a dialogue, network, and solution-oriented approach to challenges and action. IN THE GAME platforms kept our guests talking and learning together! We had a variety of dine around lunches, tours, plenary speakers, and receptions to show off our the community + share great ideas. We also held Community Challenge Studios to workshop plans for communities looking to turn challenges into opportunities. 

To learn more about the content covered at IN THE GAME, check out our 2022 SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE.

GOVERNOR'S AWARD FOR DOWNTOWN EXCELLENCE AWARDS DINNER | Highlight the people, partnerships, and projects making a difference in Colorado communities. Downtown Colorado, Inc. was honored to celebrate a series of projects nominated by our members in several categories: Partnership, Person, Place, Plan, Project, and Pandemic Response. The Governor's Awards dinner was hosted at IN THE GAME where we announced and celebrated our winners! Read this press release to learn more about 2022's Governor's Awards for Downtown Excellence winners.

Colorado Challenge Studios

DCI’s highly successful Challenge Studio Workshops were the centerpiece of the 2022 IN THE GAME Vibrant Downtown Event. The Studios identified a challenge that each community is facing and were designed to transform a community’s difficult roadblocks into promising opportunities.

2022 Full Challenge Community Studios included: 

  • Minturn | Engagement + Exploration of a Sustainable Downtown Model
  • San Luis | Financing Tiny Town Historic Preservation + Development

2022 Mini One-Day Challenge Commumity Studios included:

  • Cañon City | Synchronizing Public- Private Initiatives
  • Center | Financing Attainable Housing
  • Leadville | Managing Capacity in a Small City + County
  • Old Colorado City | Formalizing a Sustainable Organizational Model
2022 IN THE GAME | Keynote Speakers
Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) was honored to showcase a series of dynamic and though provoking leaders bringing energy, ideas, and creativity to build stronger community. 

Building Community Wealth | Yessica Holguin 


Yessica works with immigrant groups and low-income communities across the Denver Metro area since 2000. ​She has dedicated her life to empowering disenfranchised communities to break the cycle of poverty through education and entrepreneurship. Yessica is responsible for leading Community Wealth Bullders and carrying out the vision of a people-owned, inclusive, and sustainable metro Denver economy that catalyzes prosperous and resilient communities free from racism and injustice.

Revitalizing Downtown with Light Manufacturing | Ilana Preuss, Recast City


Revitalizing Downtown with Light Manufacturing DCI is please to present Ilana Preuss of Recast City to share her work with local leaders to rebuild great places that spur energy, increase the number of good jobs, fill the storefronts, and make people proud of where they're from by bringing small-scale manufacturing businesses into the forefront.

Becoming a Community Champion | Zoila Gomez


Zoila Gomez, a San Luis Valley Olympian, at the Olympic + Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs. After sustaining an injury, Ms. Gomez found a different passion: Love and Passion for the Community. Ms. Gomez now builds community as the SLV Cooking Matters Regional Coordinator and SLV Project Protect Promotora Network. Zoila credits her achievements to two things – following her dreams and the support of people who believed in her. Join Zoila Gomez as she shares insight into the process of building a champion and fostering collaboration. 

What a Private Investor Looks for in Community Partners | Kayvan Khalatbari 


Kayvan is a community advocate and entrepreneur based in Colorado (Denver and Trinidad). He has co-founded more than a dozen businesses in multiple industries. Notable amongst these businesses are Birdy magazine, Cresco Labs, Denver Relief, Standard Wellness, and Sexy Pizza; the last of which has five locations and recently converted into an employee-owned company. He is also active in developing attainable housing solutions in the area. This follows a decade-long career in the regulated cannabis industry, where he designed and oversaw the management of more than 1M square feet of indoor agricultural production and processing space in 12 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. He has led and/or supported numerous successful ballot initiatives in Denver. Kayvan is a fierce advocate for a shared wealth economy, criminal justice and drug policy reform, the rights of people experiencing homelessness, and promoting access to creative and entrepreneurial opportunities for underserved populations. 

The Fabulous Intellects of Facts + Figures 

Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) was pleased to present a dynamic discussion the morning of Thursday, April 14, 2022 that dove into Colorado’s Colorado’s State of the People, Industry Opportunity, and the New Norms for Downtowns. 

Colorado’s State of the People | Elizabeth Garner, Colorado State Demographer  

Fresh from the Census Update, catch up on the people of Colorado, the trends, and how your community can plan better for the future.

