Living on Easy Street, he’s got designs on Main Street
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Living in the mountains of Colorado was a dream for John Simmons since he was a little kid. Now the newly-hired, 38-year-old director of the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority is living that dream – on Easy Street, no less.
“Since I was 4, I remember telling my parents I would live in Colorado,” he said.
A certified Main Street manager, Simmons was tapped from the Main Street Sedalia, Mo., program to be the new leader of the DDA. He said while his new job is the main reason he moved here, the skiing, golfing and general beauty of the area were a very close second.
“I feel like the town picked me and I picked the town,” he said.
Simmons rented a place on Easy Street – a city street located off Blake Avenue on the south side of the city – and he hopes it’s a sign of things to come.
In December, Simmons and his dog, Cheeky Monkey, made the 12-hour journey into the mountains to start their new life in the valley.
“I’m still figuring out all the different recreational opportunities,” he said.
And he said even though he’s from the Midwest, he’s no slouch on the slopes.
“I spent a lot of time in Winter Park. That’s where I met my dad during a lot of winters,” he said. “I can jump on the slopes and people don’t look at me as a flatlander.”
Simmons said in his business, Glenwood Springs is considered a real plum.
“Some people in this field are envious that I’m here,” he said.
From the arts and entertainment scene to the recreational amenities, Simmons said the Roaring Fork Valley is livelier than Sedalia.
On the professional side, Simmons said he’s still learning about Glenwood Springs’ downtown area and is evaluating what can be done to improve it.
Simmons earned an undergraduate degree in marketing at Arizona State University, then worked in marketing for several years.
Then, after moving back to Missouri to take care of his ailing grandmother, Simmons took the reins of the evolving downtown renovation program there.
“I took the program and based it on the National Main Street program,” he said.
“The Main Street model is so tested and true – I see us developing the Main Street program here.”
The Main Street program is designed to revitalize a city’s historic or traditional commercial areas.
“Downtown needs to position itself within the next two years with a stronger sense of retail offerings,” he said. “With all the development that’s coming down the pike, we really need to be prepared competitively to not be following, but leading.”
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