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City of Lakewood selected as the 2023 ‘Large Community of the Year’

Top people, places and projects in economic development honored at annual awards dinner & ceremony

GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO (Oct. 31, 2023) – The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) announced the 2023 EDIE award recipients, recognizing economic development excellence during its annual Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference at Grand Junction Convention Center in Grand Junction, Colorado Oct. 18-20, 2023.

The most recognized award in economic development in Colorado, the EDIE represents outstanding achievements by its members, organizations, communities, companies, individuals and legislators for their outstanding achievements in economic development in the State of Colorado. Since 1989, EDCC has celebrated the achievements of over 200 award winners. This year, 12 awardees were recognized.

City of Lakewood was selected as this year’s ‘Large Community of the Year’ (community population greater than 60,000) for its achievements in the following activities:

  • The creation of the Public Investment Loan Agreement, intended to facilitate the redevelopment of a key mixed-use parcel, bringing capital investment, an increase in sales tax generation and new jobs to the community. The Public Investment Loan provides a one-time loan for the demolition and removal of the existing structures on the site. This loan was successfully executed in the demolition of the Holiday Plaza Shopping Center.
  • Created three new creative business programs:
    1. Mingle with a Mentor: assist women and minority-owned business owners succeed.
    2. Jumpstart program: is a pitch competition. It is open to all entrepreneurs in the city who have yet to start a business or recently started a business and have generated less than $25,000 in net revenue.
    3. The City Council approved “common consumption” areas — a specially designated district where patrons can leave bars and restaurants with to-go alcoholic beverages and gather outside to continue their celebrations. Combined with an entertainment district repositions the plaza to be a destination to socialize, gather, eat, drink and make memories.
  • The City supported businesses through three matching grant programs in 2023. All three programs are matching grant awards with a maximum amount of up to $10,000.
    1. Business Safety and Security – provides funding to help business owners create or update safety features on their business property, such as lighting and cameras.
    2. Commercial Reinvestment – encourages businesses and property owners to invest in their properties in the form of exterior improvements, such as façade and parking lot improvements.
    3. Adaptive Reuse – provides funding to business and property owners to overcome barriers in the redevelopment of vacant buildings in the form of property improvements, such as ADA accessibility and fire sprinkler improvements.
  • The City is home to a voter approved Reinvestment Authority that is managed by the Economic Development department. The Authority encourages private reinvestment within targeted areas to enhance the City’s ability to preserve and restore the vitality and quality of life in the community. Since its inception in 1997, the Authority has established three reinvestment areas in the city and has carried out multiple redevelopment projects that have produced vibrant new places and spaces.

“The historic Avalon Theater in downtown Grand Junction was the perfect place to honor this diverse and talented cast of contributors to Colorado’s economic development community,” said Drew Kramer, EDCC Board Chair and Economic Development Program Manager for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. ”Each of the winners represents a key piece of the complex puzzle we must complete to ensure an economically viable future for Colorado – from large and small communities to national corporations and local businesses to elected officials and individual professionals and advocates.”

Kramer further noted the hard work that EDCC Executive Director Kim Woodworth, her staff and several volunteers put in to make the Drive|Lead|Succeed Conference such an effective gathering of the state’s economic development professionals, policymakers and business leaders. An estimated 300 attendees converged in Grand Junction for an agenda rich with content covering everything from housing and the impacts of the outdoor recreation industry to leadership development and demographic trends. Taking place, the second night of the conference, the EDIE Awards ceremony was held at the recently renovated Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction’s Main Street District.

2023 Large Community of the Year City of Lakewood2023 Class of EDCC's EDIE Award Winners