Securing A Place for Main Street


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Presentation to Columbia\'s Civic Progress Committee (advisory group for Main Street)

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Securing A Place for Main Street

  1. 1. Securing a Place for Main Street Presentation to Civic Progress Committee Wednesday, August 8, 2012 Columbia, Illinois
  2. 2. Securing a Place for Main StreetChallenges for Main Street: Limited eligibility for grant programs Proximity to St. Louis metropolitan area High traffic volume on Main Street does not promote pedestrian activity along street Corridor development inconsistent—lots of gaps Business/property investment is lagging Merchants have steadily lost market share Main Street organization lacks focus Streetscape funding is very limited Lack of overall plan, investment strategy
  3. 3. Securing a Place for Main Street“Any community unable to attract and holdtalent will join a growing number ofeconomically doomed places where economicdevelopment is impossible.” - Mark Lautman When the Boomers Bail: A Community Economic Survival Guide
  4. 4. Securing a Place for Main StreetPHASE I: TEND TO THE BASICS
  5. 5. Securing a Place for Main StreetWhat will draw people to our Main Street?
  6. 6. Securing a Place for Main StreetTwo Concepts—Both Hard to Define:‘Charm’The term “Main Street” evokes visions of Norman Rockwell’s America, a kinder,gentler place of charming small towns, where neighbors watch out for one anotherand mom-and-pop businesses anchor the local economy. “Main Street” is such apowerful symbol of old-fashioned American values that the Walt Disney Companypositions “Main Street, U.S.A.” as the first attraction visitors encounter when they stepinside the gates of the company’s Magic Kingdom-style parks around the world.‘Sense of Place’A distinctive place embodies a character, look, flavor, and heritage that are not foundin other locations, especially within the surrounding region. To best enhance itsdistinct qualities, Main Street should build upon its intrinsic historic, economic,natural, and cultural amenities. Main Street may serve as a place for employment,shopping, worship, tourism, housing, government services, dining, entertainment,lodging, and cultural attractions, with all of these activities usually situated within acompact area that is easily walkable.
  7. 7. Securing a Placefor Main StreetPartners in Promotion:Main Street Merchants Brochure Decorative banners Highway signage (I-255) Joint advertising Billboards (?)City of Columbia Partner on above Social media Special events Streetscape maintenance Streetscape project
  8. 8. Securing a Place for Main Street
  9. 9. Securing a Place for Main StreetMain Street, USA Main Street Columbia
  10. 10. Securing a Place for Main StreetPHASE II: SCOPE THE ‘SCAPE
  11. 11. Securing a Place for Main Street
  12. 12. Securing a Placefor Main StreetPrimary GoalsStreetscape project willbring: Bump-outs Wider sidewalks New light standards Street trees More crosswalksThe items above will be incorporated into the project
  13. 13. Securing a Placefor Main StreetCollateral IssuesStreetscape project won’t(by itself) bring: Adequate parking Common area furniture Consistency (no gaps) to rows of buildings Outdoor seating Pocket parks Public art Signage that works These items will require Updated facades further discussion and, ultimately, action…
  14. 14. Securing a Place for Main StreetPHASE III: STEP UP THE PLACE
  15. 15. Securing a Place for Main StreetStep Up the Buzz: Continue to promote Historic Main Street Columbia, complete Phase I streetscape work, assemble data/public input on collateral issuesStep Forward the Vision: Craft an overall revitalization strategy for Main Street (see next slide)Step Into the New Main Street: Put the strategy to work—work with property owners to retain/recruit tenants and improve properties
  16. 16. Securing a Place for Main StreetNext Steps: Identify where we need more parking, locations that might allow shared parking, opportunities (if any) to deploy transit; Review the façade grant program (including amounts granted, procedures, and ways to make a closer tie between purpose and funding); Analyze current and potential uses (especially vacant properties) to identify opportunities or problems; Explore how and where outdoor seating might be permitted; Consider how art & green space might be added; Evaluate potential impacts from allowing sign regulations peculiar to Main Street (e.g., permitting sandwich boards)
  17. 17. Securing a Place for Main StreetLonger Term: Consider potential changes to zoning and/or development regulations (unique to Main Street); Identify common area improvements and/or services (this would include evaluation of the Main Street organizational model); Explore innovative financing mechanisms (e.g., tax increment, business district)—or new ways to combine programs Identify complementary businesses and recruit target businessesThese strategies will be part of the Main Street investmentstrategy section of the revised Comprehensive Plan
  18. 18. Securing a Placefor Main StreetCo-working: the power ofcollaborationEntrepreneurs have conceivedand nurtured startups from coffeeshops, libraries, garages--anyplace they can find to work.Recognizing the need for placesthat are flexible, social andinexpensive, collaborationcenters are sprouting up aspopular work spaces forentrepreneurs in cities around theglobe. These centers offer a placeto collaborate with fellowentrepreneurs, buildpartnerships, find mentors andgain advice.
  19. 19. Securing a Placefor Main StreetNextSpace (Santa Cruz, CA)sells membership into acollaborative community.Members come from a widevariety of industries: software,design, marketing, legalservices, architecture, andengineering, just to name afew. Some are lifelongfreelancers, while some havebeen downsized from biggercompanies and are justbeginning to venture out ontheir own. Some telecommuteto bigger companies on theother side of the country or theother side of the world. Someare startups, just beginningcompanies with dreams of a bigexit, while some are using theirskills simply to earn a living.
  20. 20. Securing a Place for Main StreetRecommendations: Pursue construction of streetscape project (Phase I) Begin parking analysis for the targeted Main Street district Review current façade program Catalog development gaps along Main Street to identify causes Seek examples of outdoor seating regulations from other communities Begin working with the Play Commission & Art on the Bluffs to identify places on Main Street for pocket parks and public art Seek examples of signage regulations from other communities that promote local businesses without violating historic preservation or “sense of place”These efforts will build on the Geographic Information System (GIS) workalready begun to form the foundation for the Main Street section of therevised Comprehensive Plan