What’s Facing Windsor: DDA one step closer to developing Boardwalk Backlots | MyWindsorNow.com

What’s Facing Windsor: DDA one step closer to developing Boardwalk Backlots

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

This initial concept from Fort Collins-based developer Brinkman shows some possible ideas for Block 2 of the Downtown Development Authority's Boardwalk Backlot Development. The Windsor Town Board recently approved and agreement to assist the authority with the purchase.

The town of Windsor will help the Downtown Development Authority purchase the property at 512 Ash St., one of the lots it plans to develop as part of the Boardwalk Backlot project.

The Windsor Town Board voted to approve an agreement at its Feb. 26 meeting that promises $257,500 to the Downtown Development Authority to help with the purchase price of the property, the sale of which is expected to occur in the next six months.

The property is in the middle of three sections of the strip that runs along the train tracks in a diagonal line from Main Street to Colo. 257 near Birch Street.

The lots run between shops on Main Street and Boardwalk Park.

Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez, who also serves on the Downtown Development Authority Board, said the move was logical for the town.

"I think it's a really good next step in the natural progression of where the DDA needs to go in terms of looking for development that needs to occur," she said.

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The development, authorities hope, will bring more retail, paved parking and living space to downtown.

Matt Ashby, director of the Downtown Development Authority, said having the town's support will give the authority more opportunities as it moves forward.

"Having the ability to work within the majority of three blocks will help us make sure that we're meeting the needs of stakeholders," he said.

Fort Collins-based developer Brinkman has been hired by the authority to develop the lots, and after releasing some preliminary ideas for the development, several downtown business representatives said they feared the loss of parking that might come with the development.

Ashby said the property at 512 Ash St., deemed the Bertsch Property, could be a solution to parking concerns.

In preliminary thoughts about the downtown, Brinkman representatives envision businesses in the back lots connected to those already on Main Street via a pedestrian and vehicle-friendly walkway running behind the Main Street buildings.

After hearing concerns about parking spaces, Ashby said the authority and Brinkman are considering making the Bertsch property mainly a parking lot, with retail focus on the property that connects with Main Street, across from 4th Street, which the Downtown Development Authority already owns.

The far west of the three properties, at the corner of Ash Street and Weld County Road 17, is partly owned by the town, and partly by the American Legion Post 109, which is located on the north side of Ash Street.

Ashby said discussions continue about the future of the legion, and what its members would like to do as the land around it is developed, like remaining with the building as is, renovating it or moving to a new location. The authority doesn't want to push the legion in any direction, Ashby said, but is working with its members to find a solution that will work best for the legion.

According to a memo from Town Attorney Ian McCargar to the Windsor Town Board, the town's support of the project fits with its strategic plan in contributing toward a prosperous local economy and a safe, well-planned community.

Authorities hope the development will bring more people and taxes to downtown Windsor.

What’s next

The Windsor Town Board has agreed to help the Windsor Downtown Development Authority purchase one of the properties the authority plans to develop as part of its Boardwalk Backlot project. The following is a timeline of the project, according to the Downtown Development Authority:

» Concept design and community input — Nov. 2017-April 2018.

» Redevelopment agreement with parties — April-July 2018

» Project approvals — July-Nov. 2018

» Project commencement of phase 1 — Nov. 2018.

Survey

The Downtown Development Authority has released the results of its 2017 business and customer survey, as it moves toward developing a large area in downtown Windsor.

Highlights from the survey, according to a news release from the authority, include the following:

» Downtown was rated exceptionally high in safety and security.

» Customers would like to see expanded evening and/or weekend shopping hours.

» Truck traffic complicates pedestrian crossings and makes backing out of parking spots on Main Street a concern.

» Business mix, bike friendliness and parking were top concerns for customers.

» Businesses and customers named retail and dining/drinking as top businesses they’d like to see brought in. For customers, Creative/Entertainment was a close third.

The authority created an action plan in response to the survey, which will include the following examining options for crosswalk improvements and ways to create breaks in the flow of traffic, continuing the façade improvement program, and supportting more retail and dining in downtown. To see the full results of the survey, go to WindsorDDA.com/2017SurveyResults. More information will also be available at the #WhatWindsorWants campaign on Facebook and Instagram.