Dillon launches facade-improvement project in an effort to beautify the town core and draw more visitors

The Payne Building is pictured Thursday, May 20, in downtown Dillon. The town is launching a new facade-improvement program to help property owners fund aesthetic enhancements in the town core.
Photo by Sawyer D’Argonne /

Dillon officials are trying to beautify the town core in order to help drive more visitors to existing shops and restaurants and entice new businesses to open up in the area.

The Dillon Town Council directed staff to move forward with a new facade-improvement program during a regular work session Tuesday, May 18, investing $100,000 into the initiative to help property owners in the town core make improvements to the exterior of their businesses.

“The overall goal of the program is to partner with our property and business owners in the downtown core area, and what we are trying to align with is the mountain lake style architectural guidelines,” Town Manager Nathan Johnson said, “but then also draw more businesses, residents and guests to the downtown area.”

Only owners of properties within the Core Area zoning district — largely the area enclosed by Lake Dillon Drive, Buffalo Street and East La Bonte Street in addition to a couple of nearby plots — will be eligible to apply for the grant opportunity. Property owners can apply for matching grants of up to $25,000 for improvements to facades, landscaping, walkability or other outdoor-space enhancements for public use.

Applications will be reviewed by a group of architects and town staff to ensure the proposed improvements match up with the town’s mountain lake style architectural principles, defined by the use of natural materials and color accents, vertical openings, deep overhanging roofs and more.

Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s marketing and communications director, said making aesthetic improvements to the town core has been a priority for the Town Council for years.

“The core area has long been identified as an area of focus over the course of several sitting councils,” Anderson said. “When (the Dillon Urban Renewal Authority) was formed, a blight study was commissioned and several distinct properties within the core were identified as having blight. If you look at the town of Dillon’s comprehensive plan, there are goals associated with focusing on the town core and utilizing programs such as a facade improvement to instill a sense of pride and improve the look of buildings and the landscape in the area.”

Anderson said the town launched a previous facade-improvement program about six years ago, but it failed to gain traction among property owners. The town will be reaching out to individual property and business owners this summer to make sure they’re aware of the opportunity.

While business owners can’t apply for an improvement grant if they’re renting their space, they will be able to get a flower barrel from the town. For the first time this summer, Dillon will be offering businesses a free whiskey barrel that they’ll be able to fill with flowers of their choice and place out front of their buildings. The town will also be providing some kind of stipend or reimbursement for flower purchases, hoping the blossoms will help to brighten the area and attract more birds and bees.

“As humans, we are taking in minute details as we walk into a surrounding that helps form an impression as a whole,” Anderson said. “When buildings and landscape are well cared for and in great shape and communicate something interesting, that helps form the basis of our overall brand and how people feel about the town of Dillon.”

Anderson said more information on the programs would be posted at by Monday, May 24.

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