Trends Winter 2017 | Page 10

HELPING OTHER COMMUNITIES A yres Associates’ urban planners also are actively working with these other communities on downtown strategic planning: Windsor, Colorado – The Town of Windsor hired Ayres Urban Planner Matt Ashby to serve as executive director of Windsor’s Downtown Development Authority. This job includes directing the organization while pursuing strategic initiatives including assistance with tax increment financing, structuring project incentive packages, façade improvement grant administration, budgeting, and public relations. Trinidad, Colorado – Ayres is assisting the City of Trinidad’s Urban Renewal Authority (URA) on developing a strategic plan for its downtown. Helping to build a sound foundation for growth, Ayres’ assistance will provide the City with a path forward to implementing critical steps to drive reinvestment in the heart of Trinidad. Durango, Colorado – Ayres is working with the City of Durango on creating a strategic analysis and recommendation for pursuing redevelopment in several character districts of Durango. Ayres highlighted the strategic benefits and shortcomings of an Urban Renewal Authority, a downtown development authority, and a business improvement district. Once the community focused on the URA structure, Ayres helped to provide a citizen’s guide to urban renewal to help City staff inform the local community about this somewhat complicated revitalization tool. – Tawny Quast sessions on specific best practices. “Our hope is that the toolkit will be viewed as a model and used to help boards in a range of arenas both inside and outside Colorado better serve their organizations,” Jamison said. Additionally, Ayres also assisted the Colorado towns of Buena Vista, Meeker, and Lamar in developing strategic plans for their downtown Main Streets. This effort involved helping the communities establish the mission and vision for their organization, defining annual work plans of action, and making sure the groups have an identified strategy to guide the day-to-day decisions in the next two to three years, Ashby explained. Some communities are starting from scratch with their plans, others have experienced significant changes that require a new approach, and some simply need a refresher. Regardless of individual needs, the strategic planning process is a worthwhile exercise. “It’s a way for community leaders to take time out from the day-to- day grind to say, ‘Why do we exist, and what do we want to do as an organization?’ ” said Ashby, adding that Main Street communities are mostly driven by volunteer staff, so focusing efforts is critical. “There’s never enough time or enough money. Main Street staff want to focus their attention on what options will give them the biggest bang for their buck. The strategic plan is a way to focus on complex, multi-year initiatives.” Continued on page 12 10│ TRENDS Scan the QR codes below to view videos of our downtown work. Lamar, Colorado Downtown Revitalization Irondale, Colorado Neighborhood Plan. Sheridan, Wyoming Brownfield Revitalization