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After last summer’s successful market along Miner Street, Idaho Springs plans to close the street again to allow for pedestrian traffic, outdoor displays and seating areas. This summer, though, …
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After last summer’s successful market along Miner Street, Idaho Springs plans to close the street again to allow for pedestrian traffic, outdoor displays and seating areas.
This summer, though, downtown businesses want to use the additional prep time to make the experience more cohesive, utilize all the available space, and host more events to increase visitation, particularly on slower days.
Sadie Schultz of The Spice and Tea Exchange, representing other Miner Street business owners, outlined recommendations during an April 5 work session with City Council. She said the city should form a committee to finalize plans, as summer is quickly approaching.
This year, downtown businesses have recommended branding the area as the Miner Street Market and using that name on all advertising materials and any merchandise, such as hats and stickers.
“Last year’s market was organic, and the businesses and the chamber (of commerce) did their individual approach,” Schultz said. “With a more coordinated effort, we can maximize on the successes of last year as well as creating the new attraction.”
City officials are still trying to figure out when to close Miner Street, saying it will depend on when work in the main city parking lots is complete. (Editor’s note: See related story on Page 1.)
If the city’s able to close the street in early or mid-May, businesses will have time to set up outdoor seating and other materials before the proposed grand opening on Memorial Day weekend, Schultz outlined.
Bigger and better
Once the Miner Street Market is up and running, she described, the business community wants to have all the spaces along Miner Street activated. Any unused spaces, such as those in front of vacant storefronts, will be sponsored by other businesses for additional seating or other vendors.
The market should also have a consistent theme, she said, adding that businesses received a lot of feedback about last year’s looking hodgepodge.
This year, all the aesthetics should reflect Idaho Springs’ origins as a mining town, she detailed.
“We threw it together at the last minute,” Schultz said of last year’s market. “We did the best we could with the short time we had. With more advanced notice, a lot of the businesses want to have a consistent theme and look.”
Regarding events, Schultz recommended having a content calendar with regular events, such as a petting zoo, music nights and cornhole leagues. The hope is that these smaller events on weeknights will bring people downtown who might not otherwise.
While Councilman Chuck Harmon appreciated the idea of using small, regular events to increase visitation on weekdays, Councilman Scott Pennell said he was concerned about maintaining social distancing.
Schultz said that, with the street closed, there’s more than enough space for people to social distance, and that the Miner Street Market and any events would incorporate all current and possible future ones into their planning.
Schultz and her colleagues also hope to host special events, such as a monthly Taste of Idaho Springs event. On the third Saturday of every month, starting in June, businesses would offer special plates and beverages to reflect a local nonprofit and 10% of those sales would benefit the organization, she proposed. The June event, for example, could benefit the Carlson Elementary School’s playground project.
According to Schultz business community would like these events to be open-carry alcohol throughout downtown. The cups would have special logos to make it easier to track and police them. Long-term, the goal is to work toward an entertainment district policy on Miner Street that would allow open-carry alcohol on a more regular basis.
City staff members said there are still a lot details about these events and the long-term goal that still need to be worked out.
Police Chief Nate Buseck said wristbands would be needed at such events to ensure underage people are not drinking alcohol, and City Clerk Diane Breece said a lot more planning is needed for any events that loosen alcohol restrictions.
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