The economic restructuring component of the Main Street approach consists of strengthening the commercial district’s economic base and gradually expanding it. Economic restructuring requires a knowledge of local market conditions, a vision for the district’s future, access to public and private resources in the community, and the ability to coordinate these resources to make revitalization happen.
We provide information on the commercial district and its market opportunities. Because the Main Street program compiles and analyzes information about the district and its market area, it is in an excellent position to inform business owners, potential investors, and other interested parties about market trends and opportunities. In particular, DFI is gathering the following information:
We are currently in the process of restructuring and expanding the commercial district’s economy by working with existing businesses. It’s wiser to begin with businesses that already have a foothold in the district and to strengthen them.
To remain viable, most traditional commercial districts need to think creatively about new uses for space once employed for other purposes. New uses might include housing, small-scale industry, offices, entertainment, and religious or civic activities. Finding new ways to utilize unoccupied or underused space benefits the commercial district in a number of ways. First, it provides property owners with additional rental income, which in turn encourages them to maintain or rehabilitate their buildings. Secondly, bringing in new workers and residents strengthens the district’s market for convenience goods and services.
Because DFI has a base of knowledge about the commercial district’s economy, we can help identify new opportunities for economic growth, coordinate economic development activities, and seek creative solutions from other revitalization programs.
When new opportunities are discovered, DFI can also identify potential obstacles and find ways to overcome them. This process often leads to new financial incentives and/or technical assistance programs.
Revitalizing a traditional commercial district takes money, of course–not just operational funding, but also capital to invest in building rehabs, business development and expansion, and capital improvements. Managing the investment process so that displacement does not take place is important. DFI is searching for ways to assist with investment in our downtown. We are beginning with small-scale, high-impact improvements, such as upgrading signs, taking on deferred maintenance, improving window displays, and repairing sidewalks and streets.
What is a realistic goal for increasing retail sales this year? What level of investment should you encourage? Have your activities been successful? DFI seeks partnerships to answer these questions and seek our new questions that affect the economy of our downtown.
We could not do this without you, however. If you have a knack for business or are interested in the economic recovery of our downtown district, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need your help!