The Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) was created through legislation passed in 2011 by the state legislature. The goal of this program is to create hubs and clusters of economic activity, promote a community’s unique identity, and enhance areas as appealing places to live, conduct business and attract visitors.
Grand Lake has just been notified that they will be invited to become a Creative District next year. This is a significant achievement for Grand Lake. In the past, all towns were eligible to apply for this designation which is awarded annually to qualifying towns. This process has now been changed, however, such that only towns invited by CCI are now eligible for receiving the designation. In 2018, only one other town besides Grand Lake is being invited to become a Creative District.
Efforts to achieve such a designation within Grand County have been ongoing for several years under the efforts of DiAnn Butler. In our Department of Local Affairs designated region, only Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, and Carbondale have previously achieved this designation.
Statewide, only 21 communities have been designated Creative Districts. What does it mean to be a Creative District? The benefits include: national and statewide marketing and advertising; CDOT signs on state highways; technical assistance from professionals for district-specific identified needs; customized economic impact data; training webinars by world renowned consultants; assistance with community asset mapping; access to capital through OED funding and CCI community loan fund; ability to leverage additional funding and partnerships such as Colorado Tourism Office, Colorado SBDC and National Endowment for the Arts; and mentoring and coaching from other Colorado Certified Creative Districts. CCI joins with the Boettcher foundation to administer the Space to Create program which supports affordable live/work space for creative entities and individuals.
On November 7, a CCI team will be in Grand Lake to help us begin the process leading to final designation as a Creative District. This is part of our Blueprint 2.0 grant which was awarded to the town in August. The objective of this grant is to prepare a town to meet the 12 principles that define our readiness to establish a creative economy. The meeting will be held in the Community House with three sessions beginning at 9:30 with representatives from key stakeholder groups in the town and surrounding area. A working lunch with town officials will commence from noon – 1:30. Everyone is invited to attend the session from 1:30 – 4:00 to offer inputs and insights into our creative vision and ideas for expanding our creative economy. This is everyone’s chance to talk about what a creative economy is to Grand Lake. Is it a Chataqua, an expanded kitchen for the Grand Center, a revitalized Community House, a band shell along the lake front, or all of the above or maybe something else? It is a time to let the ideas flow because we are being given the chance to make it happen.
Please everyone come on November 7 to session 3 from 1:30-4. Questions on the process or how to be involved if you cannot make the November 7 meeting can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Fucik, Photographer