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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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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

February 1, 2020
Public art creates new energy in downtowns —  The 40 West ArtLine in Lakewood, CO, includes 70 works of art. Watch a video about the project below. https://youtu.be/n-dPP6xkPkE ...

To bring back economic activity, hurricane-battered downtown broadens focus —  In 2009, the Cedar Rapids Downtown District responded and rebuilt after flooding impacted nearly 450 downtown businesses. Read the archive article, "Campaign helps to recover and rebuild." ...

Partnering with event venue spurs downtown spending —  See how the Downtown Windsor BIA partners with a local comic convention in the archive article, "Leveraging existing events to draw visitors." ...

Trends shaping downtown retail —  The team at Stores, the magazine of the National Retail Federation has published its annual consumer trends predictions for the year ahead. ...

Two downtowns team up to promote assets —  The cities of Sault Ste. Marie Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, have established a new social media presence — Downtown Sault Ste. Marie Squared — as a way of promoting events and businesses in each city. Watch a brief video on the benefits of co-marketing below. https://youtu.be/Qt4_dqr2qQ8 ...

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Getting Everyone On-Board with Pop-Up Retail

January 30, 2020
By all measures, the pop-up retail program in downtown Memphis, TN, is a success. However, Brett Roler, vice president of planning and development for the Downtown Memphis Commission, cautions that downtown leaders who expect instant success are likely to be disappointed. Roler says his first hurdle was persuading landlords to take a chance on pop-up…Continue reading

 

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Closing Downtown Street Brings New Life

January 16, 2020
Pratt Street is a brick thoroughfare in the heart of downtown Hartford, CT. For all its promise, Pratt Street long has been bereft of pedestrian traffic. When the mayor proposed closing the street to cars, downtown leaders countered that further reducing activity on the street was the wrong approach. Instead, the Hartford Business Improvement District…Continue reading

 

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Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

January 1, 2020
If your downtown struggles with a bad reputation, don’t fight it — embrace it —  Crime, panhandling, a lack of parking, graffiti — many city centers battle challenges to their reputations. How to respond? Savvy downtown marketers say the best approach is to swallow your pride and fully acknowledge your issues — preferably with a bit of self-effacing humor. See the BuzzFeed post, The 10 best drugs coming out of Baltimore. ...

Diversity, demographics will be driving forces for downtown development, study says — Demographic trends create both tailwinds and new challenges for downtown development, according to the 2020 Global Trends Report by Progressive Urban Management Associates and the International Downtown Association. ...

Pop-up retail fills vacancies, enlivens streetscape —  By providing small spaces to startup retailers for free, Downtown Memphis has helped incubate such businesses as a reseller of collectible sneakers and a purveyor of custom soaps. View the Open on Main guidelines. ...

Volunteer management best practices —  Read the Michigan Main Street Association volunteer tool kit. ...

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The Year in Downtown Revitalization

December 26, 2019
Every other week you receive the summary of an article from Downtown Idea Exchange. Over the course of the year we’ve covered everything from business recruitment, to streetscape improvements, to placemaking. To wrap up the year, we’re highlighting five of our favorite posts. Creative, informative, and adaptable, they showcase some of the best work in downtown…Continue reading

 

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Holiday Drawing Drives Traffic to Downtown Shopping District

December 18, 2019
In an effort to bring shoppers downtown and compete with nearby areas, a Canadian improvement district dusted off a classic downtown retail promotion and added some aggressive marketing techniques. The Glebe Spree, hosted by the Glebe Business Improvement Area in Ottawa, ON, Canada, runs from November 15 through December 31. Shoppers receive blank passports, and…Continue reading

 

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