The COVID-19 Pandemic struck the world in early 2020 and resulted in a shutdown of the state of Colorado on March 25, 2020. The stay-at-home order not only impacted University of Colorado at Denver (UCD), but dramatically effected retail businesses, restaurants, community events, and other vital main street institutions that drive the economy of our state. A cross-section of these impacts comes into play when Randy Harrison’s ‘Economic Development’ class (PUAD 5630) and their partners Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) shifted their work with five Colorado communities entirely online and helped transition these communities into the recovery process.
‘Economic Development’ is hands-on and innovative course that utilizes Colorado as a laboratory for understanding economic development concepts and strategies. Students not only get experience with community development but they also gain real-world experience working in partnership with DCI to assist communities throughout Colorado in addressing economic development challenges. Students worked with town leadership and stakeholders to create action plans to respond to COVID as well as plans for their economic futures. The goal of the program is to turn challenges into opportunities.
The City of Durango was selected to work with this group early in the year as a DCI 2020 Challenge Community to address the challenge of “Creatively Financing Development”. As the pandemic emerged, DCI was able to quickly adapt to virtual community meetings and the plan for Durango turned to developing a strategic approach to slowly reopening of the community to ensure economic viability of re-opening their economy once and responsibly.
UCD SPA Student Coordinators, Erin Guthrie and Connie Liu developed the material and were key in managing the discussion around reopening. Here are their testimonials from the experience:
"It was a great learning experience working with Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and Alex Rugoff and Scott Shine from City of Durango. Though our class did not go as planned because of Covid-19, I really appreciate the opportunity to understand the struggles the community was facing. I'm glad we were able to come up with steps to safely reopen.” – Connie Liu
"Downtown Colorado, Inc (DCI) provided the support and resources needed to navigate the challenges of Economic Development during the COVID-19 era. During the 2020 Challenge Studio, we were able to pivot to support Durango as they worked towards a safe reopening. DCI ensured that the right questions were being asked and empowered the collaborative network of La Plata County stakeholders to work together. This experience was truly one-of-a-kind and offered a hands-on opportunity unavailable in many classrooms. I would recommend the class to anyone even remotely interested in economic development, as it has the power to foster that interest into a passion.” – Erin Guthrie
During a two-hour Virtual Studio Workshop on April 15, 2020, the City of Durango and DCI brought together presenters to provide a framework for considering a reopening strategy that included Public Health and Economic Development perspectives. The Virtual Studio Workshop included two breakout sessions where participants brainstormed ideas for a reopening plan, including key audiences, sectors, and metrics as well as recovery and reimagination of vital Durango industries like education, tourism, retail, and hospitality.
Alex Rugoff from The City of Durango remarked this following the process, “Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and the School of Public Affairs’ (SPA) Student Coordinators played an integral role in La Plata County’s economic recovery. Student Coordinators Connie Liu and Erin Guthrie brought community leaders together during our Challenge Community Virtual Studio Workshop to plan for a safe and efficient economic reopening. The Workshop led to the formation of the La Plata Economic Recovery Task Force, which has been instrumental in providing local businesses resources to survive and adapt to the changing environment. I would strongly encourage other communities and SPA students to get involved in DCI’s Challenge Community Program.”
Watch the full presentation on Vimeo!
Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) are pleased to announce a month of education and conversation around the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution. DCI and EDCC have formed a partnership to establish and present educational content to build awareness and informed action around the Gallagher Amendment in advance of the November election where the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment is on the ballot.
On Wednesday, September 2nd Reeves Brown began Gallagher Education month with an overview of the Gallagher Amendment. Watch the full presentation here!
Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming Gallagher Education Month events:
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
Lessons from an Egg Farm: Increase Your Revenue, Have More Free Time, and Get More Customers Using Accelerators
I recently interviewed an owner of a chicken farm who used one piece of advice that improved their production and efficiency by 1500%.
Best of all, what she learned is directly applicable to every business. Even yours.
I want to tell you about my daughter, Jenna, and her Kansas farm which has about 1,200 egg-producing chickens. The eggs from Jenna’s chickens are all given away to hungry people through the non-profit she created and each month, she provides hundreds of dozens of farm fresh eggs to people in need.
Needless to say, I’m one proud Dad.
But this story isn’t just my chance to brag about my daughter. This story has a profound lesson in it for every one of you.
When Jenna first started out with her non-profit chicken farm, she did everything by hand. The chickens all roam around in coops (150 feet long and 24 feet wide) eating grain and drinking water. When she started, the water for the chickens came from 8-gallon watering containers which had to be filled with a hose, and then, carried into each coop, with 3-5 waterers per coop. (Each waterer weighs over 65 pounds). Jenna did that. She also had to pour grain into the feeding troughs, and then, go around to the 30 nesting boxes (where the chickens laid eggs), and collect each egg individually.
After collecting the eggs in buckets (at the beginning, about 140 eggs a day), Jenna would haul the eggs to the sink, individually candle the eggs (that’s chicken-talk for checking for cracks), and then, hand scrub each egg to make it clean, finally putting each egg into a carton and labeling each carton. For 140 eggs, it took her about 6 hours of work every day. As the chickens laid more eggs and Jenna added more chickens, her days grew longer and longer, all the while feeding more needy families.
But a funny thing happened that changed everything: The guy who provided the metal for her first chicken coop was named Marvin, and one day Marvin mentioned to Jenna that during his weekend, he helped collect 14,000 eggs at his father-in-law’s farm.
That got Jenna’s attention and she asked Marvin some questions. Turns out Marvin’s father-in-law (Andy’s his name), had an automated egg production facility over in Missouri.
Shortly thereafter with Marvin’s help, Jenna traveled 3 hours away to Missouri to see Andy’s farm. And when she got there, she saw Andy’s automated conveyor belts that carried eggs from the nesting boxes into a separate egg cleaning room and a machine that thoroughly cleaned each egg, all automatically. She also saw how Andy’s coops each had automatic waterers (no need to haul 8-gallon containers of water), and automatic grain feeders (no need to haul grain and pour it out), and instead, an auger pulled the grain from a grain silo directly to the chickens, all by flipping a switch.
Andy willingly shared his knowledge and expertise and most importantly, the mistakes he’d made over the years that now allowed him to process thousands of eggs in a day. And shortly afterwards, Andy helped design a smaller, similar system for Jenna’s coops and that system was installed this Spring.
Now, with this investment in her business and the time she put in to learn all the new processes and machinery and reconfigure every part of her egg production business, she took a tremendous leap forward, all because of Andy sharing his expertise of what worked and what didn’t.
If you’re interested in statistics, Jenna went from feeding, watering, collecting, cleaning, and packaging 12 dozen eggs in 6 hours at the beginning of her business to doing all the same processes with over 1,200 chickens, but now she can process over 62 dozen eggs in 40 minutes by herself. A 1,500% increase in efficiency.
But here’s the lesson: None of this increase would have been possible without Marvin mentioning Andy’s name and Jenna being inquisitive and asking more, and Andy taking the time to take Jenna through an eye-opening introduction into efficient egg processing.
And finally, Jenna questioning how she was doing business and wondering if it could be dramatically improved.
The key in all this was Andy. Andy was the Accelerator. Andy shared his knowledge, mistakes, experience, and processes with Jenna and helped her see a vision for her non-profit and what was possible to accomplish in a fraction of the time she was spending, all enabling her to help hundreds of more people every month with free food.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could discover your own Accelerators for your business?
Well, guess what? You can!
3-Days of Accelerators: Sign up for our Online Destination BootCamp
I know you’re busy and you don't like shameless plugs, and I know it’s the holiday weekend, but hear me out: Unlike most business classes you might have taken, I teach a class that is filled with business Accelerators: Real lessons from successful business owners who I’ve studied, who I’ve picked their brains, and lucky for me, these brilliant entrepreneurs shared with me how they got to where they are today.
This class is my Destination BootCamp. In my newest version of the Destination BootCamp, I show you my entire 14-step process to make your business irresistible to consumers that I learned after interviewing over 10,000 business owners.
Best of all, in our upcoming 2020 BootCamp classes, I’ve totally rewritten each chapter to add techniques and steps that will help you generate more sales and attract more customers to your business, even during this Covid-19 pandemic when people might not be coming in to your business in the same numbers or frequency.
Lucky for me, I have met owners who were unafraid to share their secrets and success strategies with me, who were unafraid of me sharing it with others who might need their lessons.
Plus, now my Destination BootCamp can all be taken online: No need to travel to Colorado, stay in a hotel for 3 nights, get on a plane and all the other issues that make traveling and sitting in a room filled with people not the best idea these days.
We have a Destination BootCamp class that starts this Tuesday, July 7. I still have 3 seats left. But you have to register by Saturday night if you want in.
Then, this year, we also have Destination BootCamp classes on September 1-3, and October 27-29, if you want to attend later in the year.
Think about it and email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more, or if you want to read about the BootCamp or register, just go to www.DestinationBootCamp.com.
OK, onto a new topic:
ATTENTION ALL COMMUNITY LEADERS, HERE'S A CLASS FOR YOU:
I want you to think about becoming a Facilitator for our Destination Creation Course
If you don’t know about our Destination Creation Course, it’s a shortened version of my Destination BootCamp class described above. You can read all about it here: www.DestinationCreationCourse.com
If you would like to help your local business owners, we are looking for people who can lead my Destination Creation classes.
