Revitalizing Main Street


1 A practitioner’s guide to comprehensive commercial district revitalization REVITALIZING MAIN STREET Main Streets are not just collections of old buildings, but the hearts of communities, distinct places, and the roots of our nation. Ignored, abandoned, and otherwise unprotected, they disappear. And with that, so do the souls of communities—and people. In an age of indistinguishable strip centers and homogenous culture, our Main Street districts are more important and compelling than ever. A comprehensive, multifaceted strategy—the Main Street Four-Point ® Approach —offers a blueprint for bringing community centers back to life. The Main Street Approach applies a historic preservation-based economic development strategy to powerful grassroots organization, which yields impressive results in communities of all sizes and in all places. Revitalizing Main Street provides a foundation for understanding the many facets of commercial district revitalization. From business assistance to zoning, contributing writers selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which created the Main Street Four-Point Approach, explain fundamental concepts as well as offer inspiring success stories that show Main Street revitalization in action. revitalizing MAIN STREET organization promotion design economic restructuring A practitioner’s guide to National Trust for Historic Preservation © 2009 comprehensive commercial 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 ISBN: 978-0-89133-604-4 district revitalization

2 revitalizing MAIN STREET A practitioner’s guide to comprehensive commercial district revitalization National Main Street Center Washington, D.C.

3 About the National Main Street Center Established in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes re- vitalize their traditional and historic commercial districts. The Main Street Center leads the preservation-based community revitalization movement and has proven that historic preservation and community-driven economic development effects lasting change. For more information about the Main Street program and its widespread successes over the years, visit The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit membership organization bring- ing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history—and the important moments of ev - eryday life—took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neigh- borhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national net- work of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, con- necting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories. For more information visit Revitalizing Main Street: A practitioner’s guide to commercial district revitalization Project Editor: Andrea L. Dono Contributing Editor: Linda S. Glisson Designer: K2 Creative ( Copyright 2009 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 ISBN: 978-0-89133-604-4 Printed in the United States of America Images, front cover: (top image) Marcus Williams – Elements Studio, (lower images left to right) Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District, Linda S. Glisson, Princeton Main Street, Main Street Iowa. Back cover: Charles City Press, Dave Parsh, Joshua Bloom, Main Street Wildwood. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission of the publisher.

4 Acknowledgements The National Main Street Center would like to thank everyone who assisted in the devel- opment of this publication. A review committee selected by the project editor reviewed and analyzed the content of this book’s predecessor, , and provided feedback to guide the Revitalizing Downtown development of Revitalizing Main Street . Their willingness to share their expertise and diverse perspectives helped shape the content. More than a dozen talented experts gave generously of their time to write chapters for this publication. Both the review committee members and the authors, as dedicated contributors to the Main Street movement, participated in this project outside of their full-time jobs. The Center would also like to thank the Main Street executive directors from the many communities highlighted in this book for sharing their success stories and sending photos. Their commitment to restoring the hearts of their communities —our Main Streets—their creativity, and their passion are a constant source of inspiration. Additional thanks goes to the Flickr photographers who gave us permission to use their images to illustrate the case studies. Special thanks go to the Starbucks Coffee Company for its support of this publication. For all of our readers who are involved in community revitalization, always remember that your tireless work to save irreplaceable buildings, encourage stronger civic engage- ment, assist local business owners, and the countless other things you do every day to revive America’s hometowns, safeguard our heritage and sustain our historic communi- ties. Good luck to you all. Review Committee The following National Trust for Historic Preservation staff members, Main Street coor- dinator program staff, and local Main Street program executive directors assisted with content review for this publication: Jennifer Rose Krista Kendall Lauren Adkins Anthony Rubano Todd Barman Diane Laird Wendy Bell Ray Scriber Donna Langely Mike Smith Timothy Bishop Howard Langner Joe Lawniczak Sheri Stuart Marian Boyd Darlene Strachan Kathy LaPlante Maggie Cohn Elise Tinsley Doug Loescher Tracey Cox Teresa Lynch Carol Dyson Jim Watters Amy Webb Rick Ferrell Norma Meiss Elizabeth Wiedower Kyle Meyer Ron Franz Bob Wilson Patrice Frey William McLeod Stephen Versen Marsha Geyer Linda Pompa Emily Haber Stephanie Redman Tim Reinders Ellen Harper

5 Contributing Authors Lauren Adkins is the assistant director for Field Services with the National Main Street Center. Todd J. Barman is a program officer with the National Main Street Center. Joshua Bloom is a principal with the Community Land Use and Economics Group, LLC. Andrea L. Dono is the associate editor for the National Main Street Center. Darlene Rios Drapkin is the founder and principal of Urban Transformation. John D. Edwards, Jr., is with Transportation Consultant, Inc. Nicholas P. Kalogeresis, AICP, is a vice president of The Lakota Group, Inc. Joe Lawniczak is a design specialist with Wisconsin Main Street. Tom Liebel, AIA, LEED AP, is an associate principal with Marks, Thomas Architects. Doug Loescher is the director of the National Main Street Center. Teresa Lynch is a senior program officer with the National Main Street Center. Rhonda Sincavage is a program associate for Center for State and Local Policy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Kennedy Lawson Smith is the founder and principal of the Community Land Use and Economics Group, LLC. Leon Steele is an interior designer with Louisiana Main Street. Keith R. Tianen is the principal of Downtown Solutions, LLC. [email protected] Stacey VanBelleghem is a former program associate for the Public Policy Department of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Amy Jordan Webb is the director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Heritage Tourism Program.

6 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 2. HOW THE MAIN STREET APPROACH WORKS ... 11 7 1. WHY MAIN STREET MATTERS ... Main Streets Fall and Rise ... 8 13 Challenges Facing Main Street Organizations ... A Movement Is Born ... 8 ... Endless Opportunities 13 9 The Building of a National Network ... 9 Not Just for Small Towns ... 10 The Next Main Street ... ORGANIZATION 3. PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK ... 45 6. FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET ... 15 ... 46 A Closer Look at Membership Mission Statement ... 16 ... 16 ... Federal Programs Developing Your Vision 49 18 Work Plans ... Organizational Phases of a Main Street Program ... 21 7. PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM ... 51 22 ... Benchmarking Progress Targeting Communications ... 52 Resources 24 ... ... Communication Tools 52 55 ... Working with the Media 25 4. RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM ... Crisis Communication ... 56 58 Resources ... 26 ... Sharing the Workload Working with Volunteers 28 ... 8. EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET Creating a Volunteer Recruitment Program ... 28 ... Interviewing and Placing Volunteers 30 PROGRAMS ...59 ... 3 1 Orientation and Training 60 ... Why is Advocacy Necessary? Effective Supervision and Evaluation 32 ... 60 Where to Begin ... Recognition ... 33 Putting Advocacy into Practice ... 62 34 ... Multicultural Main Streets 62 Communicating with Your Elected Officials ... Resources ... 36 64 ... Communicating with Main Street Advocates Methods for Mobilizing Success ... 65 5. FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION ... 37 65 ... Proactive and Reactive Advocacy ... Lobbying by 501(c)(3) Organizations: The Basics 66 Myths of Main Street Funding ... 37 Resources 68 ... ... 39 Tools for Funding Main Street Revitalization Long-term Funding Options ... 43 ... 44 Resources ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING 10. REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET 69 ... 9. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS BUSINESS DISTRICT ... 93 70 Reversing the Disinvestment Spiral ... ... 71 Learning About Your District’s Economy Basics of Real Estate ... 94 72 ... Using Market Research ... Why Get Involved 94 Understanding Your District’s Strengths ... 73 Understanding the Market—Cost and Value ... 95 ... Clustering Businesses 76 Why Building Owners Don’t Invest ... 96 77 Understanding Market Demand ... When to Get Involved 97 ... Understanding Consumers ... 79 98 ... How to Get Involved Synthesizing Market Information 80 ... 99 ... Development Incentives 81 Crafting a Market-based Business Development Strategy ... 100 ... How to Become the Developer Diversifying Main Street’s Uses ... 81 102 ... Resources 83 ... Working with Existing Businesses Bringing New Businesses to Main Street ... 86 Developing New Businesses ... 87 ... Resources 91

