Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Changing of Longmont

The Times-Call has had a big theme over the last few weeks about how Longmont is changing  across some key dimensions, including politics, art, transportation, and climate.  While I don't disagree that Longmont is different from ten or fifteen years ago, I see similar changes in cities of Longmont's size in other parts of the country including more attention to the arts, better trail systems, the reclamation of  neglected downtowns from the pawn shops and payday loan places,  support for alternate transportion, and improved access to different food choices.  So it's not just Longmont and it's not a red or blue thing either; such changes are being promoted from both sides of the political divide.  Some just quickly dismiss the changing of Longmont as Boulderization but I see these types of changes everywhere I go.  

One poster child for the changing of Longmont (and ammo for the Boulderization proponents) is the Parkway Promenade shopping center near the intersection of Ken Pratt Parkway and Main Street.  As commercial rents have risen, the longtime Armadillo Restaurant and Bit of Billiards businesses in this shopping center have both closed in the past year.  Both had very loyal customer bases for many years and their closings signal a marked change in Longmont.  

Moving into this shopping center as we speak is Lucky's  Market.  It's a Boulder-owned neighborhood-style food marketplace and it's interesting that they've chosen Longmont vs. other Front Range locations as their first place to expand.  In addition to hopefully attracting new shoppers from Longmont, this location is somewhat ideal in that each weekday, thousands of commuters pass by on their way to and from Weld County.

I have friends in Boulder who have abandoned the chain grocery stores (including Whole Foods and Sprouts) in favor of Lucky's and we'll see if similar loyalties can be built here.  Choice is a good thing and I wish them well. 

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