Hotchkiss, Colorado

Rethinking Economic Priorities in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Hotchkiss, Colorado | In Progress

The Challenge

The Challenge

Key Activities

Outcomes

In January of 2020, the City of Hotchkiss, Colorado reached out to us about capitalizing on the town’s light manufacturing. With many small businesses, inventors, and sellers in Hotchkiss, the town felt bringing a light manufacturing center, such as a makerspace, to Main St. would assist in their vision of a vibrant downtown. We began working with stakeholders and entrepreneurs to identify the existing light manufacturing, but also to determine future opportunities and challenges in the community.

In March of 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic put the project on hold. In the midst of economic turmoil, neither Community Builders or the City of Hotchkiss felt the project could continue as planned. Supporting economic growth and recovery became the new focus, and it wasn’t clear if light manufacturing was what the community needed in the midst of COVID. We took a step back in order to develop a stronger, cohesive community vision and create buy in from the community that would support their economy through the pandemic.

The Coronavirus hit soon after we hosted a discovery and assessment workshop in Hotchkiss, and the project switched gears after a two month pause. Once re-grouped, we discussed ways we could support the Hotchkiss economy following COVID, and discovered that Hotchkiss had several individual projects happening, but there was not a clear, sustainable vision tying them together. We developed a new project scope that would connect all these project under one clear vision, and build leadership capacity to get these project done.

Since then, we’ve had several virtual meetings with the project management team in Hotchkiss, which included the Mayor of Hotchkiss, city council members, and Region 10. These gatherings were meant to begin accomplishing three tasks:

  • Identify Main Street opportunities & challenges by collaborating with the CO University Bridge Street Design Project.
  • Develop a strategy for their public works building and other community assets through community driven process and input.
  • Expand their leadership and capacity development through the creation of a Main Street program, such as a Business Improvement District or Downtown Development Authority.

This project is still ongoing. Check back later to see our progress in Hotchkiss.