I am an active member of the Evergreen Downtown Business Association (EDBA) and more recently, have been participating in the EDBA committee known as the Heart of Evergreen revitalization Organization (HERO). After several months of information gathering and working with many people in the greater Evergreen area, it became apparent that we need to create a true Economic Development Council, made up of an elected board of directors that can serve as the representative group for downtown Evergreen on public projects and infrastructure improvements. It will also create a cultural district that will be definable and identifiable within the greater front range area.
Because Evergreen is made up of primarily homesteaded private property, and there is no incorporated township of any kind, an EDC can provide that most important of components to help facilitate projects from Jeffco Open Space’s Bear Creek Trail project to other projects that it can raise funds for and execute as a part of a master plan that it would also be tasked with creating and maintaining. Raising funds will be a core goal for the realization of many of the improvements that need to be made in downtown Evergreen, and strategic partnerships with Jefferson County, the EPRD, CDOT, and many others will play a significant role in executing the master plan. The EDC shall also help to represent the community at Jefferson County Planning and Zoning proceedings for project proposals and over time, can help to serve as an extension of the will of the P&Z department at the local level. The EDC will also exist beyond the leadership that guides it at any given time. This is especially important in an unincorporated community where there is tremendous leadership and enthusiasm, but no organization has ever been created by election to channel and focus them.
Without a formal definition of the boundaries of the cultural district that the EDC will ultimately define and serve, HERO went back to the EDBA, an already functioning non-profit organization made up of an existing voting body that already serves the business owners and property owners in downtown Evergreen. With the help of the EDBA, Evergreen can legitimately create an EDC and elect a board of directors that appropriately represent the very community that it will serve. The idea is then, that once the cultural district is defined, future elections will then be held among district residents as well as the EDBA voting membership, providing even better representation.
The EDBA motioned and voted on Tuesday, August 10th, to create an EDC for Evergreen under this plan, and the positions for the board of directors will now be nominated and filled by election in subsequent meetings. The time that we have between now and the next meeting is crucial to raise awareness of the newly formed EDC, it’s vision for the long term, and solicit interest in serving on the board. The EDC board of directors is to be made up of 4 positions for property owners (combination of commercial and residential, but no more than 2 residential), 3 positions for business owners and 2 positions for members-at-large (can be anyone within the greater Evergreen area that can demonstrate interest in the cultural district that is being created). Terms for the board will be 2 years with no limit on the number of terms that can be served if elected. The initial responsibility for EDC board members will be to meet approximately once a month to administer the goals of the EDC.
The organization and administration of the EDC will likely evolve potentially grow over time to meet the changing needs of the community. The definition of the district boundaries are also flexible over time to grow as appropriate. Any such changes will be proposed and voted for by the district constituents as this EDC will truly be representative of the community that it serves.