7 DESIGN 16. MASTER PLANNING: Advancing the 11. VISUAL MERCHANDISING: Building the 149 103 Future for Main Street Communities ... ... Main Street Experience ... 150 ... Benefits of Commercial District Master Planning 104 The Five-year Rule 151 ... Elements of a Commercial District Master Plan 105 ... Customer Service 105 ... 155 ... Window Display Design Levels of Master Planning Putting the Master Plan Together Proportions and Transparency 107 157 ... ... Maintenance Making Your Master Plan Effective ... ... 108 158 ... 108 160 Interior Design ... Resources 109 ... Historic Interiors 17. ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE ... 110 Resources 161 REGULATORY TOOLS ... ... 12. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 111 162 Zoning Basics ... 163 Types of Zoning ... Main Street Architecture and Design 112 ... Main Street Zoning Issues ... 167 Building Rehabilitation 112 ... ... 113 Encouraging Building Improvements Taming Teardowns and Demolitions ... 114 171 18. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET ... ... Encouraging Appropriate Repairs 116 Why Convert to Two-way Streets? 172 ... It’s Not Just the Façade: Improving Alleys and Rear Entrances ..118 173 ... Should You Convert to Two-way Streets? ... 119 Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act Conversions and the Regional Transportation Network ... 175 New Construction ... 121 175 ... Accommodating Customers in the Business District ... 121 Signs and Awnings 177 Resources ... Awnings and Canopies ... 124 Resources 126 ... 179 19. PARKING ON MAIN STREET ... 180 Parking Problems: Perceived and Real ... 127 13. HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS ... ... 180 Understanding Parking Supply Design Guidelines ... 128 Secrets Unveiled by a Parking Study ... 181 Local Financial Incentive Programs ... 128 181 Methodology of a Parking Study ... 129 Design Review ... Local Parking Policies and Parking Design Options ... 183 ... Rehabilitation Tax Credits 130 The Economic Cost of Excessive Parking and National Register of Historic Places ... 131 Underutilized Land 185 ... The Future of Parking ... 186 14. REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 133 ... ... Environmental Sustainability 134 20. CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTS ... 187 135 ... Inherently Sustainable Design Crime: A Perceived or Real Problem? ... 188 ... 135 Preservation and LEED Safety and Cleanliness—The Fifth Point? ... 188 Economic Sustainability 135 ... 189 Design as a Safety Tool ... 138 ... Sustainable Small Business Carrots versus Sticks 192 ... ... 139 Social Sustainability Working with Enforcement Agencies ... 192 Resources ... 140 Dealing with Vagrancy 193 ... 194 Resources ... 141 ... 15. PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 142 ... Streetscape Improvements 142 ... Streetscape Amenities ... 143 Planning Public Improvements 145 Wayfinding ... 147 ... Funding for Public Improvements Resources ... 148 PROMOTION 195 22. HERITAGE TOURISM: Capitalizing on 21. PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT ... Not Being AnyPlace, USA ... 213 ... 196 Competitive Advantage 198 M e d i a ... Trends in Heritage Tourism ... 214 ... 199 Events ... Are Heritage Travelers Different? 215 Developing a Promotion Calendar ... 201 215 Opportunities for Main Street ... 203 Special Events and Fund Raising ... Can Your Main Street be a Heritage Destination? ... 216 Retail/Business Activities ... 203 ... Developing a Successful Heritage Tourism Strategy 216 Evaluating Promotional Activities 207 ... Potential Heritage Tourism Partners ... 217 ... Funding Promotional Activities 208 Ways to Measure the Impact of Heritage Tourism ... 218 209 Dealing with Prickly Issues ... Resources ... 220 Resources 212 ...

8 INTRODUCTION chapter 1 WHY MAIN STREET MATTERS By Mary Thompson and Doug Loescher Main Street—the term is evocative. For some, it conjures nostalgic images, such as barber shops and five and dimes, movie theaters, post offices, diners, and parades. For others, it epitomizes the democratic ideals of openness, accessibility, and civic discourse. For everyone, it symbolizes a place where friends and neighbors can cross paths and come together. We all know where our Main Streets are. They may be named First Avenue, or Water Street, or Martin Luther King Boulevard, but they all represent the center, the core of our communities. They are the economic engine, the big stage, the community’s living room. Main Streets tell us about who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us. We do not go to gated communities or enclosed shopping malls to learn our stories. The Main Streets of America are places that matter because they are places of shared memory where citizens still come together to work, live, and engage with one another. In an age of indistinguishable strip centers and homogenous culture, they are more important and compelling than ever. At a time of shrinking resources and unchecked sprawl, Main Streets—and the compact, dense traditional cities they anchor—have taken on a new importance, as a critical com- ponent of any sustainable community initiative. In the most fundamental way, Main Street is smart growth. Finally, Main Streets offer places of authentic character and opportunity, where the independent spirit of entrepreneurialism and innovation can thrive. It is no ac- cident that creative ventures are so often seeded in the midst of the “messy vitality” of our community centers... where new ideas and businesses can experiment and take root.

9 Because Main Streets are places that matter, the revital- ization and comprehensive management of these districts have become essential to the health and vitality of every community. While a growing number are making great prog- ress, many continue to struggle. Economic and social forces have—over the past 50 years—forced the centers of our cit- ies into a spiral of decline, as business practices and public attitudes have shifted. Main Streets Fall and Rise Economic transformation is nothing new to Main Street districts. Scores of business types have come and gone © Linda S. Glisson over the years, from blacksmiths and liveries to type- Several coordinators gather during the annual writer shops. These have been replaced with new estab- National Main Streets Conference. lishments as savvy business owners adjusted to ever- changing markets or left to be replaced by the next wave shoppers and poorly equipped to work collectively, Main of entrepreneurs. The transformations of the second half Street began losing businesses, and its economy plummeted. of the 20th century, though, have been unusually chal- “Big box” retailers or “category killers,” Internet com- lenging for Main Street districts. Several profound se- merce, and New Urbanist “lifestyle centers” pose signifi- ries of changes nudged established commercial districts cant new competition to the mostly independently owned, into a downward spiral of disinvestment and decay: smaller businesses on Main Streets, which must work harder to distinguish themselves from strong competitors. The creation of the interstate highway system, that • transformed the ways in which Americans lived; A Movement Is Born The establishment of land-use regulations which • ® has transformed The Main Street Four-Point Approach separated residential areas from commercial areas, how communities think about their commercial dis- effectively “outlawing” the kind of mixed-use develop- trict’s revitalization and management. As a compre- ment found along Main Streets; and most importantly, hensive, incremental approach that has been proven city by city, and state by state since 1977, this strategy The almost ten-fold explosion of retail space between • has forged an important nationwide movement. When 1960 and 2000—from four square feet of retail space looking at the benchmarks for progress, the numbers per capita to 38, flooding the market with far more are impressive, and the stories compelling. What seems commercial space than American spending obvious today was radical only a few years ago. could support. - The idea of a comprehensive methodology for preser vation-based economic development grew from a humble With such a glut of retail space and so many changes experiment. The National Trust for Historic Preserva- taking place, it was inevitable that some commercial centers tion, a national nonprofit chartered by Congress in 1949, would suffer—and Main Streets, whose merchants and had been receiving calls from people asking for ways property owners had never before needed to work collab- to save their vacant, deteriorating downtown buildings oratively as an organized shopping area, were the least pre- that were facing demolition. In 1977, the National Trust pared for the changes taking place. Emptied of middle-class launched a three-year Main Street Project to reverse the deterioration of downtown buildings—an effort born out of necessity, not out of careful planning and analysis. The National Trust tested out ideas for addressing this problem in a pilot project (see sidebar “The Main Street Project”). Emerging from this demonstration program was an innovation in the field of historic preservation— an understanding that in order to keep historic build- ings intact and vital, a comprehensive program was needed to improve the economic health of downtowns. That innovation became the Main Street program. To apply the Main Street Project’s lessons learned to more communities, the National Trust created the Main Street Center in 1980 (today called the National Main ® ). The Center has helped launch a network of Street Center more than 2,000 communities that share information and An example of a “lifestyle center” in Arlington, Virginia. best practices and build a nationwide community. Hun- WHY MAIN STREET MATTERS 8 INTRODUCTION

