By Beth Dodd:
Woodland Park was not one of the eleven candidates selected by Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) to start forming a creative arts district this spring. However, the town has been offered special assistance in re-applying for the designation next time.
Formation of a Creative Arts District has been promoted by Woodland Park City Councilman Gary Brovetto and other community leaders as a great way for the town to bring in tourist dollars and revitalize the downtown. It was hoped that the Creative Arts District would help draw artistic souls from both inside and outside the community to the Woodland Station development to start businesses and rent apartments.
Now that Woodland Park’s letter of interest has been declined, the statewide recognition, access to grant money, and expert advice that the town was seeking is not coming anytime soon. It will be two years before the town can try again, and four years before they can officially complete the formation of a creative arts district if they succeed in their second attempt.
However, Woodland Park has been encouraged to re-apply. CCI has offered to do a site visit to Woodland Park sometime this summer to provide supplementary assistance. They would provide customized advice to the community to share ideas about how a Creative Arts District can grow the local economy and how Woodland Park can develop a creative district strategy.
Ralph Holloway of the Woodland Arts Alliance, which is spearheading the project on behalf of the city, remains upbeat. He emphasized that this is a very competitive process. Woodland Park will continue to build momentum and move forward with the project.
“Nothing is different than before,” said Holloway. “We have a lot of work to do. We will go through the same process as originally planned. The application will just happen later. The board is still committed to making this happen.”
Holloway saw the offer of a site visit by CCI as a great opportunity to be well prepared when application time comes again. “Our ducks will be in a row because they helped us,” he said. Volunteers are still needed to help. You can find out how to participate by visiting www.WoodlandParkArts.com.
Meanwhile, two other creative arts districts are incubating in the surrounding area. Downtown Colorado Springs was selected as a candidate in 2012, and will complete the process this year. Manitou Springs has been offered the opportunity move forward with the process and submit a full application in 2014.