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A Colorado Creative District in La Veta?

by Doreen Baumann
LA VETA — Colorado is a magnet for creative enterprises and creative workers. With almost 8,000 businesses and 186,000 jobs, the creative sector comprises the state’s 5th largest employment cluster.
Colorado’s Creative Industries (CCI) Division, within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, was established in 2010 to capitalize on the immense potential for the creative sector to drive economic growth in Colorado. In 2011, the Colorado legislature passed HB11-1031. In brief, it encourages the formation of Creative Districts in communities, neighborhoods, or contiguous geographic areas, whether in large cities or rural communities.
Creative Districts are defined areas that include a mix of uses within their boundaries, and they are typically small enough to be walkable. All include arts/cultural assets and non-profit as well as for-profit creative businesses. Most will incorporate complementary non-arts businesses such as restaurants, offices, retail stores and housing. Districts may offer events like art walks and arts festivals. Often they will include community gathering places such as a plaza or park. Does this sound like La Veta?
The purposes of Creative Districts are for
•1.) Attracting creative entrepreneurs and artists to a community, infusing new energy and innovation which in turn will enhance the economic and civic capital of the community;
•2.) Creating hubs of economic activity, thereby enhancing the area as an appealing place to live, visit and conduct business, as well as create new economic activity;
•3.) Attracting visitors;
•4.) Revitalizing and beautifying communities;
•5.) Providing a focal point for celebrating and strengthening a community’s unique identity; and
•6.) Showcasing cultural and artistic organizations, events and amenities.
Would this benefit La Veta?
There will be an open meeting on Monday, January 9 at 5 pm at the La Veta Community Center to explore the possibility of formally establishing a Creative District in La Veta. In order to submit an application, La Veta would need to form a partnership of government, non-profits and/or for-profit businesses with a “steering committee” and letters of support for the District from each of the partners.
In 2012, CCI will select two certified Creative Districts, five Prospective and eight Emerging Districts through a competitive application process to be submitted by January 30, 2012.
La Veta has the potential to qualify as either a “Potential or Emerging” district if the community supports the concept. La Veta’s arts and cultural assets are already in place. The benefits to La Veta would include state wide recognition, technical assistance through the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and the non matching grant provided could be used to enhance the planning, development or improvement of the district.
If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to express your interest or serve on the steering committee, please email Mary Jean Fowler at mjsf@centurytel.net or Doreen Baumann at
lavetadowntown81055 @gmail.com.
For additional information, click on www.coloradocreativeindustries.org and select “Creative Districts.”