Downtown Development Strategies

Downtown Economics Newsletter — APRIL, 2018. Downtown Development Strategies: Assessing the Priorities of Illinois Municipal Leaders. A summary of research by Norman Walzer, Mim Evans, and Michael Aquino, Northern Illinois University.

downtown Mazomanie

Five Keys to Downtown Success

Downtown Economics Newsletter – DECEMBER, 2015: A Presentation by Gary Becker at the 2015 Wisconsin Small Town Downtown Forums: Leverage – Spatial Relationships – Collaboration – Community Health – Support Local

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Measuring Success in Small City Downtown Revitalization Efforts

Downtown Economics Newsletter – SEPTEMBER, 2015. Various words are commonly used to describe successful downtown revitalization efforts. Three words that are often used, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, are:

• Vitality – the capacity to live and develop
• Vibrancy – having or showing great life, activity, and energy
• Resiliency – the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

All three describe positive change.


Downtown Storefront Improvements: Analyzing Return on Investment

Downtown Economics Newsletter – MARCH, 2015.  A team from University of Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation examined 24 case studies of storefront improvement projects in Wisconsin over the past 15 years.  These case studies ranged from rural Wisconsin to urban metropolitan areas.  The types of capital improvements were just as vast, ranging from less […]


Downtown Internet Connectivity

Embracing the internet can help downtown businesses grow and compete. This article summarizes the responses to a survey concerning access to and use of broadband in downtown districts. The sample consists of the 35 responses received from downtown development and Main Street professionals in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. This was not a rigorously scientific survey, […]


Downtown Financing Options

Economic incentives are often necessary to stimulate the type of development and reinvestment a downtown needs.  From traditional to unusual tools and sources, communities are experimenting with new economic development tools for their central commercial districts.  This article summarizes a presentation by economic development professional, Kristen Fish, and explores a variety of options for development […]


Public-Private Partnerships

Public-Private Partnerships are collaborations between government and private sector companies to fund and operate a project.  This article summarizes a presentation by economic development professionals Naletta Burr and Quasan Shaw and provides an overview of public-private partnerships,  successful case studies, funding mechanisms, and development agreements. Read the article here: Public Private Partnerships (2 pages)


Employment in Small City Downtowns

Downtowns are sometimes dismissed as distressed and struggling retail districts that are disconnected from the economic mainstream of our communities. Underutilized buildings and vacant storefronts often send out notice that the downtown economy has been forgotten. At the same time, economic development initiatives often bypass downtown with lofty goals focused on luring new companies to the edge of town. Research from Wisconsin provides information to help understand current downtown employment in small cities as a basis for economic development activities that retain and create jobs.


Economic Development Tools for Commercial Districts

From local angel investment groups to retail condos, communities are experimenting with new economic development tools (and putting a new spin on some old ones) to stimulate and support commercial district business and property development. This article summarizes a recent presentation by Kennedy Smith that highlights a number of promising tools. Also presented here are strategies for putting them to work in your revitalization program.


Bringing Green Buildings Downtown

This article provides an introduction to how downtowns can improve their environmental performance while increasing social and economic vibrancy. It summarizes techniques municipalities can use to attract new and sustainable development into their downtowns