Downtown Colorado Inc (DCI) had our seventeenth webinar of the series covering various topics on the commercial district response to COVID-19 and how people can support each other while maintaining the CDC’s recommendation of social distancing. Thursday’s call focused on how businesses can expand to outdoor spaces to better serve the community.
Some of the key concepts and topics for discussion included:
Street closures for creating more outdoor spaces
Building strong relationships with businesses
Transforming outdoor spaces for use during colder months
Rethinking urban design with Colorado Parklets
Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District
Joe Hengstler, Executive Director of the Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District started us off with an overview of how Olde Town Arvada has reinvented its dining and retail experience. He stressed the importance of working closely with businesses to figure out the best way to ensure they thrive. Street closures allowed twenty Arvada restaurants to expand outside with 88% of businesses reporting an increase in customers. A focus on public art initiatives and music has ensured that Olde Town Arvada will continue to be a vibrant community space in the time of social distancing.
City of Golden
Robin Fleischmann, the Economic Development Specialist for the City of Golden, talked about Golden’s outdoor business expansions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses expanded outdoor dining onto sidewalks and parking lots adding their own personal touch to the barriers provided by the public works department. Golden experimented with street closures, but ultimately businesses preferred that the streets stay open. There is no one size fits all solution to navigating public spaces during this time, so it is imperative that municipalities and businesses work together to develop a solution that works for the community.
Maggie Kavan of Colorado Parklets shared their innovative parklet design, and how businesses can customize parklets to fit their needs. The parklets are ADA compliant, easy to install, and can be adapted to withstand winter temperatures and precipitation. The cost for each parklet starts at $3,500 and has the opportunity to be funded by a Streetscape Challenge grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Colorado Parklets Website
QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Is the Olde Town Arvada BID planning for the fall and winter months?
The current street closures expire September 7 and we are looking to get those extended through October to match what Denver is doing. We are also in the process of working on a plan for the winter months.
What is a parklet?
A sidewalk extension that repurposes part of the street into a community space that is ideal for following social distancing guidelines.
What size parklets do you offer?
Standard sizes are 8 x 8 and 10 x 10, and custom sizes can be configured to accommodate your space.
ABOUT JOE HENGSTLER
Joe Hengstler is the Executive Director of the Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District. Joe graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL with a BA in sociology in 2008 and began his work in the non-profit sector with a focus on event planning, fundraising and development with a focus on assisting underserved communities. After relocating to Colorado in 2011, Joe returned to school to pursue a Master’s in Global Affairs from the University of Denver, graduating in 2015.
Joe has been with the Olde Town Arvada BID since 2017. He is a tireless advocate for community engagement and downtowns while delivering meaningful results for small businesses. When Joe is not in Olde Town, he enjoys playing music, getting out in the great outdoors, and spending as much time as possible with his wife and new daughter.
ABOUT ROBIN FLEISCHMANN
Experienced economic development executive with a demonstrated history of working in governments, economic development organizations, and consulting. Skilled in Urban Planning, Transportation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Nonprofit Organizations, Philanthropy, and Fundraising.
ABOUT MAGGIE KAVAN
Maggie Kavan is Co-Founder of Colorado Parklets, a Denver native and 5th generation native to Colorado. Maggie has lived in Durango for 21 years and is the owner of ConsciousMKTG, a full-service marketing agency. She and her business partner Michael Carrier created Colorado Parklets to help revive the beloved small businesses and restaurants of every community in Colorado and around the US. Together we will recover from the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the impact it has had on our communities.
7/23 COVID Call Video