The Destination Creation Course was started last August, and we now have 53 trained Facilitators of our Destination Creation Course in 19 states and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada.
Here are the states where we DO NOT HAVE Facilitators: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
We also DON’T have Facilitators in the other 8 Canadian provinces that aren’t Alberta and Saskatchewan. (If you're in Canada, you know who you are).
I’m listing all of these states and provinces because we’d love to have a minimum of one (1) Facilitator in each of these locations. We can take more than 1, but we’d like to at least get 1 in each of these States and Provinces.
If you or someone you know in your community would be great at helping business owners with an entirely new class that can help them grow their businesses, learn about the Destination Train-the-Trainer class (the class you have to take to become a certified Facilitator -- next class is July 28-30). You can also see and learn about our current skilled team of Facilitators and what others have said about the Destination Creation Course by going here: Click here to learn more.
And remember, if you have any thoughts, questions, or if you just want to say hello, email email@example.com.
The Schallert Group, Inc.
Improvising for Public Health and Art in the Time of COVID-19
Hand Sanitizer Barrel Art
Tom Quinn, Executive Director, Alameda Corridor Business Improvement District.
The City of Lakewood created the Alameda Corridor BID (ACBID) in 2003 to help revive and improve the area from Sheridan Boulevard to Carr Street. Our priorities historically included street beautification, economic development and corridor safety. The ACBID service area includes the heart of Downtown Lakewood with the centers of Belmar and Lakewood Commons along with several smaller shopping centers.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic our district believed public hand sanitizer stations were one way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and increase public confidence in returning to public spaces to shop and dine. However, we soon discovered that commercially made hand sanitizer stations were on 6 months back order and hand sanitizer was in short supply. It was time to bring on the innovation!
Our Programs Manager Sarah happened to have a teenage son working for a company called Recycled Mat-ters that sold, among other things, repurposed 55-gallon drums. We quickly pivoted to figure out how the drums could be fitted with hand sanitizer dispensers and decorated. I contacted local handyman Nate Wightman to ask if he had any ideas for a design. Within a few days he came up with using plastic PVC sprinkler valve boxes as housings for the hand sanitizer bottles. The bottles would be secured inside the housings with a padlock.
We also had to solve the problem of finding a supply of hand sanitizer. We heard Lakewood’s Ballmer Peak Distillery was making hand sanitizer and contacted them. They quickly agreed to supply the hand sanitizer, bottles and pumps.
Next, to make the barrels into fun works of art we teamed with Valerie Saverie, the owner of Valkarie Gallery in the Arts on Belmar, also known as Block 7. We proposed recruiting a team of local artists to paint the barrels with artwork of their own designs. In a matter of days, she recruited a team of 18 local artists and developed a schedule for painting the barrels on the sidewalk outside her gallery. The plan required precise timing to have the barrels delivered, primed, painted and deployed. We set aside two days to get this done.
We primed the barrels on June 17 and 18 and the artists came in shifts to paint them. The result was 30 steel drums with hand sanitizer dispensers on top painted with a wide variety of colorful designs. The barrels were picked up and distributed in the major commercial centers. Area residents responded immediately with complements on the artwork and hand sanitizer!
This project is an example of how improvisation and team-work can have great results for a community. By working together, we created something both functional and decorative to improve the environment and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. ACBID is happy to share this idea with other districts, including the design for the dispensers. For more information please contact Tom Quinn, firstname.lastname@example.org, (303) 274-1807.
Downtown Colorado Inc (DCI) had our thirteenth 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 funding opportunities and a helpful guide for outdoor expansion.
The June 25 call focused on helping communities move business outdoors. The speakers Sophie Shulman, from Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Cheney Bostic, StudioSeed provided resources to help communities plan for different types of spaces. Sophie shared two grant opportunities from CDOT. The funding is available for main street revitalization and encouragement and promotion of teleworking. Both grants are on a rolling application basis which allows for timely distribution. Cheney Bostic of Studioseed shared a friendly business guide for outdoor expansion tactics which included multiple options for varying contexts, design ideas, and helpful resources. After Cheney shared the guide, we heard from attendees who shared some of their reopening experiences and what adaptations were being made as well as what challenges they are facing.
DCI was pleased to showcase resources for funding ideas from Sophie Shulman, CDOT and outdoor expansion tactics from Cheney Bostic, Studioseed.
CDOT GRANT OPPORTUNITYCDOT has a new grant program to support public health and active transportation. The grants are varying sizes and will provide communities with the ability to improve the built environment in a way that is especially needed to encourage social distancing with safe and healthy transportation and outdoor dining and business.
