Main Street revamp underway
March 19, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Leaders of the National Main Street Center were in Steamboat Springs on Thursday and Friday helping the local chapter of the downtown advocacy group prepare to launch a revamped version of the Main Street program.
Program Manager Lisa Popovich said during the team’s visit she is looking forward to Main Street adopting a more project-driven strategy.
Steamboat is one of three communities selected to be a part of a pilot program to test the new Main Street approach.
The program here will soon adopt a number of specific strategies to enhance downtown.
Popovich said the changes should ultimately lead to more community participation in Main Street.
As an example, she said community members who want to get involved in such things as planning downtown events will no longer have to commit to a board position that carries a multi-year term.
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After a walking tour and strategy sessions, leaders of the National Main Street Center presented the findings of a recent downtown survey that went out to community members.
The results showed parking, traffic, and the cost of retail space were among the biggest challenges people see facing downtown.
The biggest opportunities listed included building additional parking, having more affordable housing and hosting more festivals and events.
The survey showed there was a mix of opinions about whether new parking created downtown should be paid or free.
Community members were also asked what businesses they patronize most.
Lyon Drug was most-often mentioned by survey respondents.
As a category, restaurants were the most popular.
Popovich and Planning Director Tyler Gibbs also discussed a desire to have more data available downtown to help prospective business owners choose a business plan that can succeed and not duplicate offerings already in the area.
He said the data could be used to deter, for example, someone who wants to open a new Mexican restaurant, but may not be aware of the number of such businesses already in the downtown corridor.
“It would help businesses think about their decision to relocate,” Gibbs said.
He mentioned the Downtown Denver Partnership has extensive data available for prospective business owners to help them better understand what’s already in the market.
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