DCI Recovery & Response Framework from P.U.M.A. | COVID Response Call - April 23, 2020

04/27/2020 1:54 PM | Morgan Pierce (Administrator)

DCI had our fifth webinar of the series covering various topics on the response to COVID-19 and how people can support each other while maintaining the CDC’s recommendation of social distancing. Thursday’s webinar included a presentation from DCI partners, Brad Segal, President of Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.) and DCI Board Member, Erin Lyng, Associate Vice President of P.U.M.A.. 

Brad and Erin walked us through the response and recovery framework P.U.M.A. has put together for communities and organizations to adapt and The call was facilitated by DCI board member, Terri Takata-Smith of Downtown Boulder and her colleague Julia Simpson.  

P.U.M.A. is building this framework in conjunction with Downtown Colorado, Inc. with the intention that communities and organizations will customize it and adapt to their needs and metrics. This framework is also meant to be dynamic, as conditions and updates are changing quickly. Nobody knows the exact timeline of the virus and when a vaccine will be available, so this is providing ideas for planning on the possibilities and where we think things are going.

Three Phases to the Framework
STABILIZATION - Estimated 3-6 months (we are currently in this phase)
RECOVERY - Estimated 3-18 months (moving into this phase slowly)
NEW NORMAL - Estimated beyond 18 months

The following matrix shows the various actions and organizational responses considered by phase. 






Crisis management, establishing organizational boundaries 

Redefine downtown organizational value,

Information + Support, Inventory of businesses/tenants, Locally focused promotions, Interventions + troubleshooting, mobilize support form front line workers and hardest hit populations/sectors, Decision-making tables/advocacy, anticipate permanent closures, keep it clean + safe, Prepare for phased release + activities, Understand market strengths + vulnerabilities

Identify cash reserve, reallocate/postpone expenditures, essential operations + cushion for unknown ahead, Understand federal/state assistance programs, Solidify local partnerships, Reallocate effort/resources to economic stabilization, Relationships, DCI, Local market promotions + visibility 


Phased re-opening, use of local + regional markets

Continue information/support/inventory/intervention, Create/strengthen local volunteer platforms, Promotions to lure local + regional markets, Phase in events proportional to confidence in public health, Forge new alliances with property owners + influencers, Test new concepts in vacant storefronts, Mobilize business community to address equity issues, Explore procurement opportunities to support small businesses, Consider new options/flexibility for affordable living options, Create locally-funded recovery investment fund, Strategic planning to set new course, Identify funding as local tax base recovers

Develop longer-term funding strategy/diversify, Expand local market promotions + visibility, Strengthen internal research/advocacy to represent all downtown interests, Create locally-based special events that instill pride and ownership, Strategic planning to align organization with revised vision/plan

New Normal

Beyond 18 months

Crisis management, establishing organizational boundaries 

Questions and comments regarding Stage 1 Stabilization

This pandemic has brought about the notion that it might be a good idea to have a public health expert on governing boards.

As was mentioned before, there is an increased need to address equity and inclusion. Any thoughts on a tactical response in Stage 1?

  • The response will vary depending on geography, for example rural response will look a little different than the urban response. But there also may be a political shift that puts more emphasis on topics of healthcare and wages which this current pandemic has further showcased inequities. Housing is also a big issue which the current state of things may prompt needed changes at a quicker pace than before.

Do you have suggestions or resources on how to best manage change for steps as we move through the framework?

  • The framework is meant to be adapted to the users’ situation, as well as have the ability to be dynamic. P.U.M.A. encourages framework users to develop their own metrics and own forms of measurement such as the use of their own budget, and understanding of their own bandwidth. 

Are there any tactics coming out for Stage 1 responses specific to tourism-reliant communities? 

  • Think of the response more of one that is gradual. As of right now, really hunker down and be reliant on the local residents and the local downtown. Fully use and encourage downtown organizations to be information resources for the community and encourage the continuation of community-mindedness. Look to local community champions as well. 

Phased reopening, use of local and regional markets

Questions and comments regarding Stage 2 Recovery

Do you think that there will be a shift from urban/ downtowns lifestyles to a more suburban or rural due to the virus? 

  • There won’t be a significant change. Older demographics are more affected by the current state of things as a life or death situation, as younger generations are in danger but have probability of recovery. Younger demographics want the same things as everyone of connecting with others, having experiences, and enjoy putting disposable income towards music and restaurants, etc. There will most likely be a continued acceleration of people moving out of “superstar” cities because of housing affordability. There may be a possibility of a change in urban apartment design and the need for personal space as being more marketable since with this virus people are spending significantly more time at home.

Do you expect a decline in property tax revenue?

  • There may be a near-term erosion in value, plan for a 10-15% decline but not a long term trend.  This is a very deep disruptive economic episode, but is relatively brief with a timeline of 18 months to 2 years. There will probably be a shift on IF we need a physical location for those who can work remotely.

Locally based events that help instill community pride and ownership, how do you envision these being funded? 

  • By BIDS, property owners, and businesses, as well as local, state, federal, and/or foundation grant sources. The state and federal agencies are working on funding options related to Covid. 

  • Communities that may have funds set aside for events, are coming up with creative ways to adjust and support their local businesses and community. The creativity includes finding ways to bring communities together in new ways, and trying different things.

Travel restrictions, as well as resource concerns, have caused us to localize. Should we pivot from regionalization to localization and how do we try to balance those strategies?

  • Rural markets are in a reinvention stage and can use this as an opportunity to look at diversification options. This is a time to relook at the assets of towns and counties. There is an opportunity to draw from Colorado resources and more people rediscovering their backyard.

To follow up on the urban/suburban question, you talked about lifestyle.  Do you think there will be a shift in where businesses will want to locate their office? Will the need for more square footage drive commercial offices toward the fringes?

More information about our guest speakers:

Brad Segal, President, P.U.M.A.
P.U.M.A.’s founder and president, Brad Segal, has extensive experience in downtown management and community development as both a practitioner and consultant. A self-proclaimed “urban therapist,” Brad is one of the nation’s leading authorities on downtown trends and issues, reinventing downtown management organizations and forming business improvement districts to finance them, and pioneering efforts to create healthy communities. Prior to establishing P.U.M.A. in 1993, he designed and managed economic development programs as senior director of the Downtown Denver Partnership. 

Erin Lyng, Associate Vice President, P.U.M.A.
Erin Lyng manages a variety of projects at P.U.M.A. from adaptive reuse feasibility studies to rural economic development strategies to strategic plans for downtown organizations. Erin also leads P.U.M.A.’s role as the outreach and technical assistance provider for the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F), a statewide program that funds healthy food retail in underserved communities. Her past experience in nonprofit public relations, communications strategy, advertising and digital media brings unique perspectives to project work at P.U.M.A.

P.U.M.A. Framework Powerpoint Presentation

Recovery & Response Framework

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