At Community Builders, we empower communities who are faced with a variety of challenges and opportunities—but, we know this can’t be done without an engaged and educated community. Our approach to assistance is heavily focused on local leadership for this reason—to creatively engage the public and build the strategic partnerships and leadership necessary for creating lasting change.
As part of that process, community leaders were assembled for our technical assistance project in Downtown Grand Junction (GJ) to form the Community Action Team (CAT). Composed of involved and passionate citizens from the community, the CAT was a significant resource in creating a Plan of Development for Downtown GJ. Looking to these individuals for insight, opinions, thoughtfulness, and passion, Community Builders and Downtown GJ frequently brought this group together to ensure a common vision and sustainable plan.
Whether these individuals were business owners or neighborhood advocates, each provided a unique perspective to the project. We asked a few of them to share their experience as a CAT member.
Downtown Grand Junction Resident
Because community input matters to Downtown GJ and Community Builders, I was asked to participate in the process for an updated Downtown Plan of Development via the Community Action Team (CAT). The CAT is a diverse group of stakeholders organized to provide community feedback during the Downtown Plan process. The primary task of the CAT was to work towards creating a better Downtown. This seemed like a pretty tall order, as we think Downtown Grand Junction is pretty great, as is.
At my first CAT meeting, it became immediately apparent that both Downtown GJ and Community Builders valued the input of all community members. Community feedback was gathered and the evolving Downtown Plan adjusted accordingly. This was an all-hands-on-deck endeavor.
Whether ideas were presented by small business owners, developers, elected officials, or just residents like myself, it was clear that the organizers were not only listening and taking notes, but that the input was valued. In the coming months, it was exciting to see so many of those suggestions from the first meeting developed into something tangible. Those initial ideas now feel like attainable goals!
After participating in the CAT, we are even more excited about Downtown Grand Junction and its future. There is a positive energy here, and it’s contagious. We are thrilled to be apart of it.
Thanks to Downtown GJ and Community Builders, I had the privilege of working with the Community Action Team (CAT) for the past 9 months to contribute ideas toward a long-term vision for our local economic growth. The “Grand (Junction) Scheme” of the CAT is to build partnerships amongst downtown businesses owners, leaders, and citizens that don’t just exist on paper, but drive the planning process with energy and enthusiasm. As a Main Street business owner, a downtown advocate, and a life-long Grand Junction-ite, I was honored to be selected to this task force as part of the Vibrant Together Project. To have a real voice in honing the place that my family and I live has been an eye-opening and humbling experience. Kudos to the Glenwood Springs-based Community Builders group for guiding the process smoothly and for listening to us rather than pushing an outside agenda.
My favorite CAT meeting included a collaborative group activity where participants were able to brainstorm ideas for several topics of interest, such as, walkability, connectivity, and creative ways to enhance the aesthetics and accessibility of our business alleyways. After small-group discussion, we distilled and prioritized the ideas according to long-term vs. short-term feasibility and impact, which drove home the point that Grand Junction is most lively and bright when we speak up and listen together. We are now standing on the brink of a new chapter and I am excited that my friends, neighbors, and I had the opportunity to participate in this process through public meetings, surveys, and the CAT.
As someone who grew up in Grand Junction, downtown has always been a part of my life. What happens to downtown has a major effect on how we maintain the personality of the city we love. That’s why I was excited to be a part of the [CAT] group working with Downtown GJ and Community Builders—to help create a new plan for the future of Downtown. We need to maintain our city’s personality, take advantage of our weather and outdoor focus, and connect downtown to the Riverfront at Las Colonias. We can make Downtown even more of a destination and a place to be, and we can make it a great place to live and work, as well.