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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Downtown Streets

Safety, walkability, transportation, and aesthetic design are all important components of planning a downtown commercial area, whether in a large city or a small town. Downtowns and “Main Streets” can, if well planned, boost tourism and enhance quality of life for residents. Therefore the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Colorado Department of Transportation teamed up to produce the guidebook Colorado Downtown Streets: A Tool for Communities, Planners, and Engineers, which you can view online from our library. The agency partners provide the following summary:

Great streets are more than infrastructure: they are the fundamental building blocks of successful communities. [Colorado Downtown Streets is] designed to help local leaders, community members, and technical professionals work together to transform their streets into safe, accessible, and vibrant places.

Use this guidebook to learn how well-planned streets can promote health, increase tax revenue and property values, attract tourists, and contribute to the life of the community by giving the city or town its own identity. Design considerations, such as bike lanes, traffic flow patterns, on-street parking, landscaping, lighting, and signage, are provided along with examples from towns and cities around the state. Tips for planning, implementing and funding are also provided, as are tools for enhancing “placemaking” and revitalizing historic areas.

To supplement the guidebook, a webinar and several companion videos were created, which you can view here. The guide was published as a component of the Colorado Main Street Program, which you can learn more about on the Department of Local Affairs’ website. You can also find more resources from state agencies about city planning and transportation by searching our library’s online catalog.

 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: The WPA in Colorado

During the height of the Great Depression, as banks failed, unemployment soared, and farm prices dropped, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established as one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal projects. The WPA focused on creating and providing jobs rather than handing out direct relief. Most of the WPA jobs were aimed at civic improvements, such as public buildings and roads. Thousands of out-of-work artists and artisans, architects, musicians, writers, historians, and others who had previously been employed in creative or intellectual fields were given temporary work. Parks, trails, bridges, public buildings, artworks, and literary projects produced by the WPA continue to be enjoyed to this day.

Colorado’s division of the WPA issued The WPA Worker: A Monthly Pictorial Journal for Workers and Citizens of Colorado Interested in the Statewide Projects of Works Progress AdministrationIssues from 1936 and 1937 have recently been digitized by our library. Each issue of this amazing periodical highlights WPA projects in all corners of the state. These included many construction projects like public buildings, roads, bridges, stadiums, and parks, but also included such varied activities as

As Coloradans suffered from the effects of the Great Depression, the WPA enhanced life in every part of the state, and often undertook long overdue projects that in many cases would not have been otherwise completed. Many of the projects continue to enhance our lives today.

For more resources on the WPA in Colorado, see the following publications available from our library:

Aguilar’s city hall was constructed by the WPA.

 

The playground at Lake Junior High in Denver was also a WPA project.

 

Old infrastructure was replaced across the state.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Workforce Supply and Demand Data

What are the most in-demand occupations in Colorado? The State’s Talent Found Dashboard uses current job posting data to measure demand, and presents interactive maps and tables that you can use to find out the state’s hottest jobs.

Talent Found Colorado

The data on the website supplements two 2017 state reports, the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report and Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development. The former report analyzes workforce supply and demand in Colorado while the latter report examines Colorado’s higher education and training needs in order to meet these demands. Search our library’s online catalog for further resources on jobs and the workforce in Colorado.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

County and Regional Economic Data

If you’re researching which industries drive the economy in various parts of Colorado, be sure to view the Colorado Demography Office’s Base Industry Analysis database. This tool “provides insights into the economic activities that bring outside dollars into a community and the additional jobs that result from the spending of those dollars on local resident services,” according to the Demography Office. The database shows the number of employees, and percentages, for each industry group. You can search the database by county or region.

For more data on jobs and the economy, including labor force statistics, personal income trends, and economic forecasts, go to the Demography Office’s The Economy and Labor Force webpage.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

New "Colorado Talent Pipeline" Report

The Colorado Workforce Development Council has just released a new Colorado Talent Pipeline ReportIssued through a partnership between several state agencies, this report “explores issues related to the supply and demand of talent in Colorado.”  Here you can find data on “top jobs,” pay, and job openings; the state’s efforts to attract and utilize a skilled workforce; and programs and strategies for “better aligning the skills of our workforce with employer demand.”  

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: An Economic Profile of Denver in 1974

Recently the Denver metro area has been experiencing unprecedented economic activity and growth, with hundreds of people moving here each month, new businesses coming to the area, and housing prices skyrocketing.  How does this compare with the Denver of the 1970s?

