Horizon Drive project deserves support, but different from downtown

To the Editor:

I commend the Business Times for its recent editorial in support of the improvements planned for the Horizon Drive Business Improvement District. I believe all businesses recognize the importance of well-designed, high-quality public spaces that complement private-sector investments.

While it is natural to compare the proposed Horizon Drive project with recent improvements to downtown, it is important to distinguish between the two settings. Horizon Drive is indeed an important commercial district and a worthy candidate for such improvements. But it does not function like downtown, which provides a diversity of uses and services — civic, institutional, governmental, residential as well as commercial. Nor does Horizon Drive play the essential role that downtown does as a place of civic assembly and community identity. I share this observation not to detract from Horizon Drive, but so your readers appreciate the differences that exist among the many areas of the community and the unique attributes each has. It is also important to recognize that whereas Horizon Drive is a business improvement district, downtown has both a BID and the Downtown Development Authority. The capital improvements in recent years downtown were funded with DDA’s tax increment financing and did not involve capital contributions from the city. In that respect, Horizon Drive is more constrained in its funding sources, and all the more worthy of consideration for capital support from the city.

Harry M. Weiss, executive director

Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority