The North Boulder Commercial District is one of ten nominees in the Denver Regional Council of Governments' Live Work Play 2011 campaign. The public will decide which community is the best, most livable community in the Denver region by voting online.
This week, 9NEWS visited the NoBo District, putting the spotlight on businesses and culture in North Boulder.
NoBo, nicknamed the "dog patch" in the 1990s, was an area of random housing, businesses and under-utilized land.
Despite some resistance from property owners that wanted to keep their "semi-rural" lifestyle, the city developed the NoBo Plan to bring more small businesses and housing to an area they believe is both beautiful and diverse.
"First of all, there's no one master planner," Boulder's Mayor Susan Osborne said. "It's not like a project that a single architect sat down and designed. It really arises from a lot of community interest and having a place where people can come and live and work and play."
Over a number of years, local community leaders and the city were able to agree on a plan that changed the area.
In fifteen years, the NoBo District has been transformed into a place that is now known for its businesses, artisans, trails and transit.
"If you want to go downtown there's two different bus lines that run to the east or west side of town," Martin Hammer, owner of local restaurant 4580 said. "You could be downtown in five minutes."
The area is also known as a diverse place full of people with different interests, many being outdoor activities. According to Brandon Dwight, owner of the local store Boulder Cycle Sport, NoBo is a popular meeting place for cyclists who enjoy riding north of town.
"There's a lot going on up here," Dwight said. "A lot of different age groups and a lot of people into different sports, not just cycling, you know. Whether it's running or hiking, or people heading out to the reservoir to do things on the water. So there's a lot to do up here."
So why should you vote for NoBo?
"It's an evolving area. It started with some city investment buying an old drive-in theater," said Osborne. "Today, that drive-in theater is home to a couple hundred people and families, some wonderful businesses and it's a wonderful community."
To vote and see all of the Live Work Play 2011 nominees, visit http://www.liveworkplay2011.com/.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)