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Billions Are Heading to States and Cities; Make Sure Downtown Gets its Share

July 30, 2021
The federal government is directing hundreds of billions of dollars to states and cities, a windfall that has downtown leaders nationwide positioning themselves to get much needed funds. In March, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law. The initiative calls for $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus, including an infusion of $350…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

July 1, 2021
Billions are heading to states and cities; make sure downtown gets its share — The federal government is directing hundreds of billions of dollars to states and cities, a windfall that has downtown leaders nationwide positioning themselves to get a piece of the pie. Watch presentations from the Pennsylvania Downtown Association and the National Main Street Center below. https://vimeo.com/555865910 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmcDKb6sHcc ...

Six reasons to consider a form-based code — The little town of North Bend, WA, enacted a form-based code for its downtown in June, making it the latest municipality to embrace this type of zoning. See the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s guide to enacting a form-based code.  ...

Parking garage converted to apartments — The pandemic has accelerated two trends which significantly cut demand for parking. Both the increased use of app-based, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and a rise in the number of people living within walking distance of their jobs have reduced demand. Learn more about the Broadway Autopark conversion.  ...

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Lessons From a Downtown Improvement District’s Demise

June 4, 2021
For a quarter-century, the Downtown Improvement District (DID) in Reading, PA, managed the city’s declining urban core. The DID’s ambassadors picked up trash, and the organization hosted summer concerts, a holiday parade, and other events. However, Reading never experienced a true downtown renaissance, and questions about the DID’s effectiveness festered. Those doubts came to a…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

June 1, 2021
City uses array of strategies to create bike-friendly vibe — Thanks to years of effort, biking is big business in Fayetteville, AR. The investment includes an expansive trail network, on-street cycling infrastructure, and ambitious biking initiatives. See Fayetteville’s Active Transportation Plan.  ...

Redefining formula restaurants — To preserve small businesses and local flavor, some cities are passing rules to limit the number of national businesses that can set up shop downtown. Read more about limiting formula businesses.  ...

Converting retail to residential — Many have predicted that a shift from retail to residential uses was a likely outcome of the pandemic. For more information, read the article, “As retail industry struggles, cities can encourage commercial-to-residential property conversions.” ...

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Retail Village Boosts Local Economy

May 20, 2021
Following the lead of similar successful projects, Kuna, ID, will launch its own retail market village in June. The village will consist of 12 small shops in re-purposed garden sheds. The sheds will surround a central green space with room for food trucks and small gatherings. Lisa Holland, the city’s economic development director, says that…Continue reading

 

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Bringing Small-Scale Manufacturers Downtown

May 7, 2021
A new breed of business could lead a wave of downtown revitalization. Niche manufacturers — think craft jewelers, makers of small-batch lotions and cosmetics, and microbrewers — are a growing, but often overlooked, segment of the post-pandemic economy, says Ilana Preuss, founder of consulting firm Recast City. "There is this hidden economic engine in every…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

May 1, 2021
Push for 15 mph speed limits gains momentum — In an effort to reduce pedestrian fatalities, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill that would allow municipalities to drop speed limits in business districts as low as 15 mph. Read the Governors Highway Safety Association report. ...

Most mayors expect pedestrian-friendly changes to prove temporary — The COVID-19 pandemic led cities to reshape their urban landscapes. According to research by Boston University’s Initiative on Cities, the transformation of city streets appears unlikely to last. See Boston University’s report here. ...

Retail village boosts local economy — Kuna, ID, will launch a retail market village in June. The village will consist of 12 small shops in re-purposed garden sheds. Read the archive article, “Outdoor kiosks breathe new life into long-dormant space.”  ...

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Asphalt Art Protects and Beautifies

April 8, 2021
In Kansas City, MO, an asphalt art project transformed a tricky intersection making it less hazardous for pedestrians. Two cross streets approached from odd directions, creating two hairpin turns for motorists to navigate. Meanwhile, two wide lanes, encouraged motorists to speed — and left pedestrians anxious. City engineers worked with Street Smarts Design + Build…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

April 1, 2021
Asphalt art projects combine pedestrian safety, urban beautification — The Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative gives up to $25,000 per locale for visual art interventions on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and public infrastructure. See the City of Monticello Business District Building Improvement Grant Program application and guidelines. Watch videos about public art in Kansas City, MO, and Saginaw, MI, below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa8xNx7Cjwk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBdRy0x7Gqg ...

System of sensors and signs helps improve parking  — When workers return downtown in a number of cities, they will be greeted by a range of new parking technologies. Watch a video about the parking garage management system below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfXlVldgjaU ...

Old style mall becomes modern food hall — The newest addition to downtown Milwaukee’s vibrant restaurant scene is the 3rd Street Market Hall, with a dozen restaurants and food businesses. Read the report, “Food Halls 3.0.” ...

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