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Downtown Digest News • Web Extras

April 2014

Giving residents a seat at the BID table — The rising popularity of urban living has pushed some business improvement districts to give downtown residents a “voice” in what has historically been a business-centered organization. See how the a SoHo BID in New York City handles assessments for residential members. ...

Micro-condos becoming part of the urban housing mix — For suburban homeowners, small is in. And the same may well apply to in-town living, with those smaller spaces sparking updated ordinances and new incentives to attract developers. But just how small are these new micro-apartments? Take a look at this brief video. ...

Task force initiatives lead to reinvestment downtown — Nine initiatives of the Downtown Eugene Safety Task Force have created momentum for improvements in housing, employment, entertainment, and education. See the task force recommendations in full. ...

Busker events are gaining in popularity, part one — Creativity is filling city centers with whimsical creatures, exciting acts, and potential customers who flock downtown to see buskers perform. See the Buskers in the Burg online application and video from Ellensburg, WA. ...

Welcome gifts connect new movers with downtown — Providing new residents with municipal information, marketing materials, coupons, and other incentives to visit downtown businesses works well as impressionable movers seek to establish new brand loyalties. See the business recruitment and sign-up sheet used for the Fairfax, IA, Welcome Packet Program. ...

Unified theme weaves blogs, videos, contests, and more into new image for downtown — The 2013 Downtown Dreamers campaign was so successful that a 2014 Calling All Dreamers contest is now underway. View the video below promoting the contest and details on the complete prize package. ...

Co-op ads save retailers as much as $4,000 — Downtown Madison, the central business improvement district in Madison, WI, provides high-value co-op advertising opportunities to members. See all of the co-op advertising and marketing opportunities....

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March 2014

Generating community engagement for future projects — The 150th anniversary celebration in Evanston, IL, included the Evanston 150 project, a yearlong effort to gather stakeholder ideas for 10 significant improvement projects. The program was based on a similar initiative in Dubuque, IA. See the 10 big ideas from Dubuque, IA. ...

Inviting millennials to settle down — Mentor, OH’s, multi-media advertising campaign, included a commercial and banner ad on Pandora online radio. Hearthe commercial now. ...

Finding the best location for a downtown farmers market — The Downtown Farmers Curb Market in Lakeland, FL, operates right on the street in close cooperation with street-level businesses. See the market in action below. ...

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February 2014

Collaborative center meets multiple goals — In Durango, CO, the city, the business improvement district, a local college, and the tourism office have created a new welcome center that addresses each of their marketing needs, and more importantly, the needs of visitors to the city center. See a video about the Durango Welcome Center collaboration below. ...

Concise tagline creates buzz while telling the downtown story — Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 launched its new Cya Downtown, Milwaukee campaign last May. See the Cya Downtown television spots and hear the radio ads. Television ads Radio ads ...

Put a name on it — Naming rights at downtown’s Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, VA, range from $500 to $20,000 depending on the amenity selected. Here are all of the Naming Rights details....

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December 2013

Saving historic theaters is an economic development mission in many communities — When the functions of a theater cannot be saved, the building can still be repurposed in ways that revitalize downtown. For example, the shuttered Fox Theater in Hays, KS, was reopened as an event space. Read the archive article from Downtown Idea Exchange. ...

Partnerships enhance annual retail recruitment event — The Downtown Committee in Syracuse, NY, is attracting new businesses to the city center through an annual event that highlights the resources available to potential retailers. See the Retail Recruitment Event brochure. ...

Leadership programs benefit businesses and communities — Offering a leadership training program can not only provide downtown businesses with more skilled employees, but the community with stronger civic leaders, and with skilled volunteers to complete city center projects. View the Leadership Frederick County Leaders on Loan program application. ...

No downtown organization is an island: Maximizing partnerships — Learn how your downtown organization can maximize the potential for partnerships. ...

Best practices for food truck integration — A new report from the National League of Cities shows municipal officials how they can incorporate food trucks into the city’s existing business community. ...

Downtown organization increases event schedule by sponsoring rather than producing events — View examples of the application form that is the first step in requesting funds and learn about some of the creative events. Application: Soundwalk Application: Film and Music Festival Application: Oktoberfest ...

Creating a successful downtown film festival — The Traverse City Film Festival in Traverse City, MI, has been going strong for nine years. See the organizations FAQ Sheet and details on its accomplishments. ...

Creative solution to need for public event space — A stunning example of adaptive reuse comes from the small town of York, MS. Lacking a central gathering area and performance space the city decided to create one on the site of a dilapidated single-family house. View the transforming theater. ...

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January 2014

Small businesses will be going greener in 2014 — Up until recently, the primary focus of energy conservation programs was on larger buildings of over 100,000 square feet. Thanks to the research Preservation Green Lab has done, there is a rising awareness of some really significant energy saving opportunities to be had in Main Street communities, smaller neighborhoods, and commercial districts. Learn more at the Preservation Green Lab website. ...

