What’s in a Name?
As many of you know, the Chamber has assumed the role of catalyst, convener, and champion of “CMU 20000.” CMU20000 is an economic development and skilled workforce initiative that will grow Colorado Mesa University to 15,000 students and will engage 5,000 community supporters. It means new jobs and hundreds of millions more in annual economic activity to the Grand Valley. The initiative has dozens of components. One of them builds off the great work that has been done by businesses owners on the North Avenue corridor in recent years, which is asking City Council to adopt a resolution changing North Avenue’s name to “University Boulevard.”
So, will a name change instantly revitalize North Avenue and get us to 15,000 CMU students? Hardly. But it’s one concrete and visible way for us as a community to pivot towards the goal of expanding CMU and creating a university town that attracts more students, visitors, outside business, and capital investment. The business community and the broader community stand to directly benefit. Being associated with the University in the minds of consumers and investors will also benefit those businesses located on University Boulevard. And we know that having an institution of higher learning embraced by and integrated with the community is a critical consideration for expanding and relocating companies.
University Boulevard is also the starting point—not the ending point—of revitalizing this historic business corridor, and making it once again a thriving center of commerce. Along those lines, the Chamber is also asking City Council to continue its worthy commitment to upgrading the infrastructure and landscaping on that corridor.
The Chamber is very cognizant of the potential business costs that come with a name change, and we’re committed to mitigating that where possible. The proposed City Council resolution provides many months before the name change takes effect so that businesses can deplete their stock of business cards, letterhead, and so on. Mail will still be delivered to the “old” addresses for over a year after the name change is implemented. In addition, the Chamber is fully engaged in helping impacted businesses, and has already begun to address some of those important issues (i.e., helping with printing costs, ensuring a painless transfer of liquor licenses, government contracts, logos, name changes for businesses that contain “North Avenue,” helping businesses manage their online presence, organizing volunteers to assist with address change paperwork, and so on.) We firmly believe, though, that any short- term pain will be far outweighed by long term gain—and I look forward to the day when a renamed University Boulevard is once again a thriving business community.
I strongly encourage Chamber members to join our leadership and multiple North Avenue businesses in asking the City Council adopt the name change at its August 16th City Hall meeting. Or drop a quick group email to our City Council by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chamber members are encouraged to join our leadership in asking the City Council to make this important decision in favor of renaming North Avenue University Boulevard when it becomes before them for action on August 16th by being at the meeting or sending an email to Council members voicing your support.
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce August 2017 Newsletter.