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The Year in Downtown Revitalization, 24 Posts and Counting

January 14, 2021
Over the past 12 months, Downtown Digest has highlighted dozens of examples of downtown leaders responding to the pandemic. But, that's not all. We've also covered parking management, attracting downtown residents, streetscape improvements, grant funding, and much more. If you’ve missed any posts during this hectic year, they are online now. You’ll even find our…Continue reading


Shared Commercial Kitchens Support Start-Ups, Fill Vacant Space

December 30, 2020
The coronavirus recession has devastated independent restaurateurs, but it hasn’t stopped the spread of commercial kitchens, those facilities that serve as co-working spaces for food truck operators, caterers, and other food producers. Commercial kitchens are coming to downtown Orangeburg, SC, Oak Creek, WI, and other locations. In Oak Creek, a restaurant that didn’t survive the…Continue reading


City Uses Consumer Marketing to Keep Downtown Active

December 10, 2020
In Chandler, AZ, city officials are combating the coronavirus downturn by marketing local businesses to consumers. The "I Choose Chandler" video reminds viewers that the city’s restaurants, gyms, clothing boutiques, and barbershops are open for business. The spot takes a subtle dig at online retailers, and the campaign urges local residents to support their neighbors. Part of…Continue reading


Downtown Rethinks Approach to Parking

November 19, 2020
Does downtown Memphis, TN, have too much parking, or too little? The complicated answer is "Yes" to both queries. "It really depends on when, where, and how far away you want to park," says Brett Roler, vice president of planning and development at the Downtown Memphis Commission. Visitors can struggle to find spots at peak…Continue reading


Can Outdoor Dining Coexist with Winter?

November 5, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many downtowns to rethink their outdoor spaces. By summer, downtown leaders had adapted — vacant lots, sidewalks, and even streets gave way to al fresco dining. Now, though, the changing of the seasons will present a new challenge: Are downtown visitors willing to sit outside when the weather turns cold? "Everybody…Continue reading


Outdoor Kiosks Breathe New Life Into Downtown

October 22, 2020
A concept born from desperation offers inspiration for downtown leaders grappling with the pandemic. In tiny Tionesta, PA, a long-vacant lot was transformed into an outdoor shopping experience and business incubator using garden sheds. The project started during a 2012 meeting of the Forest County Industrial Development Corp. and the Forest County Industrial & Commercial…Continue reading


Street Performers Draw Visitors Downtown

October 8, 2020
A few years ago, Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis experienced something of a dress rehearsal for the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pedestrian street was disrupted by construction in 2018, pedestrian traffic dropped from 20,000 people a day to 13,000. "It was kind of a ghost town during construction," says Lisa Middag, director of Nicollet Activation…Continue reading


Annual Festival Transformed

September 24, 2020
For the past 19 years, people have flocked to the annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Marquette, MI. The summertime favorite features sidewalk sales, food vendors, crafts, blueberry specials, pony rides, children’s activities, and inflatables. For 2020, the event was transformed from Blueberry Fest to Blueberry Quest. Starting the morning of Friday, July 31, 20 "blueberry"…Continue reading


Downtown Takes Cleaning, Distancing Seriously, But Not Too Seriously

September 10, 2020
In Rosslyn, VA, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the form of purple stickers, signs, and banners placed throughout the 17-block Business Improvement District. The eye-catching additions include slogans such as "Rosslyn Ready" and "Clean Safe Connected." Dispensing stations for sanitizing wipes carry the phrase, "Clean it like you mean it." The steps…Continue reading


Downtown Leaders, Stronger Together

August 27, 2020
In Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, several organizations and the city have come together to position the downtown for reopening. "Over the years, we’ve had different groups working on the revitalization and development of downtown," says Andrew Malcolm, urban revitalization manager for the city. "We felt that we could be more successful in promoting the amazing things…Continue reading