CASPER, Wyo. — David Street Station in downtown Casper opened in August 2017.
With that gathering place now two years old and after a summer of concerts and other community events, the Downtown Development Authority is thinking about updating their strategic plan.
During their Wednesday, Sept. 11 board meeting, Executive Director Kevin Hawley said he thought that much of the vision outlined in the DDA’s 2013 strategic plan have been realized.
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He said that some of the priority projects the DDA looked to support in the downtown have been “checked off.” Those projects were the following:
- Public Restroom Site Study & Implementation
- Retail Core Strategy
- Retail Anchor
- Downtown Wayfinding Signage Site Study & Implementation
- Downtown Hotel
- Public Plaza
David Street Station now serves as a gathering space for the public, hosting both summer and winter events and activities. The DDA helped secure over $4.6 million in private donations as well as a $1 million endowment to support David Street Station.
The City of Casper finished adding public restrooms to the downtown parking garage in November 2014. The DDA manages the parking garage and also encouraged the city to add new lighting to brighten up that space.
Various new businesses have opened downtown in recent years. The DDA has a list of downtown businesses on their website.
Hawley said that the main projects which haven’t come to fruition were adding a downtown hotel and convention space or a grocery store.
With David Street Station occupying much of the DDA Board’s attention in recent years, they talked on Wednesday about how to begin to formulate a new plan.
They also discussed the possibility of creating a new nonprofit to oversee David Street Station so that the DDA could start to focus on other initiatives downtown.
One benefit of doing so is that certain corporate donors are unable to donate to support David Street Station since they cannot give to governmental entities. While the DDA Board has its own by-laws, these and board members must be approved by the Casper City Council.
Finding ways to fund raise to support David Street Station continues to be a challenge for the DDA since events are expensive to put on. Hawley said that if funding lags, the first thing that would happen would be that less events could be held.
Casper Mayor Charlie Powell was at the meeting Wednesday and suggested that changing the city’s liquor licensing rules to allow DSS to obtain such a license rather than having to depend on single-event permits (they can pull 24 such permits per year) could be a way for events to become more profitable.
Other board members suggested putting in permanent donation boxes at David Street Station might help recuperate more of the costs that go into putting on events and paying for performers.
Hawley said that while people are able to donate online through computers or mobile devices, this program so far hasn’t seen great success.
Board member Nicholas Grooms suggested thinking about creating special events for “Friends of the Station” donors or finding new ways to utilize the space to attract donors might be something to look into.
The DDA Board is also thinking about forming separate committees that would be devoted to DSS or the downtown parking garage to free the board up to devote more time to other projects.
The board decided on Wednesday that they would review the 2013 strategic plan and look at how to move forward on creating a new one at their next meeting.
They also decided to meet again in October, rather than waiting until November.