Why Downtown is Important
Your downtown or traditional commercial district is the most visible indicator of community pride, along with its economic and social health. It is either an asset or a liability in the effort to recruit new residents, new businesses and industries, retirees, tourists, and others to your community and to keep those you already have. Quality of life is what separates successful cities and towns from declining communities in the new millennium. Finally, your downtown or neighborhood commercial district is the visual representation for your community's heritage. The architecture of your commercial district is a physical expression of your community's history. The Main Street approach encourages forward-thinking economic development in an historic preservation context so this community asset and legacy can be passed on to future generations.
Information from the National Trust Main Street Center: www.mainstreet.org
Why is Downtown Important?
1. Downtown districts are prominent employment centers. Even the smallest commercial district employs hundreds of people, and often the district is collectively the community's largest employer.
2. The downtown district is a reflection of community image, pride, prosperity, and level of investment — critical factors in business retention and recruitment efforts.
3. Downtown represents a significant portion of the community's tax base. If the district declines, property values drop, placing more of a tax burden on other parts of town.
4. The traditional commercial district is an ideal location for independent businesses, which in turn:
o Keeps profits in town with local owners
o Supports other local businesses and services
o Supports local families with family-owned businesses
o Supports local community projects
o Provides a stable economic foundation with direct ties to the community
5. Downtown is the historic core of the community. Its buildings embody the community's past and its visual identity.
6. A vital downtown area reduces sprawl by concentrating business in one area and uses community resources wisely, such as existing infrastructure, tax dollars, and land.
7. A healthy downtown core protects property values in surrounding residential neighborhoods.
8. The district is a government center where city hall, municipal buildings, the courthouse, and post office are located. It often is an important service center as well for finding attorneys, insurance offices, financial institutions and other important services.
9. Downtown provides an important civic forum, where members of the community can congregate. Special events and celebrations held downtown reinforce intangible sense of community.
10.Downtown represents a huge public and private investment. Imagine how much it would cost to re-create all of the buildings and public infrastructure in downtown.