Downtown Board Looking at Closing Street for Public Activity Space
MONTROSE — More public green space in downtown Montrose is being explored by a subcommittee of the Downtown Development Authority, focusing on the first southern block of Uncompahgre Avenue off of Main Street.
The idea is to close Uncompahgre Ave. from Main Street through Centennial Plaza to North First Street for an expanded event plaza and public park.
A plan to transform approximately 270-feet-by 100-feet, or two city blocks of downtown, to open space from Main to South First is currently underway, though the concept is only in the review-and-planning phase as the volunteer DDA design committee continues to put thoughts on paper.
“We are working to get a plan completed and then make a budget,” said DDA board member Adam Duncan, the co-owner of A+Y Design Gallery.
The committee met last week to sketch out a plan to create a haven for bistros and live events, such as community movie nights and concerts, with permanent seating and recreation fixtures. Duncan, along with DDA board members Tammy Kulpa and Gary Baker, the city’s planner, worked on a concept design.
One idea is to rip up the asphalt on Uncompahgre Ave. in order to plant a lawn with a concrete splash pad, tables, and chairs; this would remove 20 parking spaces. Montrose City Manager Bill Bell, the city’s point of contact for the DDA board, said the city supports the idea. “We’re looking at this as a way to get people to congregate and stay in the downtown area,” Bell said. The street is closed each Thursday during Main in Motion, where a stage and beer garden are erected for musicians to perform.
The DDA is drawing examples from other communities such as Pearl Street, a popular pedestrian mall in Boulder where public activities, businesses and vendors come together away from traffic.
The committee views Uncompahgre Avenue as a “blank canvas,” and wants to create activities for both children and adults. A rock climbing wall, splash pad, spaces for food trucks to park and large planters would be some of the features.
A new north facing stage to replace the current west facing stage is also being looked at, along with amphitheater-type seating.
Bell said the DDA and the city’s Office of Business and Tourism would work together to explore where new parking spaces can be created as part of the city’s parking advisory board.
If completed, approved, and funded, the street closure would be the second of its kind since the 200 block of South Cascade was closed to create a quad for the Colorado Mesa University Montrose satellite campus.
DDA To Seek New Director
Duncan said the DDA board is carefully reviewing its job description for Executive Director following the resignation of Wade Nichols earlier this summer. In order to find the right candidate, Duncan said, the board is waiting until after it completes a new review process before advertising for the position.