Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Opinions sought on state of downtown

BILL RADFORD Updated: January 22, 2013 at 12:00 am

A great place for shopping and dining? Too many bars? The heart of the city? Or a place to avoid?

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on downtown Colorado Springs. The Greater Colorado Springs Downtown Business Improvement District is looking to collect some of those opinions; it plans to gather market research from downtown visitors, merchants and other business people Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

A research team from Blakely + Company , a downtown-based marketing agency, will be stationed at 12 E. Bijou St. those three days, conducting 90-minute focus groups and half-hour, one-on-one interviews.

The Downtown BID, in conjunction with the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership, has selected Blakely + Company to conduct research and develop a strategic brand and marketing communications plan for downtown. The effort is just one of many shining a spotlight on downtown in recent months.

Downtown issues, such as the possible decommissioning and razing of the Martin Drake Power Plant, have taken center stage. Mayor Steve Bach is focusing on downtown as one of three “economic priority zones” in the city. And an Urban Land Institute panel that visited Colorado Springs last summer to study downtown issued recommendations that included capitalizing on the U.S. Olympic Committee presence in the area and attracting more downtown housing.

The branding and marketing contract with Blakely + Company, which runs through Dec. 31, is not to exceed $125,000; the money comes from the BID. The Greater Colorado Springs BID was created by district voters in 2001 and encompasses 32 square blocks; it is funded by a special tax on property owners within the district.

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