Return of Durango Design & Development Awards honor eight organizations – The Durango Herald

The city hopes to promote a resilient and sustainable community

Durango artist Mariah Kaminsky is working on a mural titled “Simple Pleasures” for the Southwest Center for Independence at 3473 Main Ave. in Durango. The mural won a Design & Development Award from the City of Durango for Outstanding Mural. The awards program aims to highlight building and facility designs and works of art that promote sustainability and a sense of community. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The City of Durango has reinstated its Design & Development Awards for 2020-21 after a 21-year hiatus. In doing so, the city recognized eight organizations in various categories.

The public was invited to nominate local businesses, non-profit organizations and public facilities in eight categories through April.

The Design & Development Awards began in 1983 and ran until 2001, city planner Savannah Lytle said in an email to The Herald of Durango.

Durango brought the program back to highlight the positive aspects of design and development in the city, she said.

“The intent of the program was to highlight how good design and development adds units to the housing stock, improves quality of life, creates a sense of place, and builds a resilient and sustainable community,” he said. she stated.

Lytle said exceptional development can add housing stock in innovative ways to reach those who need it most.

“For example, the winner of the outstanding housing development award was Espero Apartments,” she said. “Espero is Durango’s first property built exclusively to serve those who earn 30% (of the region’s median income) and below, have been homeless and live with a disabling condition.”

She called Espero Apartments an “innovative partnership” between BluLine Development and Southwest Housing Solutions.

The city also pursued the Design & Development Awards because it values ​​creating a sense of belonging within the community, Lytle said. A sense of place is important to the health and sustainability of a community because it represents residents’ relationships with the place they call home.

“It’s our story about a place,” she said. “If we create a positive sense of place that the community can identify with and feel a sense of belonging, that creates an attachment to place. The place is considered valuable and we want to ensure a sustainable future for it.

Lytle said the nominees were reviewed by various community development boards and commissions, which selected the winners.

The Design Review Panel selected winners in the categories Outstanding Bump-out, Outstanding Signage, Outstanding Outdoor Commercial Patio, and Outstanding Commercial/Mixed-Use Design.

The Creative Economy Commission selected the winner in the Outstanding Mural category.

And the Planning Commission selected winners in the Outstanding Sustainability Project, Outstanding Housing Development and Outstanding Community Benefit categories.

An image gallery of the winning organizations can be viewed on the city’s website at

Winners and nominees

Local author John Peel, center, chats with tourists during a book signing outside Maria’s bookstore. The bookstore has created a garden setting for its bump-out. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Exceptional bump out

Winner: Maria’s bookstore


  • Maria’s Bookstore
  • Seasons
  • Cafe Hermosa
  • Lone Spur Cafe

Carol Clark, co-owner of The Union Social House, walks past the restaurant’s new greenhouses in January 2021. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald File)

Exceptional outdoor commercial patio

Winner: Trade Union Social Center


  • Trade union social house
  • Zia North
  • First

Durango artist Mariah Kaminsky works on a mural titled “Simple Pleasures” for the Southwest Center for Independence in June 2020 at 3473 Main Ave. in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Outstanding Mural

Winner: “Simple Pleasures” by Mariah Kaminsky at the Southwest Center for Independence


  • Durango Public Library
  • Sage Farm Fresh Eats
  • Southwest Center for Independence
  • Cyclerie Durango

Interpretation panels of the Durango Botanical Garden. (Courtesy of the City of Durango)

exceptional sign

Winner: Durango Botanical Gardens, Annette LeMaire and Bryan Saren


  • Durango Botanical Gardens
  • Cafe Hermosa
  • Free tacos
  • Mild to wild

An artist rendering of the remodeling of the Durango Herald offices at 1275 Main Ave. The remodel won an award from the City of Durango for Outstanding Commercial/Mixed-Use Design. (Durango Herald file)

Outstanding commercial/mixed-use design

Winner: Durango Herald, RMBA Architects


  • Zia North
  • Office of Reynolds Ash + Associates
  • Herald of Durango

Housing Solutions for the Southwest hosted a grand opening in October 2021 of Espero Apartments in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Outstanding housing development

Winner: Espero Apartments


  • Espero Apartments
  • Jameson Court
  • Rincon

Steve Wilson with The Good Food Collective is surrounded by apples after climbing a tree north of Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Outstanding Sustainability Project

Winner: Good Food Collective


  • Durango Public Library Botanical Garden
  • Good Food Collective
  • Mountain College

Animas City Night Bazaar on North Main Avenue. (Durango Herald file)

Outstanding Community Benefit

Winner: Animas City Night Bazaar/The Hive


  • Animas City Night Bazaar Passegiata/La Ruche
  • Durango Fire Station #3

Also recognized

The Historic Preservation Council recognized two for the categories Outstanding Historic Preservation Sustainability Project and Outstanding Contribution to the Maintenance of a Historic Structure.

Carol and David Grenoble were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the maintenance of a historic structure, for their property located at 1001 East Third Ave. And the First Presbyterian Church was recognized in the category “Outstanding Historic Preservation Sustainability”.

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