Downtown advocates gather in Glenwood Springs for conference
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A city that just launched its own mini urban renewal project plays host to main street advocates from across Colorado this week.
Downtown Colorado Inc. (DCI), a nonprofit organization committed to downtown economic revitalization and historic preservation throughout the state, holds it annual conference at the Hotel Colorado beginning this afternoon and continuing through Friday.
Focusing on this year’s theme, “Essential Community Response to the New Economic Reality,” the conference will include a variety of presentations and panel discussions on ways to improve historic commercial districts.
“It’s perfect for Glenwood and couldn’t come at a better time for us with our own downtown planning efforts under way,” said Tom Fleming, interim coordinator of the new Glenwood Springs Downtown Partnership.
The partnership is a local nonprofit that began last year, and works with the city of Glenwood Springs, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the Glenwood Chamber to bring more visibility to the downtown area.
Recently, the DDA contracted with a team of designers to look at options for re-developing several downtown properties to accommodate a new public library, new office and classroom facilities for Colorado Mountain College, a parking structure and new commercial and residential uses.
This week’s DCI conference will also be a chance to show off Glenwood Springs to people from throughout the state who have common interests in their communities, Fleming said.
The conference is expected to draw upwards of 150 people, with an additional 50 to 75 people in attendance at Thursday evening’s Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence banquet. Sam Mamet of the Colorado Municipal League will give the keynote address that night.
“Having the conference in Glenwood is a great opportunity to show off our charming downtown,” Fleming said.
Also on Thursday, there will be six separate groups meeting on different topics at six downtown restaurants.
Sessions and historic tours will also be led by Cindy Hines of the Frontier Historical Society, Gayle Mortell of the Glenwood Center for the Arts and Chamber President Marianne Virgili.
Fleming will lead a “Junior Main Street” panel discussion featuring a team of Glenwood Springs High School students, and there will be mobile tours to the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool and the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
The Glenwood Downtown Partnership incorporated last year to focus more attention on creating a viable downtown. Fleming is also founder of the Institute for Civic Achievement, another local organization that does market research and works with small business start-ups.
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