The Right People on the Bus: Revitalizing Downtown Districts
Veronica Blake, CEO of Placer Community Foundation
Downtown districts in Placer County are unique and wonderful places that should be celebrated. They stimulate tourism, create employment, increase property and sales tax revenue and enhance our quality of life and the sense of neighborhood and community pride.
I currently serve as the Vice-Chair of Placer County’s Economic Development Board. As part of the Board’s Strategic Framework for the next two years, we prioritized looking into opportunities to support and promote downtown development, programming and business development in each of Placer County’s downtown districts. We met with the Washington DC Main Street program managers on the Cap to Cap trip earlier this year and subsequently formed a task force to further evaluate the Main Street Opportunity.
Last month we chartered a bus to Livermore to study a more established Main Street program. Over 30 representatives from across the county participated in the study mission that included a conversation with Laura Cole Rowe, Executive Director of California Main Street Alliance followed by a tour where we learned about Livermore’s approach to revitalization and how they funded it.
As a follow up, we partnered with Placer County Economic Development Board, the City of Roseville, the National Main Street Center and US Bank on a workshop that focused on tips, tools and resources to help create ecosystems of entrepreneurship in our downtown districts. Over 70 business owners and economic development leaders from throughout the Sacramento region participated in this town hall.
The Main Street Approach has been around for over 30 years and harnesses the social, economic, physical, and cultural assets that make each downtown district unique. I am drawn to it because it leverages existing assets like historic buildings and local independent businesses. It was remarkable to see how the approach worked in other communities and to expose our local participants to the possibilities.
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