All posts by Darren Shock

Lasting Impressions from the Main Street Now Conference

Downtowns are back. In fact, many all over North America are thriving under the guidance of people and organizations passionate about their Main Street areas. That was the key message shared through the 2016 Main Street Now conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The annual conference brings together key private and public sector decision makers to share successes and challenges, as well as foster new ideas and solutions for preservation-based downtown revitalization.

Here are five key takeaways from the conference to consider when thinking about revitalizing your own community:

Continue reading Lasting Impressions from the Main Street Now Conference

Downtown Revitalization Ticking Along in Gravenhurst

Downtowns are often the historical heart of communities across rural Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization program offers a framework for improving the physical, economic, and social well-being of those traditional town centres and their historic places and spaces.

The Town of Gravenhurst launched their Downtown Revitalization initiative with the support of OMAFRA in 2011. The vision for this initiative was to create a Town that offers economic sustainability, diversity, and cultural or geographic uniqueness. Through investment and support from the Town and OMAFRA, Gravenhurst’s Downtown Revitalization initiative has generated a number of positive impacts for the Town over the last several years of implementing its action plan.

These include: Continue reading Downtown Revitalization Ticking Along in Gravenhurst

Improving the Analyst User Experience

Data plays a number of roles in effective economic development. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs – in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) – has offered Ontario’s economic development community access to a full range of data to support regional analysis, strategic planning, and monitoring in a free, user-friendly tool called ‘Analyst’ since 2013. EMSI has recently developed a new version of that flagship tool to improve the user’s ability to find, assess, and report on regional economic data. Improvements focus on five key areas: Continue reading Improving the Analyst User Experience