November 30, 2011
I conducted some research before the last Downtown Workshop. I came across an interesting piece by Destination Development and their work in York, PA (http://www.yorkpa.org/docs/Chapter%2013.pdf). They list 18 ingredients of a successful downtown or district. Let’s see how we’re doing:
- Intimate setting. I think we’re average at best. Isn’t downtown too big?
- Beautiful surrounding & street trees (curb appeal). I believe we’re doing well in this category. I love the vistas of the Altamont and surrounding hills, and of course, the City has poured a ton of money into the streetscape.
- Gathering areas & outdoor dining. We’re working on the Plaza, and restaurateurs are creating additional outdoor dining opportunities. We still need to get better.
- Convenient and incentive parking. We have plenty of parking, and free is the best incentive.
- People staying and living downtown. Uh-oh.
- A strong brand or retail focus. Well, the list comes from a brand consultant, but I get it. Lot of work to do here.
- Critical mass. Not yet.
- A name for each district. I think “Downtown Core” and “Eleventh Street area” is the beginning of this notion.
- Gateways & way-finding. It’s on its way.
- Evening hours (retail) and nightlife. Ouch!
- Activities and entertainment: water, art, music. Grand Theatre, Block Parties, A Taste of Tracy, etc.
- Public restrooms. I don’t know about this one. My mother told me to make sure you buy something if you have to use a shop’s restroom.
- Visitor information (24/7). Do websites count? Otherwise, we’re back to the way-finding system.
- Quality merchandise. I’m not touching this one.
- Good retail signage: blade signs, window displays to ext. spaces. More needs to be done.
- Champions. We have champions.
- Enthusiasm. We have enthusiasm.
- A plan. We have a plan.