Industry Opportunity | Dawn Thilmany, CSU Extension 

As a leader in understanding rural Colorado, CSU Extension has the details on entrepreneurial opportunities and what to watch with agriculture. 

What Does The New Workplace Normal Mean | Michelle Kobayashi, Polco 

Dang, things changed… Explore what happened with downtown workplaces, office space, retail, and restaurants.
Showcase solutions based on projects and services to help Downtowners get things done. Highlight exciting restaurant and project concepts and include informal discussion. IN THE GAME Dine Around Lunches open to all registrants will be on Wednesday, April 13th  + Thursday, April 14th and include the following topics:


What New Normals Are Here to Stay in the Work World? | Polco

Fostering a Climate for Social Enterprise | Colorado Institute for Social Impact | Sponsored by Norwood

    Prove your Commitment to Local: Leveraging Tech in the Experience Economy | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Job Quality as a Tool for Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction | Colorado Workforce Development Council

      Cooperative Ownership to Build Power, Wealth, + Leadership | Paul Bindel


      The ABCs of BIDs, DDAs, + More | Progressive Urban Management Associates

      Thriving Retail for the Next Generation | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Reclaiming the Horizontal Space: Using On-Street Parking for Downtown + Neighborhood Resiliency | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Take Control of Downtown Curbs | Walker Consultants

      Dine Around the Four Point Approach | Department of Local Affairs

      Building an Effective Economic Development Leadership Team in your Community | Economic Development Council of Colorado

      Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Brownfield? Communication and Engagement Tools for Success |  Community Builders


      Exciting New Housing and Community Resources | Colorado Housing + Finance Authority

      Caring Approaches to Chronic Homelessness | Downtown Colorado Springs

      From Vision to Reality! Resources for Redevelopment + Revitalization | Colorado Department of Public Health + Environment

      Property Activation Process | Downtown Redevelopment Services

      Understanding Development: How to Go from Concept to Construction | Ayres + Associates

      Facilitating Community Minded-Development: How to Create Successful Public-Private Partnerships | Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH)


      Bring the classroom to the community as we visit the projects in our host communities. There is a wide range of tours, talking tours require comfy shoes and a readiness to walk, while mobile tours are on buses but still require some walking, and will be on  Wednesday, April 13th  + Thursday, April 14th and include the following topics:


      Creative Avenue Circuit Tour of Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City, and Manitou Springs | Bohannan Houston + DHM Design

      Building a Smart Community from the Ground Up | Gold Hill Mesa

      Urban Renewal Tour featuring IvyWild | City of Durango

      Transforming Spaces Through Adaptive Re-Use | Downtown Colorado Springs


      Art to the Rescue | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Black History Tour | Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum

      Building a Festival Street From the Ground Up: Park Union District | Norwood

      Downtown Living: From Planning to Action | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Form Based Code: Creating a Better Urban Environment | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Law & Disorder History Stroll  | Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum

      Leading With Your Values | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Rethinking Retail Square Footage to Optimize Experiences | Downtown Colorado Springs

      Thank You 2022 IN THE GAME Sponsors!

      2019 IN THE GAME was an inspirational, educational, and fun event. The event was full of changemakers, big thinkers, and downtown champions. We took our conference location back into the mountains in Aspen, and show cased the innovative ideas coming from the community through our speakers, lunches, and tours. As always, our conference differs from most where instead of using the typical formula of session, break, session, etc., we got our participants out of their seats engaging with one another and seeing the City of Aspen first hand. Our theme for the conference was "Stewardship, Equity, and Unintended Consequences" where our discussions investigated ensuring that all members of our communities are heard in the process of building stronger communities. Our Colorado Challenge Program was once again very successful, helping the communities of Aspen, Center, Eagle, the Southwest Corridor, and Trinidad.

      Photos above are credited to Caleb Alvarado and Keifer Johnson of the National Research Center

      2019 IN THE GAME

      Charles Marohn // Strong Towns 

      Known as "Chuck" to friends and colleagues - is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Chuck is the founder and president of Strong Towns. He has a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. He is the author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns (Volume 1) and A World Class Transportation System as well as the host of the Strong Towns Podcast and a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has spoken in dozens of towns and cities across North America, and speaks regularly for diverse audiences and venues. Chuck grew up on a small farm in Central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he graduated from Brainerd High School in 1991. Chuck joined the Minnesota National Guard on his 17th birthday during his junior year of high school and served for nine years. Besides being passionate about building a stronger America, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader and religiously follows his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters and two Samoyeds just north of Baxter, Minnesota. Learn more about the work of Strong Towns at

      Chris Lane // Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

      Chris Lane has 25 years of executive environmental management and corporate sustainability experience across varying sectors. Currently, Lane is CEO of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, a 48-year old nonprofit environmental organization that tackles regional environmental issues around ecological literacy, forest health, sustainable agriculture, land restoration and climate change. Prior to that Lane was vice president of sustainability for Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the country’s largest national park and resort management company where he pioneered the development of environmental management systems in our country’s national parks. Lane served as director of environmental affairs at Aspen Skiing Company. He has consulted with large corporations throughout his career. He has served as an elected official and on the Colorado Governor’s Pollution Prevention Board. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering and is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Environmental Systems Manager. He lives in Basalt with his wife and two kids.

      Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler // The Equity Project, LLC.

      Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler is the Chief Catalyst and Founder of The Equity Project, LLC – an organization designed to support organizations and communities in building diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. She is the former Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion Officer for Children’s Hospital Colorado and the former Executive Director of the Office of Human Resources for the City and County of Denver – the first African American woman to hold either of those positions. Dr. Mosby Tyler, a consultant accredited by the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence, is nationally recognized for her equity work with non-profit, community, government and for-profit organizations. Dr. Mosby Tyler has had a strong academic presence in Colorado as a popular guest lecturer at The University of Denver, University of Colorado, Regis University and many other social, political and community organizations. Dr. Mosby-Tyler has a vast, 32-year background in human resources, diversity & inclusion, training and operations management. She has held leadership roles at AT&T, Kaiser Permanente, the McKesson Corporation and Statline. Dr. Mosby Tyler holds a doctorate in the field of Organizational Leadership, a Master degree in Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

      Eric Kornacki // Re:Vision

      Eric Kornacki is a food system visionary, community wealth building leader, and racial equity champion. He is a social entreprenuer. A committed to organizing power from the ground up, challenging the status quo, and creating a new economy where people and the planet matter more than profits. I am a husband, father, gardener, chef, brewer, builder and baker. Re:Vision’s mission is to work with people in economically marginalized neighborhoods to develop resident leaders, cultivate community food systems, and create an economy owned by the community.

      Michelle Kobayashi // National Research Center

      National Research Center Vice President Michelle Kobayashi has helped local governments 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 about resident surveys, local government employee surveys, strategic planning and more.

      Scott Wasserman // The Bell Policy Center

      Scott has served as president of the Bell Policy Center and the Bell Action Network since August 2016. Scott leads a talented staff who plays a major role in fiscal reform, education policy, economic security, and other issues affecting Coloradans. Previously, Scott was deputy chief of staff to Gov. John Hickenlooper and chief of staff to both Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne. He worked in the governor’s office from 2013 to 2016, advising on health care, education, and workforce development. Before that, Scott spent eight years in leadership positions at SEIU and Colorado WINS. He also has worked as a lobbyist and served four years as director of communications and press secretary for the Colorado House Minority Office. Scott graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Middle East studies.

      Dine Around Sessions

      Our sponsored Dine Around sessions were a chance for some our participants to dive deeper into subjects such as "Activating Downtown Red Cliff" sponsored by Hunn Planning & Policy, "Turning Brownfields Green: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations" sponsored by the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety, "Opportunity Zones and Colorado Real Estate" sponsored by Development Research Partners, "Loveland Artspace: A Creative Housing Development" sponsored by the City of Loveland, and so much more! The beautiful restaurants in these pictures are some of Aspen's bests including Mezzaluna, The Pyramid, Mi Chola, Hops Culture, The Red Onion, and Su Casa.

      IN THE GAME Tours

      Our tours showcased many of Aspens's amenities including the American Planning Association (APA) award winning pedestrian mall - designated as one of the "Great Places in America", the Aspen Art Museum designed by internationally renown architect Shigeru Ban, the Wheeler/Stallard Historical Museum, and the pleasant surprise that Aspen hosts beautiful examples of Bauhaus architecture at the Aspen Institute right outside of downtown! Participants also got to learn about Glenwood Springs' monumental achievement, the Grand Avenue Bridge project, through a panel discussion and tour with all the big players that made the project happen - PR StudiosCommunity Builders, the City of Glenwood Springs, and Bohannan Huston.