Rifle, Colorado

Diversifying Economy Through Strategic Downtown and River Front Investment

Rifle, Colorado | In Progress

Project Details

The Challenge

Key Activities


At the base of the White River Plateau, Rifle, Colorado is a small community known for fishing, hunting, camping, and more. While the outdoor amenities have attracted some tourists in recent years, historically their economy has been dependent on oil and gas. With assistance from Community Builders, the community has made great progress in diversifying their economy over the past decade, primarily focusing on strategic investments in their downtown.
Rifle reached out to Community Builders in 2020 to create a community vision for connecting downtown to the river and specifically, generate ideas for a future river park. The town also hoped to think strategically about its growth and prioritize infill development, especially with the properties that lie between Interstate 70 and the river.

An initial community leadership meeting took place in Rifle in October of 2020 with a plethora of project partners, including: the City of Rifle, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Watershed Council, Garfield County, and the Economic Development Corporation. Occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, this gathering occurred outdoors and physically distanced, and included multiple site tours and an initial analysis of challenges and opportunities. Concepts and ideas from this workshop series were then aggregated into a conceptual framework map for the area. This framework map was then presented back to the City of Rifle and project partners for use in applying for potential funding, and to kickoff additional community engagement in the future.

Over the course of winter 2020/2021 Community Builders worked with the City of Rifle and partners to generate a concept framework map for the Rifle Riverfront area. This framework map is currently being used by City of Rifle and project partners to apply for potential funding for future planning and redevelopment, and will be used as a starting point for guiding additional community engagement in the future.