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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

May 1, 2020
How to keep your organization afloat in tough times — Many organizations were blindsided by the suddenness and severity of the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. To help coach downtown leaders through the turmoil, the International Downtown Association (IDA) and Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) collaborated on a game plan that spells out steps to take in the coming weeks and months. See the full list of suggestions for stabilizing and then reviving your downtown. ...

Your downtown tenants are in danger; here’s how to help them — The coronavirus pandemic could permanently close millions of small businesses, including some that occupy storefronts in your downtown, according to a report by Main Street America. ...

In a sad reality for downtown leaders, pedestrian deaths keep rising  — Nationwide pedestrian deaths rose in 2019 to their highest level in three decades, even as the nation’s roadway crash fatalities overall have been falling, according to a report released in late February by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a nonprofit that represents state highway-safety offices. ...

New park, new uses — A surface parking lot in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas will soon be replaced with a modern new green space called West End Square. Watch the video below and take a virtual tour.  https://youtu.be/8oWJvbjgHTM ...

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Economic Pause Creates Opportunity for Infrastructure Improvement

April 30, 2020
With their disruptions to traffic flow and parking, construction projects are the bane of downtown leaders. In a rare bright side to the coronavirus pandemic, some downtowns are using the economic pause to accelerate infrastructure improvements. In Pensacola, FL, Gulf Power has accelerated work on an $83 million project to improve the downtown power grid.…Continue reading

 

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Big Landlord Responds to Pandemic with Rent Forgiveness

April 23, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic closed downtowns across North America, downtown Detroit’s biggest landlord tried something different. Bedrock, a major property owner in the struggling city’s commercial core, told tenants it wouldn’t collect their rent. The most generous rent forgiveness terms go to small businesses, while bigger companies can get smaller breaks. "It is going to…Continue reading

 

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Global Pandemic Creates Challenges, Disruption for Downtowns

April 9, 2020
Downtowns are positioned to rebound strongly from the coronavirus pandemic. When that rebound might occur, however, is uncertain. That’s according to downtown leaders interviewed by Downtown Idea Exchange newsletter as the global pandemic spread. "Will we come back? Absolutely," says Dewitt Peart, president of the Downtown Austin Alliance in Austin, TX. However, Peart and others struggled to…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

April 1, 2020

Visitors aren’t coming downtown? Send them outdoors — Tourism consultant Roger Brooks has a contrarian alternative for downtowns struggling with a dearth of visitors. Tell them to go camping, canoeing, or hiking instead. Watch Roger Brooks’ webinar, Dealing with the Coronavirus below.

“Support Your Neighbors” and other initiatives aid downtown businesses — When the coronavirus closed downtown Wilmington, NC, for business, Ed Wolverton thought back to the city’s hurricane of 2018. In the aftermath of that disaster, he telegraphed the message that downtown was open for business. See how Wilmington, NC, recovered after Hurricane Florence.

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Part 2: Leading Downtown in Challenging Times

March 26, 2020
Downtown leaders must find ways to help businesses through these tough times. Local governments and downtown organizations may be facing their own economic pressures, so increasing loan and grant money may not be an option. But reduced business fees, free peer counseling, help with advertising, and keeping business owners informed about funding sources can help.…Continue reading

 

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Part 1: Leading Downtown in Challenging Times

March 19, 2020
The impact of Coronavirus will be big, deep, and constantly in the news, but downtown leaders must carry on. Interviews with economic development professionals and others suggest a range of strategies for supporting at-risk businesses, protecting the downtown’s market position, and growing the local economy in the months ahead. In this and future eNewsletters, we…Continue reading

 

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New Streetscape Calms Traffic, Improves Pedestrian Experience

March 12, 2020
The town square of Athens, AL, boasts a century-old courthouse, bustling restaurants, and a church. Successful events such as a farmers market and a concert series are staged in the historic downtown. Incongruously, downtown Athens was also home to expansive thoroughfares seemingly designed for high-speed suburban traffic, not for a quaint downtown. "We had very…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

March 1, 2020
In tiny towns, entrepreneurs find new uses for empty spaces —  Struggling downtowns are opening businesses and community spaces to cater to their underserved markets. Read William Ryan’s study on repurposing neglected downtown spaces. ...

After disaster, ad campaign helps bring back visitors —  Davenport, IA, suffered devastating flooding in the spring of 2019. To bring visitors back after the cleanup, they began an ad campaign that showed downtown as a vibrant place that had mostly recovered from the spring flood. See video ads featuring Downtown Davenport below. https://youtu.be/4MPugZbPchs https://youtu.be/00flxMmNYz0 ...

Downtown Owner’s Manual, mentorship program, help new businesses succeed —  In one simple but powerful tool, Janesville, WI, created a Downtown Owner’s Manual that answers a common question: Who’s in charge of that? ...

Increasing outdoor seating —  Outdoor seating has been an indicator of vibrancy in the Philadelphia Center City District since sidewalk cafes were first authorized in 1995. Read the report, Outdoor Seating 2019. ...

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Hurricane-Battered Downtown Comes Back

February 27, 2020
As Hurricane Florence loomed in September 2018, downtown leaders in Wilmington, NC, had plenty of time to prepare. Downtown Wilmington Inc. canceled a commercial property showcase and collected cell phone numbers from downtown merchants. Workers took down street banners, removed hanging flower baskets, and scoured the downtown district for trash can lids, recycling receptacles, and…Continue reading

 

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