Revitalizing Main StreetThe Revitalizing Main Street grant helps with the revitalization of main streets and adaptation of varying tactics which have been highlighted during the reopening of downtown businesses and restaurants after the initial stay at home order due to COVID-19. The Revitalizing Main Street CDOT grant has a rolling application process.
Safe & Flexible CommunitiesCDOT will soon be releasing the grant application for Safe & Flexible Communities which will include microgrants of up to $5,000 to local communities and nonprofits. The grants will help add capacity to encourage and promote continued teleworking. The grant has a rolling application process and applications will soon be available.
CDOT Grant applications and instructions
FRIENDLY BUSINESS GUIDE FOR OUTDOOR EXPANSION TACTICSA Friendly Business Guide for Outdoor Expansion Tactics was put together by Cheney Bostic of Studioseed for the town of Lakewood and can be adapted to any community. The guide includes various layouts and settings with a selection of options for each, design ideas, and resources.
The layouts include:
Main Street Context
Repurposing On-Street Parking
Repurposing a Street
Repurposing an Alley and Rear Parking
Shopping Center Context
Repurposing Off-Street Parking
Drive Thru Context
The guide includes outdoor design ideas of seating, parklets, and street/parking barriers, designated alcohol area, physical separation/distancing, planters/landscaping and more with consideration of price and permanence. After the design options there is a list of resources of Colorado-based companies as well as online tactical urbanism materials helpful for outdoor expansion .
A Friendly Business Guide for Outdoor Expansion Tactics
COMMUNITIES’ REOPENING EXPERIENCESFollowing the sharing of the outdoor expansion guide, attendees from various Colorado communities shared their experiences with outdoor expansion and some of the solutions as well as challenges they have faced.
DenverDenver restaurants are exploring the idea of expanding into adjacent alleys but there are varying factors that need to be considered. The factors include safety, and fears of cars quickly turning into alleys. To mitigate the fear, there are ideas of ensuring there is clear signage and portrayal to vehicles on the street that may want to turn into the alley that they won’t be able to. Another factor being considered for opening into alleys is the presence of smelly dumpsters and grease traps which would negatively affect customers’ dining experience. To mitigate this, there are ideas of ensuring there is buffer space between the diners and the dumpsters, as well as a possibility of controlling the air to send the smell away from the diners.
Retailers are looking at partnerships with businesses and nonprofits to expand outdoors. On 14th and Ogden nonprofits are partnering with retailers and a yoga studio. The nonprofit partner will hold the liability insurance policy which makes expansion easier for the retailers and yoga studio.
GoldenGolden has barricades, which they have adjusted as they have been able to observe pedestrian and downtown movement during the weekends. Restaurants and businesses have had the opportunity to decorate the barriers if they would like. Golden closed down Washington Avenue, which is one of their main downtown streets for two weekends. They found that people didn’t like it, so they allow vehicles on the road and use barriers between the moving vehicles and seated customers for expanded outdoor restaurant space and business. Golden is also in the process of expanding outdoor restaurant space into Miners Alley which has 3 restaurants that share the alley.
GreeleyThroughout reopening, there has been some disagreement over closing certain streets with fears in ease of accessibility. Greeley implemented a good neighbor agreement which needs to be signed if there is an objection in closing the streets. The agreement comes up with solutions for everyone involved, and makes sure everyone is comfortable with the situation. The agreement includes contact options for people to call if they need certain access to the closed street and that it can be adjusted specifically for that purpose. The purpose may include moving someone’s mattress or helping somebody bring their groceries in.
QUESTIONS + ANSWERSAre there any communities that are thinking of the outdoor expansions as potentially permanent?There are communities that are definitely considering it, or at least seeing it as a potential seasonal opportunity.
Does the DOLA grant money/application that is currently available online for outdoor expansions as well, or is that money yet to be determined?Here is the online information for the DOLA grant: DOLA Information
ABOUT CHENEY BOSTICCheney is a professional consultant with 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, urban design and planning. Cheney works with communities of all sizes - from visioning “big ideas” to implementing complex projects. Cheney has worked on urban design projects throughout the United States, with a focus on the Mountain West and West Coast communities. Her passion lies in urban infill projects that respond to an existing context, corridor projects that seek to transform over time, and transit-oriented development projects that add value to underutilized land. An overarching goal in all of Cheney’s projects is a desire to increase quality of life for residents and inspire action.
