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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


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


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


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


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


Asphalt Art Protects and Beautifies

April 8, 2021
In Kansas City, MO, an asphalt art project transformed a tricky intersection making it less hazardous for pedestrians. Two cross streets approached from odd directions, creating two hairpin turns for motorists to navigate. Meanwhile, two wide lanes, encouraged motorists to speed — and left pedestrians anxious. City engineers worked with Street Smarts Design + Build…Continue reading


In Midst of Retail Retrenchment, Cannabis Stores Fill Space

March 26, 2021
As downtowns everywhere struggle through the coronavirus pandemic, demand for downtown space has emerged in the form of state-regulated cannabis dispensaries. Office workers are staying home, retail shopping is shifting online, and restaurants and bars have been compelled to reduce their capacities — but legalized marijuana has provided a new source of downtown tenants. In…Continue reading