Dillon considers focusing on seniors | SteamboatToday.com

Dillon considers focusing on seniors

Town council explores options for revitalization projects

Caitlin Row/Summit Daily News

— Trying to breathe new life into its struggling town center, Dillon officials are contemplating turning the area into an active senior community.

The move could attract more full-time residents to Summit County’s sleepy burg after the town itself killed off retail business in the core with creation of the Dillon Ridge shopping center.

“We’re looking at all sorts of strategies,” said Devin Granbery, Dillon town manager. “One recommendation was to bring more warm bodies, residents that are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the town center. … Active senior facilities or continued-care facilities would be considered. The town is actively looking at different strategies that we could pursue. We don’t have any specific proposals at this point.”

When Dillon Ridge was developed along U.S. 6, it became a much more valuable place for businesses than the old downtown in terms of traffic, Granbery said, explaining that it strangled much of the commerce in the core area.

Now the town is working on an urban renewal project to revitalize the old retail sector of the downtown area.

“We want to make it a strong community core,” Granbery said.

He aims for the revitalization project to encourage growth not only in retail but also in office space, residential areas and community meeting space.

“The intention is to revitalize it, but I don’t ever see it being the retail generator that it once was,” Granbery said. “Dillon Ridge is the retail generator.”

Even though the renewal project is in “talking” stages right now, Councilman Ron Holland said at a work session last week that considerations for changing demographics in Summit County during the next 20 years should be noted as the project moves forward. And Dillon could consider positioning itself to accommodate that shift toward people older than 50.

Mayor Barbara Davis agrees that turning Dillon into a senior-oriented community could be a good option for revitalization of the town.

“The more I thought about it, it seemed to make a whole lot of sense to me,” Davis said. “With Baby Boomers aging, why not carve out that niche market in Dillon with pedestrian-friendly retail? We could have mixed-use everywhere in the town core and really cater to that population.”

Davis also suggested possible collaboration with local golf courses. She did stress, however, that the town really would have to do its homework on how to make this idea feasible.

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