Printed in the August 17, 2017 edition of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.


As the the director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, and a longtime lover of these tree-lined streets in the center of our valley, I’m always fascinated by what visitors and those new to our community have to say about downtown. Most visitors wander our award-winning streets in awe, enjoying our little slice of heaven here in the western Colorado high desert. It’s fun to watch. Things are thriving here in downtown Grand Junction

So far in 2017 we’ve had 17 businesses either open or plan to open in our district. Our businesses are reporting that sales are up and vacancies are down. The new Mesa Theater owners have revitalized our music scene. The new outdoor dining patio at Barons has revitalized our night life. Tacoparty and Kiln Coffee Bar have drawn millennials and boomers alike. Pretty soon we’ll have a skate shop on Colorado Avenue and a western Colorado-made bath product shop on Main. Our beloved retailers, the staples of downtown, are changing things up too. Thirty of them got together this summer and expanded their hours on Fridays until 8 p.m. through the summer in a promotion called Fridays After Five.

Pinnacle, the company managing Two Rivers and the Avalon, has been a breath of fresh air, bringing fun, new ideas to downtown like the Sunset Patio concerts during the Fairway Independent Mortgage Farmers Market and expanding Dinner and a Movie on Tuesday nights to also include shopping. (Did you know that? Now on Tuesdays you can bring a receipt from any downtown business dated that day to the Avalon for two free movie tickets that night.)

The DDA board recently voted to move forward with a contract with Colorado developer REgeneration to build 36 unique townhouses on the empty lot at the old R-5 high school. Housing in downtown has long been a goal of the board and DDA/BID constituents and we’re about to see that come to fruition.

As of this spring, you can pay for parking on your phone (technology that many major cities have yet to adopt). You can also drop in to Factory and work for the day with access to gigabit internet or become a permanent member and work daily with like-minded entrepreneurs. The ultra-modern building that Factory occupies at 750 Main St., is full of all kinds of creative businesses, all which have made downtown their home in the last year.

Which brings me to, perhaps, my favorite thing: The #WestSlopeBestSlope hashtag that downtown spearheaded as part of a community pride initiative has been used more than 100,000 times on social media. Our community has taken extraordinary pride in this place we live, and downtown is at the heart of it all.

I’m incredibly proud to support and represent our diverse selection of businesses, restaurants and retailers. I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be a part of our vibrant and growing downtown community. More and more we see it’s true: Life happens here!

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