Downtown Craig facade project taking shape | CraigDailyPress.com

Downtown Craig facade project taking shape

City Council will hear report by September

University of Colorado architecture graduate student Tom Madewick, left, and Chris Endreson, technical assistance coordinator for Colorado Center for Community Development point out suggestions for changes to the facade, or front entrance, to the Craig Daily Press building at 466 Yampa Ave. The two are among those evaluating the look of downtown businesses as part of a project funded by the city of Craig and Department of Local Affairs.

The exterior of downtown buildings in Craig could be changing in the near future.

Local residents met Wednesday evening at the City Council Chambers for a presentation from the Colorado Center for Community Development through University of Colorado Denver focusing on the facades, or front entrances, of Craig businesses, specifically those along Yampa Avenue.

It’s part of a project first funded by the city and Department of Local Affairs in April as a way to revitalize interest in the downtown area.

Chris Endreson, technical assistance coordinator for CCCD, discussed the goals and guidelines of designing facades within a downtown, which include "preserving the integrity of the historic architectural features" while keeping unnecessary alterations to a minimum and "encouraging new development that will respect and enhance the visual character."

Maintaining what makes Craig — or any other town that enacts such projects — the place it is remains an important part. Endreson has worked with numerous Colorado towns on facade design.

"Western Colorado has an eerie similarity across most of it for how the state of most downtowns are, but it's a good one because it offers an opportunity to explore things," he said. "Craig being a regional hub offers a lot of opportunities for improvement. There's history here, and we want to capture that as best as we can."

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CCCD representatives researched decades worth of photos from downtown Craig provided by the Museum of Northwest Colorado to get a sense of the town's history.

Certain buildings downtown have been standing for more than a century and rather than tearing down those that are structurally sound, some adjustments to their outward appearance can make a significant difference with efficient signage, awnings and entryways that are more welcoming to pedestrians.

Tom Maderick, an architecture graduate student at CU, provided sketches of facades of local buildings complete with suggestions for each on how to enhance their curb appeal, such as the Craig Daily Press and The Print Shop, Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, Kester’s Jewelry and more.

He especially emphasized the use of larger display windows.

"It makes all the difference," he said. "As you're walking there in the evening with the lights on, it just makes the whole area glow, and when you're walking there during the day and you see people moving behind the glass, it's a lot more inviting."

Residents in the small crowd were also able to give their feedback on the preliminary concepts, such as Karen Brown, manager of Community Budget Center, 555 Yampa Ave., who thought touches like cornices and a redefined roofline added a lot to her building.

"I think they did a really great job with this," she said.

A look at a sketch of the building that houses Capo Salon at 571 Yampa Ave. was trickier, with residents pointing out that the design did not include all the various entries, which Endreson said they could take into consideration and possibly rethink their approach.

There's a long way to go before breaking out the sledgehammers, crowbars and paint cans. Colorado Center for Community Development will continue to work with downtown businesses to find design traits that work well for them, compiling a report that will be in the works for at least another month.

"I'm guessing probably early September when they present their final report to the City Council," City Manager Jim Ferree said.

Funding for new facades will be a different matter should the council take action on CCCD's ideas, with those involved likely seeking grant money.

Brown said the effort from downtown businesses benefiting from the refurbishment in design will play into the success of the project.

"I think they would all have to contribute, as well as the city and everyone else," she said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.