Place seems to matter more than ever, and Main Street areas across the United States are finding ways to re-assert their economic importance despite emerging ‘disruptive’ advancements in retail (e.g. e-commerce). That was the underlying theme in many of the sessions I attended at the recent 2017 Main Street Now conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Attended by more than 1,600 people, the annual conference brings together key private and public sector decision makers to share successes and challenges in preservation-based downtown revitalization.
After a few weeks to collect my thoughts, here are the ideas that continue to resonate with me on ways to improve downtown districts: Continue reading Thoughts from the Main Street Now Conference
As the downtown revitalization community of practice sessions have come to an end, we thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on the key learnings and benefits that these sessions provide to our clients. Community of Practice sessions are generally held as a knowledge transfer opportunity; these sessions aim to provide feedback, support, and guidance to those who wish to partake in a downtown revitalization initiative.
Continue reading Key Takeaways: Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program is a comprehensive program that supports the economic development efforts of rural communities across Ontario. An initial step in this program is the intensive downtown revitalization coordinator training provided by OMAFRA staff. This training is focused on identifying the processes and tools required to successfully undertake a downtown revitalization project.
Continue reading Want to learn about downtown revitalization?
For the second year in a row, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has partnered with the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) to organize and deliver three Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice sessions. These sessions are being hosted in communities that are at various stages in their downtown revitalization program. The sessions are designed to provide a balance of perspectives about the challenges and opportunities associated with launching a Downtown Revitalization initiative, developing strategies to respond to changing markets, and maintaining support over the longer term.
These one-day sessions showcase the community, and the individuals or organizations involved in the revitalization of the downtown. This includes presentations by the host community and partner organizations, facilitated discussions on downtown revitalization best practices, and networking opportunities. Community of Practice sessions are scheduled for the following dates and locations:
More information and registration details can be found on the OBIAA website. OMAFRA facilitates and coordinates resources and tools to build the capacity of rural Ontario communities for economic development. For more information on OMAFRA’s Downtown Revitalization program, visit our website or contact the Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor in your area.
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
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
Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice sessions are an excellent opportunity for downtown revitalization coordinators, volunteers and community leaders to network, gain insights into the experiences, successes and challenges communities have faced on their downtown revitalization journey Continue reading Ontario Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice Sessions