10 The Main Street Project Realizing that traditional preservation methods weren’t enough to revive entire communities, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched a pilot project to learn how to preserve a downtown’s heritage while sparking re- investment. The Main Street Project selected small towns and cities hard hit by the advent of suburban shopping malls but that had an intact historic building stock. Three managers were placed in three Midwestern towns (Gales- burg, Illinois, pop. 38,000; Hot Springs, South Dakota, The first three downtown managers of the Main Street Project: pop. 5,000; and Madison, Indiana, pop. 13,000) to learn Tom Moriarty, Scott Gerloff, and Clark Schoettle. how communities could strengthen their downtowns and why so many revitalization attempts/strategies through- years, the project participants showed remarkable turn- out the nation seemed to be failing. arounds. In Galesburg, for example, 30 new businesses opened, raising the occupancy rate to 95 percent, while The downtown managers worked with design and eco- in Hot Springs, sales tax revenues increased by 25 per- nomic development consultants to provide three years of cent. Moreover, for every dollar spent managing the local technical assistance. Going beyond working with typical Main Street project, $11 was invested by private businesses city stakeholders and officials, the managers involved the in building rehabilitation and adaptive-use projects. The local community in the process and established a vision National Trust created a replicable model using the les- for each downtown. sons learned from this project. Its Main Street Four-Point Approach® showed that a holistic strategy was necessary This project taught the National Trust that the key to to save historic buildings and that establishing a volun- saving Main Street’s historic buildings was to strengthen teer-based organization to become downtown’s advocate and diversify the district’s businesses and find new uses yielded big successes. for secondary spaces, such as upper floors. After three state as well as several citywide urban neighborhood dreds of thousands of buildings have been rehabilitated and as many more businesses started. A corps of Main programs (see below) and other regional/countywide Street professionals has been trained and empowered. programs. Most statewide coordinating programs are The process the National Trust for Historic Preserva- housed in state government agencies and serve as conduits tion developed—codified in four broad areas of simul- for bringing state resources to participating communities. Main Street coordinating program staff members help taneous, incremental activity known as the “Main Street ® ”—stimulated new businesses, Four-Point Approach build the capacity of local programs, grow the network, mobilize resources, and work in partnership with the generated new investment in building improvements, Center to explore new solutions to revitalization chal- and rekindled a sense of optimism. From the beginning, lenges and respond to emerging trends throughout the the four points of the Main Street approach focused on nation. Coordinators also provide advocacy at the federal, retail promotion, business recruitment, and other tradi- state, and city level to encourage the support of “pro- tional economic development strategies as much as they Main Street” policy. did on saving old buildings. At its core, Main Street has always been a preservation initiative, however. Its suc- cess lies in building a base of support by focusing on the Not Just for Small Towns immediate interests of business and property owners, while bringing preservation “in the back door,” turn- While the roots of Main Street are firmly planted in the ing structures once viewed as obsolete into assets. rural small communities that still represent the core of the movement, the methodology proved enticing to urban The Building of a National Network communities as well. In 1985, the Center launched a new three-year demonstration project in eight cities to Realizing early on that it could not help every community test the Main Street approach in urban neighborhood directly, the Main Street Center designed a second demon- business districts. With some adaptations, the approach stration project to test the idea of working with state-level worked—and, by 1988, the seven programs that com- partners, seeing them as the key to expanding its revital- pleted the demonstration project (Albuquerque, New ization program through the delivery and coordination of Mexico; Boston, Massachusetts; Cheyenne, Wyoming; technical services. For three years, the Center worked with Dubuque, Iowa; Joliet, Illinois; Knoxville, Tennessee; six states—Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Car - and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) in total generated more olina, Pennsylvania, and Texas—to build their capacity than $100 million of new investment, created 1,700 and to deliver technical services to 30 local communities. new jobs, and completed 635 building rehabilitations. Gradually, the Main Street movement saw the develop- Lessons learned from the early urban demonstrations ment of a nationwide network of coordinating programs pointed the Center toward a specific type of district—the that today includes statewide programs in almost every neighborhood commercial corridor rather than the central WHY MAIN STREET MATTERS 9 INTRODUCTION

11 Boston Main Streets which is the only coordinating program that deals strictly with suburban downtowns. Other innovative initiatives One of the seven sites participating in the citywide three- include regional programs, such as the Western Erie year demonstration project was Roslindale Village, a Canal Alliance in western New York State, which worked neighborhood in Boston. Thomas Menino, at that time a with the Center to develop a regional Main Street co- Boston city councilor for the district that included Roslin- dale Village, was instrumental in encouraging the neigh- ordinating program to support communities along the borhood’s successful application for the demonstration Western Erie Canal Corridor. Regardless of how they project and exploring ways the city could help neighbor- are structured, all these programs use the Main Street ® hood commercial districts revitalize. as a framework for action. And Four-Point Approach regardless of the issues and challenges, (such as crime, When Menino became mayor of Boston in 1993, he part- parking, diversity, growth, etc.), the model continues nered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to to provide a straightforward structure for organiz- create the nation’s first citywide, multi-district Main Street - program. By institutionalizing the program at the city lev ing groups, work plans, and volunteer engagement. el, Menino and the National Trust believed the city could more effectively provide resources to individual neighbor- hood commercial district programs—in essence, creating The Next Main Street a structure similar to that of statewide Main Street pro- grams. Since Mayor Menino began the citywide program, The world has changed dramatically since Main Street more than 20 Boston neighborhoods have participated in was conceived. Our world is constantly being transformed Boston Main Streets. Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Or- by technology and information. Economic and cultural lando, Florida, have followed suit. In countless cities, indi- globalization has reached even the smallest village. Origi- vidual neighborhood district programs have successfully nally, “green buildings” might have referred to a paint applied the methodology of Main Street to good results. color and sustainability wasn’t a term on everyone’s lips. The owner of the Main Street store today is just as likely to be a first-generation immigrant from Southeast Asia business districts of larger cities—and an entirely new as a third-generation “native” of a rural community. type of management structure—the “citywide coordinat- Technology has forever changed retailing. Issues facing ing program” model. See sidedbar, “Boston Main Streets.” our downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts As an illustration of the flexibility of the Main Street today are different and complex, and the challenges have approach, the past several years have seen an interest- grown exponentially as businesses grapple with new ing adaption of the organizational model for Main Street realities of e-commerce and residents who no longer work work, outside the classic independent nonprofit that has where they live. been the backbone of rural community programs. Com- Out of this diverse landscape of growth and evolu- munity Development Corporations, (CDC) as well as tion, Main Street will still matter, because the physi- business improvement districts (BID), have integrated cal place will be more important than ever as a “touch the four-point approach in a variety of ways. One such point” of continuity and connection in a dynamic experiment led to a unique collaboration of the National world. And the simple and elegant framework of the ® Main Street Center with the Local Initiatives Support will continue to Main Street Four-Point Approach Corporation (LISC), a national affordable housing absorb new ideas and strategies for the emerging issues resource group, to explore ways in which neighborhood and opportunities in and on the “next Main Street.” community development corporations could integrate Main Street revitalization into their ongoing services. The LISC collaboration focused on six demonstration programs, which laid the foundation for expansion of Main Street programmatic ideals in other cities. Several excellent examples of CDCs and Main Street programs working as combined entities already existed. Pittsburgh’s “Main Street on East Carson” neighborhood Main Streets program, for example, had been work- ing in tandem with the South Side Local Development Corporation (SSLDC). By crafting a work plan that balanced housing development with commercial district revitalization, provided a range of resources for flexible needs, and engaged neighborhood residents in the plan- ning, the Main Street on East Carson partnership helped - turn the district into one of Pittsburgh’s most cultur ally vibrant and economically healthy neighborhoods. ® Andrea L. Dono Since 2000, the Main Street approach has continued A snapshot of Baltimore, Maryland, which is to diversify organizational models to include county- home to several urban Main Street districts. wide programs, such as Oakland County, Michigan, WHY MAIN STREET MATTERS 10 INTRODUCTION

