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Downtown Digest News • Web Extras

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October 2018

Public libraries act as partners in downtown development —  A study by the Urban Institute and the Urban Libraries Council argues that libraries bring overlooked benefits to downtowns. ...

Food truck festival draws crowds, supports local restaurants —  Little Rock, Arkansas’ Food Truck Festival is a signature event for downtown, drawing 40,000 people to visit 60 food trucks.  See an overview of the growth of the festival. ...

“Grow your own” approach to jobs offers alternative to bidding wars —  The “grow your own” model of business development focuses on nurturing entrepreneurs and small businesses. Read the Kansas City Fed’s Grow-Your-Own Guide. ...

City illuminates downtown gateways and gathering spaces —  When completed in 2022-23, Rosslyn, VA’s downtown corridor and gateways will be connected through illuminated art including 21-foot tall towers of light. Here is a PowerPoint presentation on the current proposal. Watch an artist’s talk about the design process below. ...

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To Woo Brewpubs, Downtowns Offer Incentives, Change Rules

September 6, 2018 — After years of begging brewpubs to open in downtown Marlborough, MA, the city’s marketing effort is showing results. The Marlborough Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) began targeting microbreweries in 2014, says Executive Director Meredith Harris. It was only after the city began dangling incentives — and advertised them in Beer Advocate magazine — that…To read more — login/sign up

 

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September 2018

Let there be light: Cities turn to lighting to draw visitors —  Cities large and small are using public light displays to spark interest in downtowns. See Phillips Lighting’s study of the economic impact of public light installations. ...

Downtown under construction? Use this checklist to ease the pain —  When Waverly, IA, embarked on an infrastructure project, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Iowa, and Downtown Professionals Network issued a pre-construction technical assistance guide to help downtown businesses cope with the disruptions. ...

Zoning rules often block the housing market’s “missing middle” —  Many millennials want to live in walkable urban areas, yet zoning rules often preclude the development of affordable housing on the fringes of downtowns. Read Daniel Parolek’s illustrated explanation of missing middle housing here. ...

City tackles retail vacancies —  A recent report for San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development recommends a number of strategies to fill empty storefronts. ...

New downtown connector seeks active tenants —  The city of Middletown, NY,  has launched Race 4 Space, a Shark Tank style business competition.  Check out the Race 4 Space program guidelines....

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Marijuana Dispensaries Create Demand for Space — And Regulatory Concerns

August 2, 2018 — As a wave of marijuana legalization sweeps North America, some downtowns are taking advantage of the trend by welcoming — or at least cautiously allowing — pot shops in long-vacant spaces. While voters in many U.S. states have overwhelmingly approved marijuana decriminalization, downtowns wrestle with a regulatory wrinkle: Even as pot…To read more — login/sign up

 

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Spring Construction Season Gets a Little More Colorful with Public Art

July 19, 2018 — Two blocks in downtown Iowa City, IA, were under construction this spring and summer as the city worked to upgrade underground utilities; increase the width of sidewalks; distribute parking on both sides of the street; enhance accessibility; create healthier planting areas; and modernize lighting, seating, and other amenities. To reassure shoppers…To read more — login/sign up

 

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August 2018

Graffiti removal program engages public and troubled teens —  Portland, ME, has addressed graffiti through an innovative program that uses the labor of troubled teens. Downtown pedestrians can take photos of graffiti and alert downtown managers through the SeeClickFix app. Learn more, view the Downtown Achievement Award presentation. ...

Food halls draw diners and restaurateurs, serve up creative cuisine —   “Food halls are popping up around the United States at a breakneck pace,” Cushman & Wakefield says in its Food Halls of North America 2018 report. ...

Small city connects with regional trail to draw visitors downtown —  The small city of Powder Springs, GA, has an ambitious plan to revive its struggling historic district.  The city will break ground in late 2018 on a $5.75 million park that will serve as a trailhead to the Silver Comet Trail. Learn more about similar projects: • Carbondale, PA • Akron, OH...

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Art Program Activates Vacant Storefront Windows, Helps Lease Space

June 21, 2018 — What began as a grassroots initiative pairing vacant storefronts with public art in one Minneapolis, MN, neighborhood has grown into an "urban walking gallery" enlivening key commercial corridors in the city center and beyond, and incorporating live performances, artists markets, and pop-up galleries. The Made Here program aims to highlight local…To read more — login/sign up

 

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July 2018

Weekly, one-minute videos keep city center top of mind —  The new Grow St. Charles Monday Minute video series is allowing the Economic Development Department in St. Charles, MO, to highlight everything from retention and recruitment efforts to its thriving defense, aerospace, and healthcare industries. See four of the videos below. ...

Demonstration project educates and engages the public —  The Las Olas Boulevard Six-Month Safety Improvements Demonstration Project in Fort Lauderdale, FL, is part of an overall Community Investment Plan that includes safety and traffic calming improvements that will create a safer connection between the central business district, the busy boulevard, and local beaches. Watch videos educating the public about safety improvements and new bike lanes and rideshare zones below. ...

Exploring ways to expand the holiday season downtown —  It’s never too soon to begin planning for the holidays. In Chillicothe, MO, Main Street Chillicothe spent one summer polling merchants to discover what worked and what did not in the city’s holiday event calendar. See the Holiday Event survey. ...

Using a “carrot and stick” approach to address vacant buildings —  A new ordinance aims to keep better track of vacant buildings in downtown Paris, TX, while also incentivizing improvements and penalizing owners that allow properties to remain empty and/or unkempt. See the Vacant Building Registry ordinance. ...

Study reveals 25 actions to boost downtown —  A detailed report from the UK-based Institute of Place Management aims to identify factors which lead to sustainable high streets, or downtowns. Read the full report here....

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