Categories

Downtown Digest News • Special Offer • Sponsored • Web Extras

Comments are closed

City Sacrifices Ownership of City Hall for Downtown Redevelopment

August 12, 2021
As part of a redevelopment of their downtowns, two mid-sized cities are making an unusual move: They’re giving up the traditional model of a city-owned parcel housing City Hall. Instead, the cities are spurring downtown redevelopment projects by partnering with private developers. In the process, they’re moving city administrative offices into mixed-use developments. The cities…Continue reading

 

Comments are closed

Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

August 1, 2021
With many office workers still staying home, downtowns try to woo them back — City centers everywhere face a conundrum: Office workers have yet to return en masse, even as vaccines are readily available, coronavirus infections have dwindled, and local authorities have lifted restrictions on public gatherings. See McKinsey & Co.’s report on the future of office work. ...

To read more — login/sign up

Comments are closed

Billions Are Heading to States and Cities; Make Sure Downtown Gets its Share

July 30, 2021
The federal government is directing hundreds of billions of dollars to states and cities, a windfall that has downtown leaders nationwide positioning themselves to get much needed funds. In March, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law. The initiative calls for $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus, including an infusion of $350…Continue reading

 

Comments are closed

Comments are closed

Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

July 1, 2021
Billions are heading to states and cities; make sure downtown gets its share — The federal government is directing hundreds of billions of dollars to states and cities, a windfall that has downtown leaders nationwide positioning themselves to get a piece of the pie. Watch presentations from the Pennsylvania Downtown Association and the National Main Street Center below. https://vimeo.com/555865910 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmcDKb6sHcc ...

Six reasons to consider a form-based code — The little town of North Bend, WA, enacted a form-based code for its downtown in June, making it the latest municipality to embrace this type of zoning. See the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s guide to enacting a form-based code.  ...

Parking garage converted to apartments — The pandemic has accelerated two trends which significantly cut demand for parking. Both the increased use of app-based, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and a rise in the number of people living within walking distance of their jobs have reduced demand. Learn more about the Broadway Autopark conversion.  ...

To read more — login/sign up

Comments are closed

Comments are closed

Lessons From a Downtown Improvement District’s Demise

June 4, 2021
For a quarter-century, the Downtown Improvement District (DID) in Reading, PA, managed the city’s declining urban core. The DID’s ambassadors picked up trash, and the organization hosted summer concerts, a holiday parade, and other events. However, Reading never experienced a true downtown renaissance, and questions about the DID’s effectiveness festered. Those doubts came to a…Continue reading

 

Comments are closed

Downtown Idea Exchange – Web Extras

June 1, 2021
City uses array of strategies to create bike-friendly vibe — Thanks to years of effort, biking is big business in Fayetteville, AR. The investment includes an expansive trail network, on-street cycling infrastructure, and ambitious biking initiatives. See Fayetteville’s Active Transportation Plan.  ...

Redefining formula restaurants — To preserve small businesses and local flavor, some cities are passing rules to limit the number of national businesses that can set up shop downtown. Read more about limiting formula businesses.  ...

Converting retail to residential — Many have predicted that a shift from retail to residential uses was a likely outcome of the pandemic. For more information, read the article, “As retail industry struggles, cities can encourage commercial-to-residential property conversions.” ...

To read more — login/sign up

Comments are closed

Retail Village Boosts Local Economy

May 20, 2021
Following the lead of similar successful projects, Kuna, ID, will launch its own retail market village in June. The village will consist of 12 small shops in re-purposed garden sheds. The sheds will surround a central green space with room for food trucks and small gatherings. Lisa Holland, the city’s economic development director, says that…Continue reading

 

Comments are closed

Bringing Small-Scale Manufacturers Downtown

May 7, 2021
A new breed of business could lead a wave of downtown revitalization. Niche manufacturers — think craft jewelers, makers of small-batch lotions and cosmetics, and microbrewers — are a growing, but often overlooked, segment of the post-pandemic economy, says Ilana Preuss, founder of consulting firm Recast City. "There is this hidden economic engine in every…Continue reading

 

Comments are closed

Five steps for wooing small-scale manufacturers

May 1, 2021
• Get started.  Discuss goals, build a list of assets and partners, and establish the major outcomes that will determine the project’s success. ...

• Make new connections.  Every city faces a familiar challenge: A small group of people attends community meetings, while most remain invisible. Preuss says you need to search out new people — owners of small-scale producers, home-based businesses, and property owners. “We won’t find all these people easily, however, which brings us to the Connectors,” Preuss says. “Connectors are trusted leaders from different communities who are willing to make change happen.” This group can include faith leaders, cultural influencers, civic leaders, and other trusted members of the community. ...

• Get to know small-scale producers.  Once you’ve identified key entrepreneurs, get to know them. Preuss suggests one-on-one interviews during which you find out about business owners’ needs. Involving entrepreneurs early allows them to feel a sense of ownership in your community’s strategy. Make sure to include a racially diverse group of people that includes Black and Brown producers. ...

• Analyze.  After talking to key players, your next step is to determine what it all means. Should the community buy a vacant building downtown and use it as an incubator for small-scale producers? Do you need lending or training resources for your business owners? Do zoning and land-use rules restrict downtown production? Each community will have unique challenges, but this step will guide your next move. ...

• Act.  To build momentum, Preuss says, you should act immediately — even if the initial step is a modest one. She points to Fremont, CA, which wanted to build its pipeline of small-scale manufacturing businesses. But the city realized it had no way to identify these entrepreneurs, let alone gather them for marketing efforts. So Fremont’s first small victory involved promoting small-scale manufacturers through the city’s public relations channels, and asking entrepreneurs to sign up on a city list. “This simple action attracted community attention and allowed the city to start bringing people together online and in meetups,” Preuss says. The first action was similar in South Bend, IN, where many manufacturing operations were so small that they flew under the radar. Contact: Ilana Preuss, Recast City, 240-472-2765. ...

To read more — login/sign up

Comments are closed