Gypsum residents long for downtown development
August 30, 2015
GYPSUM — When Gypsum residents envision the future of their community, they would really like it to feature a discernible downtown area.
Gypsum's leaders have released results from the Vision Gypsum's Future Downtown Survey conducted earlier this year by participants of the Regional Institute of Health and Environmental Leadership program, in partnership with the town. When asked if they thought Gypsum currently had a downtown, 88 percent of the respondents said it did not. When asked if Gypsum should establish a downtown area, 90 percent of the respondents said the town should.
From there, however, residents were split on where this future downtown area should be located. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said Gypsum's downtown should be established along U.S. Highway 6 in the Bella's Market area, while 36 percent cited the Railroad Avenue area and 34 percent cited the Gypsum Town Hall and Gypsum Recreation Center area.
Gypsum planner Lana Gallegos said the survey results confirmed what town staff has been thinking for years.
"The overwhelming response was, "Yes, we would like to see a downtown core," she said.
The survey showed that residents want a downtown area to include restaurants and coffee shops, retail businesses and even entertainment amenities.
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"There's no real nightlife in Gypsum and there's not a good place for people to just hang out and socialize," said Gallegos.
Gallegos said town leaders understand that establishing a new downtown for Gypsum won't be a quick fix. For instance, the area around town hall is largely residential and the Railroad Avenue area would have to undergo a substantial redevelopment. But even considering the scope of the challenge, Gallegos said the town believes that creation of a downtown core is an important part of the community's future.
"Because of our anticipated growth over the next 10 to 25 years, we could double the size of Gypsum, and I think it's important for us to be thinking about that now. How do we get a downtown?" said Gallegos. "If we were staying such a small town, maybe it wouldn't be such a big deal."
As for what they would like to see in their downtown core, survey respondents also overwhelmingly — again 90 percent — stated they want more restaurants in town. The respondents also cited more retail (83 percent), entertainment amenities (70 percent) and trails (64 percent) as priorities.
High on Gypsum
In open ended questions, Gypsum residents largely cited affordability as the reason why they live in the community. Many respondents cited the community's small town atmosphere and amenities such as the rec center and town library as Gypsum's top attributes and traffic congestion and some unsightly properties as its biggest drawbacks. A reoccurring theme among the opened responses was the idea that Gypsum has potential.
"This survey gives us good information and a to-do list for the next 10 to 20 years," said Gallegos.