Downtown Colorado Inc. assesses Kremmling | SkyHiNews.com

Downtown Colorado Inc. assesses Kremmling

Reid Tulley
rtulley@skyhidailynews.com

Kremmling citizens recently took part in a downtown assessment conducted by Downtown Colorado Inc. A major part of the discussion involved making Park Avenue (Highway 40 through downtown) more business-friendly.

KREMMLING — Kremmling residents and business owners were given an in-depth look at their town and what future improvements the town could complete to become more tourist friendly during a 65-slide PowerPoint presentation by Downtown Colorado Inc.

"It is a program that gives you small, attainable steps," said Shannon Clark, executive director of the Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce.

The presentation, which took place on April 23 at the West Grand High School auditorium, highlighted a number of areas for consideration under the improvement plan that included everything from updating landscaping and the exterior of downtown shops to reworking the public roads through the town so they are more car- and pedestrian-friendly.

The town could undertake some of the projects that aren't very demanding in terms of time and capitol commitments as early as next year, according to Kremmling Town Manager Mark Campbell.

"We will look at some of the low-hanging fruit and see what we can plan for next year," Campbell said.

The presentation also highlighted some of the immediate ways Kremmling can begin to build a better community. One of the most important and easily attainable items that Clark observed was the need to establish better communication between individuals and groups in the community such as organizing community committees and building communication across those committees.

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"We need to make sure everybody is interacting with each other so people aren't duplicating and wasting resources," Clark said.

Before the presentation on Tuesday night, focus groups of members of the Kremmling community convened and kicked around different ideas of what they thought would improve the town's appeal. Juniors and seniors from West Grand High School also weighed in on issues.

"We had good community participation in the focus groups," Campbell said. "Similar themes were consistent with most of the groups."

Some of the themes focus groups seemed to agree on is that Kremmling's small-town feel, outdoor opportunities, and open spaces are appealing, as well as a strong commitment by Kremmling residents to increase community pride.

One of the more prominent topics that arose during the process was the need to rethink the layout of the roads in and around Kremmling. Focus groups found that "Park Avenue (Highway 40 through town) is dangerous and there is a need for traffic calming," according to the PowerPoint presentation.

"Safety is the key issue there, so possibly something needs to be done," Campbell said.

Downtown Colorado Inc. offered a number of suggestions to help slow down the traffic moving through town, including constructing new passing lanes on the highways outside of town, redesigning Main Street to a two lane cross section with a center turning lane that would also include parking lanes, bike lanes, and 14-foot sidewalks.

But whether these improvements come to fruition in the near or distant future is another matter dependent on town and state highway budgets.

Kremmling is viewed as a "sportsman's paradise," Downtown Colorado Inc. experts said, and amenities should be constructed to cater to recreationalists such as updating trails in the area to accommodate bicycles as well as off highway vehicles.

The town is also currently working with Signature Advertising to look at potential opportunities to re-brand the town, according to Clark. The Winter Park & Fraser Chamber recently used the same company based out of Denver to re-brand the Fraser Valley.

Clark believes the current marketing for the town as a "sportsman's paradise" is too narrow and could limit the audience it appeals to. "We might not be capturing everyone that we could be," she said.

The advertising agency and the town wanted to wait to see how the downtown assessment turned out before addressing the town's branding efforts. The advertising agency is expected to present in the next week or two, according to Clark.

The cost to complete the downtown assessment to the town was $8,000, much of which will be reimbursed to the town through multiple grants, according to Campbell.

"I would like to extend a thank you to everyone who turned out and participated," Campbell said.

Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334

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