HIP Streets Plan sees modernization through collaborative approach

December 7th, 2017 by Downtown District

In 2009, the original Heart Improvement Project (HIP) Streets Master Plan was adopted. Focused on the historic core, the “heart” of downtown Loveland, this plan looked to create a functional, aesthetically pleasing downtown environment.

Momentum has been building to improve existing downtown infrastructure, much of which has been in place, unchanged, for decades. Improvements to this infrastructure (parking, lighting, electrical, signage) will attract and support new businesses in downtown Loveland, in addition to benefitting current businesses, residents and visitors.

Since March, information has been gathered from committees; a technical internal staff team, downtown business owner’s stakeholders and the general public. This is in addition to three public open houses, monthly updates provided through the Development Services newsletters, information provided at community events and an online survey all designed to get key stakeholders involved in the modernization process.

We interviewed Project Manager David Eisenbraun to learn more about the plan modernization and what it means for us here in the Downtown District.

What are the most notable improvements or changes to the plan since its creation in 2009?
This update shall incorporate projects completed to date and projects pending. With the collaborative approach, we are working closely with the Brinkman Team on the Foundry as a first catalyst to the overall HIP Streets Modernization. With the installation of compatible designs and materials, the community at large will see how the design provides new opportunities. The Modernization, however, is keeping some key distinctive elements for the remainder of the downtown area as to not mirror the Foundry, but merely work together as a complementary whole.

How will this plan be implemented? How will this implementation change the way people enjoy downtown Loveland?
Funding has been set aside for 2018 to work on infrastructure assessments in Downtown. Understanding what lies beneath is the next big step forward. We also plan to collaborate with any new developments/redevelopments happening downtown. The idea will be to renovate one block at a time, or more as funding is available. This will create the least disruption for the shortest amount of time to owners and visitors alike.

What else should we know about the HIP Streets plan?
This update is prioritized to understand how we build out this vision with many new projects and redevelopment coming into the Downtown District. Our goal is to integrate the whole district in a unified and cost-effective manner. The plan focuses on public right-of-way improvements only and covers 19 blocks throughout the downtown core. Primary components include the design of streets taking all users into account, sidewalks lined with a variety of interesting features and activities, and promoting safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Furthermore, the plan strives to ensure it provides public spaces that accommodate a variety of uses and users, promote social interaction and a sense of community, and include memorable architectural, landscape and hardscape elements.

To learn more about the HIP Streets Modernization or view the original plan, visit the City of Loveland website.

The Gift of Giving

November 28th, 2017 by Downtown District

MittensIf you’re looking to warm your heart, in addition to your hands, this holiday season, look no further than some favorite downtown events and great local causes.

The House of Neighborly Service (HNS) offers critical services through a hand-up approach for vulnerable populations, specifically striving to assist and advocate for people challenged by the effects of poverty or facing situational crisis.  A portion of proceeds from the beer and wine garden at this year's Festival of Lights event will be donated to HNS and collection boxes for food/clothing items will be stationed at the event. The top desired items currently are socks, gloves and hoodies for adults, instant Cup-O-Noodles and macaroni & cheese, coffee and creamer.

137 Homeless Connection is an outreach program of the House of Neighborly Service that serves homeless adults. With a year-round day shelter and an inclement weather night shelter, 137 offers its clients basic services, case management, advocacy and referrals. During the holiday season, you can help their cause by donating food and clothing, or by offering financial support.

Meals on Wheels of Loveland and Berthoud offers homebound seniors nutritious meals and human contact as meals are delivered by caring volunteers. Look for Meals on Wheels volunteers who will be staffing the hot chocolate and s’mores station at the 2017 Festival of Lights. Can’t make the event? Their Santa for Seniors Program is underway and accepting donations to enhance the holiday for seniors in need.

If you’re looking to do more this holiday season to support those in our community who are in need, we invite you to donate your time, talent or treasure to the many organizations doing amazing work in Loveland!

