Charles Marohn recalls, as a child, taking walks with his grandfather, who had lived through the Great Depression. During their time together, Marohn would watch as he collected cans along the roadside to sell for scrap.

“He’d take a truckload in for $5,” Marohn said. “Nobody does that today. That seems crazy and beneath us. But he grew up in the Depression in a 500-square-foot home and had to scrimp and save.”

His grandfather’s frugality and resourcefulness left an impression, Marohn said, one that could benefit cities and towns across the country.

Marohn is the third and final speaker in the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs’ City Center Series, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. (speaker starts at 6 p.m) April 3 at the Richard F. Celeste Theater, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave. Tickets are $10.

Author of “Thoughts on Building Strong Towns,” Marohn began his career with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology and, eventually, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.

A professional engineer licensed in the state of Minnesota, he is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and founder and president of the nonprofit, Strong Towns.

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According to the Downtown Partnership, “Marohn’s conversational, off-the-cuff talk focuses on how, with a limited budget, communities can build better infrastructure and resiliency for themselves. This ‘Neighborhoods First’ approach says the best way to build a stronger town is by making small, incremental investments over time — not by waiting for change from the top down. By empowering active citizens, local officials, and ordinary people to identify high-return opportunities already available in their community, Marohn’s presentation focuses on strategies to build a town that address citizens’ real-world needs in financially sustainable ways.”

Find tickets to the event at and read more about Marohn in the March 23 print edition of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.