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Colo. Unveils Sustainable
Main Streets Initiative

Five Points, one of the four Colorado communities to pilot a new Sustainable Main Streets Initiative, is northeast of downtown Denver. It was the first predominantly African-American neighborhood in Denver, although statistically it no longer is. Incorporating light rail into the neighborhood has been a plus, but higher rents have forced some residents to relocate to the Denver suburbs. " Five Points has such rich history and heritage, but hasn't quite grown into the community it could be," is how Five Points Business District Executive Director Wil Alston puts it.

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Gov. Bill Ritter announced April 28, 2010 that four Colorado communities will pilot a new Sustainable Main Streets Initiative to "target state resources to help communities overcome their unique challenges and achieve long-term stability and prosperity."

The four pilot communities are Five Points, Fowler, Monte Vista and Rifle. The communities are geographically distributed throughout Colorado and have "demonstrated management capacity and readiness to move forward with specific strategies to achieve sustainable outcomes for their downtowns."

Gov. Ritter signed an executive order directing multiple state agencies to partner and concentrate on creating more livable local communities.

During a news conference in Denver's historic Five Points neighborhood, Gov. Ritter noted that the individual central business districts of the state's cities, towns and communities each have their own struggles, from vacant storefronts and disappearing jobs to aging buildings and deteriorating infrastructure.

The Sustainable Main Streets Initiative will direct state agencies to identify and target specific resources to support community projects, with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) leading the initiative.

"This is an innovative, efficient approach," asserted DOLA Executive Director Susan Kirkpatrick. "Each community will define sustainability differently, depending on its unique circumstances, culture, history and values. Working together, we can maximize resources to tailor solutions to fit the community."

The initiative proposes to begin implementing short term, low cost improvements, but also identify two to five year improvements plans.

Specific objectives of the initiative are to:

  • Decrease the number of vacant storefronts.
  • Identify potential infill and mix-use projects, including affordable housing options.
  • Improve the pedestrian friendliness of main streets and increasing transportation choices.
  • Reduce operating costs through improved energy conservation/efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.
  • Identify water conservation strategies.

Visit Gov. Ritter's website to learn more about the Sustainable Main Streets Initiative

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November 22, 2019, 12:03 pm PDT

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