Identify a Downtown Champion
Muriel Eason | 12/19/12

In November 2012, the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) and the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce sponsored an assessment of what it would take to revitalize our downtown from Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI). You can read more here about: Imagine Downtown! .

To differentiate Imagine Downtown from previous downtown revitalization studies, we wanted to take action right away, even while we await the final report from DCI.  So we held a public meeting on November 29th that included about 30 attendees from the community, to talk about next steps and organize volunteers.

Out of that meeting, two groups were formed:  1) to revitalize empty store windows downtown (read more here: Revitalizing Empty Store Fronts in Time for the Holidays ) and 2) to work to identify a “downtown champion” organization. You can download the full DCI presentation from the PSCDC website.  Many members of the community signed up to help with whichever group interested them the most.

Specifically, DCI recommended:  “Identify a Downtown Champion – Designate a single point of contact to work toward a safe and clear environment, vibrant downtown appearance, healthy businesses, partnerships, communication, and events.  Consider options for creating an organization, financing, and a voice for the downtown businesses and property owners.” 

Alternatives for a Downtown Champion that were offered by DCI included the PSCDC which is already ongoing, form a DDA (Downtown Development Authority), form a BID (Business Improvement District like Durango’s) or leverage the Colorado Main Street program via DOLA/DCI to get organized.  There are also other organization options and combinations of options.

A meeting of the “Downtown Champion” group was held December 13th to organize and figure out next steps.  Ken Charles of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) came over from Durango to share more information with us and answer questions about alternatives and various approaches we might take.   He also pointed out examples of what other towns have done and provided helpful contacts.

Rather than rush the process, Ken suggested that before taking action, we fully understand our options and thoughtfully consider our approach to make sure we are successful.  In the next few weeks, we will be clarifying our vision and goals, what downtown property owners may want from such an organization, an acceptable way to finance it, what the amount of potential financing is and to better engage with our business and property owner community in the process.

The next Imagine Downtown public meeting will be held in the Community Center South Conference Room on January 3rd, 2013 at 6:00 PM.  Please join us and volunteer to help your community!


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