Our View: A project worth considering
It’s a subject this Editorial Board, and several others in the past, have hammered home many times: the need to work smarter and harder on improving the community’s downtown district.
It once again came up during Monday’s meeting.
The focus of the board’s discussion was the potential that exists in our community’s downtown.
Once you scrub away the current environment downtown – of a few neglected buildings, odd business practices by some stores, and at least one property that could serve as a primetime location for a future business, but which currently lies ugly and barren – there lies an area that could be busy with foot traffic, prosperous for store owners, beneficial to customers and a complement to the community.
Unfortunately, this board questions whether such a future ever will become a reality, given what appears to be a lack of vision on the part of those who could make a difference downtown.
As it stands now, downtown is serviceable.
It certainly has its benefits: a variety of stores, some well-established businesses, an institution like the Museum of Northwest Colorado, the future promise of a wonderful facility such as the Center of Craig, a nice park in the center, decent sidewalks, light poles and the adornment of flowers when the season is right.
So, be careful not to confuse the message: Downtown, in its current embodiment, is fine. But this board knows there is more downtown just waiting to be unearthed with the right steps.
One of those steps, board members believe, is city officials taking the lead on attempting to get the Main Street Program to town.
The program, an offering from Downtown Colorado, Inc., is an attempt to revitalize traditional downtown districts within the context of historic preservation, and provides technical assistance in four key areas.
Those areas are: economic restructuring, design, organization and promotion.
These sound exactly like areas where our downtown needs fine tuning.
Without a concerted effort, downtown simply will be left to its own devices, which, by and large, haven’t worked too well recently.
Some business owners, it should be noted, have taken it upon themselves to revitalize their own stores and shops, and for them, this board is grateful.
But, they are the exception rather than the rule.
Going after the Main Street Program to provide downtown the jolt that it needs would be a sign that city leaders recognize the business district needs help, and consider its ultimate preservation and improvement as vital as we do.
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