By Al Hooper, Executive Director
I’ve always thought the best thing to know about any given topic is to know some really smart people in the subject area. Downtown development is no different, and Roger Brooks is a highly regarded expert on downtowns and attracting people. I invited Roger to speak at the 2012 Small Town Development conference here in Michigan and developed a lasting relationship with him. Here’s what Roger said about three steps to bringing downtown to life in his April 23, 2013 blog, and we’re doing well in two of the three with Blackman Park and our restaurants. A year around market would be nice!
Here are 3 “First Steps” to Bringing Your Downtown Back to Life:
How do you deal with the fact that people aren’t downtown now? It is a bit of a cliché, but its truth holds – if you build it, they will come. We’ve seen it everywhere we go. If you give people a reason to go downtown, they will look for places they can spend time and money.
Focus on after work hours and weekends to start. It is critical that there be things to do when people are out and about, enjoying their leisure time. Once people are downtown, they will start looking for places to eat, play and spend time. The retail will follow. Great businesses to start with include:
If your downtown is faltering (and so many of them are) it can seem like a daunting task to get things turned around. But we’ve seen it time and time again – if you give people a reason to come, they do. People are looking for great places to hang out and feel connected to their community. Activities and events in a central gathering place, a permanent market and some great places to eat are a great way to get started. They’ll attract people to your downtown and get the ball rolling – and once it starts, you’ll be surprised at how much momentum will build and how quickly that ball will fly.
Posted on April 23, 2013 by Roger Brooks, http://www.rogerbrooksinternational.com/category/successful-downtowns/