In 1970, the Business School at the University of Colorado established the Denver Urban Observatory “to perform urban research.” Four years later they issued a major study, The Economic Base of Denver: Implications for Denver’s Fiscal Future and Administrative Policy.  “A primary purpose of this research,” states the report, “is to provide the Denver Mayor with an appraisal of policy alternatives applicable to future regional development in the city and county.”  Statistics and analysis on population growth, business and employment, taxation, land use, and housing prices  provide insight on the city’s growth.  (In 1970, the Denver metropolitan area’s median housing value was just $23,058!).  The report also examines the process of attracting and locating industry in Denver — once again a hot topic.

The findings of the 1974 study can teach us some valuable lessons and provide perspective on the economic development of Denver in the past, today, and in the future.  The study authors conclude that “in the final analysis the city does have a choice, however. It can govern the city more or less passively letting private market forces largely determine its socio-economic and financial fate. Or it can govern actively, using the policy tools at its disposal to shape and form the economic base to conform to its view of what the city should be.” This report is an excellent resource for policymakers, economists, and journalists to use in researching the history of Denver’s growth and economic development.

Blocks and blocks of downtown Denver were demolished in the name of economic development in the 1970s as part of the Skyline Urban Renewal Project. This view shows construction at 18th and Arapahoe in 1979. Courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Department.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Online Career Help

Are you looking for a new job, or thinking of taking your career in a new direction?  The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment can assist.  Their Career Help webpage is a great resource that can help you find a job, training, or education.  You can use this site to link to a workforce center near you, where you can take a skills assessment and find information about the job market in your area.  Career Help also includes information specifically for youth and for veterans, links to labor market information, networking and job fairs, interviewing tips, and much more. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado and the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace has been designated by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade as one of Colorado’s fourteen key industries that “drive our state’s economy through innovation and growth.”  Colorado has several large aerospace companies, and the Governor’s Office has identified aerospace as one of the industries they want to see grow in Colorado.  Partnering with the Brookings Institute, the Governor’s Office in 2013 issued Launch! Taking Colorado’s Space Economy to the Next Level, which details “a forward thinking business strategy to support the Aerospace Industry in Colorado.  This report affords us the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of Colorado’s Aerospace sector and develop strategies to collaboratively address the challenges facing the industry.”  For this and other reports on the aerospace industry in Colorado, search our library’s online catalog.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Main Street Revitalization Act

In 2014 the Colorado Legislature passed HB14-1311, the “Colorado Job Creation and Main Street Revitalization Act,” which provided tax credits for Colorado communities to use to boost economic development — including job creation and tourism — while preserving the community’s unique historic commercial structures.  So how has it been doing so far?  According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), which administers the Colorado Main Street Program, the Act led to the creation of “266 full-time jobs, 111 part-time jobs and 98 new businesses throughout the 14 Colorado Main Street communities.”  In addition, “The Colorado Main Street program helped reinvest in physical improvements from public and private sources during 2015. These improvements included 17 façade updates and the rehabilitation of 98 buildings in all of the 14 Colorado Main Street communities.”

Are you interested in getting your town involved in the Main Street initiative?  Check out these resources from DOLA, including the official manual and a downtown planners’ guide. When your community has decided to join, go to the Join Main Street page to sign up.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Revenue Forecast

On December 21 the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Legislative Council both issued their respective quarterly revenue forecasts.  The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting released its Colorado Economic Outlook projected that the state’s economy will “continue to steadily grow, though not at the robust level experienced in 2014,” according to the Office’s press release. Meanwhile, the Colorado Legislative Council (the bipartisan research agency of the State Legislature) released their own quarterly forecast with similar projections.  However, the Governor’s Office predicts a General Fund increase of 2.1{66eaadba41c14e7e553ffe7a4ee73fbae213b19704eda0514b3dd79e37e4c0c5} for FY2015-16, while the Legislative Council predicts that “revenue is expected to be sufficient to allow General Fund operating appropriations to increase 4.1 percent.”  Time will tell which agency’s prediction is correct — in the meantime you can review past forecasts from our library:  click here for past issues from the Governor’s Office, and click here for past issues from Legislative Council.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Industry – 1955

Industry in Colorado changed, and grew, significantly following WWII, according to a 1955 publication in our library collection.  “Since World War II, some 300 new industrial and processing firms have entered active production in Colorado,” and industry “voluntarily began decentralizing its production and distribution facilities,” remarks the report, An Analysis of Industrial Colorado and Its Potential for Industrial DevelopmentThe report starts out with some background on Colorado, such as climate and population.  It then moves into a discussion of the state’s industry, including how by that time the economic importance of metal mining had been replaced by extractive industries (coal, oil, natural gas).  The report also discusses the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy.  Various types of industry, and their potential for development in Colorado, are discussed at length in the remainder of the report.  This publication gives valuable information on the state of Colorado’s industrial economy following World War II, and how it changed over its first century of growth.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Economic Forecasts

