Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and CU Denver School of Public Affairs partner announce 2019 Colorado Challenge CommunitiesGuest Contributor Mar 8, 2019
March 7, 2019 – DENVER, CO – Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) is announcing five Colorado communities awarded the 2019 Colorado Challenge Accelerator Program Awards. Colorado Challenge Program Communities have been selected based on the challenges that they are facing in both their region and their population size. Communities will receive access to a five-phase accelerator focused on turning challenges to opportunity with the Challenge Studio Workshops and Financing Summit Pitch Session at the DCI IN THE GAME, Vibrant Downtown Event, April 9-12, 2019 in Aspen. Communities are also eligible for ongoing support to build and maintain momentum around implementing solutions to affect their challenge. The presentation of findings and action steps will be presented in a Financing Summit Pitch Session on April 12th, on the last day of the IN THE GAME event in Aspen.
“The 2018 Colorado Challenge Program Communities represent a diverse mix of Colorado cities and towns who are working to overcome challenges around housing, small business support, tourism development, local engagement, historic preservation, brownfield clean up, financing, and more,” said Katherine Correll, DCI Executive Director. “While each community is unique, each challenge is applicable and meaningful to communities in different regions and economic segments. We are excited to see the creative problem-solving power of Colorado’s network dedicated to helping these communities this spring.”
The five communities and the nature of their challenges include:
- Aspen: Equitable and Authentic Engagement
Stewardship is a concept deeply ingrained in the culture of Aspen, with the Paepcke legacy fostering healthy mind, body, and spirit. Aspen is a strong Colorado community with resources to support the quality of life for residents and visitors. Join the Aspen team to talk about a manageable and effective system for authentic engagement to connect with the hard to reach audience.
- Center: Becoming a Business-Friendly Community
Center sits at a cross roads of highways in the San Luis Valley. The community is a real place focused on locals, with a beautiful school, lovely historic buildings, and a people who love their town. Center has vacant buildings and available land, and Center wants business! How can Center reshape communications and partnerships to tell their world they are open for business?
- Eagle: Activating and Financing Downtown Place Management
Eagle has a downtown right off of 170, totally streetscaped, but very quiet. There are very few businesses, and opportunities to spark activity and engagement through the downtown spaces. While development requests are coming, the community is largely a bedroom community where people can afford to live while commuting to other places. How can Eagle spark life and attract business to the downtown?
- Southwest Corridor - Durango-Ouray-Silverton: Creating a Sustainable Business Ecosystem
Durango-Silverton-Ouray is a corridor for the brave of heart. The Million Dollar highway deters many a driver, limiting both car and train tourism to the warmer, less icy months. With the recent fire, many questions are looming about the future of small businesses in this seasonal environment. How can they create a sustainable economy?
- Trinidad: Sustaining a Performing Arts Theater
A small non-profit professional performing arts theater in the City of Trinidad has survived many years with the hard work and dedication of a largely non-paid director and volunteer staff, but the grants and donations are limited and inconsistent. How can a small, rural, performing arts theater reinvent its business model and operations to become a sustainable and professionally staffed corporation?
The IN THE GAME event also invites participation from past Colorado Challenge Program Communities, including the class of 2018, which included:
- Idaho Springs: Brownfields and Financing Redevelopment;
- La Junta: Historic Preservation - Accessing Upper Floors for Housing;
- Lamar: Branding and Social Media – Citizen Engagement in a Digital Environment;
- Leadville: Financing Downtown Improvements – Leveraging History for Housing;
- Longmont: Design – Transforming Public Plazas;
- Lyons: Housing and Mobility – Sustainable Living and Tourism in a Flood Prone Corridor;
- Monument: Civic Pride – Supporting Small Business in a Historic Downtown on I-25;
- Parachute: Incentives – Revitalizing a Divided Downtown;
- Red Cliff: Design – Leveraging Improvements for Upgrades to Street Design
The Colorado Challenge Studio program is a partnership between DCI and the CU Denver School of Public Affairs, to find new problem-solving approaches to Colorado community challenges and hone the skills of public affairs emerging professionals in applying a multi-disciplinary approach to economic and community development. Communities and Students Project Coordinators work side-by-side with leading industry experts and local networks to craft problem-solving plans that result in improved futures and lessons for everyone involved.
“We are proud to partner with this program to give our students a dynamic, hands-on economic development experience that also helps Colorado local governments find solutions,” said Randy Harrison, CU Denver Senior Fellow-Director of the Certified Public Manager Program. “These Student Project Coordinators are thrilled to use the skills they are learning to help a Colorado community and to network with so many professionals from Colorado state and consulting agencies.”
On the morning of Friday, April 12th DCI and the Student Project Coordinators will share the findings of the Challenge Studios before the close of the event at the Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence. Upon conclusion of the IN THE GAME event, Challenge Studio Communities will receive a written report with action steps for overcoming their challenge and accessing resources. DCI and CU Denver School of Public Affairs will plan to hold education events in the Challenge Studio Communities to showcase the process for problem-solving and implementing action plans in the community. This program will help facilitate lasting solutions for these communities and meaningful experience for the Public Affairs students.
DCI welcomes media to attend the event with a Media Registration Pass. For more information on the conference or to register to attend, visit downtowncoloradoinc.org.
About Downtown Colorado, Inc.
Established in 1982 as the Colorado Community Revitalization Association, Downtown Colorado, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership organization that aims to build better communities by providing assistance to downtowns, commercial districts and town centers in Colorado. Organization members represent downtown organizations, local governments, development and improvement districts, consultants, individuals and others involved in downtown and community development.
Downtown Colorado, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. DCI employs personnel without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental handicap, veteran status and marital status.
About University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs
University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs is creating the next generation of visionary leaders through its undergraduate and graduate programs in public affairs and criminal justice, taught by renown faculty whose expertise make them a go-to resource for state and national policy makers. The Master of Public Administration program is accredited by NASPAA, to global standard in public service education, and the school is ranked as the top public affairs school in Colorado and among the best in the nation.