Business Leaders and City Collaborate to Consider Downtown Development Authority
For the past several years the city council, staff, and Downtown Littleton merchants and property owners have discussed elevating the success of this beloved center of activity, business, and tourism through a Business Improvement District or Downtown Development Authority (DDA). These tools are used successfully in historic downtowns across Colorado including Fort Collins, Golden, Grand Junction, and Castle Rock.
In 2021, the city council approved a Downtown Improvement District Feasibility Study with Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA). The consulting firm supports downtown management organizations in developing tactical strategic plans to guide their evolution, blending local aspirations with national best practices. PUMA has facilitated hundreds of projects across the country and internationally.
A group of Downtown Littleton stakeholders, city staff, and the consultants have met regularly to facilitate the project. The process has included stakeholder engagement, research, education, identifying potential district boundaries, and outlining priorities for investments and services. A survey concluded May 5 [PDF] with 800 respondents sharing their vision, concerns, and hopes for downtown. Based on the findings, five areas were identified with short- and long-term priorities:
- Improved parking experience downtown littleton image at dusk
- Beautiful and welcoming
- Clean and safe
- Business friendly and vibrant
DDAs are quasi-public agencies that provide both organizational focus and financing to support downtown improvements. DDAs facilitate partnerships, joining businesses and property owners with local government. In addition, DDAs create a self-sustaining organization to champion downtown for the long-term. A DDA is managed by a board of directors appointed by the municipality. It is funded primarily through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds generated by the anticipated increase in sales and property taxes in the district. TIF funds are then reinvested into downtown infrastructure. Voters within the DDA boundary can also consider up to 5 mills assessed for DDA operations.
The Littleton City Council will hold a study session June 14 to review the findings and provide direction to staff, stakeholders, and the consultants, and will consider whether to place a question on the November 8, 2022 ballot for a decision by voters within the boundary.
Visit the Littleton DDA website for more information.