The quarterly economic forecasts were released yesterday by the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) and the Legislative Council.  The December forecasts are important because they are the forecasts referred to for much of the legislation that is introduced from January, the beginning of the legislative session, until March 20 when the next forecasts are released.  The OSPB and Legislative Council forecasts often have slightly different predictions, so it is helpful to compare the two and not just rely on one or the other.  The good news is, both forecasts are showing economic growth in Colorado. 

Back issues of the forecasts are available from our library.  Click here for the OSPB forecasts and here for the Legislative Council forecasts.  Additionally, at the end of each year the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business publishes the Colorado Business Economic Outlook, which also contains economic forecasting for the year ahead.  View the just-released 2015 Outlook here, and see back issues here.  If you need an issue of any of the publications listed above and it is not online, check with our library as we have older issues in print. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

The Crash of 1893

The 1929 stock market crash wasn’t the only crash to occur in late October; an earlier event sparked one of the worst economic disasters in Colorado history.  121 years ago today, the U.S. Sentate gave final approval for repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.  Through repeal, the U.S. government would no longer purchase silver for coinage, moving to the gold standard. 


A silver mine in the Roaring Fork area.  Photograph courtesy United States Geological Survey.

The nation as a whole suffered a strong economic downturn during this period, but Colorado was hit especially hard because so much of the state’s economy relied on silver mining.  Fabulous fortunes, like those of Horace Tabor, were lost, business slumped, and building and construction came to a halt for more than three years. (In fact, one can generally tell pre-Crash architecture from post-Crash because after building started to resume in the late 1890s, architects were desigining in simpler, neoclassical styles instead of the fussy excess of the Gilded Age.)

 

Even though Colorado was founded on the quest for gold, silver mining is an important part of our state’s history.  Many of Colorado’s towns were formed because of silver (think of the many town names that contain the word, like Silverton, Silverthorne, Silver Plume, Silver Creek, Silver Cliff), which was even more plentiful in Colorado than gold. 

You can find many resources on Colorado’s silver mining heritage in our library.  Search our web catalog for titles; some highlights include:

  • The Quest for Gold and Silver: Including a History of the Interaction of Metals and Currency
  • The Rise of the Silver Queen:  Georgetown, Colorado, 1859-1896
  • Silver Saga:  The Story of Caribou, Colorado
  • Mining Among the Clouds
  • Aspen:  The History of a Silver Mining Town, 1879-1893
  • History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado
  • The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009
  • Silver in Colorado
  • Colorado Mining History Resource Guide
  • Mining History of Colorado
  • The Ballad of Baby Doe
  • Horace Tabor:  His Life and the Legend
  • The Tabor Story
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Innovation Week

Governor Hickenlooper has proclaimed August 25-29, 2014 as “Colorado Innovation Week.”  According to the Governor’s press release, “The four pillars of the Colorado innovation ecosystem are talent, ideas, capital, and entrepreneurship.”  Hickenlooper says, “Innovation Week is a catalyst for bringing together many of the brightest thinkers and innovation leaders from around the world to inspire great ideas, cultivate relationships and advance Colorado’s robust economic growth and foundation as the nation’s premier innovation hub.”  Central to the Innovation Week festivities is the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN), which just yesterday released the brand-new State of Innovation 2014 report.  COIN will be hosting an Innovation Summit during this week.  For more information and resources visit COIN’s website, http://www.coloradoinnovationnetwork.com/

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Economic Impact of Colorado Airports

A lot has changed since the Wright Brothers made their historic flight from Kitty Hawk 110 years ago today.  Aviation has become and continues to be an important part of the economy.  This fall, the Colorado Dept. of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division released a new study on the economic impact of airports in Colorado.  The report contains some interesting facts about airports and air travel in Colorado.  For instance, did you know that Colorado has 265,700 jobs connected to airports, with a $12.6 billion payroll?  Additionally, the study looks at tax revenues generated by airports, benefits to other businesses, and more. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

New Version of the Backseat Budgeter

This fall Colorado State University released a new version of their interactive tool, Colorado Backseat Budgeter.  Developed in part by CSU’s Colorado Futures Center, the online tool allows citizens to participate in a simulation of the state’s budgeting process.  According to a media release from the center, “the online tool displays the 2013-14 Colorado general fund budget and highlights the impact of two important issues on the November ballot: Amendment 66 (school finance reform) and Proposition AA (marijuana taxation). … [Coloradans can] set their own priorities, save their budget, view others’ budgets, and discuss ideas through online posts.  In addition to helping voters better understand the impact of upcoming ballot initiatives and gain a better understanding of the Colorado general fund budget, the new version of Backseat Budgeter also includes a section that considers the costs of the state’s disaster response to fire and flood damage, as well as a robust healthcare section that helps users examine the costs associated with Medicaid expansion.”

