The Town of Grand Lake held a public outreach meeting to gather public feedback on its streetscape and way finding master plans on Friday, July 17.
Representatives from Grand Lake, Munn Architecture and Terracina Design presented photos of various examples of streetscapes and signage and asked citizens to rate each one.
Munn Architecture and Terracina Design have partnered under contract with the town to develop the two master plans.
The streetscape master plan focuses on sidewalks, outdoor eating areas, storefront improvements, and pedestrian and vehicular access to Grand Avenue.
The way-finding master plan focuses on signage around downtown Grand Lake.
“Tonight is all about gathering input and hearing from everybody to find out what they want to see here because this is your town, and we want to make sure we’re integrating all of the ideas,” said Layla Rosales, principal of Terracina Design.
Rosales said the two firms would take the input from the Friday meeting and design some streetscape ideas and signs.
They will present these renderings at the Sept. 18 public outreach meeting.
Grand Lake is considering major changes as it looks to reinvent its downtown.
The town has considered turning Grand Avenue into a one-way street for sometime now, said Mayor Judy Burke. Burke said it was possible that the changes could come through this process. Grand Lake is also looking to improve parking downtown and replace the gravel spaces that currently sit in front of its businesses.
“I think we’ve done a great job with the town square and the work that we’ve done beautifying it, but there’s always a lot more to be done,” Burke said.
As citizens milled through presentation area at the meeting, some seemed a little overwhelmed by the amount of ideas presented.
“It’s a little bit hard to absorb all of it,” said Dave Sauer, who has lived in Grand Lake for 14 years. “I’ve got probably 100 photographs here. I think, from my part, it may be more useful to make some comments that are a little more detailed.”
Others were apprehensive that the town would allow much change to come from the new master plans.
Donna Ready, owner of Mountain Lake Properties, said the town board was too restrictive to allow any substantial change in the downtown area. She pointed to a video presented by the town and firms that showed other towns with outdoor artists, eating spaces and musicians in the streets.
“Those are things that are prohibited by the town code,” said Ready. “We’ve asked for those things repeatedly over the years, and they’ve always been denied because the town code didn’t have a place for them.”
Ready, who has been in Grand Lake since 1979, said she also felt that the town wasn’t paying enough attention to business owners who live out of town and can’t vote or participate in the town board.
But Scott Munn, principal of Munn Architecture, said he was confident that the town would allow designers, architects and the community move forward with little restriction.
“I personally believe that with the new board that’s been voted in this year, we have more room to explore and expand new ideas that may not have been thought about in the past, that may need some regulation changes within the current zoning so that we can implement some of the ideas that we’ve heard from business owners and the community,” said Munn. “I personally believe that we’ve got the support.”
The town’s next public outreach meeting will be on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Grand Lake Community House.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.