Breck looks artistically at dirt lot
BRECKENRIDGE – Today, the dirt parking lot at the corner of Washington Avenue and Ridge Street in Breckenridge is little more than that.But town planner Jenn Cram has a vision that would take that lot and transform it into a world-class arts district, filled with people painting, making paper, learning dance steps, blacksmithing and glassblowing, among other arts.Breckenridge town planners want to capitalize on the success other cities have had in promoting cultural and artistic events. This summer, town officials kicked off activities in the district – classes, demonstrations and contests among them – to get people excited about the new campus they want to create.The little programming the town has offered in its first year has paid off. Cram cited a painting class with 10 students, three of whom planned their vacations to town around the classes. During a town council worksession Tuesday, Cram outlined a conceptual master plan of the area, which would include the existing Breckenridge Theatre and the Robert Whyte House – formerly Ridge Street Wines – the Fuqua livery stable and two existing sheds.By 2025, however, that would gradually be expanded to comprise six new buildings, a parking structure at Lincoln Avenue and Ridge Street, numerous plazas and pedestrian areas, all tied into the Riverwalk Center.Under the draft master plan, the first phase – from 2004 to 2009 – will involve restoring the livery stable, Mikolitis barn and Robert Whyte House, installing the major pathways, relocating a building from another part of town onto the property and landscaping.Although costs have yet to be determined, Cram said numerous grants were available, and the town could dole out money of its own as it deemed necessary.The second phase, also expected to take five years, would involve expanding programming on the site, restoring the Robert Whyte Barn, building two new structures and installing additional walkways and lighting.The third phase would involve building a parking structure on the existing Exchange parking lot to accommodate the loss of parking as buildings were constructed, and building two new buildings.The first phase would involve two more buildings, and the last phase, to be completed in 2020 to 2025, would include a final structure, an addition to the Breckenridge Theatre and site improvements.Cram envisions the building on the corner to feature a gallery with film-screening capabilities. The next building, immediately north of that, would be where painting and drawing classes are taught, the Whyte House would be reserved for children’s art activities, the next house would feature cooking and dance. On the northwest corner of the lot, Cram would like to hold photography classes, use the Whyte Barn to the south as public restrooms, and the next buildings for glassblowing, ceramics, blacksmithing and woodworking.
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