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Wrapping up a busy 2021

What a year 2021 was. While things were better in 2021, I really look forward to truly entering a new normal in our work for businesses in the heart of Durango. Here is a summary of the Business Improvement District’s work in 2021.

2021 started with BID working hard on the 5-Star State Certification Program for restaurants, which allowed a business that implemented stricter COVID-19 safety protocols to gain increased capacity for its indoor operations. By Jan. 5, a total of 45 restaurants had already been approved. BID staff members also worked on wrapping up the successful Share the Love Holiday Style Online Store and the 2020 Holiday Rewards Program.

In February, the BID board signed an Tax Increment Financing Agreement with the city of Durango’s Urban Renewal Authority for the mid-town area. BID also contributed $10,000 to a fund to reimburse businesses for expenses related to constructing and improving bump-outs for the 2021 season.

In March, the bump-outs in downtown returned, and BID also created a Spring Rewards Program. The BID board held a special board meeting in addition to its regular meeting to discuss repurposing some funds in BID’s 2021 budget to continue to adapt to COVID-19, and to also spearhead an effort to create a new plan for downtown to include permanent outdoor space for businesses because of the success and popularity of the bump-outs.

In April, BID provided $50,000 in grants to 20 BID businesses that were severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions on businesses. The Spring Rewards Program concluded and produced $115,000 in sales at local businesses. In May, BID created a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for hospitality workers where about 80 people were vaccinated. The downtown flower barrels were also installed for the summer months. BID rolled out changes to its website to make it even easier to navigate, and also updated the two directory and map signs in downtown, as well as multiple maps and directory signs located at every trolley stop in the North Main District. BID also partnered with the Durango Chamber of Commerce on Downtown Clean Day.

In June, BID’s Ambassador Program started up again. BID played a key role in bringing the Ride the Rockies event to Durango. A new microsite was created at HeartOfDurango.com with key information just for visitors to the area. Staff members also started working on the 2022 budget. The board also welcomed its newest member, Ashley Gonnella, owner of Pine Needle Mountaineering and Pine Needle Dry Goods.

In August, BID managed many aspects of the San Juan Brewfest event. In September, the BID board approved BID’s 2022 budget, and the seasonal Ambassador Program concluded with record numbers. In October, the North Main District Fall Rewards Program was successfully operated. Staff members also worked three events – the Downtown Balloon Glow, The Colorado High School Mountain Bike State Championships and Children’s Halloween.

In November, BID started its Holiday Rewards Program, and also held the annual Singing with Santa event. December brought the end of the Holiday Rewards Program, and a little time off for staff members at the end of this year.

BID staff members and board of directors wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Tim Walsworth is executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District. Contact him at timw@downtowndurango.org.