12 INTRODUCTION chapter 2 HOW THE MAIN STREET APPROACH WORKS By Doug Loescher Downtown and commercial district revitalization is nothing new. As long as traditional business districts have been challenged with decline, an endless stream of ideas and methodologies has been proposed, tested, and employed. No single ap- proach works everywhere, and many strategies have enjoyed limited to substantial success, depending on where and when they have been implemented. The Main Street approach, as noted in the previous chapter, has proven to be overwhelm- ingly effective in places where community residents have a strong emotional, social, and civic connection and are motivated to get involved and make a difference. This approach works where existing assets—such as historic buildings and local independent businesses—can be leveraged. Both small-city downtowns and urban neighborhoods throughout the nation have renewed their community centers with the Main Street methodology. ® So, what are the fundamentals of the Main Street Four-Point Approach ? The Main Street approach is a historic preservation-based economic development tool that volunteer-driven organizations—often in stand-alone private nonprofit structures—can use to revitalize their commercial districts. Members of the community, or stakeholders, are engaged and empow- ered as volunteers who serve on the board of directors and committees or as financial and political supporters of the revitalization effort. The board provides governance; and the four standing committees, which usually correspond to the four points, implement the revitaliza- tion work. The four points of the approach are:

13 Organization establishes consensus and coopera- No single project or focus— Comprehensive. • • tion by building partnerships among the various such as lavish public improvements, name-brand business recruitment, or endless promotional groups who have a stake in the commercial district. events—can do the job. For successful, long- By getting everyone working toward the same goal, term revitalization, a multifaceted approach your Main Street program can provide effective, that applies all four points is essential. ongoing management and advocacy for the district. Through volunteer recruitment and collaboration Small projects and simple activities lead Incremental. with partners representing a varied cross section • to a more sophisticated understanding of the revi- of your community, your program can incorporate talization process and help develop skills and re- a wide range of perspectives into your efforts. sources so that the program can tackle more complex Promotion takes many forms, but the goal is to create problems and implement more ambitious projects. • a positive image that will rekindle community pride Local leaders must have the will and desire Self help. and improve consumer and investor confidence in • to mobilize local resources. That means convinc- your district. Advertising, retail promotional activities, ing public and private stakeholders alike of the special events, and marketing campaigns help sell the rewards for their investment of time and money image and promise of Main Street to the community in Main Street—the heart of their community. and surrounding region. Promotions communicate your district’s unique characteristics and offerings to Both the public and private sec- Partnerships. shoppers, investors, business owners, and visitors. • tors have a vital interest in the commercial dis- trict and should work together to achieve shared means getting Main Street into top physi- Design • goals. Each sector has a role to play and each cal shape and creating a safe, inviting atmosphere. It must understand the other’s strengths and limi- takes advantage of the visual opportunities inherent tations to forge an effective partnership. in a commercial district by directing attention to all of its physical elements: public and private build- Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets. Busi- ings, storefronts, signs, public spaces, landscaping, • ness districts must capitalize on the assets that make merchandising, displays, and promotional materials. them unique. Every district has special qualities, such Its aim is to stress the importance of design qual- as distinctive historic buildings and great businesses. ity in all of these areas, to educate people about These local assets must serve as the foundation for all design quality, and to expedite improvements. aspects of the revitalization program. There is eco- nomic value in authentic heritage and architecture. strengthens your com- Economic Restructuring • - munity’s existing economic assets while diver Quality. Emphasize quality in every aspect of the sifying its economic base. This is accomplished • revitalization program. This applies to all ele- by retaining and expanding existing businesses ments of the process—from storefront designs to provide a balanced commercial mix, convert- to promotional campaigns to educational pro- ing unused or underutilized space into productive grams. Concentrate on the quality rather than property, sharpening the competitiveness and mer - the quantity of your projects and activities. chandising skills of business people, and attract- ing new businesses that the market can support. Skeptics turn into believers. Changes Change. • ® in attitude and practice are necessary to im- provides While the Main Street Four-Point Approach prove current economic conditions. Public sup- the framework for revitalization, success is achieved by port for change will build as your program adhering to eight principles that apply to all areas of the grows and consistently meets its goals. revitalization effort: Implementation. Activity creates confidence in the • program and ever-greater levels of participation. Frequent, visible changes are a reminder that the revitalization effort is under way. Working simultaneously, volunteers for each com- mittee and the board tackle all areas of revitaliza- tion. By engaging in an inclusive, community-led process, your Main Street organization can achieve broad-based support for its efforts and gather input from diverse groups to make sure that the heart of the community is one that makes everyone proud. HOW THE MAIN STREET APPROACH WORKS 12 INTRODUCTION

