The city’s plans to pursue a creative district certification through the state of Colorado will likely take on a local focus in the coming months.
The state is not accepting applications for the certifications this fall, so city staff may work with nonprofits and businesses on a board to help support the creative economy, Business Development and Redevelopment Specialist Colleen O’Brien told Durango City Council Tuesday.
The new board could replace the city’s Public Art Commission and take on a larger role of supporting the creative economy, including the public, nonprofit and private sectors, or it could be a new group.
The city and other partners could also use the time to prepare for the state application process, she said.
The group working on the update to the city’s comprehensive plan earlier this year identified pursuing the certification as a concrete way to support the arts. The certification could have included a matching grant and technical and marketing support.
O’Brien also presented ideas to encourage redevelopment in town, including an urban renewal authority that could encourage private investment and a new grant program to help businesses upgrade or improve facades, sidewalks and outdoor areas.
Another potential program could support efforts to improve public spaces through art, events, pop-up stores and other initiatives, O’Brien said.
The city would award the grants, but the city hasn’t identified a funding source for them yet, Assistant Community Development Director Nicol Killian said.