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Legislative Alert: Urban Renewal TIF Transparency Bill

10 Feb

Help Us Complete the Urban Renewal Impact Study
to Highlight Positive Urban Renewal Case Studies!

A proposed “Urban Renewal TIF Transparency” bill could be introduced with late bill status. If passed this bill would significantly increase reporting requirements. There are also discussions taking place about whether this bill is addressing a true need, if it would increase the red tape and regulations around urban renewal, and whether it would disproportionately impact small, rural communities.

What Can You Do?
Review the proposed legislation. Now is the perfect time to review this proposed legislation and contact your legislator to discuss how your urban renewal authority reports to the public through annual reporting, posting audited financials, and other means. To receive a copy of the latest version of the bill, please contact Mark Radtke at the Colorado Municipal League at

Complete the URA Survey for the URA Impact Report. This is also the time to promptly and accurately share your information with Downtown Colorado, Inc. DCI is again partnering with Ricker-Cunningham to collect and share the Urban Renewal Impact Report. URAs who completed this in 2011 have already received an updated survey form. If you received it, please complete it accurately and promptly so that we can begin the process of quantifying how valuable urban renewal is to Colorado. If you did not complete the survey last year, you will receive a new survey in the next two weeks. Once again, time is of the essence, so be sure to respond promptly. For any questions about the URA survey, please contact Anne Ricker at Ricker-Cunningham at

Send DCI your case studies. DCI has recently contacted all urban renewal authorities to request that you share your testimonials from small business and property owners and case studies of quality projects that could not have been completed without TIF. Please email to share your stories and help us promote you!


New Creative Districts Legislation Passed: What Does It Mean?

13 Apr

Guest author Hilarie Portell of Portell Works explains the recently passed Creative Districts legislation and what it means for Colorado.

Creative enterprises are the fifth largest industry cluster in Colorado, and now local communities have a tool to help attract and retain them.

In late March, Governor Hickenlooper signed new legislation creating a statewide designation for creative districts. Communities that meet specific criteria will apply for the designation through the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) division. Certified districts become eligible for technical support, limited state incentives and federal funding if it becomes available. An  application process should be in place by July 2012.

The creative district designation does not have any state fiscal implications or property requirements, such as tax credits or design guidelines. However, it could provide communities with a new economic development tool to build local support and targeted strategies for a creative district.

House Bill 11-1031 defines a creative district as a “well-recognized, designated mixed-use area of a community in which a high concentration of cultural facilities, creative businesses, or arts-related businesses serve as the anchor of attraction.” Creative districts may have multiple vacant properties in close proximity that would be suitable for redevelopment and may be home to both nonprofit and for-profit creative industries and organizations.

The legislation builds on a 2008 report by the Colorado Council on the Arts (now Colorado Creative Industries) on the state’s “creative economy.” It found that 186,251 jobs in Colorado are associated with creative enterprises and talent, with 2007 earnings totaling $5 billion. Importantly, creative enterprises are defined as “any company for which the primary value of its products or services is rooted in its emotional and aesthetic appeal to the customer.” This includes 69 industries in five categories: design, film/media, heritage, literary/publishing, and visual arts/craft. The categories comprise traditional arts as well as industrial and green design, interactive media, architecture, home furnishings, recreational products, local brewing operations and more. The full report is available at

Learn more about this legislation and its implications for your community at the May 11 DCI Development and Improvement Districts Forum. The DIDs forum is open to DCI members and will held from 2-4 p.m. at the Colorado Municipal League (1144 Sherman Street, Denver). Visit website for details and registration information.

Hilarie Portell helped draft and advocate for the creative district legislation. She is principal of Portell Works, a community and economic development consulting firm in Denver.