Town Council approves the Creative District strategic plan

It is a state of mind as well as a location

by Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Town Council has adopted the proposed Creative District Strategic Plan.

The intent of the plan, according to town planner Michael Yerman, is “to guide actions of the district and inform decision making by the arts and creative community, a future Arts Committee and the Town Council. It is meant to be nimble enough to allow new opportunities as they arise, while continuing to support the businesses and events that exist today in the community.”

A concern of some council members has been the idea of a Creative District Committee that makes decisions within the district without final council approval. The state will fund a facilitator to work with the council and the local artists and determine how a Creative District Committee can be developed to suit the town’s needs. The district would encompass the area from the Center for the Arts, up Elk Avenue, and include part of Belleview Avenue.

Several local artists were at the council meeting on September 8 and spoke in favor of the strategic plan.

“This plan is an expression of the Crested Butte creative community,” said Shaun Horne.

“The process to develop this strategic plan was totally local. The plan is very worthy to move forward with and will help make Crested Butte a destination cultural center. The arts community wants to coordinate with the town more closely and this is one way to do that.”

Artists of the West Elks (AWE) president Ivy Walker said this was bringing together the creative people in the area. “We want to make it a better place to live. Collaboration is the key concept behind the Creative District,” she explained. “The Creative District is a mindset as much as a physical location. It celebrates the Crested Butte state of mind.”

Photographer Dusty Demerson said this would just be one more small step in a big artist community. “We already have a vibrant arts community here. The Creative District would enhance town sales tax revenues. And the arts-associated sales tax is already at about 39 percent,” he said. “This can help us become a place to host workshops and seminars. Most of us leave to go to such things a couple times of year.”

Kimbre Woods agreed. “The Creative District will support the Crested Butte we all know and love,” she said. “It is difficult to be an artist in Crested Butte but in terms of terrain, it would be even more extreme without the district. This is for the now and for the future generations facing the gentrification of Crested Butte. The district will be a helping hand in saving the artistic nature of Crested Butte. Let’s not get bogged down in details like zoning. We can work that out.”

The council voted 6-0 to approve the plan. Councilman Skip Berkshire was not at the meeting.

The adoption of this strategic plan is considered to be the first major step to becoming a certified creative district.

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