Dave Schiefelbein

It’s been a long, slow 2-plus years since Downtown Colorado Inc. came to town to assess Buena Vista’s needs and help define its wants.

That initial step was followed by the formation of wayfinding and branding committees, among other things and Colorado Main Street program’s acceptance of Buena Vista into a development program.

While the critical gateway effort at U.S. 24 and Main Street has languished under conflicting approaches to the corner’s redevelopment, East Main Street has taken its own initiative to implement ideas suggested to the community by Downtown Colorado Inc.

This summer has seen two parks open on East Main. The much-anticipated BV Square Optimist Park opened to the shrill, squealing delights of children cooling off in the splash pad. I know. I hear them daily through my open window and can see them just across Union Pacific’s unused railroad tracks.

That volunteer effort, shepherded by departing Parks and Rec director Katherine Wadsworth, was followed by the opening of the BV Main Stage. Downtown Colorado stressed trying to fill vacant lots with things to attract and keep people downtown. DCI called them pocket parks.

I saw Tom Rollings challenging weeds in an empty lot last spring and asked him what he was doing. Bringing in a hot dog cart to promote the rec center group, he said.

Memorial Day weekend he was selling dogs and brats and he told me about an idea to put a stage on the lot. The Main Street group, which he is also a part of, brought that idea to fruition mid-August, through more volunteer work.

The improvements the community has made downtown just stress the need to complete the gateway to lure visitors there.

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