Veterans Day in Loveland

November 8th, 2017 by Downtown District

On most early fall mornings, the streets of Loveland are silent and still with only the sound of a crisp breeze blowing leaves across the pavement. However, come Saturday, November 11, and those quiet streets will echo from 4:00 am until 6:00 am with the ringing of 15 bells by the Associated Veterans of Loveland in celebration of Veterans Day.

This tradition started in Loveland in the mid-1950s to keep the historic moment alive from when bells rang throughout the world, signaling the end of all world wars. At the end of WWI, no one could imagine any war being greater than the one that finally ceased. Loveland is only one of two communities in Colorado who still ring the bells of freedom, bringing the nation’s attention to honor our Veterans’ dedication and sacrifice.

Once the bells have silenced, the annual Veterans Day Parade will start at 11:11 a.m. to honor all the veterans that have served or are currently serving our country. The parade will depart from Railroad Avenue and 4th Street, heading west down 4th to Garfield, north on Garfield to 13th Street, and west on 13th to Dwayne Webster Veterans Park.

The remainder of the day will be filled with meals, ceremonies and memorials to celebrate the courage and bravery exhibited by so many veterans within our nation. A full list of activities and details can be found here.

The Associated Veterans of Loveland’s Post 15 Charter Date was August 12, 1919. They are active in the community by participating and supporting in different events such as highway cleanups, parades, memorials, and clubs. Learn more about the Post 15 here.

Dia de los Muertos Comes to Loveland

October 26th, 2017 by Downtown District

Dia de los Muertos, also known as “Day of the Dead”, is a traditional Mexican holiday that is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The celebration is a one or two-day event, depending on what part of Mexico one visits. If the celebration is a two-day event, one day is dedicated to deceased children and the other is dedicated to other deceased members of the family. This day is also called “All Saints Day” or “All Souls Day” in other cultures. Dia de los Muertos is the celebration of deceased loved ones and the celebration of life and evolved into a combination of Catholic beliefs and the ancient civilizations.

There are currently five Dia de los Muertos altars on display at the Loveland Public Library and Loveland Museum and Gallery. One of those altars was built and shared by Loveland artist, Julie Gillen, who built a more contemporary altar for her maternal and paternal grandparents. Her altar, pictured to the left, is located at the Loveland Museum. Gillen became interested in Dia de los Muertos and the ritual of building altars during a visit to Santa Cruz, California.

“I was struck by the beauty of it. The colors, the lights and smells coming from the window displays as I walked down the streets of Santa Cruz. I thought it was such a lovely way to tell a story. To remember and share your loved one’s spirit. I am incredibly fascinated by the way other cultures celebrate the cycle of life. They embrace death without fear.”

Gillen said the altars are an intimate way to story tell and preserve your past by keeping these traditions alive. Gillen has been building altars since 1999 and teaches others about the proper Dia de los Muertos traditions as well as offers workshops on how to build sugar skulls. Altars are built with the hopes of attracting your loved one’s spirit from beyond the grave. Altars are built on All Saint’s Day because they believe this is the only day spirits can come back. Offerings of a loved one’s favorite food and drink are placed to attract them to the right place along with other items like flowers, toys and personal mementos. Soap and water are also placed on the altar for the spirit to wash up after their long travels.

Sugar skulls are a must-have when building an altar. Back then, sugar was plentiful and people made sugar skulls for each deceased loved one. They often added foil with their beloved’s name adhered to the top of the sugar skull. Later the sugar skulls were decorated with a thick, colorful icing called “Royal Icing” and now other materials are used like paint and beads. Sugar skulls are not meant to be eaten and can last for years.

Gillen explained that one of the biggest differences between the Dia de los Muertos and Halloween is the skeletons used in each festivity.  “One will notice that even the skeletons are different. Instead of straight-faced skeleton grins, the traditional Dia de los Muertos skeletons all have big, toothy smiles and are often doing silly things. The skeletons are mocking death.  The skeletons are there to remind us to enjoy life while you still have it.”

Altars aren’t the only way people celebrate Dia de los Muertos; in fact, some families take picnics to their loved one’s tombstones. Other families even go as far as cleaning a bedroom and making a bed up for their loved ones to rest once they arrive.

