From People to Places, the Uplands Community Collective
Strengthens Our Local Economy One Initiative At a Time
At Uplands, we recognize that a comprehensive, all-encompassing approach to our city’s future land use and sustainability is vital in creating a resilient, equitable and inclusive community in which all Westminster residents thrive.
That’s why we’ve created the Uplands Community Collective, a new and dedicated nonprofit working to create a resilient place-based economy in Westminster that works for everyone. With a mission to build the relationships, resources and models necessary to realize that vision, the collective is designed to leverage our investment in Westminster to bolster the local economy.
What Does the Uplands Community Collective Do?
Working with local schools, businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, community leaders and other members of the community, the Uplands Community Collective will create and sustain new jobs on-site, from construction and landscaping to agriculture, food production and much more.
“We formed the collective in 2020 after several years of community engagement and research on economic and housing disparities in Westminster,” said Eric Kornacki, the organization’s executive director. “And we’ve established relationships and partnerships that will be key to improving the city’s physical infrastructure, as well as the health and welfare of residents through people- and place-based efforts.”
Whether that means supporting existing small businesses, creating new workforce opportunities or working to build a stronger, more resilient economy in general, we’re changing the paradigm of community development by prioritizing people and place. At the Uplands Community Collective, our work is focused on four major pillars:
1. Food & Agriculture
2. Workforce Development
3. Business Development
4. Community-Serving Real Estate Development
Food and Agriculture
Leveraging the site’s unique history as private farmland, Uplands is collaborating with the city and advocating for a portion of the site’s 47 acres of parks to be dedicated as a community farm. The collective has partnered with local schools and stakeholders to provide educational agricultural opportunities to the public, empowering students and the community at large with the knowledge necessary to practice suburban agriculture. By focusing on how our food is grown, shared and consumed, we can help Westminster increase food production and food security.
Through a training, apprentice and certification program in the construction and trades sectors, we are actively building a local workforce equipped to meet the opportunities and needs of our local community. We want Uplands to be built by the people who live here, which is why we’re partnering with organizations like Colorado Homebuilding Academy and Westminster Public Schools’ Career and Technical Education program to create and support construction, horticulture and maintenance jobs in the local community.
Additionally, the Uplands Community Collective is building an incubator to help local small businesses and area entrepreneurs capitalize on the billions of dollars of new economic investment generated by Uplands. The Collective will play an important part in the small business ecosystem in Westminster. The Collective will run an incubator program for aspiring or novice entrepreneurs to start their own business, and will provide programming and access to technical support, mentoring and small business experts who can help with specific needs, such as finance, accounting or marketing.
Community-Serving Real Estate
Finally, the Collective is identifying opportunities for community-centered real estate development projects, which increase equity, generate community wealth, and improve health and wellness. This work is already beginning at 88th and Lowell, where the Collective is activating a former liquor store and dive bar into a new community hub, which will offer healthy food retail and food assistance programs, workforce development programming, adult education and skills-building, and much more.
Creating Collective Impact
When it comes to building a strong local economy that works for everyone, actions speak louder than words. At Uplands Community Collective, our approach begins — and ends — with community engagement. We listen and learn, synthesize information to better understand structural and systemic issues and opportunities within the ecosystem, bring in experts from various backgrounds to solve complex community issues, and create a collective impact on an individual level, an organizational level, a community level and a systems level.
If you’re interested in getting involved or learning more about how the Uplands Community Collective is turning beliefs into action, visit uplandscommunitycollective.org. Let’s build a resilient, equitable and inclusive place-based economy in Westminster — collectively!