Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

The Essential for Success: Downtown Tool Kit

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

The Essential for Success: Downtown Tool Kit

Article excerpt

Nationwide, elected officials are realizing that great downtowns do not just happen--they must be orchestrated. To do so, a clear blueprint is needed to guide downtown's economic success.

The Tool Kit

There is a "essential-for-success" tool kit which must be in place for downtown enhancement programs to succeed.

The tool kit includes the following:

Vision

To enhance your downtown in a way that pleases a majority of citizens and makes the best use of limited local resources, a shared community vision is needed.

Local government officials and citizens, working together, must define their shared preferences and desires for the future.

These communities ask themselves:

Do we want our downtown to be guided by chance or choice?

Market Analysis

Downtown is part of an industry that includes many giants--from shopping centers to large discount stores to "power centers" to outlet malls to catalogues and Internet shopping.

These giants wouldn't even think about going into business without first completing a market analysis.

And, for downtown's investors to play on a level playing field, this tool must be on hand for the commercial district.

Therefore, starting your downtown enhancement effort with a market analysis is absolutely essential.

Ideally, the market analysis should define downtown's realistic potential for retail, office and housing development.

The market analysis should not be seen as an end in and of itself.

Instead, the market analysis should be viewed as a means for defining an aggressive, implementation-oriented economic enhancement strategy that is tailored to address your downtown's needs and recreate your downtown's economy. …

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