Q & A on Downtown Loveland:  A conversation with Phil Farley 

As we see Downtown Loveland exploding with new development and rapidly becoming a vibrant city center, it’s hard to believe that 10 years ago there seemed to be little excitement and no clear vision for the historic heart of Loveland.  Thanks to the collaborative efforts of many different individuals and organizations, Downtown Loveland has become a great success story.  The following is a conversation with Phil Farley, a former member of the Loveland City Council, and a former Community Foundation Trustee and staff member.

Tell us about the Community Foundation’s work in the revitalization of Downtown Loveland?

Phil Farley: In starting this journey over 10 years ago, we were able to tap into the expertise of the Urban Land Institute in Washington D.C., working through a Life-Time Trustee, James DeFrancia. The ULI has a long history of advising cities, counties, states, and even countries all over the world to help them better understand the issues, challenges, and solutions that are necessary to meet the needs of their communities. The Community Foundation — with strong leadership from its Loveland Community Fund Committee — organized and sponsored the highly successful event “Destination Downtown” at the La Quinta Event Center 10 years ago in November 2008.

Bill Hudnut, the former Congressman, five-term Mayor of Indianapolis, and a Senior Fellow at the ULI, gave an inspirational and direction-changing talk about the benefits of having a vital downtown. It seemed every Loveland resident had either attended the event or knew someone who had, and the word of his talk spread quickly. Bill had the charisma to make some unforgettable points that resonated with the large crowd and, most importantly, with City Council. One was that, “It is the responsibility of the City to steer the boat while the function of private sector is to row the boat."

Another key statement that resonated with the audience was his advice to “be what you are.” Given that Loveland is defined by the arts, this indirectly led to the creation of the Lofts at the Feed & Grain, funded by the nonprofit Artspace, with significant help from the City, other nonprofits, and the Community Foundation (including support from the Loveland Community Fund).   

What was the catalyst for change?

Phil Farley: The conversation about downtown changed after Bill Hudnut’s presentation, and the Community Foundation played a key role in those discussions. It was at about this time that Troy Peterson, of Flagstone Partners, came to both the City and the Community Foundation with an idea to tear down two non-historical single-story buildings next door to the Rialto Theatre and replace them with a three-story structure that would be jointly owned by the City and private investors.

It was a unique public-private-philanthropic partnership. This resulted in the Rialto Theater Complex, a terrific building with an outstanding privately owned restaurant and a privately owned third-floor office space, with the rest of the space owned by the City to provide much needed space for the Rialto and for public gatherings.   

Before being elected to City Council, I remember standing in front of City Council saying that the Community Foundation would – gulp – commit to raising $700K to fund the public portion of the building – gulp. Thanks to broad, generous community support, the campaign was successful, and the revitalization of downtown started becoming a reality. It seemed that the private and business sectors started to believe that the City and others were willing to invest in the revitalization of our downtown.

The catalyst for downtown has several prongs: the initiative taken by the Community Foundation’s Loveland Community Fund Committee; the appearance by Bill Hudnut with his ULI expertise; the visionary leadership in both the Mayor’s and the City Manager’s offices; and the commitment of the public and business sectors to financially support something.  There were multiple parties involved, each providing indispensable leadership. 

How would you sum up the role the Community Foundation has played?

Phil Farley: The Community Foundation worked to be a thought leader, painting a vibrant picture of the importance of downtown revitalization.  Motivating the City to help “steer the boat” — as Bill Hudnut said — was a sea change for Loveland.  It was crucial for the City to establish a bold vision for downtown, and the Community Foundation played a major role in encouraging that vision. 

 

Reflections from 
Bob Everitt, 
Founding Trustee 

The reputation of the Foundation has grown immensely through the years and is operating in a fashion never dreamed of in its formative years. Click here to read the two-page reflection document written by Bob Everitt. 


Reflections from
Wynne Odell,
President's Council


When I finished two years of service as Board Chair, I looked back in amazement at all we accomplished during that time. The organization has embraced regional cooperation as a focus for convening initiatives, weathered the toughest economic downturn in decades, attracted new donors, grown our assets, and funded new initiatives. My most pleasant memories come from working with the Foundation’s phenomenal staff and board. I am honored to have worked with a group of people so forward thinking and positive and with an organization so proactive and productive.   


Reflections from 
LuAnn Ball,
Former Member,
Board of Trustees


LuAnn Ball

My father, Karl Carson, often said, “When you leave this world, leave it a little better place.” He was a part of the group that spearheaded the creation of the Community Foundation. This group of ordinary citizens had a vision and a dream to benefit their community, and that has certainly been done. That dream lives on today and now includes a more regional focus for visioning and philanthropy, far beyond the founders’ original focus of one community arts center.