Greeley Creative District is State Certified

Greeley’s creative district draws attention from the state

Greeley Tribune June 21, 2014

Greeley’s creative district — an effort to create a focal point for the city’s arts, culture and entertainment that brought Friday go-cup concerts and thousands more people downtown — is now official in the eyes of the state.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced Friday that Greeley’s was one of four creative districts to meet the criteria to move up in status as a fully certified district instead of a prospective one.

The announcement gave credence to an explosion of new events, restaurants, murals and more that have emerged since the creative district was established two years ago, said Greeley Assistant City Manager Becky Safarik, who is also president of the district’s board of directors.

The creative district incorporates the area surrounding the University of Northern Colorado and downtown.

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Contest award to benefit the Creative District

Greeley officials have narrowed down where the Benjamin Moore paint company will paint the town, as it were, on 8th Avenue to somewhere between 12th and 16th streets. source: Greeley Tribune

The city’s plans follow the announcement on Monday that Greeley won an online voting contest to get three city blocks revitalized for free through the national paint company, which selected Greeley for the six-week contest early this summer. The exact location of the revitalization efforts are pending the approval of storefront owners and other businesses.

But no matter where on those streets the paint is set, the Benjamin Moore improvements fit in perfectly with Greeley’s greater efforts to revitalize the 8th Avenue corridor, a plan that includes “bumping out” the 16th Street intersection sidewalk this fall to make it more pedestrian-friendly, said Becky Safarik, Greeley’s assistant city manager.

The plan stems from a conceptual design drafted last fall by Fort Collins-based BHA Design Inc., which aims to decorate 8th Avenue with tree-lined medians and “parklets” at some intersections with benches, lighting and landscaping.

Efforts to revitalize 8th Avenue are a joint venture by those who are also involved in the Creative District, which incorporates the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Northern Colorado and Greeley’s downtown. The city of Greeley, UNC and the Downtown Development Authority are jointly pursuing revitalization along 8th Avenue to foster business and a general vibrancy in the area, which has also been the goal of events such as Friday Fest on the 9th Street Plaza.

Safarik said the Benjamin Moore project, which should begin later this summer or early next year, will add momentum to what is already going on downtown and in the Creative District.

“It’s like it’s just launching us right into the next phase,” she said of the project.

The paint company will provide the paint, labor and assistance in managing the revitalization, which Safarik said will have to be on blocks where there is, in fact, an opportunity to paint. Many of Greeley’s historic brick buildings will have to be ruled out.

That’s OK, Safarik said — it’s the diversity of the city’s downtown buildings that makes the area unique. It’s also why it’s so important to have the 8th Avenue corridor to tie everything together, she said.

“The next thing you know, you’ve really got some momentum for the next big thing.”

How to make the most of local music and art events

Graduating student Sarah Kirby writes about her experience at UNC and Greeley.

“I did not know anyone when I moved here, but I will be leaving with dear friends and fantastic memories, most of which involve the arts scene that constitutes Greeley’s creative flair. With memories of Ben Pu’s solo acoustic performances while drinking Crabtree’s delicious beer at the Chumpkin Pumpkin, Irish Music courtesy of the Stubby Shellelaghs at Patrick’s Irish Pub on Tuesday nights and big band performances by UNC jazz students in the park, I believe no one can say that Greeley does not provide opportunities for students and community members to relax after a long workday and be entertained.”

Read more in the UNC Mirror»

Inspire creativity and critical thinking

DanceEighty-five percent of working professionals agree that creative thinking is critical for problem-solving in their career, and 71 percent say creative thinking should be taught as a course, like math and science.

Follow this link to more survey results»