ABOUT SOPHIE SHULMANSophie Shulman, who began her career as a presidential management fellow, served as acting director of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration in the Department of Transportation (DOT) from November 2016 to January 2017.Shulman is from Seattle, where she graduated from the Lakeside School in 2006. She then went east for college, earning a B.A. in international studies in 2010 and an M.A. in American foreign policy, international economics from Johns Hopkins University in 2011. In April 2013, Shulman took a job in the White House as deputy press secretary and executive secretary for the Domestic Policy Council, moving up to deputy press secretary in November. In July 2014, Shulman was named the council’s deputy chief of staff. She moved to DOT in June 2015, first as a policy adviser in the office of the secretary, then, in April 2016, as senior policy adviser. While at DOT, Shulman worked on the Smart City Challenge, in which medium-sized cities were given the opportunity to come up with plans for integrated efficient transportation systems optimizing technology and data.
On June 18th, 2020 Downtown Colorado Inc (DCI) held a workshop on how commercial districts (URAs, BIDs, DDAs) have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop featured discussions and updates from local leaders from across the Western Slope including Durango, Montrose, Grand Junction, and Glenwood Springs on how district development tools are demonstrating their worth in the recovery and response efforts.
Sallie Clark, USDA Rural Development, opened up the workshop by providing updates and information on how Colorado’s USDA Rural Development State office is helping Colorado communities recover economically from the COVID pandemic. USDA is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses and agricultural producers supplement their working capital to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Find more information here: Business & Industry CARES Act Program.
Brandon Stam, Director of Downtown Grand Junction, began this portion of the workshop with an overview of how Downtown Grand Junction (the umbrella organization for DDA and BID) have been dealing with the pandemic. Downtown Grand Junction worked with the City to enable free parking and curbside pickup for businesses. Downtown Grand Junction also started a gift card promotion: spend $25 at a downtown business, and the DDA would send you a $10 gift card for that business. This promotion leveraged $70,000 of spending at downtown businesses. This led to partnerships with neighboring towns, Palisades and Fruita on promotions as well. Downtown Grand Junction has worked to get Colorado Creative Industry micro-grants for street art, expanding downtown dining areas and expanding downtown parklets.
Alex Rugoff, City of Durango, and Tim Walsworth, Downtown Durango BID, discussed Durango’s recent URA formation, how public/private partnerships are critical to incentivizing community investment, and how districts can support downtown economic recovery during a pandemic. Durango used a robust community outreach strategy to garner support for their URA formation. City staff wanted to educate people and hear feedback from the community on development needs. For example, the local school district, 9-R, recognized the value of tax increment financing to promote affordable housing projects that would benefit their workforce and supported the formation of the URA.
Tim Walsworth broke down Downtown Durango BID’s COVID pandemic strategy for supporting downtown businesses by creating a local task force. Downtown Durango BID installed physical design elements such as bump-outs, closing lanes, and closing parking spaces to help attract people to visit downtown businesses. The task force created the “Bump Outs for Businesses Program” and led focus groups to pick areas downtown where bump-outs could be used for restaurant space. The effort, in partnership with the City of Durango and CDOT, led to 30 businesses getting bump-outs; reduced Main Ave from four lanes to 3 lanes; traded 50 parking spaces for 11,000 sq. ft. of space for businesses to operate in.
Chelsey Rosty and Ann Morgenthaler, City of Montrose, closed out this portion on how the City of Montrose utilizes a “Main Street Approach” with its Development and Revitalization Team (DART). The cornerstones of DART’s approach to Main Street are vision, design, promotion, economic vitality, and organization. DART leveraged a $52,000 DOLA loan to create an opportunity zone downtown and updated physical design elements. In 2019, 11 new businesses were opened and 8 “quick win” projects (such as tables and seating in the downtown plaza) were completed
Matt Ashby, director of the Windsor DDA, gave a snapshot of Windsor’s DDA (created in 2011). There is a mill levy (5 mills) as well as a sales and property TIF in place for the DDA to fund projects. The Windsor DDA is focused on development and “catalyst projects” rather than events. Matt looked at “catalyst projects” that are used to jump the tax increment, so that a DDA can invest in the community overtime. Projects include the Hearth Restaurant and the Windsor Mill project..
Maureen Phair, director of the Arvada URA, discussed how to use an urban renewal tools to promote development in downtowns. This includes TIF, property acquisition, and the importance of partnerships with local governments, organizations, state governments, and other taxing districts. Check out the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority here!
This portion of the workshop featured Western Slope municipal leaders as they share updates on what their communities are doing in response to COVID in a Start, Stop, Continue format style of discussion. Leaders included Bill Bell, Montrose City Manager; Greg Caton, Grand Junction City Manager; Dean Brookie, Mayor of Durango and Jenn Ooton, Assistant City Manager of Glenwood Springs.
