The Wyoming Main Street Alliance says Laramie easily led the state in the number of downtown renovation projects and public improvement projects last year.
The group says the average number of renovation projects in 2013 in major Wyoming downtowns was about 15. Laramie had 46.
Main Street works to revitalize cities by preserving their historical characters. Each year they track new businesses, jobs, and projects that improve downtowns.
The nonprofit says that for every dollar they spent revitalizing downtown Laramie last year, public and private investors spent another 22 dollars. They say this resulted in steady growth for Laramie’s downtown.
Overall, Laramie spent 1.9 million dollars on renovations in 2013. Laramie also led the number of public improvement projects in the state, at 6.
Laramie Main Street Alliance Director Trey Sherwood says that downtowns are irreplaceable. She says that a downtown’s historical, social, and cultural uniqueness make it the heart of a city.
“It helps the community define itself,” Sherwood says. “We’ve got buildings down here that are a hundred years old. They’re full of character and quirks and memories. So you can interview your grandpa and he’s like, I remember when that building was a shoe store! And, you know, now it’s a restaurant! And so it’s part of the fabric of the community.”
Sherwood says that changes to Laramie’s downtown last year include the opening of the Library Bar and Grill, and the Laramie Mural Project.