LaBelle, A Main Street Worth Exploring and Growing!
March 29, 2014
We invite you to join our efforts to bring new life to Downtown LaBelle!
Get Ready! Get excited! Get involved!
Now, you may find yourself asking, what does that mean? Isn’t our Downtown okay as it is? Why would we need to consider revitalization, and how do we do it?
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, over the past 30 years, communities are rethinking the revitalization and management of their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. Cities and towns across the nation have come to see that a prosperous, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core. This national movement has taken root in thousands of communities across the United States and has stimulated billions of dollars in economic development.
Regardless of what they are named – First Street, River Avenue, Center Street, or Bridge Street, they all represent the same thing across the nation. They offer the community a core for business and social interaction. They are a hub for families and an economic engine for business development. They offer us an explanation of who we are and where we’ve come from. Our downtowns evoke memories of the past and they are the foundation of where we come together as friends and neighbors to work, play and enjoy life.
We all know what they are and where they are, but you may ask, “Why do they matter?” Simple answer; our downtowns are the core to our economic development and the future of our community.
Economic hardships have closed the doors of some businesses, while others have been lured from the downtown by newer developments and more convenient locations. Costs associated with trying to make older buildings adaptable to modern business needs have forced many businesses to move to different locations with fewer associated problems. Some of these buildings remain unoccupied and are not regularly maintained, affecting our economic vitality.
While there are no quick fixes for declining downtowns/urban neighborhoods, success can be realized through a comprehensive and incremental approach.
There are four elements that create a well-balanced community building experience that strengthens a downtown. We want to do this, in unique LaBellian fashion, to hold onto our cultural and historical heritage. We can bring life back into the Downtown without sacrificing an inch on the character and uniqueness of LaBelle. Here they are:
Design involves creating an environment where people want to shop and spend time. First impressions have a lasting effect. Rehabilitating buildings, having attractive storefronts, enticing window displays, clean streets and sidewalks, and proper signage together present an appealing image to potential investors, tenants and customers.
Organization entails building a Downtown framework that is well represented by civic groups, merchants, bankers, citizens, public officials and a chamber of commerce. Everyone must work together to renew downtown neighborhoods. Fundraising, volunteer development and public relations are examples of organization activities.
Economic restructuring requires analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. Sharpening the competitiveness of traditional merchants, recruiting new businesses, and creatively converting unused space for new uses are examples of economic restructuring activities.
Promotion creates excitement Downtown. Street festivals, parades, retail events and image development campaigns are some of the ways to encourage consumer traffic in the downtown area. Promotion involves marketing an enticing image to shoppers, investors and visitors.
Revitalizing our Downtown LaBelle is essential to our growth and vital to our sustainability. Revitalization will increase local sales and business economic development. It will help us build a positive image and create a destination for travelers; not just a drive through. Revitalizing Downtown LaBelle will preserve our character, historic resources and encourage new business growth. It’s a WIN-WIN for everyone who loves this community!
If you are interested in joining our efforts, watching LaBelle transform and grow, and getting involved, please contact us at 239.898.0125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developed and Supported by the Downtown LaBelle Revitalization Corporation (non-profit status pending)