DCI has been busy with technical assistance in 2013 and has already completed four visits since the beginning of the year including Parker, Estes Park, Bennett, and Grand Lake!
DCI brought a technical assistance team to Parker on January 28-29, 2013. The team was asked to address a number of challenges including parking strategies, merchandising and window displays, the need for a greater business mix, and a cluster analysis in downtown. Another main focus for Parker’s revitalization included the “Parker Square,” which was developed in the late 1970s and 80s as a series of small offices and retail buildings. This area was built without constant sidewalks, has a variety of architecture, and is in need of visioning and branding assistance.
Observations gathered throughout the focus groups and from community stakeholders largely expressed the love for Parker’s small town feel, its unique and colorful history, and the increased excitement around the arts community and creative districts. Other observations included the need for a community gathering space, limited transportation, and the need to address an aging population.
Recommendations from the team concentrated on increasing communication amongst the pillars of the community, developing a brand for Parker that will differentiate the community and highlight its own character, rebrand Parker Square to a technology center and/or medical business incubator, and declare the downtown a priority with clearly defined boundaries and outlying tiers.
To accomplish the recommendations the team suggested holding monthly organizational meetings of stakeholders to foster increased communication for joint planning around vision and objectives for events, volunteers, downtown design and business support. To leverage the excitement around creative districts, the team suggested creating a creative districts plan that goes beyond the arts to guide a vision of downtown development that includes placemaking, retail, arts, residential, etc.
Utilizing DCI’s downtown assessment and subsequent report, Parker hopes to move forward to engage the community and foster a cohesive vision for downtown.