As you may have heard recently, population growth in Northern Colorado continues to be downright robust. (Shocking!) However, an interesting aspect of the growth is the character of a few investments in historic downtowns throughout our region. For instance, in order to clarify community identity and improve citizen quality of life, some towns are making strategic investments in the “fine grain” details of their central business districts. New plazas, street furniture, improved walkability, live music, splash pads and, yes, major real estate projects, are all elements that point to a growing trend of small downtowns being treated as critical mixed-use neighborhoods.
Affordability still drives most of the population shifts along the Front Range, and most people really do want to call someplace home, and then live most of their daily lives there (think live, work, play). Arguably, the most effective strategy to create livability and a sense of civic pride for residents in any town is to focus on downtown walkability and a mix of uses that connect citizens to everyday services, employment, cultural amenities and Mother Nature.