We sat down
recently with Mike Yankovich, Gretchen Kerr, and Amy Burt of the Children’s
Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to reflect on our work together. We asked them to take us back to
Twelve years ago, our
hero’s journey began, as many do, with a quest for knowledge. Feeling a bit
like the cartoon character “Underdog,” the Museum knew they had potential to
make a more notable impact on the community yet weren’t quite sure how to get
there. The facility was a bit too crowded—a theme that would emerge again in
later years. Their search for answers led them to Corona Insights, as the
Museum endeavored to gather customer insights to determine how to make the most
of the available space, enhance quality, and solidify their reputation.
This quarter, we spent some time thinking and writing about some of the key issues that our local communities are facing and offered some suggestions on how some communities are facing those challenges.
Many of our clients throughout Colorado are experiencing and planning for population growth. Looking at the skyline around the Denver Metro area, you might see more than a dozen construction cranes from one viewpoint. Near my home, formerly vacant land is being and plotted for new houses. According to the Colorado State Demographer, Colorado’s population is expected to grow by 76,000 people in 2019 alone (for reference, the City of Loveland has a population of about 76,000).
There’s almost nothing people love to hate as much. It seems like such a simple problem, but
there are rarely any easy solutions.
While cities across the U.S. regularly struggle with how to most effectively
move people around, Colorado (and Denver in particular) has found itself far
behind these days due to rapid population growth. Our transportation planners do their best to
make improvements to our roads and highways on a regular basis, but the fact of
the matter is that infrastructure improvements take lots of time and lots of
money, and we seem to be starved for both these days.
While Denver Public Schools has managed to
limit its first teacher strike in 25 years to three days, the reality
that it had to come to that is an indicator of a fact that has become common
knowledge around the country: public education is hard. While most agree that teachers are
chronically underpaid in many areas of the country, few agree on what can be
done about it. In Colorado, there is an
unending debate about how to pay for education, roads, and healthcare, and most
of the ballot initiatives aimed at raising taxes to support these priorities
fail. While we at Corona won’t be
solving all these problems in this blog, we wanted to highlight a few of our
clients who have made moves to improve the educational landscape in recent
While working on a recent project assessing the housing
market for the City of Fort Collins, we were struck by how communities across
the state and the country were pursuing diverse strategies to the current housing
affordability crisis. The
fourth quarter of 2018 saw national home affordability drop to a 10-year low.
Residents in our hometown of Denver are all too familiar with this dynamic. A recent
report identified the city as hosting the most competitive housing
market in the nation. Members of the country’s middle class are increasingly viewing
home ownership as unfeasible. The vast majority of Americans find themselves in
markets where home
prices are rising faster than wages. It should not be surprising
is more affordable than owning in 59% of the nation’s counties. That
number jumps to 93% of the country’s most populated areas (those with more than
1 million people).
Beginning on December 22, 2018, parts of the federal
government were shut down due to insufficient funding. After 35 days, the
longest government shutdown in United States history came to an end on the
afternoon of January 25, 2019. Although the shutdown has now ended, the effects
of it will continue to reverberate in Colorado.
One agency affected by the shutdown was the Department of the
Interior, which oversees the National Park system, including Colorado’s own
Rocky Mountain National Park. According
to the National Parks Conservation Association, “on an average day
in January, 425,000 park visitors spend $20 million in nearby communities.” Rocky
Mountain National Park technically remained open during the shutdown. However,
without federal workers to maintain the park, trashcans cans were deluged with
trash and roads remained unplowed, creating hazardous conditions for visitors.
In communities near Rocky Mountain National Park, such as Estes Park, business
owners noted they experienced a decrease in sales and business in general as
tourists and locals alike were unable to safely fully experience the national
park. While the winter season may not be the most lucrative time of year, the
decrease in revenue will undoubtedly leave some business owners with a
Though we at Corona serve clients of all shapes and sizes,
we particularly love helping local governments and nonprofits to improve the
lives of people in the communities in which we live, work, and play. This quarter, we will be focusing on some of
the issues that local communities are facing this year. While the specific
topics may shift as the quarter goes on, you can likely expect to hear from us
about topics such as:
How the impacts of government shutdown might
linger long after the shutdown ends
The challenges with providing housing for an
Trends in population growth and where we expect
things to go in the future
The rapidly shifting landscape of public
education and the impacts that Governor Polis might have in Colorado
Stay tuned this quarter for discussions on many other
topics. We hope to shed some light on
not only what some of these challenges are, but also how some communities can
get ahead of these trends to positively impact their communities, so we hope
you will enjoy the conversation!
We are thrilled to celebrate the creation of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Denver.
The creation of the College is a direct result of their strategic planning process. The exciting Keystone Strategic Plan commits the college to nothing less than the transformation of the liberal and creative arts education in alignment with the University’s transformation under DU IMPACT 2025.
What role will the social sciences, arts, and humanities play in a world that increasingly operates through artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and big data? A very important one. The careers and lives of tomorrow will be defined by distinctly human qualities such as ethical judgment, creativity, adaptability, agility, and storytelling.
“This plan represents the best of our strategy work at Corona. We are thrilled with the resulting plan and look forward to the momentum and positive changes it creates for the students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the college,” said Karla Raines.
Read the full press release here. See the video that DU produced about the plan below.
We were very excited to work with B:CIVIC, the Denver Chamber, DaVita, TIAA and the University of Denver to collect data about how businesses in Colorado are engaging with and giving to their communities. It was great to see that businesses of all sizes across Colorado are engaging in corporate philanthropy, especially at the local level. It was also interesting to see that in addition to cash donations, many businesses are offering support for their employees to donate time and money.