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The Year in Downtown Revitalization, 24 Posts and Counting

January 14, 2021
Over the past 12 months, Downtown Digest has highlighted dozens of examples of downtown leaders responding to the pandemic. But, that's not all. We've also covered parking management, attracting downtown residents, streetscape improvements, grant funding, and much more. If you’ve missed any posts during this hectic year, they are online now. You’ll even find our…Continue reading

 

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Shared Commercial Kitchens Support Start-Ups, Fill Vacant Space

December 30, 2020
The coronavirus recession has devastated independent restaurateurs, but it hasn’t stopped the spread of commercial kitchens, those facilities that serve as co-working spaces for food truck operators, caterers, and other food producers. Commercial kitchens are coming to downtown Orangeburg, SC, Oak Creek, WI, and other locations. In Oak Creek, a restaurant that didn’t survive the…Continue reading

 

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City Uses Consumer Marketing to Keep Downtown Active

December 10, 2020
In Chandler, AZ, city officials are combating the coronavirus downturn by marketing local businesses to consumers. The "I Choose Chandler" video reminds viewers that the city’s restaurants, gyms, clothing boutiques, and barbershops are open for business. The spot takes a subtle dig at online retailers, and the campaign urges local residents to support their neighbors. Part of…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

December 1, 2020
Ice bars provide frosty entertainment — Hospitality venues in Lake George, NY, know a lot about how to entertain outdoors in frosty winter weather. When the temperatures dip, they open their ice bars. See a video produced by the county tourism department below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9921lPCbrE ...

City uses consumer marketing, business grants to keep downtown active — In Chandler, AZ, city officials are combatting the coronavirus downturn by marketing local businesses to consumers. The “I Choose Chandler” ad below reminds viewers that the city’s restaurants, gyms, clothing boutiques, and barbershops are open for business.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SinS9wZckng&feature=youtu.be ...

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Downtown Rethinks Approach to Parking

November 19, 2020
Does downtown Memphis, TN, have too much parking, or too little? The complicated answer is "Yes" to both queries. "It really depends on when, where, and how far away you want to park," says Brett Roler, vice president of planning and development at the Downtown Memphis Commission. Visitors can struggle to find spots at peak…Continue reading

 

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Can Outdoor Dining Coexist with Winter?

November 5, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many downtowns to rethink their outdoor spaces. By summer, downtown leaders had adapted — vacant lots, sidewalks, and even streets gave way to al fresco dining. Now, though, the changing of the seasons will present a new challenge: Are downtown visitors willing to sit outside when the weather turns cold? "Everybody…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

November 1, 2020
Goodbye suburban malls, hello walkable shopping districts — Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the retail landscape was changing dramatically. The COVID-19 recession has accelerated merchants’ move back to Main Street. Read about downtown bans on national chains in this archive article. ...

Design playbook showcases pandemic solutions — The Canadian Urban Institute and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada have released the Main Street Design Challenge Playbook, a collection of design solutions that can be implemented during and after the pandemic. ...

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Outdoor Kiosks Breathe New Life Into Downtown

October 22, 2020
A concept born from desperation offers inspiration for downtown leaders grappling with the pandemic. In tiny Tionesta, PA, a long-vacant lot was transformed into an outdoor shopping experience and business incubator using garden sheds. The project started during a 2012 meeting of the Forest County Industrial Development Corp. and the Forest County Industrial & Commercial…Continue reading

 

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Street Performers Draw Visitors Downtown

October 8, 2020
A few years ago, Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis experienced something of a dress rehearsal for the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pedestrian street was disrupted by construction in 2018, pedestrian traffic dropped from 20,000 people a day to 13,000. "It was kind of a ghost town during construction," says Lisa Middag, director of Nicollet Activation…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

October 1, 2020
In one downtown, self-parking garage shows glimpse of future — In an initiative that promises to reduce the amount of downtown space devoted to parking, Ford, auto parts maker Bosch, and a prominent landlord in Detroit are developing a self-parking garage in that city’s downtown. See Ford’s video of its automated valet project below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok9ACzmGpUA ...

Outdoor kiosks breathe new life into long-dormant space — In downtown Muskeegan, MI, an empty block was filled with small businesses in pop-up chalets. Read the full story in this archive article.  ...

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Annual Festival Transformed

September 24, 2020
For the past 19 years, people have flocked to the annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Marquette, MI. The summertime favorite features sidewalk sales, food vendors, crafts, blueberry specials, pony rides, children’s activities, and inflatables. For 2020, the event was transformed from Blueberry Fest to Blueberry Quest. Starting the morning of Friday, July 31, 20 "blueberry"…Continue reading

 

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