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Downtown Digest News • Web Extras

Makerspace Gives Fresh Spark to Downtown

January 24, 2019 — Downtown Lexington, VA, is home to an ambitious business incubator and makerspace that’s drawing interest from entrepreneurs in surrounding areas. Lexington Collaboratory & Makerspace is a 1,300-square-foot lab that lets startups tinker with their products. The Collaboratory also provides a team of mentors to dispense advice about legal matters, marketing, real…To read more — login/sign up

 

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January 2019

Makerspace gives fresh spark to downtown —  Lexington Collaboratory & Makerspace is a 1,300-square-foot lab that lets startups tinker with their products. The Collaboratory also provides a team of mentors willing to dispense advice about legal matters, marketing, real estate, finance, and professional development. Read an online article about maker space business models from makezine.com. ...

Engaging the public smooths planning process —  In Delaware, planners have used video games and board games to engage residents in the planning process. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Dots & Dashes game let residents participate in complex transportation planning. ...

Stimulating residential development —  The city of Elgin, IL, has awarded its first grant to install a sprinkler system in a downtown building. See the complete grant program information packet....

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New Zoning and Land-Use Rules Encourage Downtown Retail

November 29, 2018 — South Orange, NJ, had a business-recruitment problem. There was no shortage of tenants interested in setting up shop downtown — but the village’s rules didn’t allow for many of the types of experience-based tenants that are taking space in downtowns nationwide. The municipality’s rules were "very, very restrictive," says Bob Zuckerman,…To read more — login/sign up

 

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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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