Bill Bell, Montrose City Manager
Greg Caton, Grand Junction City Manager
Dean Brookie, Mayor of Durango
Jenn Ooton, Assistant City Manager of Glenwood Springs
Grand Junction- How are you tracking and running the gift-card program? How labor intensive is the program for staff?There is an online for people to post image of receipt, and then staff will mail the gift card. It has been labor intensive, however staff normally focused on event planning have been able to work on this program temporarily. The gift card vendor is EML. Check EML out here.
Glenwood Springs- How did the City and DDA work with Glenwood Springs Beer Garden to allow for alley access and parking lot activation to server alcohol?The City leased the alleyway to the brewery, and it will be used for emergency vehicle access. They are not using it for public use. This allows the brewery to have a clear connection from their business to their parking lot, which allowed for them to expand seating into parking lot.
Downtown Colorado Inc (DCI) had our twelfth 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 creative event adaptations and tools communities have used during the pandemic.
The June 11 Call focused on Events Post-Covid 19. Colorado’s commercial districts, whether supported by chambers of commerce, business improvement districts (BIDs), downtown development authorities (DDAs), or other entities are struggling with fundraising and community building as social distancing requirements limit the way we gather as a community. The dialogue during the June 11 call brought together different leaders from different sized communities to share ideas and get the creating juices flowing.
DCI was pleased to showcase ideas for virtual events as well as in-person events. DCI highlighted a unique event concept developed by Brian Corrigan, the Farm to Spaceship Dinner, which was an innovation bringing together a restaurant, bartender, florist, two graphic artists, and a DJ to create a take out dinner and dance party on Mars. John Moore from Splashmob provided the DCI call participants with a demonstration of the new Splashmob app, but also highlighted the Farm to Spaceship Dinner with this new tool. DCI then presented two northern Colorado community leaders, Melody Christensen from Brush! Chamber of Commerce/Main Street to talk about their process of determining to do a Fourth of July Cavalcade since they are unable to have their traditional parade; and Bianca Fisher from Greeley Downtown Development Authority (DDA) presented Greeley’s Friday Fest which has gone virtual. Other communities who were on the call shared adaptations they are making as well.
Some of the key concepts and topics for discussion included the process for building more:
Extended outdoor space for events and business;
Virtual Events to engage and raise awareness and funding;
Drive - in Movies and Concerts and how this can work;
Bike events and diving into who is working on these areas.
June 11 Events Post-Covids 19
As a part of DCI’s resources, each week we make the presentations, links to partners, and highlights of the discussion available. Please review in more detail some resources from this week’s call.
SplashmobSplashmob allows you to display your content on the phones of anyone that attends your live event and connects to your splashmob experience. Create a mobile show, and display it on the phones of anyone that connects to the show without the audience needing to download an app.
Splashmob is customizable depending on what you would like for your event, and it has a variety of features that show up on event attendees’ phones including videos, pictures, poll questions, animations, colors, a selfie feature, and more.
For more information and/or a demo, contact email@example.com
FARM TO SPACESHIP DINNER IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCEThe Farm to Spaceship Dinner is a unique take out dining experience in Denver created by Brian Corrigan. The experience incorporated collaboration from a restaurant, bartender, florist, two graphic artists, and a DJ. The dinner is a multicourse meal which comes along with an instructional video which helps carry out the space theme. The experience was available for three Friday sessions and participants picked up the kits at Somebody People in Denver.
Farm to Spaceship
EXTENDED OUTDOOR SPACE
BrushBrush will be having a Fourth of July Cavalcade instead of their traditional parade. The cavalcade will ensure that everyone participating in the experience will stay in their vehicles and there will be no throwing of candy or water balloons. The route of the cavalcade has been expanded by 8 blocks to provide more space for social distancing, which includes passing a school and church which both have large parking lots. Brush will have their traditional art walk which expands from the library to the museum and has space to ensure people will be practicing social distancing.
Florence Florence usually has their annual, well-known wet and dry parade for Fourth of July. The parade consists of two blocks, with one block being the dry block and the other one being the wet block. People on the wet block get soaked by fire trucks and also have water guns. To adapt with Covid, Florence is looking at the possibility of vastly extending the route to go into residential streets and main street to allow people to practice social distancing.
Florence Fourth of July Plans
Old Colorado CityOld Colorado City has come up with the event Red, White & Cruise for the 4th of July which will feature a classic cars cruise through closed streets. The closed streets allow for expanded seating so people can practice social distancing.
Old Colorado City will also have a special event Father’s Day weekend which will include a sidewalk sale and a chalk art fest. Some streets will be closed for the Father’s Day weekend event as well so people can practice social distancing.
GreeleyFriday Fest is a well attended, regular event Greeley has during the summer which kicks off additional fun community events and concerts. Greeley has a common consumption area where the events usually take place.
