DENVER -- The Colorado Creative Industries office announced today the latest five recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant program, reported Margaret Hunt, Director of the Creative Industries Division in the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Established by SB21-252, the Colorado Community Revitalization Grant provides gap funding for projects in creative districts, historic districts, main streets or neighborhood commercial centers. These grants support creative projects that combine creative industry workforce housing, commercial spaces, performance space, community gathering spaces, child care centers, and retail partnerships for the purpose of economic recovery and diversification by supporting creative sector entrepreneurs, artisans, and community non-profit organizations.
Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU)
Antonito, CO - $1,076,000
The Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) was founded on November 26, 1900, and is the oldest active Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States. The building hosts performances by Spanish-speaking touring troupes, art displays, workshops, dances, wedding receptions, family reunions, and community events. The CCR grant will help fund restoration of the stage, plumbing and construction of two ADA gender-neutral bathrooms, installation of a heating system, an all-electric food service area, restoration of the stairs and floors, and converting the office into a museum/visitors’ center. The grant will also fund energy efficiency measures such as solar panels to provide energy for the building and electrical vehicle charging stations. Once the restoration and rehabilitation of the building is complete, it will be returned to its splendor in appearance and style of 1925 and will be used to host the type of artistic and historic events of the past such as musical performances by groups such as Hilos Culturales, art exhibitions, art displays, workshops, and other community events. Grant writer Dr. Antonio Esquibel says, “This award will not only restore the SPMDTU building the most prominent building in Antonito, to its original grandeur but will add to the revitalization of the local community and entire San Luis Valley."
Brush Art Center Brush, CO - $50,000
The Brush Center (BAC) will be a Co-Op Art Gallery and teaching center, Counseling Center and Commercial Kitchen. Project organizer and army veteran Robert Gifford says, “I am beyond excited! Seeing the vision come to fruition is amazing.” The City of Brush has supported the project with a small grant for an exterior refresh of the building and in the letter of support from the city it is stated that “We are so thankful that Brush Art Center revitalized their building, and we consider them to be champions in our Downtown. Being awarded the CCR Grant would help the Brush Art Center, located in a Colorado-designated Main Street, to add a much-needed commercial kitchen in order to be used to teach culinary skills, and be used for locals who seek to start-up their own food business. Having a commercial kitchen downtown would be extremely valuable to stimulate local foodservice entrepreneurs.”
Foothills Art Center Golden, CO - $1,450,000
Foothills Art Center (FAC) has partnered with the City of Golden to restore, renovate, and reactivate the historic Astor House. The Astor House is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and sits at the center of downtown Golden within the historic district. For nearly 150 years, the Astor House served as a hotel, boarding house, and historical museum. In 2015, the city closed the museum and embarked on a stabilization, rehabilitation, and asbestos abatement effort. In 2020 the city solicited bids for revitalizing the structure with a creative solution to restore community access to this historic site. The grant will fund a design that includes classrooms, galleries, a teaching kitchen, and publicly accessible green space. It will provide below-market-rate studio and gallery space for professional and non-professional artists. Foothills Art Center also plans to add youth programs for kids 12+ and expand programs for Alzheimer’s support and senior community members to decrease isolation.
Montrose Urban Renewal Authority Montrose, CO - up to $2,000,000
The Flex Buildings at Colorado Outdoors are part of an award-winning, 160-acre master-planned project in Montrose, Colorado. The site, known as the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority (MURA), was created in 2016 by City leaders who brought together more than nine local public agencies, multiple nonprofits, and several private organizations to revitalize an underutilized and blighted property. MURA works collaboratively to build a strong public-private partnership by focusing on infrastructure, public open space enhancements, and land use upgrades to become a neighborhood commercial center and creative hub. The pandemic has increased costs for individual improvements by over 200% since 2020. MURA requested grant funding for these increased costs to prevent the project from stalling and losing its job-creating creative industries. The project’s main goals are to provide the region with three things: A desirable location for business relocations including creative industry expansion and commercial enterprise job creation, a restored and enhanced river for the benefit of the community, and quality workforce housing for local residents. President of Colorado Outdoors LLC, David Dragoo, says “This award is a critical investment in rural Colorado and the Montrose community. We are so grateful for the support of the Colorado Creative Industries team and its Council. We can't wait to get started."
Plaza Block Rehabilitation La Junta, CO - $2,000,000
The Plaza Block is the last remaining historic 1890s commercial building in downtown La Junta, a state-designated Main Street and state-certified Creative District. Once one of the more stable economic regions of the state, Otero, Crowley, and Bent counties are now three of the five poorest counties in Colorado. Completion of the Plaza Block is the foundation of broader efforts to stabilize and improve the economy and quality of life for the residents of La Junta. The Southeast Colorado Creative Partnership (SECCP), a public charity active in community-based cultural and arts events, is undertaking the Plaza Block’s rehabilitation. SECCP will use the building for arts programming that will provide the community with regular access to creative expression while also providing a safe space for children and youth when not in school and giving adults, especially seniors, needed activities. The art studio and multi-use space will provide regional artists and craftsmen a venue for creating, displaying and marketing their work. The building will also provide two apartments upstairs that will meet a critical need for short-term workforce housing.
To see all of the Colorado Community Revitalization Grant projects in Colorado, visit the interactive map on our website.
The Community Revitalization Grant is still open and shovel-ready, mixed-use projects that advance the creative industries are encouraged to submit a pre-application.