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Students Boost Silverthorne’s Makeover Momentum

Published: May 4, 2016

Students Add Ideas to Silverthorne’s Makeover

A group of CU students who were assigned a “real-life project” have given town managers a lot of fresh, energetic ideas for Silverthorne’s makeover, which is finally moving out of its data collection and visionary stages and into action this year.

The first phase of the town’s transformation is the creation of a 4,000 square foot performing arts center, which broke ground this month and is scheduled for completion in March, 2017.

Silverthorne’s makeover aims to appease residents who have expressed in multiple surveys that a charming downtown area would greatly improve their quality of life. Community planners have met with town government officials to create this 100-page document, which outlines the vision for Silverthorne’s makeover.

The makeover will transform Silverthorne into a charming riverfront community with a shopping promenade, improved public transformation infrastructure, expanded and interconnected trail system, and subsets dedicated to residential, industrial, and commercial zoning.

City planners have recognized the infrastructure and feel of Crested Butte, Telluride and Steamboat Springs, three distinct mining and ranching towns, as ones to emulate. The first step is to create a framework for the downtown and then to fill it with a density, building height, and streetscape reminiscent of those towns.

Fourteen CU students created a tangible plan for Silverthorne’s makeover, during their spring semester, that blew away town officials. The students explained their plans as aiming to please its residents, first and foremost, but also provide something appealing for everyone.

Recognizing that Silverthorne’s close proximity to highway could be an obstacle, the students included a town arch and series of small parks in their plans, hoping to pull people off the highway by providing a “sense of place.” The architectural feel they integrated to city plans nodded toward historic Colorado roots, but with a sense of modernization.

It’s hard to know which aspects town officials will use from this project in Silverthorne’s makeover, but it definitely helps it to gain momentum and exposure. This town transformation will undoubtedly ripple beyond Silverthorne, boosting all of Summit County’s economic growth, tourism, culture, arts sector, and community.


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