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Economic Development Plan for Center, CO

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Center, CO


Town of Center, Colorado; Downtown Colorado, Inc.

Project Type:

Community Development Consulting, Policy Analysis and Research

Project Status:


The Project:

For most of Center's history, it was fueled by a strong agricultural industry and a vibrant Main Street. However, largely due to automation, the town has struggled to stay afloat, retain its citizens, and maintain a sustainable economy. With 31% of Center's residents living below the poverty line and a median household income of $27,216, Center needed to find a way to identify and capitalize on its existing assets and opportunities to stimulate its economy. 

Our Role:

As Program Coordinator for the Town of Center, Lindsay facilitated team-building among representatives from statewide stakeholders (including the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Department of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado Brownfields Foundation, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority), regional stakeholders from the San Luis Valley (San Luis Valley Small Business Development Center) and local government officials. She facilitated the Challenge Studio Workshop, a multi-day workshop at DCI's annual conference that brings experts together to collaborate and brainstorm ways to address Center's challenges. She also designed the Town Manager's financing pitch which won the conference's cash prize: a $2,000 mini-grant to kickstart community engagement through a downtown placemaking event and business pitch competition.

Following the Challenge Studio, Lindsay authored the Challenge Studio Report which outlined the town's challenges, assets, and opportunities for equitable and community-based economic development. The report was used to guide Center's economic development efforts for the rest of the year and was the catalyst for the town's leadership role in DCI's San Luis Valley Placemaking Initiative.


Lindsay's strong leadership in the Challenge Program, Challenge Studio, and economic development plan led to an ongoing relationship between Downtown Colorado Inc. and the Town of Center. Subsequent projects and events since June 2019 include

  • Lights on Center - a community placemaking event that included a potluck, new mural on Main Street, and a colorful lighting installation and human arcade

  • Funding for downtown beautification

  • The local school securing a grant for a mural project

  • Four long-standing vacant buildings on or near Main Street changing ownership

  • Two downtown commercial units currently under renovation

  • The creation of SLV Places, a regional placemaking initiative inspired by Center's initiative and success.


  • Center Challenge Studio Report (2019)


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