14 Institutional ownership of major buildings—and, • in some instances, blocks of buildings—can ex- acerbate efforts to upgrade the business mix and make physical improvements within the district. Socio-cultural challenges, such as crime, often seem • so overwhelming that communities believe they must solve these problems before attempting any other changes. Financing mixed-use development can be difficult, • as there are usually different sources of backing for business development—typically on the ground floor of a Main Street building—and housing development—usually on the upper floors, above Large, national retailers offer a level of selection and discount the storefront. prices that pose a challenge to Main Street businesses. Corporations and governments often underestimate • Challenges Facing Main Street Organizations the economic muscle of downtown and neighbor - hood commercial districts, particularly those serv- Main Street programs have proven to be powerful advo- ing disadvantaged residents of modest means. This cates for their commercial districts and effective agents of makes it more difficult to attract investment. change throughout the nation. With each successful proj- ect, your organization will increase its visibility and cred- Relatively few resources exist for cultivating • ibility in the community and leverage your successes to independently owned businesses—an important build a sustainable program that will have a dramatic im- component of strong Main Streets. pact on your district over time. However, there are going to be significant challenges along the way. For example: Endless Opportunities Many cities are burdened with the legacy of a commu- • Every year, the Main Street movement continues to nity development paradigm that focuses more effort grow and strengthen, improving the quality of life and and resources on recruiting big businesses and devel- protecting treasured historic assets and local heritage oping new buildings than on retaining and strength- throughout the nation. Main Street communities shape ening small businesses and reusing old buildings. their own destinies and carve out their own niches in the marketplace as exciting places to live, visit, work, and Political support from elected officials and city staff • play. Malls, retail “category killers,” and Internet shop- is critical to success, but sometimes difficult to attain. ping may continue to be popular retail options, but Main Changes in administrations and budget shortfalls can Streets have endless opportunities to go beyond creating also diminish support for Main Street programs. strictly retail environments and can define a new role for themselves in a community. Whether your commu- Conflicts can arise in districts with established organi- • nity becomes known as an authentic historic downtown zations and/or city departments that are already steeped in local heritage or a hot restaurant row, your working on various revitalization or economic program has numerous options to shape a special place. development issues if they do not understand the Main Street districts have many significant advantages: collaborative nature of a Main Street program. Some groups may feel that their “turf” is being threatened. Main Street districts are attractive to entrepre- Development organizations frequently find themselves • neurs; they are home to many new innovative competing against each other for the community’s and independent businesses, thanks to the avail- resources and attention. ability of smaller commercial spaces with cheaper rents. This environment is an incubator of new Economic development is often viewed as the exclu- • ideas and is able to reflect local character. sive domain of professionals who discount the value of grassroots, volunteer-driven efforts. According to the Travel Industry Association of • America, more than half of travelers who shop Finding and retaining enough volunteers to implement • say they seek items that represent the destina- Main Street initiatives and serve on the board and tion they are visiting. Main Street districts with committees can be difficult as volunteerism trends unique businesses and attractions are poised to change and other organizations compete for valuable welcome travelers and their shopping dollars. volunteer time. HOW THE MAIN STREET APPROACH WORKS 13 INTRODUCTION

15 The Main Street program taps into these—and many Main Streets generally have more independent • other—assets and helps downtowns and neighborhoods businesses than national retailers. Independent overcome barriers to revitalization. It stabilizes older businesses usually invest more of their profits back commercial districts by helping community leaders, busi- into the community. For example, a 2003 study ness owners, civic groups, residents, and property own- of mid-coast Maine found that local businesses ers identify the best economic options for the future and - spent 44.6 percent of their revenue within the sur provides the training and advice necessary to achieve that rounding two counties, while big-box retailers 1 vision. By strengthening an established business district’s returned just 14.1 percent to the local economy . overall economy, the Main Street program significantly Severely distressed districts or communities just reduces risks for developers and investors, thereby at- • starting their revitalization programs may not have tracting new capital to historic commercial districts. enough businesses to meet all of local consumers’ Main Street offers practical solutions to many of the needs. This untapped market creates opportunities problems facing traditional commercial districts. With for intrepid entrepreneurs to meet this demand. its solid, demonstrated track record of creating new jobs and businesses, rehabilitating older and historic build- Most Main Streets are pedestrian-friendly, mixed- ings, attracting new investment, strengthening community • use districts that offer retail stores, housing, of- identity, and improving safety, the Main Street program fices, governmental uses, entertainment and cul- has become one of the most successful economic de- tural venues, service businesses, and light industry. velopment strategies in the nation. By creating a com- Consequently, the people who live and work in prehensive framework for incremental transformation; and around Main Street can satisfy many of their drawing on the skills and vantage points of a wide range needs by walking—this creates a built-in cus- of community partners; and providing full-time, profes- tomer base, improves quality of life, promotes sional management, Main Street has attracted billions smart growth, and reduces reliance on cars. of dollars in new investment to older and historic com- mercial centers and created tens of thousands of new Main Street districts have a unique visual iden- businesses and hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The • tity and distinct sense of place that can offer Main Street movement has galvanized thousands of a competitive advantage in the marketplace. volunteers and changed the way governments, planners, Uniqueness is one of the forces that create eco- and developers view preservation. Just as importantly, nomic value, and many Main Streets offer his- it has forged a network of revitalization practitioners toric authenticity and a distinctive heritage. who constantly share best practices, success stories, and ideas with each other—a community in itself. Main Street’s historic buildings can usually be • adapted for a variety of uses. Unlike structures in contemporary shopping centers, which may have a lifespan of only 30 years, many historic buildings were designed and built to last for centuries. Main Street districts represent substantial public • investment in infrastructure and municipal services. It makes good fiscal sense for the local govern- ment to protect its investment in established areas and support smart growth by revitalizing those places and fully utilizing existing infrastructure instead of building sprawling new communities. Owners of Main Street’s historic buildings can • become eligible for federal historic rehabilita- tion tax credits. Investors may also be eligible - for special incentives, such as federal New Mar kets Tax Credits, which are designed to stimulate ® Andrea L. Dono activity within certain depressed and blighted Main Street businesses, such as this store in Franklin, Tennessee, areas. (See page 50 for more information.) are often owned by independent merchants who sell items that reflect local heritage and can meet local needs. Main Streets are often home to rich cultural tra- • ditions and generations-old crafts and skills. By improving the economic viability of his- toric Main Street districts, communities protect The Economic Impact of Locally Owned Business vs. Chains: A Case Study in 1. the nation’s diverse cultural heritage and pre- Midcoast Maine , New Rules Project, September 2003. serve these traditions for future generations. HOW THE MAIN STREET APPROACH WORKS 14 INTRODUCTION

16 ORGANIZATION chapter 3 PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK By Lauren Adkins, with additional writing by Andrea L. Dono Strategic plans, master plans, work plans, vision plans. Can’t we just get to work? Fortunately, planning is work, and important work at that. Planning Main Street’s work is an inclusive process that gets people thinking about the community’s goals for the district’s future and how your Main Street program can effectively help in achieving those goals. Most Main Street organizational planning is composed of three parts—a vision plan, a mission statement, and an annual work program. This chapter will discuss the vision plan, which will help your community establish a common goal for the district, as well as the mission statement and annual work plans, which will guide your program and keep everyone on track. Finally, we will discuss the importance of tracking your actual progress through benchmarking as your plans successfully come to fruition.

