By Lance Winslow
When planning a downtown revitalization project the goal is to get people to come back to downtown and shop and spend money. Due to issues such as urban flight many people have moved into the suburbs and new businesses have sprung up there. Many lower income people have been stuck in the city with fewer jobs. The next thing that happens is crime comes in, graffiti and urban plight. In the United States of America there has been a conscientious effort to strengthen our downtown sectors. And the plan is working.
Of course this is no easy endeavor and it takes coordination from the Chamber of Commerce, the local city council and the Economic Development Association. It is imperative that the public and private sector work together to strengthen and revitalize our downtown businesses. Most of the most successful downtown revitalization projects have incorporated outdoor seating for restaurants and retail shops where people can walk and enjoy them selves. One of the biggest concerns of downtown revitalization projects is the public parking.
Downtown revitalization projects need to get people to come to downtown and stay and shop and they need to make it a destination point. Most of the people will do their shopping in the big box stores in the suburbs anyway and therefore downtown needs to be built up for purposes of entertainment, fine dining and an open-air atmosphere, which is fun. To keep everything working nicely is important to have plenty of parking where people feel safe about their automobiles not being broken into and where there are only minimal fees for parking.
If all the parking is on the street then that blocks the open-air atmosphere as people are eating and enjoying the atmosphere. If there are nothing but cars to look at then that takes away the ambiance and that is why parking planning is probably the second single most important thing in downtown revitalization projects; with the first being proper marketing to get the people to come back to the city downtown area. Please consider all this in 2009.
By Lance Winslow
Parking is always a problem in the downtown – so where is the best place to have people park? For some reason in our part of Illinois, parking garages have not gone over well. We have talked of a parking garage – even have the space for it, and no one wants one.