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Downtown Greeley No Longer an 'Endangered Place'

Erin O'Toole

Twelve years ago, downtown Greeley made Colorado Preservation Inc’s List of Endangered Places. Monday, after more than a decade of efforts, the area is officially being removed from that list.

The group, which promotes historic preservation in the state, cited urban growth on the the city’s west side when it listed downtown Greeley as an Endangered Place in 2000. That growth pulled a number of businesses and people away from downtown, leaving behind vacant buildings and a deserted feel.

One of the key factors in turning things around was getting a section of downtown designated a Historic District, says Betsy Kellums, the city's Historic Preservation Specialist. That helped building owners obtain grants, tax credits and other financial incentives to restore or rehabilitate appropriately.

Bob Tointon, Chairman of Greeley's Downtown Development Authority, points to a number of positive changes that took place after the designation, including the remodeling of the Kress Building and the addition of shops and a dinner theatre.

"I would say downtown, today, is more active and viable than it's been in thirty years," he says.

Monday night, city officials and others will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Downtown Greeley Historic District and the official removal of the city from CPI's Endangered Places list.

Credit The Kress Cinema & Lounge
Kress Cinema marquee

Events include walking tours and a scavenger hunt, with presentations plus drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the Kress Cinema at 7:00 p.m. Details are here.

The Kress Cinema & Lounge is on an endangered list of its own because of new digital projection requirements. They, along with a number of other small, independent movie theaters across the country, including the Lyric Cinema in Fort Collins, must raise money to upgrade their projection equipment as movie studios shift to all-digital distribution. Last month the Kress launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds. You can learn more about their project here.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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