A group of students at CU Boulder have been working with the City of Longmont in coming up with different ideas for redesigning downtown. Scott vanGenderen, a lecturer in environmental design at CU Boulder says it’s a project of the Community Engagement, Design and Research Center or CEDaR.
“The environmental design program has a long time program called CEDaR, Community Engagement in Design and Research. And this program has always worked with communities throughout the state of Colorado, particularly downtown regions. And recently we entered into a several year contract with Longmont to help them and to look at some design issues. In this particular case we’re working with the Downtown Longmont Redevelopment Agency and we hope to work with them for the next couple of years, this was our first year.”
Longmont has been going through colossal changes particularly in the downtown area, but one of the biggest challenges is US 287/Main Street which brings thousands of cars right through downtown every day. The road divides the downtown area, and makes main street less walkable and accessible for pedestrians.
“I think the biggest challenge is 287 itself, i.e. Main Street. The main street of Northern Colorado runs all the way of course from Denver up through Lafayette, Longmont, Berthoud, Loveland and Fort Collins, so it’s a great connector and it brings a lot of people to downtown, but by the same token it divides downtown into two parts…it’s a mixed blessing or curse as you will.”
The students are finding ways to make the downtown area more appealing for general use, and for specific groups like children and families. One idea suggested by the students is the creation of a community garden in this area that would be a welcoming place for children and families.
On May 1 the students presented their design ideas to help increase the activity and vitality of downtown Longmont at the Longmont Chamber of Commerce.