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Steady Stream of Small Improvements Drives Downtown Turnaround

February 25, 2021
When Evan Kaufman became executive director of the Hopewell Downtown Partnership a decade ago, the small city’s core was struggling. The neglected downtown of Hopewell, VA, was filled with rundown buildings. Food options were sparse, and locals didn’t think downtown was safe. "In Hopewell, it was beyond downhill," Kaufman recalls. "It had already passed the…Continue reading


Public Art, Storytelling Part of Award-Winning Branding Program

January 29, 2021
Skeptics think of downtown Bridgeport as a treacherous place. The Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District has a different perspective. It sees downtown Bridgeport, CT, as "friendly," "flourishing," and "eclectic." To underscore that image, the district launched Colorful Bridgeport, a branding and marketing program that pitches the district as a vibrant place to live, work, and…Continue reading


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