Downtown Development Authority:
STORY AND PHOTO BY SHARON SULLIVAN
sk any number of downtown merchants and they’ll tell you how often they hear from tourists how much they like Grand Junction’s downtown area. Locals are fond of their downtown as well. A mix of independently-owned shops and restaurants, plus music and theater venues, has created a pleasant atmosphere with a bustling pedestrian presence. Grand Junction established the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in 1981, after downtown property owners and businesses approved the idea through a special election. “We are an economic development agency,” DDA executive director Harry Weiss said. The DDA purchases under-utilized or deteriorating properties and sells them to developers who can turn them into projects that will enhance the economic vitality of downtown.
1975 Dr. Merkel opens for business.
“Our charge is to identify blight and improve the situation. We identify good investments in the public realm that will enhance economic vitality.” The DDA bought the former Cheers nightclub building, and sold it to a developer who turned it into residential ATING property. BR The historic Reed building at the corner of Fourth and Main was renovated, and the upstairs EA RS I N BU converted to condominiums with a grant acquired by the DDA. Weiss hopes to add more residential property in the future. Art on the Corner, a year-round outdoor sculpture exhibit in the downtown area, is another DDA project. One of the first of its kind in the nation, the exhibit is a downtown draw and includes more than 100 sculptures in a variety of mediums and styles. The DDA has committed $3 million toward the restoration of the historic Avalon Theatre — a major project that will require additional grants and donations. The renovation of the Avalon will have a spill-over effect on Main Street, Weiss said. “It’ll become its own little economic engine for downtown,” he said. “Our mission is a great downtown. We want people working here, in good jobs, with places to live.” Y
“There is something very special in Downtown Grand Junction. Just ask anybody who lives here. They’ll tell you to stroll along the wonderful pedestrian friendly streets, window shop, explore or just hang out. You’ll find only locally owned boutiques, shops, art galleries and restaurants. Personal service is what we do best! Bring the kids to a play area or the very popular splash fountain. Grab a coffee, a slice of pizza or a romantic dinner on an outdoor patio. Check out the ANB Bank Farmers’ Market or enjoy a music performance. With the recent remodeling of three Downtown streets, it’s easy to relax with friends in the many seating areas. The large trees and beautiful landscaping make this area a popular tourist attraction. So whether you are visiting or live here, you’ll discover that Downtown Grand Junction is the heart and soul of the Grand Valley.” -Downtown Partnership
Nurturing a vibrant downtown
Spring & summer celebrations happen here.
248 South Fourth Street 970.245.9697 DowntownGJ.org
1977 Linen Shelf, now Girlfriends, opens on Main Street.
1978 Grand Junction sees its first hot air balloon rally.
2012 SUCCESS 15