September 5, 2020, Paonia, CO In June, Colorado Department of Transportation (announced a small scale grant for low cost, immediate actions to help safely improve the economy and enhance healthy activities in cities and towns across Colorado. The Town of Paonia responded to the opportunity and was subsequently awarded over $46,000 to implement activities that will improve safety and create new community spaces to encourage healthy activity and mobility.

The CDOT Revitalizing Main Streets program was developed to support infrastructure projects that provide open spaces for mobility, community activities and economic development in the wake of the COVID 19 emergency. “Through this program, we will partner with local governments across Colorado to support them as they work to safely reopen sectors of our economy as well as improve the health and vitality of communities across the state, said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Since many of our roads are part of the ‘Main Street ’environment through towns and cities, this is an opportunity for us to do our part for healthy communities and a healthy economy.

The Town plans to implement a Shop Safe, Shop Local project that will have an effect on Grand Avenue and local businesses. Our first task will involve keeping residents and visitors safe by emphasizing COVID safe practices and providing hygiene stations, hand sanitizers, face masks and visual reminders for social distancing. Second, the project will support street closures in September and October to attract people to Paonia s downtown. Businesses are working collaboratively and creatively with the Town to stay alive and to feature the unique charm that makes Paonia special.

With this grant the Town will be able to experiment with Complete Street multi modal models including bike lanes and streetscape alternatives in a fun demonstration project. Residents will be able to imagine a revitalized Grant Ave. that will emphasize the best of small businesses, historic buildings and the Creative District. The Town will take the opportunity to continue to gather community input that will inform long term solutions for economic resilience. I am excited to see the possibilities a revitalized downtown can bring and to get community input. This is a great opportunity for the Town and can lead to a brighter economic future, said Mayor Mary Bachran.

The Town of Paonia was incorporated in 1902 and is a Colorado statutory town. Paonia attracts visitors to its Creative District and is a stop on the West Elk Scenic Byway. The Town and surrounding area are known for excellent fruit production and boutique wineries.