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Gateway Project Creates Sense of Arrival

December 3, 2021
The Colorado Springs Gateways Initiative was a clear win for the city’s downtown. The new signs at the entrances to downtown are eye-catching, and the project was honored with an award from the International Downtown Association. The Gateways Initiative aimed to enhance nine entry points into the heart of Colorado Springs and to stimulate new…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

December 1, 2021
Lynn Lights wins praise for community involvement — A series of public art projects has helped Lynn, MA, shake off its malaise. Read an archive article about the Beyond Walls mural festival. ...

Gateway project creates strong sense of place — The Colorado Springs Gateways Initiative was a clear win for the city’s downtown. The new landmark signs at the entrances to downtown are eye-catching, and the project was honored with an award from the International Downtown Association. See an implementation guide and photos of Colorado Springs’ Gateways Initiative.  ...

To fight blight, agency buys downtown’s tallest building — To stop the decay of a downtown landmark, the Downtown Memphis Commission this spring deployed a creative — and risky — strategy. It paid $10.75 million for the entire block that’s home to 100 N. Main. Street. See a video tour of 100 N. Main St. below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i2W1J8TZ8k ...

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Help Visitors Discover Downtown

November 11, 2021
In the heart of Sonoma wine country, the City of Healdsburg boasts a charming town plaza lined with shops, restaurants, tasting rooms, galleries, and bars. With all of that on offer, it’s hard for business owners and their employees to direct visitors to a cozy spot for lunch or the local post office. The solution…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

November 1, 2021
How one downtown is balancing outdoor drinking with family friendliness — The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association pushed for the state’s relaxation of alcohol laws, and cities jumped on board. Kannapolis has already approved a downtown social district. Wilmington and Charlotte are considering it. See the West Avenue Social District Maintenance and Operations Plan. ...

Downtown invests in ultramodern bathroom — Public restrooms pose a conundrum in downtowns everywhere. If you want to welcome visitors, you need clean commodes. But many a public washroom has been commandeered for uses that may make visitors uncomfortable. Read an archive article on public restroom solutions. ...

After five years, locally made branding campaign still hanging on — Back in 2016, New Haven, CT, launched a campaign to market locally produced goods by giving products a distinctive logo and promoting them under the Made in New Haven brand. Read an archive article on the launch of the Made in New Haven program.  ...

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Small Arts Hub Seeks New Residents

October 28, 2021
Paducah, KY, is offering incentives to lure remote workers to town. Paducah, a folk arts hub and a UNESCO Creative City, joins other small and mid-sized cities in wooing white-collar workers by offering cash stipends and other incentives. Paducah’s program includes cash reimbursements of up to $2,500 for relocation costs, up to $70 a month…Continue reading

 

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Events Spread Out, Take Over Streets

October 14, 2021
Downtown event planners took a number of steps to ensure that summer and fall events were appropriately sized and not overly crowded. Among the strategies: Events were scaled back and spread out across city streets and over multiple days. • The annual A Taste of Colorado food festival marks the end of summer in downtown…Continue reading

 

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Bringing Back Food Carts Adds Vitality to City Streets

October 1, 2021
In Madison, WI, a new program will provide a financial safety net for food cart operators doing business downtown. The program is among the winners in the latest round of pandemic-recovery grants from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). The awards provide short-term funding and technical assistance to cities seeking to adapt streets…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

October 1, 2021
City’s big bet on roundabouts pays off in the form of fewer accidents — Hoping to reduce severe accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, many downtowns have tested traffic roundabouts as an alternative to intersections with traffic signals. Read the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study on Carmel’s roundabouts. ...

Vaccination appreciation promotions — As the pandemic continued to spread this spring and summer, inducements to encourage vaccination were everywhere. Watch the Somerville vaccine discount video below. https://vimeo.com/524629927/fab95a9dc9 ...

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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

September 1, 2021
TIF remains popular, but beware the pitfalls — Tax-increment financing (TIF)  is a common tool for cities to fund economic development. City leaders assume that TIF will spur new development, increase property values, and create new tax revenue that would not have existed otherwise.  Read more from David Merriman on Tax Increment Financing. ...

Five strategies downtowns are using to come back from the pandemic — the wave of downtown initiatives reinforces the resilience of downtowns, not to mention the crucial importance of city centers in communities everywhere. • The Rosslyn Business Improvement District in Arlington, VA, set up an outdoor office area. Watch the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-CpxXnefU8&t=9s • Many downtown organizations are developing programs that focus specifically on providing support for black-owned and other minority-owned small businesses. See Building on Recovery for Urban Place Management from the International Downtown Association and Stantec. ...

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City Sacrifices Ownership of City Hall for Downtown Redevelopment

August 12, 2021
As part of a redevelopment of their downtowns, two mid-sized cities are making an unusual move: They’re giving up the traditional model of a city-owned parcel housing City Hall. Instead, the cities are spurring downtown redevelopment projects by partnering with private developers. In the process, they’re moving city administrative offices into mixed-use developments. The cities…Continue reading

 

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