OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

Rifle Main Street Program

OSMRE / VISTA: Cathleen Anthony
Supervisor: Nathan Lindquist
Address: 202 Railroad Ave, Rifle, Colorado 81650-2218
County: Garfield
Voice Telephone: ?970-665-6496
Email: canthony@rifleco.org
Web site: www.rifleco.org/
Congressional District:
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


The Rifle Main Street Program addresses the city's need for economic diversity by promoting economic development through special events in downtown Rifle, and creating an atmosphere of communication and collaboration among businesses and local organizations through outreach and education.

The City of Rifle’s mission is to provide quality services that:

• embrace our sense of community;

• promote economic vitality;

• preserve our natural assets;

• promote public health and safety;

• promote cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities;

 for the benefit of the Rifle community.

 The VISTA member will particularly assist with the “promotion of economic vitality”.  Creating economic vitality plays a key role in the reduction of poverty in Rifle through the increase of employment opportunities in economic sectors that are currently under-represented.

About the Surrounding Community

Rifle experiences challenges due to the economic boom-bust cycles of the mining and energy extraction industry (kerogen, oil shale, coal, natural gas).  During boom periods rapid growth occurs that is unsustainable, leading to bust periods that bring

increased poverty.  The last boom period ended in 2008.  Jobs in the industry have declined rapidly since that time.  Rifle’s other economic challenge is the long commute time for many workers to resort areas such as Aspen (90 minute drive), or to distant mining sites in the mountains.  Rifle’s median household income is $52,482; below the Colorado average of $56,765.  High-paying oil and gas industry jobs the difficult situation of the rest of population who work outside of the industry. The rate of free and reduced lunches within the local school system is 47% in Rifle compared to 43% in Colorado as a whole.  While Rifle’s incomes are lower than average, the cost of living in Rifle is higher than average.  Average home prices are $248,000 in Rifle compared to $234,900 statewide.

These economic challenges create a need for economic diversification and jobs located within Rifle. The lack of a diverse economy that provides opportunities for better employment and income. Only 11% of Rifle’s population has a bachelor’s degree, versus 36% of Colorado as a whole.


Project Overview

The Main Street program moves individuals and the Rifle community out of poverty through the revitalization of downtown Rifle.  This will diversify the economy, increase tourism to the region, improve opportunities for business expansion and attraction, and provide jobs to residents of the community.

Within the downtown area there are several vacant storefronts. By improving the special events downtown, this real estate is more attractive to businesses and services. By providing farmers markets and downtown gatherings, the Main Street Program creates a venue for local artisans and producers who may not have the economic ability or network to make similar sales on their own. The Main Street Program, by cultivating these spaces, will generate more traffic for downtown shopping and business opportunities. 

Additionally, downtown events will allow outreach to businesses. Businesses will be invited to participate in the events. For example, an evening show at the downtown theater might include catering by a local restaurant, or be tied to a promotional item such as a coupon.

Sponsors and Partners

see: www.rifleco.org/