2012 Colorado creative districts designees
Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe
Prospective creative districts
Longmont Arts & Entertainment District
Town of Ridgway
Town of Telluride
Denver’s River North Art District
Emerging creative districts
City of Trinidad
Downtown Greeley and the University District
Downtown Colorado Springs
40 West Arts District in Lakewood
Aurora Arts District
Durango Business Improvement District
North Fork Valley in Delta County
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs and Hayden are not among the latest Colorado communities to have officially designated creative districts.
Both Routt County communities applied for the designation from Colorado Creative Industries, a recently formed division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Had they been named creative districts, Steamboat and Hayden would have received grant funding that could have been used to enhance their downtown areas as districts that use arts and culture to promote tourism and create jobs.
“Once I heard there were (44) applicants, I was pretty sure we weren’t quite ready for that, to be designated,” said Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett, who applied for the designation. “While we have a lot of pieces in place in the community, the organization itself of the district hasn’t been done at all. That’s what we would have used the funding for, to get that together.”
Downtown Salida and Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe were named creative districts Friday and each received $15,000. Another five were named prospective creative districts, with each of those receiving $8,000. Eight others were named emerging creative districts — the category Barnett and Tammie Delaney, of Hayden, applied for on behalf of their communities — and received $2,000.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation into law last year that encouraged the formation of creative districts to promote economic development.
“Colorado is filled with vibrant centers of commerce, culture and creativity and is a magnet for creative workers,” he said in a news release. “The formation of creative districts provides visitors and residents with an opportunity to participate and invest in the arts, while contributing to the economic vitality of the region and attracting creative entrepreneurs and artists.”
Delaney said everything for a future creative district is in place in Hayden, with its Western and Quarter Horse history, Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center and emerging arts industry.
“Recognizing the importance of that is a step forward,” she said. “I don’t take it as a huge disappointment. It would have been great. It’s certainly not a setback. I think understanding the potential there is a tremendous start.”
Delaney added that Hayden has a number of arts events scheduled for the summer that further illustrate the town’s commitment to creative endeavors.
The news release from the state indicated that those communities not selected as creative districts are eligible for the “Colorado Creates” grant program that supports arts activities in communities. And it stated that they also can get assistance through Creative Industries Summit and Colorado Creative Industry’s website.
Delaney and Barnett said both communities would apply for creative district designations next year.
Barnett said she still would work to connect Steamboat’s arts and culture entrepreneurs before next year. She said the formation of a creative district, with or without state assistance, is important for economic development.
“There are a lot of people out there using their brains in creative ways to do economic things rather than the traditional retail (and) restaurant businesses,” she said. “The model is changing and people are using their creative energies to create businesses that drive economies.”
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com