Fruita opts out of Main Street program

It may come as no surprise that the city that throws an annual party in memory of a headless chicken would opt out of a program to make its downtown like other towns.

Fruita had been enrolled in the Department of Local Affairs Main Street Program, but a local committee designed to take a closer look at the tenets of the program recommended to city councilors that it was not for them.

City councilors agreed during their meeting Tuesday night.

“The Main Street program is great but we’re ready to fly this out on our own a little bit,” said Jeannine Purser, a member of the downtown committee looking into the issue.

Separating themselves from the program would not exclude Fruita from receiving any energy impact grants from the local affairs department, grants that cities across the Western Slope rely on for funding infrastructure and any number of projects.

The department’s Main Street program is intended to revitalize downtowns with an emphasis on historic preservation.

Other locales that have taken advantage of the program include Steamboat Springs, Rifle, Lyons and Ridgway.

Purser said members of the downtown advisory committee already felt like downtown Fruita is revitalized, and enrollment in the program would be constricting with its deadlines and other requirements.

Fruita already somewhat took advantage of the department’s Main Street program in the past two years by utilizing a $6,000 grant in 2012 to improve the electrical system in Circle Park. Last year, the city engaged in a project to place historic photographs of buildings and street scenes along the city’s downtown Aspen Street.

Purser said the advisory group agreed with most of the concepts of the Main Street program, and the group will use those examples.

However, other ideas weren’t as original as group members would have liked, she said.

“The board felt it took a little bit of the freedom and authenticity out of the process,” Purser said.


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