   

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Creative Districts

In 2011 the Colorado General Assembly passed legislation to allow for the establishment of Creative Districts in Colorado.  According to the legislation, a Creative District is “a well-organized, designated mixed-use area of a community in which a high concentration of cultural facilities, creative businesses, or arts-related businesses serve as the anchor of attraction.”  They can be established in communities large or small, urban or rural, and businesses can be for profit or non-profit.  The Districts are certified by Colorado Creative Industries, formerly known as Colorado Council on the Arts.  The first Creative Districts were Downtown Salida and the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver.  Since then, five new Creative Districts have been certified, in Pueblo, Trinidad, Ridgway, Telluride, and the North Fork Valley, and more are expected to follow (see the press release here.)  The program highlights the many artistic and cultural attractions our state has to offer.  If your community is interested in certifying a Creative District, find out how here.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Main Street Program

Recently Governor Hickenlooper announced that Trinidad has been added to the list of communities participating in the Main Street Program. With the addition of Trinidad, there are now 13 communities across Colorado participating in the program.  According to the Governor’s Office,

The Main Street® Program helps to revitalize downtown districts leveraging historic preservation. The program advocates for community self-reliance, local empowerment and the rebuilding of central business districts based on their traditional assets of unique architecture, personal service, local ownership and a sense of community. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) is the statewide coordinating agency for all Main Street® communities and is sponsored, in part, by a generous grant from the State Historical Fund.

You can find out more about this program by visiting their website.  Also, the Department of Local Affairs has published Community Profiles on four of the communities participating in the Main Street Program:

Town of Fowler
Five Points (Denver)
City of Monte Vista
City of Rifle

Other state publications of interest regarding the Main Street Program, and available from our library, include:

Colorado Community Sustainability Guide
Colorado Sustainable Main Streets Initiative:  Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, for more information on the State Historical Fund, visit their website.  Additional information can be found in their publication The Economic Power of Heritage and Place.

 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

The Economic Power of Heritage and Place

Did you know that if you own a historic building, you own an economic asset?  Studies have proven that the preservation of historic structures is directly linked to a stronger economy.  Historic places attract tourists, encourage investment in community, promote sustainability, and can provide owners with state and federal tax credits.  It’s all outlined in a new recent study from the Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation entitled The Economic Power of Heritage and Place:  How Historic Preservation is Building a Sustainable Future in Colorado.  A previous study from this office, The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Colorado, further describes why historic preservation is a financially sound idea.  If you’re deciding whether to keep a historic building or replace it with a new one, keep some of these facts in mind:  1) you can get tax credits for preserving a historic building that you couldn’t get with a new structure — that means money in your pocket.  2) Owners of commercial and public buildings can apply for State Historical Fund grants.  3) Historic buildings were built to last for hundreds of years.  Today’s new construction is only meant to last for fifty years.  4)  Waste from building demolition is the second-highest contributor to landfills in America, after paper.  As any preservationist will tell you, “the greenest building is the one already built.”  So invest in your community today and consider the outstanding economic benefits of historic preservation. 
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Colorado State Publications Blog

New: Demography Dashboard

The State Demography Office (part of the Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs) has just released a new “dashboard” feature, with information presented for each county.  According to the Office, 

“Our new Demography Dashboard shows graphs and charts for various datasets by county. Graphs include: Net Migration by Age, Population Estimates, Population Projections and Components of Change.”

And, as always, you can find a great deal of other information on the Office’s webpage, including population data, housing and households data, the economy and labor force, demographic profiles, and US census data and information.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Relocating a Business to Colorado

If you’re interested in taking advantage of Colorado’s highly educated workforce and other amenities by relocating your business in our beautiful state, all the information you need is available at your fingertips through the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade’s Site Selection resource.  Here you will find everything you need to know, from incentives and financing, to information on infrastructure and community resources; there’s even a listing of sites and buildings waiting for your business to locate there!  Need more convincing?  The site also cointains a quick rundown of statistics on the state’s business climate and workforce…and of course, there’s those mountains too…



Photo courtesy Colorado State Parks