By TOM DIXON
Wyoming Business Council Senior Communications Specialist
A tour of the brand-new Art Underground Gallery in downtown Rock Springs highlighted the autumn Wyoming Main Street managers’ meeting Sept. 29.
The town’s main street is bisected by a Union Pacific Railroad and tall fences. A pedestrian underpass connects the two sides but, in the past, the thoroughfare wasn’t welcoming.
The Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency changed that by offering more than two dozen plywood canvases to local artists. More than 250 hours of volunteer work by young and old alike went into creating paintings, found-art displays and more.
About two dozen managers, board members and town officials from Wyoming’s 15 certified and affiliate Main Street communities gathered Tuesday in the renovated Broadway Theater to talk about how to better market buildings for sale or lease in their downtowns.
The $3 million Broadway Theater project converted the nearly 70-year-old West/Rock Theater into a performing arts and cinema venue available for a variety of events. About 11,000 people attend the approximately 100 events held at the venue every year. The Wyoming Business Council contributed about $1.4 million to the project.
Participants also toured the recently repurposed Bunning Freight Station, which reopened in January after a $1.1 million upgrade.
The renovated building hosted events ranging from high school proms to wedding expos in its first year. The Business Council provided $988,682 for the project.
Wyoming Main Street is an arm of the Business Council dedicated to managing the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program for the state. Participating communities received $177,500 in technical assistance money in fiscal year 2015. That money went toward projects like downtown planning, signage, beautification, website design projects and promotion.
The program provided another $52,000 for structural and façade assessments, feasibility studies, rehabilitation recommendations and cost estimates for historic structures.Wyoming Main Street is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Rawlins Downtown Development Authority/Main Street highlighted the strides made by the program in the last decade when it won the 2015 Great American Main Street Award, a first for a community in the northern Rocky Mountain region.
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