Longmont Creative District History
In the summer of 2010, the Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) initiated a visioning process to create an Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Longmont. The process began by identifying key stakeholders who would serve as Steering Committee members to guide the process. A series of interviews and meetings evoked numerous ideas and imaginative solutions. Top goals, priorities, places and organizations were identified for the successful development of an Arts and Entertainment District. Based on this effort, a Strategic Report and Action Program was prepared to guide implementation strategies. This effort was led by consultants Dana Crawford of Urban Neighborhoods, Inc. and Jennifer Vecchi of Vecchi & Associates.
The Strategic Report & Action Plan was adopted by the Steering Committee in the spring of 2011. It was accepted by the Longmont Downtown Development Authority as a guidance document and was endorsed by the Longmont City Council. A committee structure was formed, including retail, events, programs, marketing, ideas, placemaking and financial development. Anyone interested in getting involved can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vision for the Creative District
Building upon existing assets, Downtown Longmont will become a vibrant destination infused with arts, entertainment and cultural activities attracting people of all ages throughout the days and evenings. Economic vitality will be enhanced by strengthening the retail tenant mix and adding urban housing – apartments, lofts and condominiums. Numerous small, well connected public and private spaces will be developed highlighting Longmont’s historic character, multicultural diversity and authenticity; these will add opportunities for increased activities, uses, events and socializing.
Main Street, as it passes through downtown, will be transformed by reducing traffic speeds and creating a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Placemaking efforts will enhance the image of downtown as clean safe, walkable and attractive.
Partnerships will be forged with the local arts organizations, LAEC, LDDA, City of Longmont, local businesses, colleges, schools, the St. Vrain Historical Society, the Chamber of Commerce, Longmont Area Economic Council, Longmont Area Visitors Association and philanthropists. Collaboration and partnerships will become the foundation for ongoing progress and the successful realization of an authentic identity for the Longmont Arts and Entertainment District.
Goals, Priorities, and Places
Throughout the collaborative process, the Steering Committee established its top goals, priorities and places for the District.
- Make downtown a vibrant destination infusing the retail base with arts, entertainment and cultural activities to attract people of all ages.
- Unite arts and cultural organizations within the community.
- Create an umbrella to enhance opportunities for private and public funding.
- Make downtown clean, safe, walkable and attractive.
- Develop downtown as a mixed-use destination with activity happening at all times.
- (Mixed-use is a key to the experience of an Arts and Entertainment District. Include numerous small, well-connected venues, and highlight Longmont’s historic character and multicultural diversity. In addition, add housing - apartments, lofts and condominiums - and address traffic, parking resources and way-finding in downtown.)
- Develop a collaborative working relationship between the business interests and the arts and cultural interests, particularly in relationship to special events.
- Utilize existing assets to maximize outcome and improve the economic vitality.
- Create the structure whereby creativity can be encouraged.
- Consolidate communications into a multimedia site with cross references.
- Explore new destinations and uses (i.e. for children, families, young adults and elderly).
- Music and Performing Arts
- Placemaking – Public Realm
- Arts Education
- Retail Strategy (Tenant Mix)
- Housing and Arts Studios
- Marketing and Promotion
- Traffic Calming, Connectivity, Parking and Transit
- Clean Safe and Attractive
- History and Cultural Diversity
- LiveWell Downtown
- Management of Arts and Entertainment District
- Jobs Promotion
Key to the development of an Arts and Entertainment District are the places that provide opportunities for activities, events, public gatherings and socializing.
- Civic Center Complex – (Library and Civic Center)
- Longmont Theatre
- Concentrated Downtown Business Area from 1st Ave. to Longs Peak Ave. (both sides of Main Street and a pedestrian connection to Roosevelt Park)
- Parks: Roosevelt Park, Thompson Park, Collyer Park, Old Mill Park and the St. Vrain Creek Greenway
- St. Stephens and 6th Ave. Plaza
- Alleyscapes and Breezeways
- Dickens Opera House and parking area to the east
- Callahan House/Dickens Residence
- Imperial Hotel/Elks Club and parking area
- Longmont Christian Academy and the adjacent parking lot on the 500 block of Coffman Street
Partnerships, Collaboration and Sustainability
Partnership and collaboration are crucial components of creative placemaking. Partners bring different capabilities, knowledge and views to the creative process. “Initiators, politicians, staffers, businesses, philanthropists, and arts organizations are all actors in successful arts-based revitalization efforts.” Further, “regardless of who initiates creative placemaking, potential partners must find the opportunities where interests, missions, and resources dovetail."
In Longmont, the Steering Committee has identified the following local organizations and agencies as key participants in this effort:
- Longmont Symphony Orchestra (LSO)
- Musical Collaboration (Longmont Jazz Association, Longmont Chorale, Children’s Chorale, Longmont Ballet Company and others such as Ballet Folklorico, Sweet Adeline’s, Barber Shoppers, etc.)
- Longmont Council for the Arts (LCA) and Visual Arts, Art in Public Places (AIPP), Old Fire House Art Center, Muse Gallery, ArtWalk, Quilters/Crafters/Hand Weavers, etc.)
- Performing Arts: Longmont Theatre Group and Jesters Theatre
- Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA), Longmont General Improvement District and Merchants Group
- City of Longmont (Museum, Recreation Center, Youth Center, Parks, Economic Development and Senior Center)
- Education: Front Range Community College and St. Vrain Valley School District
- Longmont Area Visitors Association (LAVA)
- Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Council
- St. Vrain Historical Society