17 Mission Statement Mission Statement States who you are. The mission statement is a short description of your organization’s purpose stated clearly and simply. It should Vision Statement state who your group is (the name and type of agency), what you do and where you do it, and distinguish your Tells where you want to go. organization from others in the community. Keep the state- ment flexible so it will stay relevant as your organization Work plans evolves. Mission statements should be only a few sentenc- Show how to get there. es. A good mission statement is the organization’s “elevator speech,” a short answer about what your organization does that you can recite during an elevator ride. Post your mis- tricts, and revitalization programs are some of the typi- sion statement to your website and include it in your an- cal groups who participate in visioning initiatives. nual report, newsletters, press releases, and other materials. Vision plans can vary widely but the National Main While your mission statement won’t list projects or Street Center recommends they be at least several para- initiatives, it will serve as the starting point for develop- graphs long and be written as if the writer were compiling ing an annual work plan and will prevent your organiza- the program’s accomplishments 10 to 30 years from now. tion from taking on work that exceeds your program’s The vision statement is a glimpse into the future to see how purpose. If someone proposes taking the organization in the revitalization effort paid off, what the Main Street dis- a new direction or tackling a major new project, board trict is like, and how the Main Street program helped trans- members can refer to the mission statement to see if the form the district. You can think of this document as being new project or direction adheres to the mission. See the similar to those created by developers for new projects to sidebar below, “Sample Mission Statements,” for examples. get investors on board, sell the idea to a zoning or other municipal board, or appeal to prospective renters or buyers. Developing Your Vision The Main Street program can use its vision when sell- ing the community’s dream to potential investors, business Once you know who you are, you need to decide where owners, volunteers, partners, and others. Your statement you are going. All program leaders must have a clear vision will coalesce a dream, and the work going on behind the of their “destination.” Vague goals, such as “to achieve a scenes will be geared toward achieving that vision. The vibrant commercial district,” leave room for unfocused Main Street organization can use the vision statement as revitalization efforts. Visioning has become the standard a means not only to motivate its staff and volunteers but practice to determine a community’s physical and econom- also to see if its annual projects and initiatives will help ic future as well as to manage change in a meaningful way. you realize this dream. If not, your program should reassess Through a comprehensive visioning process, your how it allocates its resources and change its plan of action. community can develop consensus on a variety of social, Vision plans can also be part of a community master economic, and physical development goals, and then plan. While this is discussed in depth in Chapter 16, Master decide on strategies and benchmarks to achieve these Planning, a master plan is a document that guides how the goals. The consensus is then summarized in a vision community grows and manages change over the years. It statement. The issues explored by visioning projects can is generally a process led by the municipality, but ideally it be quite broad, such as education, economic develop- should also engage the public’s input and participation and ment, transportation, tourism, citizen involvement, and bring the Main Street program to the table in some way. housing, among others. Visioning projects can also focus Depending on your community, a community-wide master on specific issues, such as a new riverfront development plan may already be on the books, as well as a downtown project or plans for outlying development that would or neighborhood business district master plan. There might not hurt downtown. Municipal governments, chambers be an existing vision statement associated with one of these of commerce, large employers, civic groups, economic plans that your program may want to use. Because plan- or community development corporations, school dis- ners don’t necessarily start a master planning process with Sample Mission Statements Ripon, Wisconsin Elgin, Illinois The Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin is a not The purpose of Ripon Main Street, Inc., is to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Ripon, Wisconsin. Main Street for profit 501(c)(3), volunteer-driven coalition that represents the interests of the individuals and organizations with a pres- will work with both the public and private sectors to restore ence in downtown Elgin, Illinois. The Association’s purpose is the vitality once common in the downtown by enhancing our to foster a center of activity and ensure economic stability for community identity and heritage, fostering a center of activity, the heart of Elgin through historic preservation, communica- and ensuring economic stability through concentrated efforts in tion, education, promotion, and economic revitalization. organization, promotion, design, and business development. 16 PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK ORGANIZATION

18 municipality will be leading the effort as well as paying for it. Less comprehensive or smaller visioning activities will obviously require less time and fewer resources. Most visioning projects are facilitated by outside consultants, such as specialists from coordinating Main Street pro- grams or the National Main Street Center, vision plan- ners, design professionals, and community organizers. Generally, a visioning process has four steps: 1. Preliminary/Initiation Phase. If your Main Street program is running the show and you have the budget, you can hire a trained meeting facilitator to guide these discussions or pick a Main Street staff or board member to lead them. If the local government is leading the effort, offer your assistance. At the first meeting, explain to the © Linda S. Glisson participants what a vision statement is, what a visioning a visioning exercise, there might not be a vision statement. process involves, and how the statement will be used. The This presents an opportunity for your organization to lead a first step is to determine the logistics and timeline of the community visioning process. You are strongly encouraged process. Set up a steering committee made up of individuals to work as a team with the municipality on this effort. Your and groups representing broad segments of the community program can lead the visioning process itself or encour - to guide and implement the process. When a Main Street age the municipality to set aside funds to lead the initiative program undertakes a visioning initiative, the board of (along with a master planning process if one hasn’t been directors should represent the different interests of the created yet or if the current one is outdated). If the local commercial district. It is also during this phase that target government is not planning a visioning process, lead one areas are identified and a timeframe of 10, 20, or 30 years is of your own as it will be beneficial for your future work. established for the visioning project. A number of Main Street programs have created vision statements and formally submitted them to their municipali- 2. Every meeting facilitator has his Facilitated Discussions. ties for review and endorsement as an official statement for or her own technique for guiding interaction. There is no downtown or the neighborhood business district. Often- right or wrong way as long as everyone has an opportunity times they are approved at a public ceremony and incorpo- to be heard. To get you started, here are the questions rated into the existing commercial district master plan. the National Main Street Center has used to promote Although the actual document is useful, the process of productive dialog. creating it is just as important. Consensus building among stakeholders will create higher levels of commitment and Why is Main Street special to you personally? ◉ enthusiasm for community revitalization. If citizens have a forum to provide their input, they will be more inclined How do you wish Main Street were better? ◉ to support revitalization initiatives. Extend personal in- vitations to key stakeholders and send a general invita- What will revitalization success look, sound, smell, ◉ tion asking the public to participate in your visioning and taste like? meetings or to submit their ideas in advance. Your staff, board members, and committee chairs should be required What will revitalization success feel like emotionally? ◉ to attend and all volunteers should be strongly encour - aged to actively participate. While it is best to solicit the How do you want Main Street to be viewed in ◉ input from the public in this process, if that doesn’t hap- 10 years? pen and your vision statement only reflects the views of your volunteers and staff, make it clear that your docu- What activities and businesses do you hope to enjoy ◉ ment is the Main Street program’s vision statement. on Main Street in 10 years? The Visioning Process Another technique is called a “SWOT” analysis. The facilitator asks participants to name the commer - The time, money, and energy that your community spends cial district’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and on implementing a visioning process depend on the scope threats as the first steps toward building a vision. Regard- and scale of the visioning exercise and the ultimate use less of your chosen technique, assign someone to keep of the results. If your goal is to create a comprehensive track of comments and ask the group to vote on ideas vision statement that will guide overall community plan- to confirm consensus. Present the results of the vote to ning and address a breadth of issues, the process should the group and ask for reactions. If the results need to be involve all segments of the community and will most likely amended slightly, do it while the group is still together. take six months to a year. In that scenario, it is likely the 3. Writing the Vision Statement. Next, draft a preliminary PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 17 ORGANIZATION

19 community-wide visioning and master planning processes vision statement narrative using keywords from the public will include implementation strategies for many entities in meeting(s). Distilling the many ideas from the visioning meetings will be tricky and you’ll need to enlist the most the community, not just your organization. gifted writer among your staff or volunteers. Writing the The use of graphics, such Other Elements to Consider. vision statement should be the job of a single person. The statement should be written in the present tense and as architectural renderings and site plans, are especially useful if the vision process is focused on physical develop- approached as though the community has achieved all of its ments, such as a streetscape project. Design charrettes can goals. For example, “It is 10 years from [today’s date] and we have created our most desirable district.” See the sample be incorporated into the visioning process to help mem- bers of the community visualize future changes. Graphics vision statement below for an example. The draft should then be reviewed and edited by each board member. Now can also be used to market the visioning process and final product through a report, posters, banners, and other is not the time to introduce new concepts—the statement communications. and the board’s edits must respect the community’s input. If your program wishes to submit the statement for formal Most Main Street programs find that the original endorsement by the municipality, you can do so once the vision plan can guide their work for several years. Every board approves it. five years or so, your board members may want to re- The final vision statement should be presented pub- view the plan to see whether it is still relevant or if it needs modifying. Small changes are normal but a whole- licly. Hold another meeting to unveil the statement, discuss sale rewrite should not be necessary. next steps, and generate excitement for the years ahead. Be sure to post the vision on your website, e-mail it to stakeholders and partners, and highlight salient concepts Work Plans in press releases to local media. Make sure the public has access to the statement and understands the con- Every year, each committee will outline its work for the sensus-building process used to develop it. next 12 months. In younger programs, this work plan is often a list of projects the committee can realistically com- 4. After the vision The Vision and Implementation Plan. plete within a year. More mature programs will outline statement is approved, your Main Street organization objectives and strategies that guide a series of projects. needs to develop its work plan. Work plans are the guiding For example, market studies during the early years of the implementation documents that boards of directors and revitalization effort may reveal that the commercial dis- committees use to carry out the program’s activities. In trict has strong potential as an arts and entertainment dis- the case of community-wide visioning projects, short- and trict. Consequently, the next work plans will outline how long-term implementation strategies are developed and each committee will work to establish this market niche. responsibilities assigned to those delegated to carry out After the first year or two, programs become better at the vision. These strategies may include timetables for estimating how much they can accomplish during a year. achieving specific objectives as well as integrating the vision The work plan should reflect the organization’s major into current community planning activities. Large-scale, Our vision for a preferred downtown Elgin is a destina- tion where the community works, lives, and enjoys the arts, quality entertainment, outstanding restaurants, and CASE STUDY delightful shopping experiences in the unique atmosphere of historic Elgin on the Fox River. It is a place where people desire to live in renovated loft residences and new up-scale Elgin, Illinois condominiums. Vision Statement for Downtown Elgin Property owners enjoy 100 percent occupancy of office, retail, and residence space. They prosper with the demand for space at market rates and reinvest their profits in their properties. The infrastructure is “tech ready.” All Internet and computer connections and power are more than ad- equate to handle the growing number of tech businesses locating downtown. Those who work downtown enjoy a real sense of commu- nity and the conveniences of a downtown location. Many travel on Metra from Chicago and other suburbs. Parents kiss their children goodbye as they bring them to a first- rate child care center one block from their office. Others drop clothing at the dry cleaners and get in a 20-minute workout at the local recreation center before starting their day. Workers settle into workstations that are the envy of any Internet/computer-based business in the world. PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 18 ORGANIZATION

