The City of Montrose has worked hard to promote prosperity and business growth for many years. In 2017, the city created DART (Development and Revitalization Team); DART expanded the Downtown Development Authority’s Main Street Program to include businesses outside the downtown area.
Chelsea Rosty, the city’s Director of Business innovation, recently presented a progress report on DART to the weekly Wednesday morning meeting of The Forum, at Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli. She told the audience that DART has four main elements, “Design, promotion, economic vitality, and organization. Those things are how we are going to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
She explained that design focuses on the place. “The place is downtown, or the south district, or whatever place we’re focusing on. It enhances the appearance of the city.” For example, “Awhile back, we changed some of the parking spaces on Main Street to be diagonal. I know if you’re driving on Main Street it’s not your favorite thing, but if you try to walk on Main Street and enjoy the businesses and the restaurants, the ambience of downtown, and have a good consumer experience of Main Street, it’s a lot better,” she claimed. “Traffic is slowed, it looks beautiful, and it becomes a more walkable community.”
Also, some crosswalks on Main Street have been reconfigured with rounded street corners to make them safer for pedestrians.
Another important design element will be what Rosty calls a “four seasons streetscape,” meaning decorating major streets to reflect the seasons of the year.
Historic preservation will be another part of the design piece. “Recently, we were lucky enough to have the city council pass the Historic Preservation Ordinance,” Rosty said. “And, we’re in the process of forming our Historic Preservation Commission.
“This is a completely voluntary thing,” she explained. “A building owner can volunteer to put their building on the historic registry. What that does for building owners is help them preserve the building, and give them access to tax credits.” Building owners could become eligible for up to $150,000 in state and federal tax credits if the building is preserved and restored, according to Rosty
DART is also working hard to ensure that it’s truly well-organized, with plenty of representation from local volunteers. “Any great organization needs, well, organization,” Rosty said. “ We need ‘the doers’, the ones behind the scenes who make sure things happen and that we get to where we’re going.” Volunteers have been an important part of DART from the beginning. “We became DART from the Main Street Program to be sure we were inclusive of the entire city,” she explained. “We created a board, so we have a Dart Board,” Rosty said with a smile. If you’d like to apply to the Dart Board, contact Chelsea Rosty at 970-252-4751. DART also has various committees for design, promotion, organization, holidays, etc.
You can check out DART’s complete Strategic Plan at cityofmontrose.org/DART.
DART is also developing a volunteer database, not just for itself, but for other local organizations, e.g. the Montrose Community Foundation and other non-profits. “This is something that has been a desire of this community for many years. We need a great way to make sure that volunteers are doing what they want to be doing in the community, that they feel valued, and are serving in areas that are meaningful to them,” Rosty explained. “We want to keep them engaged, and we want to show our gratitude to them.” The city recently purchased the software necessary to build the database.