Monday, March 4, 2013

Aurora Cultural Arts District

     In the heart of Original Aurora, Colorado, amid the historic buildings and multicultural businesses, the Aurora Cultural Arts District has taken shape. By building on the area's strengths - diversity, creativity, and civic and cultural pride - this area is bringing a new and vital element to the revitalization of the city's historic commercial corridor by offering a unique destination where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy exciting visual and performing arts, ethnic restaurants, retail shops and quality, affordable housing.
     Original Aurora is in the middle of the "opportunity triangle", strategically situated only minutes from the unprecedented redevelopment areas of Fitzsimons, Lowry, and Stapleton. The Original Downtown area is also targeted for redevelopment, and the city has developed an arts district as central to this revitalization. The Arts District is being planned as the core that will bring people to the Aurora area. The commitment of the city and the community to this civic and cultural 'heart' of Original Aurora is evident in the current and planned redevelopment projects.
     Located only 15 minutes from Downtown Denver, it is home to the Aurora Fox Arts Center, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), a non-profit community arts center dedicated to youth art programs; Fletcher Plaza, an open-air events venue; East End Applied Arts; The Other Side Arts (TOSA), Red Delicious Press; and the private gallery and studios at Sunrise Artworks.
      One of the first large scale redevelopment projects in Original Aurora was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and Municipal Services Center which opened in April 2004. This facility is located between the Fox Arts Center and Fletcher Plaza, an outdoor performing arts venue, on East Colfax Avenue. In addition to the library, the project extended the Fox Arts Center.
      The second part of the redevelopment strategy was the $33 million Florence Square project. This is a four-acre mixed-use project with 240 apartment units, at least 10 artist live/work studios, retail space, commercial office space, and an Artists Walk area.

      Renovation of the Young Building (Colfax Avenue and Dayton Street) was completed with help from the Storefront Renovation Grant fund. As a central part of Aurora's efforts to revitalize Original Aurora, the city's Urban Renewal Division works in partnership with property owners, developers, investors, stakeholders, and the community to plan, promote, and coordinate development and redevelopment projects.
     In addition, the city has created loan and grand fund programs to help owners and businesses update their building. Specific qualification criteria apply to each program.
     For assistance with business planning, marketing, financing, and e-commerce topics, contact the Aurora Business Development Center.

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