Report highlights importance of citizen input in placemaking — A new report by a MIT Department of Urban Studies research team examines the interactions between placemaking, community participation, and the expanding ways communities are collaborating to make great public places. Read Places in the Making. ...

Bicycles are becoming more accepted on downtown streets — Concerns about the environment, rising costs for fuel and parking, and an interest in fitness are making bicycles a popular mode of transportation for many downtowners. Read the article Bike-sharing trend gaining traction downtown. ...

Special event bylaws create common framework — Ottawa, ON, Canada, has a well deserved reputation as a city of festivals and events. The city hosts multiple events each month that draw local, national, and international visitors. So when the city decides to revamp its event bylaws, other communities can learn from both the process and the outcome. Read the new Special Events on Public and Private Property Bylaw. ...

Festivals from around the world — Covering yourself in tomatoes, mud, water, and dye are just some of the ways people are celebrating at festivals around the world. See 23 World Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss. ...

Marketing to new business owners with an info session — The Downtown Committee in Syracuse, NY, is attracting new businesses through an annual event that highlights the resources available to potential retailers. See the event schedule....

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November 2013

Container Park fills vacant space with entrepreneurial opportunities — To create a community gathering place, give entrepreneurs affordable space to launch business ventures, and bring new energy to the city center, the Downtown Project purchased one and one-third acres of land and designed a park complete with an interactive playground, public art, an outdoor performance venue, and more. Rather than incur the costs and time demands of new construction, the park features repurposed shipping containers and locally manufactured Xtreme Cubes. View the Container Park video. ...

Fostering artistic careers, building artistic neighborhoods — An innovative pilot program in Cleveland, OH, is providing affordable artist housing while building a stronger creative economy for the city. A low-cost weekend familiarization trip was marketed to the group’s database. See detailed information on the Collinwood project and background reports from the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference. Picturing Collinwood From the Rust Belt to Artist Belt, Executive Summary From the Rust Belt to Artist Belt, Companion Report ...

Libraries: a valuable ally in economic development — In their bid to remain relevant in an increasingly bookless society and to survive municipal budget cuts, libraries are evolving into valuable downtown partners. Read the report Partners for the Future: Public Libraries and Local Governments Creating Sustainable Communities. ...

Art and teamwork are expanding the downtown footprint — Belfast, ME, boasts a Main Street organization, the Belfast Creative Coalition, a city economic development office, and the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce. The leaders of the four organizations meet at least monthly to see how they can support each other, avoid duplication of effort, and maximize opportunities. They have even developed an Excel “cheat sheet” so that they can provide seamless service to prospective business owners. ...

E-commerce expands customer outreach — Having an online sales option enables brick-and-mortar retailers to promote products to customers outside their own communities, and also draws more foot traffic into downtown businesses. By sharing one website, each business can have its own fully functional e-commerce presence for a fraction of the cost of creating individual sites. See the Historic Quincy Business District E-Commerce Participant Agreement....

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October 2013

It’s time to rightsize old streets to better meet the needs of new users — Rightsizing is the process of reallocating street space to better serve the full range of users. See the FHA’s Summary Report on the impact of rightsizing on crashes. ...

Art installations create support for more art — In Durango, CO, the city is learning that the more public art it has, the more public art people want to see. Donations of art, as well as pieces on loan, are multiplying throughout the community. View the Durango Art Donation Agreement. ...

Gen Y still likes to shop in stores — Despite being far more tech savvy than previous generations, Generation Y has not traded shopping in stores for online purchasing says a new report from the Urban Land Institute. ...

Video contests generate unique perspectives and low-cost marketing materials — Rather than paying staff or filmmakers to spend hours creating promotional photographs, videos, and sound bites, some downtown organizations are sponsoring video contests and then using the entries for future marketing efforts. The October issue of Downtown Promotion Reporter shows readers how. Click here to see a sample video contest entry form. ...

Outdoor fitness zones gain popularity in city centers — Increasingly, city centers are exploring ways to keep residents healthier and to contribute to their quality of life, which in turn creates a more vibrant downtown full of active people. Communities across the nation are finding creative way to fund fitness zones, and installing them in a variety of configurations, from accessories to existing fitness trails to functional public art. View a brief video, which shows the sculptural City Art Gym in use.   ...

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September 2013

Successful crowd control enhances downtown events — The September issue of Downtown Idea Exchange highlights key practices from the Police Executive Research Forum report, Managing Major Events: Best Practices from the Field. Click the link to read the full report. ...

Parking plan maximizes on-street parking for downtown customers — The focus of the Downtown Parking Solutions Project in Hillsboro, OR, was two-fold: first, to identify ways to better manage Hillsboro’s existing parking situation, and second, to examine long-term strategies that would address downtown density going forward. The Executive Summary from the project report is online here. ...

