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Moses Lake takes steps toward Creative District designation

by SAM FLETCHER
Staff Writer | July 20, 2021 1:05 AM

Moses Lake’s vision of designating downtown as a Creative District has surpassed the dreaming stage.

A Creative District is a walkable area of artistic activities and businesses, a community heart to live in, work in and visit. Once a Creative District is designated, the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) provides signage, resources and funds for this purpose.

“I think from a marketing standpoint and a business recruitment standpoint for downtown, it really gives you a focal point, so we look forward to exploring the opportunity,” said City Manager Allison Williams at a recent city council meeting.

Over the weekend, ArtsWA Creative Districts Program Manager Annette Roth toured the walkable designation area, as she couldn’t last year due to the pandemic. She also met with the Moses Lake Creative District Committee.

Broadway Avenue serves as a border, and the district envelopes all of downtown, as well as McCosh Park, the Japanese Peace Garden and the skate park.

With members of the Downtown Moses Lake Association board, Roth discussed Moses Lake’s assets, said Dollie Boyd, Moses Lake Museum & Art Center manager.

“I think she was really impressed with what we have going on here,” she said.

Her first time in Moses Lake, Roth noted the farmers market was large for the size of the town, Boyd said. Other assets include the Centennial Amphitheater, the murals and sculptures downtown, as well as the variety of shops.

“She sees we’re in a good place to start with, and it can only get better from here,” Boyd said.

The Moses Lake Creative District Committee, with members from NCW Libraries, Columbia Basin Allied Arts, Desert Artists, the Moses Lake Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department advisory board, the Downtown Moses Lake Association and more, is currently in the process of hiring a Creative District coordinator to take over the planning, application and data gathering processes, she said.

The committee is also seeking public input from business owners, people in creative industries and anyone who wants to share their voice, including creating a video package and more creative forms of outreach.

Hoping for more Latino voices, they have translated the survey to Spanish as well. To give input, visit cityofml.com/1008/creative-district.

The goal is to submit the final application by the end of this year, Boyd said. Certifications and resources will follow.