20 priorities and be realistic in its scope. It should exclude items that cannot be accomplished in one year. Remem- ber that the Main Street program cannot be everything to everyone; to be effective, it must focus its efforts. Don’t take on activities that do not fit your purpose. Don’t at- tempt projects for the wrong reasons, e.g., because a grant is available to conduct the project, because the activity the specific tasks needed to accomplish your objectives. will put someone on the payroll, or because the project Board members create the goals for each com- Goals. will generate publicity. That said, don’t turn down good mittee. The board is responsible for the Main Street opportunities when they come along, but be sure that any program’s direction and thus is accountable for its activi- changes in the Main Street program’s agenda are made ties. It also must make sure that the work of each com- for sound reasons. Scrutinize every proposed activity mittee dovetails with the others and fits within the mis- and be sure it makes sense for the program. Your orga- sion. Committee members must clearly understand their nization’s leaders and volunteers will likely have many responsibilities and look to the board of directors for good ideas that will have to be temporarily “parked” on direction and management. With experience comes the a list until resources and time permit revisiting them. opportunity for committee members to take a stronger leadership role in developing work plans and establish- How to Write a Work Plan ing their own goals. When committees are ready to “fly solo,” a board member should mentor the committee A work plan should include: chairs so they can take charge of the process, but the board should provide guidance and support as needed. Goals for the standing committees; • The objectives for each goal should be Objectives. developed by the standing committees, in conjunction with Specific objectives necessary to accomplish each goal; • the board. A board that dictates too much to the com- and mittees risks driving away volunteers. You can motivate volunteers more by giving them a role in creating the work A list of activities with an appropriate time frame for • plan. Each committee should brainstorm various objec- accomplishing each objective. tives that will help it achieve its goal. After listing a dozen or so objectives, see if any can be combined and then ask Goals, objectives, and activities define the projects volunteers to prioritize them. Board members can help your organization will implement to fulfill the directives ensure that committee objectives don’t overlap and prevent in its mission statement. Your goals broadly state what a committee from taking on too much. When committee your organization wants to accomplish within each of the leaders are ready to develop their own objectives, board Main Street four points. Your objectives should outline members should mentor them in this process as well. what your board and committees need to do to accomplish Activities. Committee members must brainstorm ideas your goals. And, finally, a list of activities should outline Bicyclists travel into downtown along the bike path and They have 24-7 access to the Internet and clients from around the world. park their bicycles next to others in front of a small cafe. They order beverages and catch up with old friends. They During the noon hour, the streets are filled with people go for a short walk and browse the windows of boutiques, on their way to the bank, bookstore, and drug store or to vowing to return the next day to shop. They get back on lunch. They wait in a short line to be seated at fabulous their bicycles and head off into one of the surrounding restaurants that provide quick lunchtime service. Regu- neighborhoods on a historic bike tour. lars ask for their favorite server and greet the owner and other familiar patrons. Some get their lunch “to go” and The nighttime brings excitement, music, dancing, and din- sit in the park, enjoying the open spaces and taking in ing. A little jazz, a little blues, a little Cajun, a little Ital- the sun. ian. Anything you desire. A foreign film, the latest flick, old-time favorites, late into the evening, entertainment Youth breathe life into the community while attending for everyone. the performing arts high school and college at downtown campuses. There is no fear, there is no crime, and parking is just around the comer. The short walk from your car to your destination The arts are an integral part of people’s daily lives. Work - is a delightful experience of sights, sounds, and smells. You ers and visitors attend an artist’s workshop and see new pass a boutique, a bakery, a coffee shop, friends sipping tea and unique statues in the attractive sculpture garden. and discussing a new author at an outside café, and the riv - Families congregate at weekly events and monthly festi- erboat sounds its horn. You observe a “citizen guide” giv - vals. They enjoy an outstanding library and a stroll along ing directions to a visitor. The local beat officer passes by, the riverfront. They meet with friends for summer con- smiles, and greets you with a “good afternoon.” You think certs under the stars or listen to symphonic music. On to yourself that coming downtown is always such a plea- bright winter days, parents sip hot cocoa as they admire surable experience. You can’t wait for the holiday season to their children’s skill on the ice rink. see how vendors will light up the downtown. 19 PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK ORGANIZATION

21 for activities that will meet their work plan objectives. Once Adopting the Completed Work Plans they decide on activities for the year, they will need to write up work plans for each activity. The board of directors should review the completed For each project, the committee should generate a list project plans, looking for duplication or overlap among of steps, which will become tasks that can be assigned to the committees and using the committee budgets to es- volunteers. By defining all the steps necessary to complete tablish the program budget. After determining whether a project, setting a timeline and budget, and assigning committee projects can be accomplished in one year, volunteers to be responsible for every step, each commit- the board also approves timelines for each activity. The tee will have a clear idea of the resources it will need that timing of projects is important, especially for activi- year. For example, if you are putting together a business ties that rely on other tasks being completed first—such directory, you know that the steps include contacting all as a façade improvement program that will not be an- the businesses; compiling information; and then coordi- nounced until the low-interest loan pool is established. nating the directory’s design, printing, and distribution. Once projects have been adopted, committees should Because the work plan reduces all projects to incremental be free to complete them without seeking approval from tasks that volunteers can complete in a specific period of the board on every matter. As long as work progresses time, the task of contacting business owners can be del- according to the plan, board members don’t need to be- egated to several volunteers. Be careful not to overload a come involved in the details; instead, they should be avail- single volunteer or staff member. If the committee doesn’t able for support or mentoring. Any amendments to the have someone to handle every task, such as finding some- plan should be taken to the board for approval. Each one to design the directory or work with the printer, those year, the board should examine the committees’ goals to unassigned jobs become volunteer recruitment priorities. see if they need to be modified as the program matures. That is why a work plan is so crucial for recruiting vol- Share the final work plans with the members of all unteers. Taking the time to plan ways to complete each committees so that they know what everyone is working project can save time later in the year when projects are on. The work plans should also become tools for guiding - already under way. The work planning process is impor all committee and board meetings. At committee meetings, tant—every person who participates in the process will the agenda should include discussion, or at least reports, offer his or her own creativity and unique perspective. of progress and deadlines coming up in the work plan. Work Plans with a Purpose An Example of a Work Plan Element - When developing annual work plans, remember the pur poses they serve: Goal for Economic Restructuring Committee: To manage the wide range of activities that must take Research and analyze the downtown’s economic • conditions. place for a revitalization effort to succeed. From a project management perspective, work plans get com- Objective #1: Understand the retail market condi- mittee members on the same page so they understand tions that affect the downtown. clearly what needs to be accomplished during the year. The board can also use work plans to ensure integration Activities: of the four points among all committees. Understanding how many steps it will take to Gather the most recent Census data. • complete a project can help you realistically plan what Conduct customer and merchant surveys. • can be done each year and create a timeline for pacing incremental activities. A detailed work plan that breaks Obtain copies of market studies from city • down big projects into volunteer-sized tasks will divide planning department. the workload into manageable pieces and help the com- • Conduct preliminary market analysis. mittee identify additional volunteer needs for the year. Objective #2: Gather information about downtown To develop a budget for activities. Work plans are • real estate. crucial budgeting tools. Committee members need to assign costs and revenues to all portions of their work Activities: program. The board of directors then compiles all of these individual budgets into a full organizational Develop a base map that shows all • budget. As previously stated, work plans should drive downtown buildings. the budget, not the other way around. • Conduct a building inventory and note vacant lots and abandoned buildings. To explain the organization’s purpose and activities • Good work plans have benefits beyond to the public. Collect real estate data from tax office. • organizing work. They are also useful public relations • Collect historical data (maps, photos, directories). PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 20 ORGANIZATION

