DDA framework strategy outlined

August 22, 2010
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The consultant who will assist the Downtown Development Authority in mapping out the district’s economic future recently outlined his six-month plan before board members.

Brad Segal, president of Denver-based Progressive Urban Management Associates, said he will stage a “community vision” process that will be broad in its scope. He also said he will look into the sector’s real estate market and try to find opportunities for further developments.

“Ultimately, we will help the body with its decisions,” said Segal, who described PUMA as a firm made up of real estate economists and planners.

“We are proposing one, maybe two, open houses. The second open house will likely be a reporting session. Lastly, we will do an online survey,” he added.

Segal said his work would involve getting input from business owners, community leaders and residents, along with the “younger segment” that views the district as an entertainment destination. Much of the data gathering is scheduled for October and November, with a review of the findings and a draft report set for December. The final report is tentatively due in January.

“We are going to do the market work in addition to the community work,” said Segal. “We’ve worked in over 200 downtowns in the country.”

The DDA chose PUMA for the effort, which the board calls its Downtown Framework Plan, last month at a cost of $100,000. The DDA heard from 19 applicants and interviewed three before it selected PUMA. Urban Design Services and Clark Communications, both local firms, will assist PUMA. Each will receive $17,500 for the work.

The DDA also recently selected Wondergem Consulting as its communications consultant, effectively extending the firm’s agreement that expired in July by a year. Wondergem beat out Lambert, Edwards and Associates, Clark Communications and Seyferth Public Relations for the contract.

“These are all great firms that are tied to the community,” said DDA Executive Director Jay Fowler, who added that Wondergem was chosen primarily because of Andy Guy’s understanding of the board’s role. Guy is an associate at Wondergem.

Fowler said over the past year the DDA has focused on strategic planning with the creation of the board’s steering committee and its downtown framework plan, and he felt it was time to change that focal point. “My thinking this year is we need to focus on the communications piece,” he said.

The DDA’s contract with Wondergem is on an as-needed basis through next July, and expenditures can’t exceed $45,000.

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