Dia de los Muertos started in Mexico, but its popularity has spread to other parts of the world including the United States. Whether it's celebrated by building an altar or having lunch in a cemetery, it’s a yearly reminder to reflect on your own life while you are remembering a past loved one’s life. This celebration is meant to help preserve your past while keeping your family’s traditions alive, or as Julie Gillen did, create a new one.

Scare Up Some History: Loveland Burial Park/Lakeside Cemetery

October 18th, 2017 by Downtown District

Cemeteries have a reputation of being spooky, portrayed as places where paranormal activity is nearly certain. Perhaps this is why our interest in them peaks during the month of October, when everyone is looking for a good scare.

On the far north edge of the Downtown District lies the Loveland Burial Park and Lakeside Cemetery. Sharon Danhauer, longtime Loveland resident and member of the Loveland Historical Society, gave us an inside look at the history of the cemetery and some notable figures laid to rest there. While we didn’t hear anything that gave us the chills, we did learn about Loveland’s rich history and those that came before us.

Lakeside Cemetery was opened in 1880 to address the needs of the growing Loveland community, with the west side of the cemetery opening in 1912 named Loveland Burial Park. Looking to combine the two and bring them under city management, both sides were purchased by the City of Loveland in 1919. While the first burial took place in 1880, over 50 graves are even older. Most were relocated in 1884 from the old St. Louis cemetery.

The oldest headstone belongs to HLW Peterson, who was struck by lightning on the Cherokee Trail near Namaqua. Moved from the trail west of town to the cemetery, his grave is dated 1854. Just next to him lies the grave of Mexican Joe, Jose Rosendo, who was also killed by lighting in 1870. An employee and friend of Mariano Medina, the first permanent settler in the Big Thompson Valley, Joe was herding sheep on the Marianna Butte. He was buried where he fell, with his grave marked by pioneers up to present day. With the development of the Marianna Butte golf course, Joe’s grave was moved from one of the fairways to Lakeside Cemetery, where a memorial remembers him.

Once located outside of the hustle and bustle of town, the grounds have now been surrounded by new developments. These led to a new name for the lake found in Lakeside Cemetery, changing from its original Cemetery Lake to Silver Lake in 1958. Traditions from long ago remain today, with graves facing east and the bride on the right when couples are buried together.

Sharon offers tours of the cemetery for a suggested donation of $7, during which she points out notable names and entertaining headstones – one of the more memorable reads “I told you that I was sick.” You can reach Sharon via email or phone: sadanhau@gmail.com or 970.290.0169.

Methods of Financing

September 14th, 2017 by Downtown District

Another important element of the DDA Plan of Development is the allowable methods of financing.  State law allows DDAs to impose a property tax levy, not to exceed five mills, however, revenue generated from the property tax may only be used for maintenance and operations within the Plan area.  In addition, the law authorizes tax increment financing (TIF) from both or either property or sales tax as a means of repaying financial obligations.   TIFs are a tool utilized by municipalities throughout the country to finance public improvements in identified areas of need, known as redevelopment districts or DDA’s.

A DDA can provide public amenities that encourage and facilitate corresponding “new development” within an approved geographic district and may use TIFs generated from a new development or a redevelopment to participate in the financing for new streetscapes, plazas, sidewalks, streets or simply to improve traffic/pedestrian circulation that would help to make the new development possible.

A DDA can also provide assistance to existing property owners who might want to rehabilitate or expand their property.  An example of this might be a façade improvement reimbursement program.  This financing tool is not new and has been utilized around the country for decades to help fund public improvements and encourage redevelopment.

Property Tax. Once a DDA is established and a Plan of Development is adopted, the property tax base for the district is frozen.  This means that after the date of the plan adoption, the assessed value to which the mill levy for the City, the school district, the county and other taxing jurisdictions would be the same each year thereafter with adjustment only for general reassessments (which occurs every odd year).

For example, if the assessed value in a DDA is $1 million on the date of plan adoption, then the mill levy for each of the overlapping taxing jurisdictions is applied to that $1 million base assessment each year.  As the properties in the DDA begin to increase in value due to redevelopment efforts, that increase in assessed value times the combined mill levy of the overlapping taxing jurisdictions goes to the DDA.

