Downtown Visioning Forum
We want to start by extending a huge thank you to everyone who responded to our visioning survey! Thanks to you, we had a great foundation for our Community Visioning Forum on Wednesday, June 26 and could dive into the topics that you care about.
Two thirds of survey respondents expressed a desire for more businesses and a greater variety of business types in downtown; 59% indicated that they believe art is important to downtown Everett; and nearly half shared that they value Everett’s history and want to preserve the community’s cultural and physical historic character.
The Main Street program is a community-led initiative that focuses on revitalizing older and historic commercial districts through preservation-based economic development. Reducing commercial vacancy rates and preserving historic properties are inherent to the program, so we chose to focus the forum discussions on artistic endeavors: Creative Businesses, Placemaking, Festivals & Events, and the Urban Experience.
Recurring topics throughout the groups included:
Pop-up businesses/parks and other smaller, more frequent events
Activating underutilized spaces
Creative, interactive downtown experiences
Increased promotion of the Third Thursday Art Walk
Night markets (holiday or year-round)
Collaboration, engagement, partnerships
We’re far from finished gathering community feedback and will be scheduling additional forum dates soon. In the meantime, we’d like to share some of the ongoing Downtown Everett Association projects related to the topics above.
Our Economic Development Committee is researching façade improvement programs in other similar communities and exploring the possibility of developing our own grant program after becoming an Accredited Main Street America Community. A façade grant could potentially be used to upgrade a business’ signage or put towards a full storefront facelift, which would support efforts to maintain Everett’s historic character.
The Downtown Everett Association is partnering with the Everett Station District Alliance, City of Everett, Cultural Arts Commission, and Everett Transit to host this year’s PARK(ing) Day, an annual international placemaking event on the third Friday of every September that inspires communities to rethink the use of our shared public spaces from car parking to parks and other fun, interesting uses.
We’re also bringing back our Halloween event this fall. Downtown Trick-or-Treating is a safe, free, and accessible event that brought more than 300 kids and their families into downtown in its first year - many of them for the first time. We’ll be working with even more business and community partners this year to make the event even bigger.
We’re incredibly thankful for the 12 people who signed up to volunteer during the Downtown Visioning Forum - we won’t be able to do any of this alone. If you’re interested in helping make this vision a reality, visit our Get Involved page for volunteer opportunities and let us know what speaks to you.