Incorporated in 1961, Longmont, Colorado, is situated in Boulder County near Denver and has grown to a population of about 83,000. The city was a major farming area in the 1870s, after a group of men from Chicago brought building materials to construct what they called "The Chicago-Colorado Colony." Named for nearby Longs Peak, which was first sighted in the 1820s by the explorer Major Stephen H. Long, Longmont is known for its high-tech and tourism industries.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
After a period of urban decay, Longmont got a boost when high-tech companies began moving into the area. The city was able to transform itself from a bedroom community into a first-class urban center. It is now a processing and trade center for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and produces manufacturing equipment, metal products and vitamins. Longmont's business park center has grown and the downtown area has improved, due in part to the Longmont Downtown Development Authority. Additionally, the city's population has nearly doubled since the 1980s.
Longmont's high-tech industry, which accounts for 27 percent of the city's employment base, produces biopharmaceuticals, satellite imagery, and disk drive designs. The Boulder-Longmont area also has a very high number of software-related jobs.
The city has implemented economic programs to encourage the growth of local or home-grown businesses. For example, the Longmont Economic Gardening Initiative (LEGI), which began in 2006, was an alliance among local business partners to offer information about training, strategic planning and financial assistance. The primary goal of LEGI was to provide a comprehensive list of employment services that would be made available electronically.
According to a recent census, the Boulder-Longmont area has the highest percentage of residents over the age of 25 who hold a college degree or higher. There are several academic institutions that serve Longmont:
- Front Range Community College, located on Miller Drive, offers degrees and certificates in the areas of arts and humanities, emergency medical services, English, language and communication, math, and teaching English as a second language.
- Located on Ken Pratt Boulevard, Longs Peak Academy of Cosmetology trains potential beauty professionals in cosmetology, hairstyling, esthetics and manicuring.
- Longmont Free University is an online institution that offers a variety of art-, science-, and business-related courses.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Longmont has a number of distinct neighborhoods and residential areas that have grown as a result of the economic opportunities that arrived as the city embraced the high-tech industry:
- Aspen Grove Village is a relatively small "Seniors Community" of residents age 55 or older. The most popular style of housing is the upscale ranch with attached patio that ensures low maintenance.
- Bohn Farm Neighborhood is one of the city's older communities and contains a mix of single-family and historic homes in an open, rural atmosphere. The old Bohn dairy farm is situated in the center of the neighborhood.
- One of the newer neighborhoods in Longmont, Champion Greens contains homes built in the southwest Colorado style, which includes a detached patio. The neighborhood is situated in a gated community that offers views of the Twin Peaks Golf Course and the Rocky Mountains.
- The Historic Eastside neighborhood features many homes that date from the late 1800s or early 1900s. This neighborhood has a small-town atmosphere with large lots, wide streets, and plenty of trees.
- Prospectis characterized by the New Urbanism trend, which is a design that focuses on safe, traffic-calmed, and cohesive but diverse communities. The neighborhood is designed as a mixed-use development with single-family homes, townhouses and courtyard homes, apartments, and commercial retail and office space.
- Twin Peaks Village is a subdivision with an open common area that includes a gazebo, which is a popular spot for breakfasts and picnics.
Longmont contains a number of historic sites and attractive green spaces:
- Dickens Opera House, first built by William Henry Dickens in 1881 and registered as a historic property in 1987, features a theater and a lower floor that hosts a variety of commercial events.
- Callahan House, donated to the city in 1938 by Thomas and Alice Callahan, is a historic Victorian home that is frequently used to host special events, such as weddings and dinner parties. The Italian garden, which can accommodate 150 guests, features large shade trees, multiple flowerbeds, statues, a fountain, and a large lawn.
- Longmont Museum and Cultural Center, situated on Quail Road in south Longmont, has an outdoor courtyard with excellent views and an interior filled with exhibit galleries. The museum includes classrooms that are used for special events.
- Sandstone Ranch Park, built in the early 1880s and registered as a local landmark in 2000, is set on more than 300 acres of land that overlooks the sandstone bluffs into the Saint Vrain Valley. The ranch is both a nature preserve and community park.
- Located on Third Avenue, Golden Ponds offers a pleasant view of the Long's Peak and the Front Range, as well as a few miles of park trails and several picnic shelters. The area contains a 140-foot-span bridge that crosses the Colorado River and waterfowl such as cormorants and blue herons.
The Longmont Times-Call is the city's daily newspaper.