In a move to stimulate development and construction in economically challenged sections of the city, members of the Durango City Council have given their unanimous approval to the creation of an urban renewal authority.
The authority is officially called the Durango Renewal Partnership and will be tasked with such goals as creating more affordable housing, updating deteriorating structures, and facilitating infill development.
The effort will additionally look at areas of the city with a dearth of utility infrastructure, as well as faulty street and lot layouts.
The renewal partnership is being designed in accordance with the Colorado Urban Renewal Law, which, to date, has been adopted by more than 60 cities and towns across the state.
With a population of around 19,000, up from 14,000 just two decades ago, and steady growth in both the private and public sectors, Durango could launch a renewal partnership only if it contained at least four of the eleven blight conditions defined by state law.
Earlier this year the city contracted out with the consulting firm Short Elliot Hendrickson, which is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, but has offices in Durango, to determine its renewal partnership qualifications.
After the firm subsequently reported that Durango would meet the blight threshold, the city council moved to establish the renewal partnership.
That partnership will now have the authority to borrow funds and issue loans and grants for various projects.
According to city documents, the Durango Renewal Partnership will also focus on “housing development that allows students, seniors, and lower and middle-class residents to live in Durango.”
By Garry Boulard
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