Breck aims for ‘icon’ status downtown |

Breck aims for ‘icon’ status downtown

JANE STEBBINSsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkLenora, Marcus, Theresa and Marlee Moen of Chicago, along with João and Arthur Valladares of Brasil shop along Breckenridge's Main Street Saturday morning and said they enjoy the atmosphere of the town's quaint, mountain feel. Breckenridge officials hope to enhance Main Street to lure more people to town. Improvements could include mid-block pedestrian crossings, places where people can sit and relax and blending the Riverwalk Center with the arts district on Ridge Street.

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge town engineer Eric Guth envisions a Main Street filled with people strolling down the sidewalks, socializing, attending festivals, shopping, relaxing in pocket parks and enjoying the quaint atmosphere of this historic town.”It’ll be a real attraction,” Guth said. “It’ll be a real fun place to be.”That vision will get under way Jan. 31 when town officials and representatives from Design Workshop of Aspen begin the second phase of the Main Street Revitalization Project.The first phase began earlier this winter when Design Workshop began compiling and analyzing transportation studies, reports and projects the town has undertaken over the years.

This project is said to be the final link bringing together other projects the town has completed, including the transit center, pedestrian bridges from Sawmill parking lot over the Blue River to town, and Highway 9 realignment from Main Street to allow more freedom over what is done downtown.The ultimate goal is to make downtown more pedestrian friendly by linking the Riverwalk Center to it and the arts district on Ridge Street, subsequently creating an environment that will lure more visitors, said Design Workshop’s Steve Spears.Improvements could include elevating pedestrian crosswalks at the intersections, building mid-block crosswalks, erecting better signs, changing landscaping and installing street furniture.It won’t be a total overhaul, however.”From a design and community development perspective, Main Street is 90 to 95 percent there,” Spears said. “There are so many good things about Main Street we want to build upon. Our approach is, let’s take it to that next 10 percent to really be a top-notch Main Street.”

Guth agrees.”Main Street is not broken,” he said. “It needs some tweaking, some refinements, some additions, maybe some subtractions. It’s not a total tear-down and start from scratch.”The next phase of the project will comprise a “charrette” process, whereby Design Workshop officials meet with various members of the community – citizens, business owners and town staff among them – to determine what the community wants Main Street to look like.They will meet beginning Jan. 31. A public workshop will be held 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 in the lower level of the Riverwalk Center. An open house will be held 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 in the Forest Room in the Liftside building at the Village at Breckenridge, where the public will have the chance to see conceptual drawings, hear what others think and submit comments on proposed improvements.

“At the end of the charrette, we’ll have a clear understanding of the issues and needs of the study area,” Spears said.The third phase of the project will involve narrowing down the wish list, developing a phasing plan for construction and pursuing grants. The last phase will involve creating construction and engineering drawings.”I think Main Street will be a major destination for Breckenridge – more than what it is today,” Spears said. “The community will be able to reclaim it and get a sense of ownership it hasn’t had in a long time. It will become a cultural icon, the heart and soul of Breckenridge.”

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