DCI’s executive director Katherine Correll blogs about last week’s technical assistance visit in Delta, Colorado.
In the last month Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) was fortunate to conduct a Community Revitalization Partnership visit in the City of Delta. These visits are conducted in partnership with and sponsored by the Department of Local Affairs, with partial support from the State Historical Fund and USDA Rural Development.
The City of Delta, gateway to the Gunnison River Valley, is located in a wide valley in western Colorado between Grand Junction and Montrose at the confluence of the Uncompahgre and Gunnison Rivers. Delta’s geographic location and lush agricultural land has been attracting inhabitants for over millennia. With a population of approximately 8,000, the City of Delta is the largest community in Delta County and boasts an array of recreational and cultural opportunities. Ranching, agriculture and mineral extraction are the biggest industries in the region.
The City of Delta took the initiative to request technical assistance to look at a number of events that are impacting or will potentially impact the community and the economy. Team members included representatives from Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD), Colorado Rural Health, Department of Local Affairs, Downtown Colorado, Inc., Studio Bridge, and USDA Rural Development with technical support from a University of Colorado at Denver Intern.
One major issue on the table is that Delta’s main street is a highway. It is no new story, but noise, grime, and danger caused by thousands of trucks each day truly limit the ability of this community to utilize the main street to its full potential. The community has been working with CDOT to plan an alternative truck route, but as those plans evolve, the community is concerned with building in support to make sure there aren’t negative impacts on main street businesses. Other issues this community is facing include a lack of communication processes, a need for consistent leadership in planning and implementation, and a strong champion to drive collaboration with stakeholders and business owners.
Certainly, many communities can identify with these issues. Based on experiences we have seen in DCI member communities throughout the state, these issues they are not new or remarkable. However, I will never forget one aspect of this community. During the community meetings there was clearly a need for businesses to air their issues. And as is usually the case where communications have broken down, there was one business owner who was most vocal and most disappointed with the economy, the community, and the status of their businesses. Following the presentation of the plan for the community, we witnessed a complete turn around as the most negative business owner declared publicly that this is a viable plan to address the needs of the community. This was a truly inspiring moment for me, and I hope the community will work with this vocal business owner to focus his renewed belief in the community and to drive home their efforts.
Interested in technical assistance in your community? Visit our website or call DCI today at 303.282.0625.