Dreamers of a better downtown consider the good, bad, ugly
Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority members shared ideas Monday, all aimed at improving the short-term and long-term viability of the Glenwood Springs downtown core.
The DDA heard these ideas at a breakfast attended by the faction most directly affected by these possible changes- the business community.
The group discussed plans for the upcoming holiday shopping season, as well as some down-the-road plans to make the city’s core area more friendly for visitors.
Along with coffee and croissants, participants watched a slide show and listened to radio commercials aimed at getting people to shop downtown.
The slides, part of the program called “Main Street Approach,” showed both good and bad examples of revamped downtown areas.
“The Main Street Approach is geared toward towns of different sizes and it fits well for Glenwood Springs,” said David Hauter, vice chairman of the DDA.
The program teaches downtown businesspeople how to create a positive image for their area and how to work together to create a synergy among different business owners.
“The image that the downtown projects is something the DDA can help unify,” DDA board member and City Councilwoman Jean Martensen said.
“Downtown, in my viewpoint, has to be an experience that’s different from a Wal-Mart experience or a Target experience,” Hauter said.
The approach also encourages annual festivals to draw people, shows different ways to market the area and calls for a logo.
“Logo is very important,” Martensen said. “We’re still working on ours, that’s why you didn’t see it in the newsletter.”
One slide depicted cheap-looking “sale” signs.
“A bargain basement downtown is not the image a successful downtown will have,” Martensen said.
Another way to enhance a downtown and make it more shopper-friendly, Hauter and Martensen said, is for shops to be open later and have unified hours of operation.
Village Inn general manager Ted Churchill said the complaint he’s heard most from tourists is that Glenwood Springs doesn’t feel like a tourist town.
“My concern is that Glenwood is not the quaint, charming, cozy community it should be,” he said.
To help change that perception, Churchill joined the DDA’s Downtown Retail and Restaurant Committee.
“We’re not a cohesive group,” Churchill said of downtown businesspeople. “And the DDA, that’s their goal. I think this town has to work cohesively as a group, as a unit, when we’re taking care of our guests. To not cater to the tourists is biting the hand that feeds us.”
Breakfast attendees also listened to new commercials that will play on radio stations and cable TV.
The advertisements tell, in a nutshell, the types of products and services offered in the downtown area.
Churchill and Kelly Whittington are organizing two programs called A Night on the Town and the Passport Program. They’re designed to make the holiday season more lucrative for downtown businesses.
The two special promotions, planned for Dec. 6, are designed to get people to come to downtown Glenwood Springs. Once there, shoppers can visit seven different zones and get a passport stamped by one shop in each zone.
The passports are then placed into a contest drawing in which shoppers can win prizes that include a night on the town, literally.
After A Night on the Town, the next two Fridays will have similar shopping promotions. The program on Dec. 13 is called Men’s Night, and Dec. 20 will be Procrastinator’s Night.
The city will kick it all off on Thanksgiving weekend with the lighting of the town Christmas lights on Friday, Nov. 29, and a drought-delayed fireworks display on Saturday, Nov. 30.
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