Street smarts

A few years ago, nobody really wanted to visit Fruita's downtown-- an area that was dotted with abandoned buildings and offered visitors little to do.

But after a main street revitalization program was put in place, people and businesses have started flocking to the small city outside of Grand Junction for its festivals, farmers markets and renovated cityscape, said Jon Schler, director of the Colorado Center for Community Development.

Like Fruita, Schler said, any city could benefit from a main street revitalization effort. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs speaker aims to tell Craig residents how to start transforming their downtown at a 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Holiday Inn.

"If you don't have a main street, it sucks the heart out of a town," Schler said.

"This is a four-point approach that shows how to work with a downtown. I'll talk about how (Craig) might start that process."

The Main Street Program has helped communities across the state and nation revitalize their downtown cores, Schler said.

DOLA offers a matching grant for cities to obtain an assessment of their desired downtown renovation plans, but much of the work and other funds should come from municipalities, business owners and community members.

About 1,800 communities nationwide have renovated their downtown areas through the program, he said.

Cathy Vanatta, director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, said the talk should be informative and a good way for residents to glean ideas about revitalizing Craig.

"I think that any time that we have sources educate us, it helps our local businesses," she said.

"I think it would be something really good for our community in general, not just the downtown."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.