Business

Keys to Revitalizing Tired Downtown Areas

After the heyday of new jobs and fabulous skyscrapers, many downtowns across America, both small and large, have found themselves run-down and poor. Many lack the businesses that they once had that helped to pump the tax dollars in, which in turn helped keep downtowns clean and well-developed. However, old downtowns seem to be part of a vicious cycle. They need visitors and businesses to come in order to get the funds they need to develop, yet without development, no one wants to come downtown. It is imperative that these downtown areas pump some money into the system to save themselves from utter disintegration. These six tips are keys to revitalizing many downtown areas.

Create New Jobs

Without good, solid jobs, no one new will be attracted to older neighborhoods. In the past decades, many downtown areas have faced problems as older industries, such as metal works and factories have moved to new towns, moved out of the United States or gone out of business altogether. City councils must work hard to find ways that they can attract new businesses, such as customer service hubs, health care companies or distribution centers for online stores. New business equals increased tax revenue as well as increased residents.

Make It Easy and Fun for Visitors

Visitors can bring plenty of revenue to downtown areas as they shop, eat, explore and stay. However, visitors need something worth visiting, such as museums, natural spaces and historic buildings. Visitors also need easy ways to get around the city. Based on the city, that could include bicycles for rent, parking garages or smart parking systems for easy parking payment. Having these options will reduce visitor stress and make them more likely to come back in the future and to recommend the city to their friends.

Improve Public Safety

Downtown areas known for violent crime, vandalism, theft or public protests scare away both visitors and residents. This is a task for the local police department to handle perhaps by increasing the police presence or by cracking down on crimes. As drug issues have cropped up across the United States, local law enforcement must also find ways to remove drug dealers from the city and treat addictions.

Make it Pedestrian-Friendly

A great city in today’s world is one that is easy to walk. Many people are concerned about emissions and about global warming. They are opposed to driving too much and may not make the effort to come downtown. Not only must city planners work on improving public transportation into the city, but also they must improve sidewalks, streetlights and public restrooms. City blocks should be short and should not be blocked by large buildings or fences. Green spaces are also fun to walk. Businesses should be built right up to the sidewalks to encourage pedestrians to stop, and parking should be located behind or under buildings.

Increase Living Spaces

Once some of the prior options are in place, cities should actively solicit builders to create good apartment buildings and condominiums in downtowns to improve residents. Residents, of course, also bring in tax revenue and help to support downtown businesses. Visitors should not be forgotten. Extended stay or boutique hotels can increase the tendency for visitors to stay downtown rather than in one of the outlying suburbs.

Add Gathering Spots

Finally, city councils should attract businesses that provide popular gathering spots for a wide range of people. Coffee shops and ice cream parlors are a couple of options, but all types of restaurants are also good. Emphasis should be placed on more up-scale establishments, such as grills and bars and sit-down restaurants although fast food does have its place.

When your downtown is revitalized, you will find that not only is it more fun to visit but also it makes it easier to improve your own business located there. You will have improved visibility as residents and visitors are more apt to walk or ride past your business. As the city puts money and hard work into restoring the beauty and vibrancy of downtown, whether downtown is only three streets or a metropolitan district, everyone in and around the area will prosper.

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Horace Cowan

Horace Cowan

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