Greeley has now launched virtual Friday Fest to support local creatives that normally would be able to showcase their talent and work at the in-person events. Greeley has continued to see support for the virtual events from regular sponsors, which has then in turn been able to support the local creatives as well as the recording studios that are being used for the virtual Friday Fests.
Paonia Paonia is planning a virtual storyfest which will include writers, poets, and local musicians. The event will have virtual workshops, speakers, readings and performances. The storyfest is a two day event on Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th. The keynote address will be given on Friday by award-winning author-adventurer Craig Childs followed by a full day of workshops and performances from talented faculty on Saturday, this celebration of wordcraft will provide inspiration and instruction for writers and lovers of literature alike.
Paonia Blue Sage Center for the Arts StoryFest
DRIVE IN MOVIES
Centennial Centennial has planned Wheels & Reels which is a community drive in movie event, which is scheduled for June 18th and June 25th. The drive in movie allows for gathering in a social distancing manner. There will be an empty car space between each car at the event, and it is a ticketed event so there is a regulation in the number of cars. Centennial encourages event attendees to support local restaurants before the drive in movies and to bring the locally purchased food and snacks with them to enjoy.
Centennial Wheels & Reels
Wheat Ridge Wheat Ridge usually has movies in the park series during the summer so they have adapted it to be a drive in movie series.
QUESTIONS + ANSWERS
Are there any stats regarding the benefits for businesses from the virtual Friday Fest? Have businesses seen an increase in sales revenue?Greeley doesn’t have stats yet since this past Friday was the first virtual Friday Fest, but there is definitely room to grow the integration with local businesses and encourage Friday Fest attendees to support local businesses as well as special promotions.
Bike riding has increased during COVID-19. Is anyone doing a bike-in event or ride-in bike event? Lakewood has previously offered quirky bike history tours, and are planning on continuing them this year since they are done in small groups, and turn out well with small groups.
Wheat Ridge usually does bike cruiser rides in small groups, so they are planning on continuing those this year as well.
Downtown Colorado Inc (DCI) had our eleventh 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 call focused on
Terri Takata-Smith from Downtown Boulder Partnership and DCI Board Member shared examples and experiences from re-opening in Boulder. Alex Rugoff from Durango shared adaptations and initiatives happening during the re-opening process.
Some of the key concepts shared by Boulder and Durango, included the use of
Expanding Business Outdoors
Engaging the Community
Enhanced Communication Efforts
Beautification of Boards and Barriers
We have included some of the details from each presenter below followed by a recap of the questions and answers from the discussion..
DURANGO REOPENING EXPERIENCEThe strong business improvement district (BID) in Durango has been an important aspect in the successful reopening of downtown. The BID surveyed their businesses to gauge needs, prepared businesses for PPP, and adjustments of free parking, sales tax deferment, and a relaxed sign code for temporary signs. The businesses asked for a mask order, so the city has a mask order.
Durango had the mantra that they wanted to “reopen once, reopen right.” For reopening Durango has bump outs for businesses to provide more room for social distancing without shutting down Main Street. Many restaurants have also been able to use sidewalk and parking lane space for more seating.
Durango created 12 sector teams in their economic recovery taskforce to cover the different areas of the economy. The 12 teams have regular updates related to their sector, as well as a hub of resources. 12 Sector Teams
BOULDER REOPENING EXPERIENCE
Resident SurveyBoulder partnered with NRC/Polco to conduct a resident readiness survey to gauge the community’s feelings on re-opening and visiting businesses in person. Over 1,000 community members responded to the survey which was open for 10 days. The results of the survey especially helped the business owners understand how the community was feeling and what additional steps they could take to further assure customers that they are taking all of the needed steps for safety.
Outdoor Expansion Boulder has expanded on regulation and use of public space, which have included liquor license space and the use of parking space and alleyways as additional seating. The west end of Pearl Street is closed, so both pedestrians and restaurant customers have room to practice social distancing.
Curb-side and pick up zones are in effect for retail which includes free permits and use of loading zones and parking as pick up areas which are free of charge for 10 minutes.
BOULDER COMMUNICATION IDEASThroughout the pandemic, clear communication has been key for both business and public use.
Business CommunicationSlack has been an excellent tool to connect businesses according to sector, as well as providing important updates to all of the sectors. Boulder also created a business resource hub with covid resources and businesses have worked together regarding their business hours.
Welcoming businesses back was also an important aspect of reopening, which included distributing ‘Back to Business Gift Bags.’ The gift bags were filled with reusable Downtown Boulder branded masks, sanitizer, PPE resources from Energize Colorado, and social distancing floor decals. Downloadable window posters and customizable hours posters are available to businesses as well.
