DDA entertains district proposal

John Scarffe, Nederland.     The Nederland Downtown Development Authority heard a recommendation to apply for an Entertainment District during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on July 16. Resident property owner Ron Mitchell proposed creation of the district and cited examples of successful districts in Greeley and Westcliffe.

Mitchell said that in 2010 state legislators passed a law allowing downtowns to form an entertainment district to have entertainment on the street. It’s been highly successful and sales tax revenue has increased 25 percent in cities where it has been implemented.

The Town would cordon off 25,000 feet of space. If the ordinance passes, the group gets together and decides where that could be. Parking is available on the north side of Second Street.  Restaurants could move seating space into the street as in Greeley and Westcliffe, which turned the opportunity into a County Fair. In the last two years, six other towns have implemented entertainment districts. Fort Collins and Longmont are also hosting family events.

In order to establish an entertainment district, the Town needs to pass an ordinance and the Nederland Downtown Development Authority consider funding this district.

In Greeley, they had three different bands in the evening. They have events such as a hula hoop artist and sidewalk chalk art contests. In Westcliffe, 2,000 people turned out.

Mitchell proposed that the DDA provide tables and umbrellas. Restaurants would pool resources to hire bands, so costs go down but revenues go up. They have good traffic control and security.

DDA Board Member Amanda Kneer said the businesses are going to have to kick in. Chair Katrina Harms said what the DDA needed to decide now is what the Town needs to do to make it an action item. What do we want throw into it, she asked, such as examples of other places and how they started.

Susan Schneider they need commitment from businesses, and Harms asked if someone on First Street would be willing to pursue this project and make it happen. Mitchell said he will be the one to talk to everyone.

Board Member Jeffrey Green said he would want a proposal with all the details written down and buy-in from all the businesses. Mitchell said he would circulate a petition and has talked to all the restaurants. He needed a warm reception from the DDA to pursue the project.

Harms said, “We will support it if we have support from the businesses. How can we as a Board support this without more information?”

Harms said Mitchell should get a proposal together, and Mitchell said that he could do that. “Put it on the agenda and I’ll bring some other Board members.”

The next meeting of the Nederland Downtown Development Authority will be on Wednesday, September 17, in the Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72, Nederland.