Mushing is not just for huskies — March 1 is the first day of the Iditarod, a 1,100-mile-long dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome, AK. Some downtowns are creating races of their own — using shopping carts and teams of human mushers. Three events were profiled in the September issue of Downtown Promotion Reporter. See the map and rules from the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis Idiotarod. ...

New market draws weekend customers downtown — By offering a wide range of fresh and prepared foods, varied programming, areas for gathering and dining, and cross promoting with downtown events and main street businesses, New Rochelle, NY’s Grand Market is a blueprint for success. See images of the market below. ...

Good communication and lots of promotions keep downtown bustling during construction — Faced with a lengthy and disruptive downtown construction project, the Main Street program in Ogallala, NE, was determined “not merely to cope but to make the experience a positive one.” View some of the many collateral materials used during the Downtown Construction Ahead — So What! campaign. Construction Calendar Construction Details Alternate Routes...

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August 2013

Grassroots planning summit yields vision for downtown — After 20 years, most of the recommendations from the Intown Manchester Development Plan in Manchester, NH, have been accomplished. However, Intown Manchester didn’t want to “rest on its laurels.” Instead, the organization convened a day-long Next Steps Summit. Read the Next Steps Report. ...

Uniqueness factor and local support key to event success — For an event to become sustainable, it must have the support of local businesses, and it must continue to draw crowds year after year. The August issue of Downtown Promotion Reporter shows how the Annual Great American Duck Race does just that. Hear the radio ads, view the tv commercial. Deming Duck Race TV ad Deming Duck Race radio ad from 2011 Deming Duck Race radio ad from 2010 ...

Art events can benefit all downtown businesses — Events that highlight the local creative economy are a wonderful addition to downtown cultural offerings. See how the Bozeman Downtown Art Walks activate downtown. View the promotional materials sent annually to downtown businesses encouraging participation. ...

Creating a year-round tourism community — Promoting an “open year-round” message helped Eureka Springs, AR, bolster the local economy. See the marketing materials. Save the Date Invitation Shopping in Eureka Springs web page Winter Hideaway in Eureka Springs web page ...

How to reach out to writers — When a community has a story to tell, it’s important to engage the media. Here are links to national travel and outdoor writers’ organizations. The Society of American Travel Writers The Outdoor Writers Association of America The Editorial Freelancers Association The American Society of Journalists and Authors...

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June 2013

Communities growing DIY grocery stores — To help members and other supporters of the Hudson Grocery Cooperative spread the word, the group created talking points for face-to-face promotion, as well as a sample email letter that could be shared electronically. Read the talking points here. ...

Recovering from natural disasters — Scott Teel, marketing director for Agility Recovery, is a strong advocate for early education to ensure that downtown businesses have solid plans in place well before disaster strikes. Read our report on Teel’s presentation The Top 10 Most Common Mistakes During a Crisis. ...

Incubator attracts retail to the downtown — In early 2010, Downtown Idea Exchange first reported on this incubator program. Click to read the article First store opens under retail incubation program enabled by state legislation. ...

Sculpture in the Streets program enlivens downtown — Art exhibits staged in public spaces attract visitors downtown and provide the opportunity to view art in a new way. The June issue of Downtown Promotion Reporter features Albany, NY’s Sculpture in the Streets program. Here you’ll find the BID’s Sculpture in the Street map and a video highlighting the exhibit of late kinetic sculptor George Rickey’s work. ...

Homegrown event creates buzz and builds business with good natured competition — Tapping into the competitive spirit of sports and dining enthusiasts, the Downtown Madness campaign promoted restaurants and attracted online followers. A local sportscaster was even brought in to do a YouTube video replicating the March Madness selection show. ...

Building an Instagram community — In the June issue, Downtown Promotion Reporter announced publication of Hearty, Wholesome, and Homemade: Building an Instagram Community that Thrives. You may read it here. Powered by Publish for Free  ...

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May 2013

State of downtown reports quantify value, attract investment — Creating an effective state of downtown report can quantify the value of your downtown organization’s work to the economic health of the city, and attract more investment. The May issue of Downtown Idea Exchange covers how to create a state of downtown report. Here are samples: Charlotte Center City Partners Downtown Denver Partnership DowntownDC BID ...

Dedicated recruitment staff draws businesses — In York, PA, a recruitment specialist is bringing retailers downtown. This article in the May issue ofDowntown Idea Exchange provides the details. This Web Extra shows the recruitment brochure. ...

Guerilla placemaking provides downtown character — Individuals and groups around the nation have begun “guerilla placemaking” initiatives to bring some of the grit, color, and character back to their city centers. This article covers activities such as knit graffiti and the Eye Love You project. The I Wish This Was project was covered previously. You may read the article Innovative outreach leads to creative public input here....

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