Another way of looking at it is, if the assessed value of property in the district increases to $10 million in year 5 of the plan, the taxes derived from multiplying the combined mill levy times the $1 million base go to the overlapping taxing jurisdictions and the mill levy times the $9 million increase would go to the DDA.  So, essentially, revenues that would have ended up with the county and other entities through increases in tax revenues tied to redevelopment, stay in the City and more specifically, in the DDA.

Sales Tax.  The plan can also affect City sales tax revenue, but not state or county sales tax revenues.  The Loveland DDA Plan dedicates sales tax revenues above the base year revenues to the DDA.

Once these revenues are captured, this new stream of revenue can be utilized to pay debt service on bonds that can be issued by the City(DDA) for public improvements.  Bonding may be necessary, as it would typically take a period of time to acquire enough revenue to fund public improvements.

Lending institutes find TIF a very stable source of revenue and therefore readily lend money when secured by TIF.  Bonds are only put in place once construction of public improvements begins and assuming the DDA has the financial capacity to repay the debt.  TIF can be utilized for up to 25 years from the date of establishment.

Is TIF a new tax?

No.  No new taxes are established using TIF nor are taxes (either property tax or sales tax) increased.  The revenues produced by increased property values and increased retail sales activity are simply redistributed to benefit the DDA for public improvements in the district.

The following graph generally depicts how Property TIF revenues are captured by the DDA:

TIF Model

(Inspired by graphics from CDFA and Stephen Friedman.) ULI

What is a Downtown Development Authority?

August 31st, 2017 by Downtown District

Downtown development authorities (DDAs) are state-authorized financing mechanisms designed to catalyze the revitalization and redevelopment of the physical components of a downtown.

The most important goal of a DDA is to halt property value deterioration, increase property tax valuations, work toward eliminating the causes of deterioration, promote economic growth, and create and provide for the general operation and maintenance of the physical DDA assets.

Is there a strategy for improvements in the downtown?

Simply, yes.  A Plan of Development (Plan) is a critical first step, and one required by state law, in the long-range master planning efforts for the downtown.

A Plan of Development recognizes the needs of the downtown and is essentially a “plan” for potential projects in the downtown over the next 30-50 year. D[RE]evelopment, infrastructure (including water, sewer, electric, streets, sidewalk, curb and gutter, beautification), and other projects are conceptual and the Plan is not limited to those projects identified, alone. As things have changed in the downtown throughout its rich history, things will continue to change into the future and the work that’s done today will continue speaking for that same rich history in the downtown as the City’s heart and soul.

Plan Elements

The Plan, recently approved by City Council, identifies the physical boundaries of the DDA, and the state law provides that residents, property owners and business entities within that boundary have the potential to be benefitted by the enhanced investment and/or may also be impacted by an additional property tax for maintenance and operations, and therefore these parties have the most vested in the decision making – and, for that reason are identified as the voters of the District.

DDA Mission and Objectives

There is a wide-ranging set of objectives identified in the Plan, but the primary focus of a DDA is to promote the safety, prosperity, security and general welfare of the downtown and to improve and sustain the economic vitality. The DDA is one of many strategies to be implemented that will help to not only rebuild the physical downtown, but give it economic life for years to come.  A heathy downtown provides the motivation for additional private investment, and a healthy downtown will eventually bring prosperity to the entire community.

Why Invest in Loveland's Downtown?

August 22nd, 2017 by Downtown District

No matter how you look at it, the history of downtown alone screams “gosh this is cool – just imagine what’s happened downtown over the past hundred or more years”.  Downtowns throughout the country represent the image and character of a community.  They are iconic and commanding symbols, typically comprised of historic landmarks and buildings, unique and distinguishing features, and unique neighborhoods. Our downtown is the core, the heart, and the soul of the Loveland community.