Public CommunicationBoulder is welcoming people back through showcasing the safety measures that all businesses are taking, as well as continuing curbside and online services for people who aren’t comfortable coming out yet. Bouldervirtually.com is the hub for the virtual public welcoming and other offers, including drone footage showcasing the downtown businesses welcoming people back while wearing facemasks. Bouldervirtually.com
Communication for the public has consisted of unified signage throughout downtown, and window posters and hours posters at the businesses. Businesses have been showing by example of wearing facemasks, and the statues also have masks on. Continual reminders of the importance of facemasks are spread throughout downtown on 38 signs. Social media messaging is consistently updated for the public to see with pictures of local businesses and the safety measures they have in place.
Beautification EffortsBusinesses are continuing to welcome the public by continuing normal beautification efforts in the downtown area. Each year the downtown partnership offers free flowers to businesses to maintain during the summer, and this year was no exception.
Some downtown business windows have been boarded up due to fears of damage. The boarded up windows does not make downtown as welcoming which worried many people, so the Downtown Boulder Partnership has come up with a creative solution of painting the boards. The Partnership is working with local art organizations, and local artists to paint the boards, and when the boards are ready to come down, they will be auctioned off and the money will support local arts and artists.
Relating to design-wise of the requirements of dining in the street, are there barriers between seats and lanes? In Boulder, the street is completely closed to traffic at the west end of Pearl Street so there is no concern over a need for barriers between seats and traffic lanes. The temporary seating goes into the street, and then there is an opening for emergency vehicles down the center.
What is happening with the liquor license situation? No new liquor licenses are being issued at this time, it has just been an extension on already existing ones. There is a $150 fee for the extension from the state. Greeley has been able to cover the $150 fee for their restaurants.
Can anyone speak to the variances about hot springs/bathhouses during the reopening? Glenwood hot springs got a variance from the local and state governments. There may be some variation depending on chlorinated and non-chlorinated situations.
Has there been any pushback from businesses on street closure issues? Some businesses and residents were against it but now that we are reopening we are seeing that there was an overestimation or residents’ readiness to come back.
Can you speak to the experience of restaurants vs. retail during re-opening?There is an important balancing act between restaurants and retail since they have different needs and some adjustments to reopening don’t fit everyone in the same way. Communication between businesses is key, including restaurants communicating with retail. Some retailers are also recognizing that even though the bump outs won’t directly help their retail, it will help restaurants downtown, and anything downtown will help them as a retailer.
There has been some contention for retailers of losing parking spots to restaurant seating, but there needs to be a communication of how it isn’t a loss, and there is plenty of parking. Durango is also being very strategic in where the bump outs are, as well as using their six year parking data. Better marketing of where parking is available is included in their reopening process.
Boulder Example Powerpoint
As Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) works to assist communities to connect and learn from one another, the powerful trend of community fundraising and online sales is flooding in. DCI reached out to a few successful efforts to understand the process, partners, and price tag for doing an auction. We are pleased to share some examples of communities that held successful online auctions to rally the community in a new and profound way. They have shared their experiences and takeaways in hope that we can all learn and get better at navigating this tool. Thank you to the partners who generously shared their information:
Chaffee County: Now This is Love Auction
Canon City: Royal Gorgeous Deals
Leadville/Lake County: Share the Love Auction
The online auction went live just 3 days after conception, ran for 10 days
From start to finish, money was in the hands of the businesses within 15 days.
The live auction ran for 14 days.
Main Street partnered with the existing Lake County School District Arts Program auction 9 days before launch date. The auction ran for 12 days
SELLERS + PRODUCTS
There were 871 different items in the auction from gift cards to art and even furniture. There were 2,017 different items sold in the auction
58 businesses, one business had 13 artists participate. 223 products uploaded. Our digital marketing reached 1.5 million people and the site had over 30,000 browsers.
Over 30 local small businesses benefited, in addition to approximately 20 more on behalf of the Lake County School District Arts Program
The overall auction generated $116,514.88. 100% of all sales went directly back to each business.
The overall auction generated only $9,400 in sales. 93.5% went back to the businesses
Cañon City did not have an independent fund adequate enough to absorb the 6.5% fees. This was an inhibitor for businesses to participate.
Approximately $50,000 in total sales/donations was raised
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
NUTS + BOLTS
BUILD STRONG PARTNERSHIPS
Offer customers option of donating directly to one or more non-profit beneficiaries
BE FLEXIBLE It is likely that the needs/desires/challenges faced by your local business community are unique – be prepared to pivot if the feedback you receive makes sense to improve your program’s chances of success – again make sure all of your partners are on board with proposed improvements