Mancos makes finalists' list for creative district

11 cities competing for 7 spots

Mancos is one of 11 finalists competing for seven creative district designations from the state.

If designated the town will be accepted into a two-year incubator program and could receive direct funding, new signage, professional assistance, training and networking that would help with development.

The value of program benefits averaged $32,000 per creative district from 2012-2014, according to the Colorado Creative Industries.

Thursday May 28 is a big day in the process. Five people from Colorado Creative Industries, which administrates the program, will be visiting during the afternoon to evaluate the town and the community.

"We want to make sure we put our best face forward," Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said at a meeting about the designation on Monday evening.

The visitors will be taking tours of businesses and speaking with community members to help make their decision.

Salida is a community that has already been certified since the program started three years ago. Salida's historic downtown area is full of galleries along the Arkansas, and funky public art and lots of public seating draw in visitors, Phillips said.

If selected, the downtown area would be designated the Mancos Valley Cultural District, and guidance and funding would be available to help develop and celebrate the town's history and culture.

A committee including people from the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society, Mancos Valley Resources, The Arts Council and the town were involved in submitting the application initially.

But achieving designation will take a team effort.

"They want to know we are coming together as a small town," said Rena Wilson the president of the chamber of commerce.

Mancos is up against stiff competition including Manitou Springs, Avon and Cresta Butte.

However, Wilson and Phillips both highlighted what Mancos has to offer, including it's estimated 150 writers, painters and craftsmen and its proximity to Mesa Verde national Park.

The community is also set to several steps in revitalizing downtown. The town board is expected to sign a lease to maintain and improve the empty corner lot on Grand Avenue and Main Street until the property is sold.

The plan is to clear and level the lot and create an open area for the community to gather, Phillips said.

A town beautification process, led by Jama Collins, is also in the works She plans to have planters set up along Grand Avenue the weekend before May 28.

Volunteers are invited to get involved by adopting a planter to care for over the summer.

If you would like to help with a planter, contact Collins at 799-8859.

Even if Mancos is not selected, Phillips plans to keep the groups together to work on town projects.

The next meeting of group working on the Mancos Valley Cultural District will be held at the Mancos Valley Chamber, June 9 at 5:15 p.m.