Colorado Springs Gateways Initiative
Completed in fall 2020, the Downtown Gateways Initiative created distinctive arrival experiences using signage, landscaping, hardscaping, lighting, public art and wayfinding at each of the nine vehicular points of entry to Downtown Colorado Springs. This intensive process incorporated qualitative input and engagement from more than 300 unique contacts and stakeholders, including 14 different city, county and state departments in addition to local property owners and residents. The Gateways Initiative was identified as a key tactic in the Experience Downtown Plan of Development, the guiding document of the Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority.
The Gateways Initiative rooted its design characteristics in the historic character and natural environment of the district, specifically calling out the major artistic, architectural and cultural achievements of Colorado Springs’ 150-year history in addition to the natural resources and amenities surrounding Downtown. The enhancements confer a strong sense of place and welcome, in addition to enhanced safety and connection, that was previously lacking in these locations.
Among the enhancements executed as part of the Gateways Initiative, the Conejos Mural Project was a standout: 211 community volunteers of all ages worked in August 2020 under the direction of lead artist Mauricio Ramirez to complete the city’s largest ever permanent work of public art. Inspired by the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum’s “Una Familia Grande” oral history project, the mural celebrates the cultural and civic contributions of residents of a nearly forgotten Colorado Springs neighborhood.
Specifically selected to appear along the major conduit for out-of-town visitors entering Downtown, the mural activates 320 linear feet of dark, unwelcoming state highway underpass with textile-inspired designs featuring portraits of Springs residents, past and present, representing the erased Conejos Street Neighborhood.
Colorado Springs DDA Gateways Initiative
Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs