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Downtown Digest News • Web Extras

May 2019

By hosting a few strategic events, downtown attracts new visitors —   For years, downtown leaders in El Paso, TX, steered clear of hosting events. But in 2017, the Downtown Management District had something of a change of heart. They decided to organize a limited number of strategic events that would highlight downtown El Paso's assets. View promotional videos for El Paso’s Downtown Barstool Open,  Eat Authentico Restaurant Crawl, and Downtown Living Tour below. ...

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“Boot Camp” for Startup Entrepreneurs Pays Big Dividend in Small Downtown

April 4, 2019 — To combat high vacancy rates, Monticello, IL, launched an entrepreneurial boot camp to coach would-be business owners about setting up shop downtown. Instructors are volunteers, and each week focuses on a crucial part of operating a business. There’s an accounting course one week, a finance class the next. Courses also focus…To read more — login/sign up

 

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April 2019

As downtowns embrace streetcars, an obvious question: Are they worth it? —  Cities from coast to coast have installed streetcars in recent years, seeing the retro systems as a way boost downtown economies and make neighborhoods more appealing to millennials and boomers. See a report on the development impact of streetcars in Portland and Seattle. ...

Beer trail, coffee trail drive traffic to downtown watering holes —  Downtown leaders in Huntsville, AL, have built buzz through a simple and inexpensive promotion — the Downtown Huntsville Craft Beer Trail. Watch a promotional video about the event below. ...

Heated streets draw winter shoppers and runners —  In 1988 the City of Holland, MI, implemented “the largest municipal snowmelt system in North America.” Read a brochure on the benefits of the system and watch a video below. ...

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March 2019

For one city, keeping employers happy means hundreds of meetings a year — It also means retaining local college students. Economic developers in Dubuque, IA, surveyed regional college students about their aspirations after graduation and found 55 percent of those surveyed were unsure if they would remain in the area. Those findings spurred the Greater Dubuque Development Corp. to market the region to young workers. See the “You Can Make It In Dubuque” brochure. ...

Pricey but effective, wayfinding signs are “voice of the city” —  Springfield, MA, has seen major new developments in recent months, including the opening of a casino and the rehab of the city’s Union Station. To help guide visitors to the city center, Springfield invested $400,000 in a series of wayfinding signs installed in late 2018. Read the Sign Research Foundation’s guide to urban wayfinding. ...

By focusing on five key themes, downtowns attract millennials —  New research from Arizona State University is providing insights into the type of downtown housing that millennials value. ...

Encouraging upper level residential —  To spur residential development in downtown Bradenton, FL, the city recently approved two new programs. Click the links below to learn more.  • Upstairs Residential Conversion Grant Program & Application • Restaurant and Food Services Incentive Program & Application ...

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February 2019

Downtown rewards commuters who don’t drive —  Durham, NC, has been testing two low-cost methods to discourage commuters from single-occupancy trips downtown.  Watch a video about the program below. ...

Parking management plan frees up hundreds of unused spaces —  While downtown Quincy, MA, has seen an influx of tenants and traffic in recent years, two aging parking garages became structurally unsound and were forced to close.To ease the squeeze, Quincy has implemented a variety of strategies. Read a report on Quincy's parking plan. ...

Weary of waiting for median construction, business district paints a mock-up on the street —  Frustrated at the slow pace of streetscape changes in the Douglas Design District in Wichita, KS, the board decided to paint a mock-up of the median and crosswalks so business owners, residents, and shoppers could get a feel for the changes.  See a video of the street painting from the Wichita Eagle. ...

Underpass upgrade beautifies entrance to business district —  In St. Petersburg, FL, the downtown business district known as the Deuces has been in a long decline, in part because Interstate 275 cuts through the neighborhood. In an effort to make the area more aesthetically pleasing, the nonprofit Deuces Live pushed to spruce up the I-275 underpass with murals, lighting, and landscaping. See the project video below. ...

“Agrihoods” take root —  Real estate developers are marketing “agrihoods,” developments that include community farms. Read ULI’s report on agrihoods....

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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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