Designing a Marketplace

Is your economic restructuring committee effective?  Challenges like recruiting businesses and interpreting expensive and technical market studies discourage eager volunteers. There’s no immediate result after hours of meetings and planning.  Pressure to see results from business owners, local government and the community compounds the frustration. It’s easy for this committee, in particular, to go inactive.

Main Street organizations all over America have faced this challenge, and many are beating it–by creating compelling and specific visions for their downtown marketplace.  To illustrate the best strategies Todd Barman, Program Officer for the National Trust Main Street Center (NTMSC), features Altavista, a Virginia Main Street designated community, in a recent issue of Main Street Now

Barman says “It will take a concrete and compelling vision of a fully functioning future marketplace to attract the entrepreneurs and investors who will eventually realize [their] vision.”   What works for Main Street communities is similar to the strategy of successful commercial developers that are good at communicating their development vision using verbal descriptions, architectural renderings, and diagrams/schematics.  Along with this are specific steps for filling vacancies in historic commercial districts.

“The NTMSC is working to empower Main Street programs to use similar tools to attain similar results.”

Check out the details in the Main Street at Work column of the July/August 2010 issue of Main Street Now, The Journal of The National Trust Main Street Center.