Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency chosen for Wyoming Blocks program pioneering downtown revitalization

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Wyo4News staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

December 13, 2023 — The Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency (URA) is honored to announce its selection for the Wyoming Blocks Program, an innovative initiative by Wyoming Main Street/Wyoming Business Council. This transformative program aims to showcase the tangible results of the Main Street Approach by focusing efforts on a singular downtown block. Rock Springs Main Street/URA will concentrate its efforts on the 700 block of Pilot Butte Avenue, turning it into a cultural and economic hub through a problem-driven approach to economic development.

Project Overview:

The selected block has a rich history of incubating Latino-owned businesses, with five thriving enterprises currently enriching the local community. Leveraging its decade-long commitment to the area, Rock Springs Main Street/URA envisions the block evolving into a compelling cultural attraction, building on previous collaborations and revitalization efforts.

Challenges and Objectives:

The chosen block faces challenges such as safety concerns, underutilized buildings, and the need for cultural enhancement. Addressing safety issues may involve community engagement, while underutilized buildings could be revitalized to contribute to economic and aesthetic transformation. The project also aims to enhance existing businesses, particularly those owned by the Latino community, and celebrate and share the cultural identity and heritage through art installations and cultural events.

Program Structure:

The Wyoming Blocks Program serves as both an educational tool and an implementation platform for community projects. Focused on creating accessible, functional spaces for community usage, promoting business and economic diversification, and achieving incremental results, the program will allocate up to $20,000 to each selected community.

The Wyoming Blocks Program adopts the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach from the Harvard Kennedy School. PDIA focuses on developing the capacity to address issues through a process that:

  • Holds significance for key change agents, making it impossible to ignore.
  • Inspires and propels change.
  • Breaks down problems into smaller causal elements.
  • Permits genuine, sequenced, strategic responses.
  • Is locally driven, allowing local stakeholders to define, debate, and refine problem statements through shared consensus.

Consequently, the board of directors at Rock Springs Main Street/URA has initiated the process of identifying challenges. After the holidays, the board will meet with Kayla Kler, the Wyoming Main Street Program Manager, to assess the identified challenges and explore potential solutions. Following this initial meeting, a community workshop will be organized, inviting business and property owners in the 700 block of Pilot Butte, as well as the wider community. This workshop aims to further identify problems, propose solutions, and gather team members willing to contribute to consensus-building and driving change.

Application Evaluation:

Applications were rigorously evaluated by a small committee based on expertise, capacity for change implementation, identification of block-related problems, knowledge of stakeholders, existing partnerships, awareness of challenges and opportunities, and overall detail and thoughtfulness of responses.  As a result of that evaluation, the Rock Springs Main Street/URA was selected for the pilot program. 

Rock Springs Main Street/URA is excited to embark on this journey, leveraging the Wyoming Blocks Program to redefine the 700 block of Pilot Butte Avenue and create a vibrant, welcoming space for residents and visitors alike.

The Rock Springs Main Street/URA is charged with the redevelopment of Downtown Rock Springs.  As part of their mission, there are three standing committees – Economic Vitality, Promotions, and Arts & Culture.  For more information on the Façade Improvement Grant or the overall program, contact the Rock Springs Main Street/URA at 307-352-1434 or visit their website at DowntownRS.com.