Glenwood Springs awarded for partnership response to pandemic by statewide organization

City of Glenwood Springs Economic Development Specialist Matt Nunez conducts a Facebook Live video talking about the dining igloos placed underneath the Grand Avenue Bridge in Bethel Plaza this past winter.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Glenwood Springs has been recognized for its response to the pandemic in the newly announced 2021 Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence by Downtown Colorado Inc.

According to a press release from Downtown Colorado, the awards started in 2003 and are meant to recognize projects and people in Colorado “and their demonstrated ingenuity in the face of challenges.”

Katherine Correll, Downtown Colorado executive director, said the awards distributed were especially significant this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Glenwood Springs was awarded with the Best of Pandemic Response as a community partnership for its efforts in conjunction with the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, the Downtown Development Authority, Colorado Mountain College, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, the Colorado Workforce Center and local businesses.

Glenwood’s efforts to assist businesses during the restrictions brought on by COVID-19 were spearheaded in part by Matt Nunez, economic development specialist for the city. They included an expansion of outdoor dining opportunities with special wintertime structures and outdoor table seating, as well as outdoor space heaters for cold-weather dining and retail opportunities. In addition, the city and its partners developed various relief grants for restaurants and retail businesses, and created the Glenwood Gold local currency program to help boost the local economy.

“With the pandemic, the awards maintained the sense of downtown community and allowed our Colorado downtowns to show how brightly they can shine,” Correll said in the release. “We are proud to honor all of our nominees and winners and to create a platform for peer learning with the amazing downtowns in Colorado.”

Also receiving the partnership response award was Jefferson County for its joint Municipality COVID Response.

The release states the values celebrated in the Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence became even more vital due to the new array of difficulties presented to local communities because of the pandemic.

“The 2021 Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence are inspirational as COVID-19 has underscored the importance of community support, innovative solutions and inclusivity, in these projects that exemplify a commitment to placemaking and partnerships,” the release states.

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