Sunday, June 04, 2006

Joe Lacy's Legacy

There is a small bust located on Main Street in
Grand Junction that may look a little silly. It's
a bust of Joe Lacy. Joe was the City Manager of
Grand Junction during the 60's and had a fondness
for wearing hats. As a result, Joe's head wears a
different hat or cap almost every day. No single
person is responsible. Just the residents of the
city, beautifying downtown by putting a new hat on Joe.

Beautifying Main Street is not only the legacy of
Joe's bust and it's collection of hats; it's Joe's
legacy as well. Joe was responsible for an innovative
plan called "Operation Foresight" This plan was
revolutionary for it's time and helped downtown
Grand Junction become the pleasant place it is today.

In 1960, Grand Junction was like almost any other
town of it's size in middle America. A not-so-special
main street and little or no thought to urban planning.
Joe changed all of that with his proposal for upgrading
utilities, streets, and the overall shopping experience
for downtown. It was one of the first "urban malls" and
was copied successfully and unsuccessfully by many other

Today, Main Street is still a success. One of the nicest
things about Grand Junction is that it pretty much has
every "name" store you would want. Are these downtown?
No, they are on the fringes of town like in many other
communities. But downtown is still a place where people
go to shop, relax and entertain. There aren't any boarded
windows, closed shops and places dying on the vine. It
thrives, and has Joe Lacy to thank for much of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not even a mention of the giant chrome buffalo?!? I used to hang out on the patio of Rockslide Brewery a lot and, of course, Summit Canyon is a great store too.