City Council invests money in design concepts for downtown Craig

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Craig City Council decided to invest money in a project that could help downtown business owners brighten up their storefronts.

The project is a partnership between the city of Craig and the University of Colorado, Denver to develop design concepts for the downtown segment of Yampa Avenue. City Council voted, 6-0 (Craig City Council member Joe Bird was absent), to use $1,900 of the contingency funds to pay for the concepts.

The Department of Local Affairs will match that city contribution, so the project will have $3,800 total in funding.

Chris Endreson, technical assistance coordinator with CU-Denver's design program, manages the projects regionally. He connects architectural design students with rural communities that need assistance in enhancing their aesthetics, he said.

“We utilize students through a coordinated effort with a local governments who are in need of conceptual design work,” he said.

While the project wouldn’t actually fund changing the facades, Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said it would be a much-needed step in the right direction.

“I just think City Council is responding to a pretty good level of interest and participation by the downtown business owners,” he said. “Everybody is continuing to meet and chip away at some objectives. That’s what this storefront renovation stuff is about.”

This sort of project would help business sectors pop and become more attractive to customers, Endreson said. He added that the students would work with the city to make sure their designs synced with the local culture.

“There would be sort of guidelines for approaches for what could be done to their facade, whether to improve it or bring it back to their original state,” he said. “It allows there to be some sort of a basis for continuity.”

Mayor Terry Carwile anticipated this would bring good ideas to the table and inspire some sprucing up.

“It also gives us a way to jumpstart the discussion,” he said.

The city also is working with Downtown Colorado Inc. and the Craig Community Assessment groups to consider developing a downtown business district. This district could adopt new taxes that would put money back into a general fund that could be used for loans on beautification projects such as facade construction, Ferree said. But that is still in the works.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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