Plan to develop Wellington's Main Street draws interest

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A small group of elected officials, Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce members and Wellington citizens are working together to set goals and move toward implementing a plan to enhance the heart of the town.

The working group envisions an area that draws people to shop, dine, take care of business and recreate in downtown Wellington. Focus is on development of the west end of Cleveland Avenue and integration of the Cleveland Avenue business district with rapidly developing Sixth Street to form a “T” shaped business hub.

Four task forces have been formed to advance the project. They include: organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring. Peter Pronko, who owns Proper Time jewelry store with his wife, Diana, is a member of the economic restructuring task force and is investigating the establishment of a downtown development authority. Once established, a DDA would become an arm of the municipal government. A small group seminar in the next month or so will be followed by a public meeting to discuss DDA formation.

Town trustee Ernest Cienfuegos-Baca says that while the project is in its infancy, it is a good time for citizens and businesspeople to come together to envision what Cleveland Avenue might look like in the future. “Businesspeople and community members will also need to decide how much they are willing and able to invest to make the changes a reality. Business alone will not be able to do this.” he said.

According to Downtown Colorado, Inc., the state-level organization that helps towns implement improvement districts, a DDA is a semi-autonomous body with fiscal authority, created by municipal ordinance, and subject to approval by the electorate within its boundaries. It’s operated by a board of directors appointed by the municipality.

Tax increment financing authority allows a DDA to issue and repay redevelopment bonds by using the increment of increased taxes collected within the tax increment financing district after improvements are made.

Projects under consideration for downtown revitalization include parking facilities on empty lots, affordable housing and small scale shopping structures on empty lots, enhancing the municipal park and integrating Cleveland Avenue and Sixth Street.