Will Dillon become a senior community? | VailDaily.com

Will Dillon become a senior community?

Caitlin Row
summit daily news
Dillon, CO Colorado
Mark Fox/Summit Daily A group of card players, comprised largely of seniors, gather at the Summit County Community and Senior Center for their twice-a-week game of bridge Friday.

DILLON, Colorado ” Trying to breathe new life into its struggling town center, Dillon, , Colorado officials are contemplating turning the area into an active senior community.

The move could attract more full-time residents to Summit County’s sleepy burg after the town itself killed off retail business in the core with creation of the Dillon Ridge shopping center.

“We’re looking at all sorts of strategies,” said Devin Granbery, Dillon town manager. “One recommendation was to bring more warm bodies, residents that are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the town center … Active senior facilities or continued-care facilities would be considered. The town is actively looking at different strategies that we could pursue. We don’t have any specific proposals at this point.”

When Dillon Ridge was developed along U.S. 6, it became a much more valuable place for businesses than the old downtown in terms of traffic, Granbery said, explaining that it strangled much of the commerce in the core area.

Now the town is working on an urban renewal project to revitalize the old retail sector of the downtown area.

“We want to make it a strong community core,” Granbery said.

He aims for the revitalization project to encourage growth not only in retail, but also in office space, residential areas and community meeting space.

“The intention is to revitalize it, but I don’t ever see it being the retail generator that it once was,” Granbery said. “Dillon Ridge is the retail generator.”

Even though the renewal project is in “talking” stages right now, Councilman Ron Holland said at a work session last week that considerations for changing demographics in Summit County over the next 20 years should be noted as the project moves forward. And Dillon could consider positioning itself to accommodate that shift toward people over 50.

Mayor Barbara Davis agrees that turning Dillon into a senior-oriented community

could be a good option for revitalization of the town.

“The more I thought about it, it seemed to make a whole lot of sense to me,” Davis said. “With Baby Boomers aging, why not carve out that niche market in Dillon with pedestrian-friendly retail? We could have mixed-use everywhere in the town core and really cater to that population.”

Davis also suggested possible collaboration with local golf courses. She did stress, however, that the town would really have to do its homework on how to make this idea feasible.

“No direction has been picked,” she added.

Council will come together as the project progresses to figure out how the renewal would work.

And there are questions to be asked.

“Do we want a niche market or do we want to consider everything?” Davis asked.

“There’s pros and cons to both. I’m not saying we should do one or the other.”

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.

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