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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

May 1, 2022
After turnaround, long-empty space becomes hive of activity — For decades, a former furniture store and warehouse in downtown Swainsboro, GA, sat empty. Now it’s a thriving hub that’s home to an antique mall and a gallery featuring local artists. To find out more, see Lynn Brinson’s presentation, “Diamonds in the rough: Transforming underutilized spaces into downtown anchors.” ...

Locating bike share stations in crowded city centers — When new bike share stations were installed in downtown West Palm Beach, FL, they were located directly on city sidewalks. It’s an option that’s feasible so long as certain guidelines are met. Read the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ guide to bike-share stations. ...

Connecting with public art — At the height of the pandemic when cabin fever had set in and people were weary of travel restrictions. Two European cities found a way to create safe and meaningful interactions. Digital portals were installed in public plazas in Vilnius, Lithuania and Lubln, Poland.  Watch a video about the portals below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRvbxiCj79E ...

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Getting Workers Back Downtown

April 28, 2022
As the severity of COVID-19 fades, American life has begun to return to normal. Americans are going to restaurants, movies, concerts, and sporting events. They’re shopping and vacationing. But they aren’t going back to offices. To better understand downtown workers’ attitudes toward work and the city center, the Greater Des Moines Partnership commissioned a survey…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

April 1, 2022
Recruitment program offers to pay down student loans — The rise of remote work has inspired localities to pay remote workers to move in from out of state. Now Van Wert, OH, is joining that group. See details of the Van Wert County Foundation’s Learn and Return program. ...

Nonprofit buys dozens of buildings in crumbling downtown — Following half a century of decline, the downtown in Van Wert, OH, is getting a major makeover. Watch a local television station’s overview of Van Wert’s project. ...

Light art enlivens downtown during winter — Cary, NC, just wrapped up another year of temporary outdoor light and technology installations downtown. Read about the Glow. ...

Getting back to the office — To better understand downtown workers’ attitudes toward work and the city center, the Greater Des Moines Partnership commissioned a survey of 5,200 people from 18 businesses in the area. Read the initial summary report. ...

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City Considers Form-Based Code Downtown

March 31, 2022
Northampton, MA. Northampton, MA, is working through an overhaul of zoning rules that would bring a form-based code to downtown and an adjacent neighborhood. It’s a step that’s gaining popularity nationwide as proponents of "missing middle" housing call for more flexibility in the types of property uses cities allow in and near downtowns — and…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange — Web Extras

March 1, 2022
Downtown proponent breathes life into one small town, hopes to repeat feat — Downtown Bellefontaine, OH, was nearly knocked out by the arrival of national retailers on the outskirts of town in the 1990s and by the Great recession in the first decade of the 2000s. But the town is fighting back. See a case study about downtown Bellefontaine’s revival. ...

Downtown enacts three-pronged response to pandemic downturn — The pandemic dealt a number of blows to the once-thriving downtown in Sacramento, CA.  The Sacramento Downtown Partnership's recovery plan includes $200,000 for event activation assistance. Read more on event assistance programs. ...

Old cinema is revived as downtown cultural hub — For decades after it opened in 1930, the Soo Theatre was the place to see a movie in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. But when a multiplex came to town, the one-screen cinema struggled, finally closing its doors in 1998. Read the League of Historic American Theaters’ manual on theater rescue, restoration, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse. ...

Flexibility needed to fill vacant storefronts — In an effort to fill vacant downtown storefronts, the City of Seattle temporarily relaxed limits on storefront uses. The legislation applies to specific areas including the city’s retail core.  See ordinance 126421. ...

Crokicurl: A new downtown activity — Memorial Square in Prince Albert, Sask., Canada, is drawing visitors downtown on even the coldest days. They are there to play crokicurl and maybe to linger for a warm drink and a little shopping. Check out Public City Architecture Inc’s instructions for setting up and playing crokicurl.  ...

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More Downtowns Loosen Outdoor Alcohol Rules

February 17, 2022
Greensboro, NC, will launch a downtown social district in March. Within its boundaries, visitors will be able to stroll while carrying alcoholic beverages in specially labeled plastic cups. Greensboro is one of a number of North Carolina cities that have enacted, or are considering, downtown social districts after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a law in…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Marketplace Supports Local Retail

February 3, 2022
In Redding, CA, a new venture has brought together 18 small shops in one location. Called Gather Downtown, it’s not quite a business incubator, not quite an antiques mart or a food hall. Instead, it’s a middle ground, an initiative that fills vacant space, nurtures local entrepreneurs, and provides a downtown gathering place. "We wanted…Continue reading

 

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