Sunday, May 19, 2013

National Main Street rep Todd Barman speaks about Cheyenne's downtown on May 20

Local visionaries continue to drag Cheyenne's downtown kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Hats off to those businesses with the chutzpah to inhabit downtown. You can see a list on the Downtown Development Association web site. Some of my faves are Ernie November for music, Freedom's Edge for handmade brews, The Albany for lunch and the Paramount Cafe for coffee, music and open mic nights. Alan O'Hashi and architect Glen Garrett have been trying to get the Hynds Building whipped into shape through the LightsOn! Project and Alan's effort to work with Laramie County Community College to bring student housing downtown.

I just write about it. I spend some of my money downtown, but it's just a drop in the bucket to my overall expenditures. Most of my food budget goes to King Soopers on Dell Range, Safeway on the South Greeley Highway and Albertson's on Yellowstone (and the Osco Pharmacy therein). There is no downtown grocery store since the closure of the old Safeway. The state owns the building. Hospital construction crews use the lot for parking.

This weekend, downtown is alive with a number of cool events. Railroad Days is being held at the Depot. I wandered in yesterday to see the massive model train set up in the lobby. The place was filled with vendors and train buffs and the merely curious such as myself. This is the only weekend when you can get a guided tour of the historic roundhouse. I bought my tomato plants yesterday at the Master Gardeners Sale. Chris and I attended the "Long Stories, Short Films' Session yesterday at at the Cheyenne International Film Festival at the Atlas Theatre. I'm always curious about the ways of storytellers since I am one. The CIFF continues through tonight. Today we're wandering over to the Yiddish Food Festival at Mt. Sinai Synagogue next to the old Safeway.

So there's lot to do. But downtown still has a lot of empty buildings and The Big Hole where Mary's Bake Shoppe once stood along Lincolnway. You could write a book on the many ideas generated to fill the hole. I may just do that....

This week, the DDA "invites you to come support downtown" with a presentation by Todd Barman, a representative from the national Main Street organization. Wyoming Main Street will be hosting a public meeting with Barman Monday, May 20, 5-7:30 p.m., at the Historic Plains Hotel. According to a display ad in this morning's Wyoming Tribune-Eagle:
"He will be preparing an analysis of the community, and will be meeting with community representatives and downtown stakeholders to discuss future economic development activities for downtown."
Sounds good to me. My notebook and I plan on attending Monday's meeting. I would expect a a fair number of visionaries along with some naysayers who think that "planning" is a dirty word. They also think that "creative placemaking" and "the future" are dirty words. They may have a point about "creative placemaking." Such a weird term. Maybe "creative economy" is better.

For previous posts on Cheyenne's downtown revitalization efforts, go here and here

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