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  • Your downtown news starts now

    If you are a regular viewer of evening news programs, you may have noticed they have updated their reporting style and opening intros.

    The most noticeable changes are that more news anchors are standing up instead of sitting down, and they open the broadcast with the statement, “Your news starts now”. Not to be left behind, I’ll now start standing up while typing my column, and your downtown news will start whenever you start reading.

    In the coming months, watch for a new wave of restaurant renaissance in Durango. Several local favorites are making bold moves opening new locations, operating under new ownership, changing menus or making major renovations. A fifth new microbrewer will make it a fistful of brew pubs, and a popular bakery plans to open a second location in downtown.

    Visitors to Durango will find two new hotels coming on line this spring adding nearly 200 rooms to the Durango hotel inventory. Watch for grand openings of Holiday Inn on U.S. Highway 160 and Homewood Suites on U.S. Highway 550.

    Two well-known traveling entourages are planning to make overnight stops in Durango this summer. The Kyle Petty Charity Ride will arrive May 1 for an overnight in downtown accommodations before continuing its cross country tour. Info can be found at at www.kylepettycharityride.com. Ride the Rockies will arrive from Cortez on June 10 with 2,000 riders plus cast and crew. Most will make camp on the high school ball fields and gather downtown to enjoy a festive street celebration. Visit www.ridetherockies.com for more information.

    This month, we welcome back the Durango Independent Film Festival. For more information, you can visit wwwdurangofilm.org. In March, look forward to a new Celtic festival, and, in April, the Bluegrass Festival will return. Expect the popular events of Wine Experience, Taste of Durango and Iron Horse Bicycle Classic to return in May to jump-start the summer season.

    Postponed by the recent sagging economy, downtown streetscape improvements will resume next month with about 15 percent of downtown sidewalks slated for repair or replacement. Construction will be concentrated under a tight get-in and get-out schedule, and access will remain open to all businesses. The project will begin March 4 and end by June 3. A late fall final phase will complete the project. Also, downtown parking meters will be replaced by ones that operate on solar power and will accept payment by coin, smartcard, credit card or phone.

    Evening news programs end with weather and sports reports, so I’ll be following their lead.

    For your most current downtown weather, just step outside and, for sports, we win some and lose some. So for all of us (just me) here at Central Business District, thanks for reading the news, and don’t forget that someone special on Valentine’s Day.

    kunkelra@cidurango.co.us Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango.