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Downtown Digest News • Web Extras

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December 2018

A five-step plan for taking advantage of a nearby trail —  Hiking and biking trails can provide a spark of activity for nearby downtowns — but only if local leaders make a concerted effort to market themselves to the people using the trails. Read the North Country Trail Association’s guide to creating a Trail Town. ...

Opportunity Zones promise to spur development in low-income areas —  Opportunity Zones were one of the little-noticed pieces of the tax reform of 2017. The new designation promises to spur billions of dollars of new investment in low-income areas nationally. See a brief overview of Opportunity Zones. ...

Vintage signs have broad appeal —  Ghost signs are faded remains of hand-painted advertising signs on the exterior walls of buildings.  The National Park Service has an online brief, The Preservation of Historic Signs. ...

Invisible art —  “Invisible art” projects provide a rainy-day enticement to visit downtown. Jefferson, IA, is one of many cities to embrace a unique super-hydrophobic coating that is invisible on dry concrete, but reveals itself when it rains. Read an archive article, "A rainy day enticement for city centers."...

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November 2018

Electric cabs, other ride sharing, part of new “microtransit” trends —  Microtransit initiatives aim to ease traffic congestion, as well as reducing the need for public investment in parking garages and lots, not to mention bus service. See a report about cities partnering with Lyft and Uber prepared by the Chadwick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. ...

Downtown uses temporary dog parks to satisfy demand, test sites —  Raleigh, NC, operates pop-up dog parks downtown that give dogs a place to play for a day or two. The city ultimately hopes to build a permanent dog park downtown, and the pop-up events let parks officials gauge the pros and cons of various locations. Read Raleigh’s report on dog parks. ...

Change to Make a Change program launches —  Donations to the Change to Make a Change program in Bloomington, IN, will be distributed among local service providers such as emergency shelters, free meal sites, and other resources. View the Change to Make a Change brochure and map. ...

Wayfinding encourages multi-destination trips —  A recently approved wayfinding signage plan in Burien, WA, encourages residents and visitors to “park once — shop twice.” ...

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October 2018

Public libraries act as partners in downtown development —  A study by the Urban Institute and the Urban Libraries Council argues that libraries bring overlooked benefits to downtowns. ...

Food truck festival draws crowds, supports local restaurants —  Little Rock, Arkansas’ Food Truck Festival is a signature event for downtown, drawing 40,000 people to visit 60 food trucks.  See an overview of the growth of the festival. ...

“Grow your own” approach to jobs offers alternative to bidding wars —  The “grow your own” model of business development focuses on nurturing entrepreneurs and small businesses. Read the Kansas City Fed’s Grow-Your-Own Guide. ...

City illuminates downtown gateways and gathering spaces —  When completed in 2022-23, Rosslyn, VA’s downtown corridor and gateways will be connected through illuminated art including 21-foot tall towers of light. Here is a PowerPoint presentation on the current proposal. Watch an artist’s talk about the design process below. ...

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To Woo Brewpubs, Downtowns Offer Incentives, Change Rules

September 6, 2018 — After years of begging brewpubs to open in downtown Marlborough, MA, the city’s marketing effort is showing results. The Marlborough Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) began targeting microbreweries in 2014, says Executive Director Meredith Harris. It was only after the city began dangling incentives — and advertised them in Beer Advocate magazine — that…To read more — login/sign up

 

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September 2018

Let there be light: Cities turn to lighting to draw visitors —  Cities large and small are using public light displays to spark interest in downtowns. See Phillips Lighting’s study of the economic impact of public light installations. ...

Downtown under construction? Use this checklist to ease the pain —  When Waverly, IA, embarked on an infrastructure project, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Iowa, and Downtown Professionals Network issued a pre-construction technical assistance guide to help downtown businesses cope with the disruptions. ...

Zoning rules often block the housing market’s “missing middle” —  Many millennials want to live in walkable urban areas, yet zoning rules often preclude the development of affordable housing on the fringes of downtowns. Read Daniel Parolek’s illustrated explanation of missing middle housing here. ...

City tackles retail vacancies —  A recent report for San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development recommends a number of strategies to fill empty storefronts. ...

New downtown connector seeks active tenants —  The city of Middletown, NY,  has launched Race 4 Space, a Shark Tank style business competition.  Check out the Race 4 Space program guidelines....

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Marijuana Dispensaries Create Demand for Space — And Regulatory Concerns

August 2, 2018 — As a wave of marijuana legalization sweeps North America, some downtowns are taking advantage of the trend by welcoming — or at least cautiously allowing — pot shops in long-vacant spaces. While voters in many U.S. states have overwhelmingly approved marijuana decriminalization, downtowns wrestle with a regulatory wrinkle: Even as pot…To read more — login/sign up

 

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