Revitalization – building upon what we have today – is challenging and our history alone (building remnants of the past) is an asset, but it also becomes one of the many hurdles we have to overcome. Loveland’s downtown is filled with a new resurgence and energy – there’s a focus on business creativity, we’ve seen how neighborhood activism plays a part, and we offer a diverse economy, one that’s building into providing attraction for residents, visitors, seniors, families, and those that have the luxury of both living and working in the downtown.

The City of Loveland has recently played a brave and significant role in kick-starting major public-private investments in the downtown.  New development and redevelopment projects, along with critical updates to the downtown infrastructure (parking garage, utilities, streets, sidewalks, etc.) will play an important role in not only rebuilding the physical downtown, but also the downtown as a more cultural and civic hub.  That public reinvestment in the downtown is providing the impetus for additional private investment, and is encouraging the continuing economic growth of center core of the city, and prosperity to the community at large.

Your Guide to the Business Alliance

July 20th, 2017 by Downtown District

The Loveland Downtown Partnership and Downtown Loveland Association have merged their efforts, forming the LDP Business Alliance, a business advocacy and advisory group under the Loveland Downtown Partnership. This effort strives to eliminate duplicate efforts, enable better service to the diverse business constituencies within Loveland’s downtown and join organizations with very similar visions and missions to enhance the success of businesses and residents in the Downtown District with one-stop convenience.

The Business Alliance is made up of Downtown Loveland business owners who play an active role in the continued development of the Downtown District, sharing their needs and vision for the area, and are willing to invest their support in making Downtown Loveland a destination to live, work and play.

Focused on collaborative marketing, members of the Business Alliance are able to enjoy certain benefits that vary by level. Each of these benefits is designed to give local businesses, and the area as a whole, greater visibility and accessibility to residents and visitors. All members have the ability to submit their news and events to the Loveland Downtown Partnership page for increased viewership. Benefits include:

  • Online directory listing
  • Membership decal
  • Downtown advocacy
  • Opportunities for collaborative advertising and marketing
  • Business listing in downtown guide
  • Networking spotlight opportunities
  • Website recognition
  • 1-time use of membership email list (with a reach of 250+)
  • Discount sponsorship opportunities
  • Social media shout out (7,600+ likes on Facebook)

Alliance members are encouraged to support activities and events that draw people downtown to shop, dine and stroll as well as showcase Loveland’s vibrant community. In addition to more traditional event sponsorships, members can now sponsor “local color” – chalk art, flower pots and more that make downtown Loveland unique.

“It’s exciting how invigorated our downtown is becoming. It is a great place, on the cusp of becoming a big deal!”
- Sara Turner, Owner of Studio Vino and Business Alliance leadership team member

Hop, Skip and Jump to Explore Downtown Loveland

June 20th, 2017 by Downtown District

Hop Skip JumpDespite the ongoing construction, all you love about downtown Loveland remains just a hop, skip or jump away!

HOP from shop to shop as downtown businesses remain open. SKIP along the sidewalks to discover artwork off the beaten path, enjoy chalk art by local artists created for downtown events or interact with selfie spots. JUMP into one of the pedicabs provided during Night on the Town and enjoy the ride.

You can find parking throughout downtown, including at the Foote Lagoon and several areas along East Railroad Avenue between Second and Sixth Streets. Check it out for yourself with this map.

With things to see and do around every corner, we know you’ll find something to enjoy – share your photos of downtown using #LoveHopSkipJump.

Head down to enjoy these upcoming events and see what’s hopping in the Downtown District:

  • Downtown District LIVE!, a new summer concert series featuring a wide variety of performers, kicks off June 24 from 2 – 9 p.m. on 4th street. Soak in the music, art, shopping, restaurants and more that create the best of Loveland’s downtown vibe.
  • The Cherry Pie Celebration, a summer tradition in Loveland, will be held at the Loveland Museum on July 8 from 5 – 8pm. Enjoy live music, vendors and, of course, pie!
  • Night on the Town is Friday, July 14 from 5 – 8 p.m. Join friends, family and neighbors to enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Loveland, enjoy incredible chalk art, pedicabs and more!
  • Loveland Loves BBQ, Bands & Brews returns to Downtown with good eats, good beats and good company on July 14 & 15.