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Downtown Digest News • Web Extras

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October 2019

Cities embrace land banks as blight-fighting tool —  A land bank’s main goal is forcing ownership changes of buildings that have sat vacant for years or even decades, especially those held by owners who have died or disappeared.  Read Frank Alexander’s report on land banks. ...

Chalking tires of parked cars? You might be violating motorists’ rights —  The age-old parking practice of using chalk to mark the tires of parked cars faces legal scrutiny — and it just might be unconstitutional. See a federal appeals court’s ruling against tire chalking. ...

Business plan competition offers support, spurs growth —  The Downtown Sacramento Partnership runs an annual contest that solicits business plans from would-be retailers. The contest, Calling All Dreamers, gives one promising retailer a grand prize of $10,000 in cash plus more than $100,000 in services. Watch finalist videos from the contest below and click this link to see program guidelines. ...

Fire suppression incentives —  To encourage property owners to install sprinklers, the City of Frederick, MD, offers a Fire Suppression Incentive Program. See the details and application. ...

Public art encourages citizen involvement —  The Lafayette sign in Lafayette, LA, was erected in 2017 as an interactive public art installation. Local nonprofit groups are encouraged to paint its letters to promote community events and awareness. Read the art guidelines. ...

Parking rate structure encourages turnover —  The City of Spokane Downtown Parking Study presents a comprehensive package of recommendations designed to “facilitate growth and activity downtown, while making parking more convenient and user-friendly for residents, businesses, employees, and visitors.”...

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September 2019

Small city uses arts to drive decades-long renaissance —  Paducah, KY, has combined a quilting museum and a public mural project with local pride and a relentless place-building campaign to turn itself into a widely recognized arts hub.  • Read the LowerTown Neighborhood Plan. • Watch a video about Paducah’s renaissance below. ...

City scrutinizes parking patterns, adjusts rates based on findings —  Each spring, Seattle’s consulting firm dispatches researchers to count cars in every block, every hour from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Based on those results, Seattle adjusts hourly parking rates. See the Seattle Department of Transportation’s educational video below. ...

Millennial SWAT team identifies downtown assets and needs —  Springfield, MO, is working to attract millennials to live and work in the city center. Its secret weapon? A Millennial SWAT team. The city organized millennial residents into small teams and sent them into a variety of downtowns that boast features that Springfield might want to emulate. Read the Millennial SWAT team’s full report....

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City Considers Converting One-Way Streets to Two-Way Traffic — Gets Pushback

August 8, 2019 — Atlanta’s post-war boom has positioned it as the archetypal sprawling Sunbelt city. Now, some in the city aim to make downtown friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists by converting some one-way streets to two-way thoroughfares. The downtown business group Central Atlanta Progress has proposed turning six blocks of Baker Street into a…To read more — login/sign up

 

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August 2019

Growth of food halls continues —  The number of food halls nationally is poised to grow from just 120 in 2016 to 450 by the end of 2020, commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield concludes in its Food Halls 3.0 report. ...

Amid shift to pedestrianism, shade takes on new importance —  Phoenix has embraced the need for shade. Read the City of Phoenix Tree and Shade Master Plan....

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Rather Than Regulating Chains, City Imposes Limits on Width of Storefronts

July 12, 2019 — In a bid to keep small retailers from being priced out of its resurgent downtown, St. Petersburg, FL, is experimenting with new rules regarding its merchant mix. The city’s "storefront conservation corridor" offers an unusual approach to regulating retailers in two busy business districts. Rather than limiting chains or banning them…To read more — login/sign up

 

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Community Casts Votes for New Placemaking Project

June 27, 2019 — A downtown-wide vote engaged the public and provided needed supplies for local charities in Winchester, KY. With eight potential place-making projects and just $5,000 to spend, Main Street Winchester created the Winchester Downtown Bracket to select the winning project. The projects were in four categories: downtown amenities, public art, pedestrian improvements,…To read more — login/sign up

 

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July 2019

Rather than regulating chains, city imposes limits on the width of storefronts —  The “storefront conservation corridor” in St. Petersburg, FL, offers an unusual approach to regulating retailers in two busy business districts. Rather than limiting chains or banning them outright, the city created new rules that define storefronts based on the width of their street-level facades. ...

New 5G equipment creates conflict in downtowns —  Mirroring a national pushback against the new generation of “small-cell” wireless antennas, officials in Whitefish, MT, aren’t keen about the prospects of new devices popping up in a downtown known for its mountain vistas and buildings that date to 1919. See a National League of Cities report about 5G antennas....

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