22 Organizational Phases of a Main Street Program Successful Main Street programs go through three distinct organizational phases: Catalyst Phase At least 70 percent of the buildings, both public • In this phase, during which the revitalization program is and privately owned, that needed major physical created, the organization builds collaborative partner- renovations at the beginning of the revitalization ships; develops basic revitalization skills; builds a strong effort have been renovated; volunteer base; and establishes a credible presence in the community. Characterized by enthusiasm, high hopes, and The ground-floor vacancy rate ranges between • some skepticism, this phase is frequently marked by mis- 5 and 8 percent; conceptions about the commercial district’s true prob- lems and opportunities. Because the new organization The upper-floor vacancy rate is less than 20 • doesn’t have a track record yet, its initial revenues have percent; probably been raised through pledges, and the district’s • The public is aware of the commercial district’s constituents will watch carefully to see if the new organi- importance to the community and quality of life is zation lives up to their expectations. These are the years high; and during which program leaders must lay the organizational groundwork for the reinvestment that will follow. It is im- The organization has made some headway in over- • portant to achieve some highly visible “victories” during coming the regulatory, financial, and perception the program’s early days as a way to signal that changes barriers that have impeded full utilization of the are taking place, while working diligently to discover eco- district’s commercial buildings. nomic opportunities for the district and make decisions about the best path to pursue. Management Phase Indicators that a Main Street program is moving from the During the management stage, the Main Street program’s catalyst to the growth phase include: design management role changes. In many ways, it functions like a shopping system, strategic thinking, organizational credibility, and a mall management office, ensuring that businesses adapt good understanding of the district’s economic role. to changes in the marketplace; that the district’s physi- Growth Phase cal infrastructure, both buildings and public spaces, is in good condition; that the district is as safe as possible; that These are the years in which the program begins tackling the district’s marketing strategy is targeted and effective; tougher problems and sees major reinvestment in the dis- and that potential threats to the district’s economic vital- trict: facade improvements grow into more substantial re- ity are kept in check. habilitation projects; unused (or underused) upper floors Typical characteristics of the management phase include: become apartments, offices, or other small businesses; and new buildings rise on vacant lots. Along with the vision- The program sometimes serves as a contractor to • ary risk-takers who started the program, the Main Street the municipality, delivering or augmenting specific organization now needs seasoned volunteer leadership— services such as maintenance, parking manage- individuals who possess the technical skills and expertise ment, and security; to provide the development financing, political access, and marketing direction necessary to stimulate major re- • The program’s staff often grows during this phase, investment in the commercial district. with staff members assuming greater responsibility for management of the organization; The major challenges of the growth phase are to: • Program leaders sometimes redefine the organiza- Develop and implement a comprehensive econom- • tion’s mission to reflect the progress that has been ic development strategy for the commercial district made and the shift from revitalization to ongoing —a strategy based on a firm understanding of the management of the district; region’s market opportunities and limitations; • The commercial district is no longer perceived by • Raise the capital required to complete major build- the general public as being in economic distress or ing rehabilitations and, if necessary, public improve- danger; and ment projects; and The district supports a broader range of uses than it • • Identify and take steps to overcome the regula- did at the beginning of the revitalization process. tory, financial, and perception barriers that prevent or deter full utilization of the commercial district’s The catalyst phase typically lasts from two to four years; buildings. the growth phase, about eight to 12 years; and the management phase is ongoing. Main Street programs Unlike the transition from the catalyst to the growth phase, sometimes cycle back and repeat certain aspects of ear- which is marked largely by the skills the members of the lier organizational phases as they mature, as the market- organization have learned and by the way the program is place changes, and as the program’s staff and leadership perceived by the public, the shift from the growth to the change over time. management phase is marked by tangible benchmarks: Excepted from “How Main Street Programs Evolve and Change,” by Kennedy Lawson Smith, , March 1996. Main Street News PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 21 ORGANIZATION

23 tant when it comes to recognizing volunteers at the end of the year. Estimate the number of new volunteers recruited. • Estimate the number of volunteer hours contributed to • the program by estimating the number of hours volun- teers spend on Main Street activities. This is typically done at monthly committee meetings. © Stacey VanBelleghem Calculate the amount of volunteer hours converted into • tools. Post the work plans on your website so people dollars. Independent Sector, a nonprofit coalition of can follow the projects your organization is tackling. charitable groups, calculates the hourly value of volun- teer time, which in 2007 was $19.51. Using that amount, To show quantifiable results. Nothing builds more if a Main Street program has 100 volunteers who give • credibility for a community organization than reporting 10 hours of their time per month, those hours can be back in a year to show that much of the annual plan counted as an in-kind donation of $19,510 for that year. was accomplished. Summarize each committee’s ac- complishments to show what Main Street has achieved Measure increases in the number of contributors as • during the year. Committee activities are quantifiable: well as the level of funding. This number can indicate activities and objectives can be measured so you can that the revitalization program is reaching a larger and/ gauge progress, set standards for future initiatives, or broader constituency. and clearly demonstrate success. Your track record in completing work plan activities can offer a persuasive Document the source and the number of grants • argument when you make funding requests, appeal received. for support from the municipality or other stakehold- ers, and launch volunteer recruitment campaigns. Quantify the dollar value of all media exposure. Track • all articles and stories run in all media outlets and multiply the inches/time by the average advertising rate. 1 Benchmarking Progress Document the number of successful partnerships. Track • Main Street programs can be measured in a variety of collaborative efforts with other civic organizations; ways; thus, it’s important to chart your accomplishments. school groups; and local, county, and state organizations. Try to collect as much data as you can while your program progresses—it will come in handy in impressing people Promotion who seek numbers, like elected officials, the media, and funders. One of the most effective tools for systematically Estimate attendance at promotional events. See Chap- • collecting data to quantify success is through the reports ter 21, Promoting Excitement, for ways to do this. Be designated Main Street communities must submit to their sure to calculate the percentage change from the previ- coordinating programs. Most coordinating programs ous year so that you can publicize an event’s growth. require local Main Street programs to submit information on new businesses, new jobs created, private reinvestment Document the number of vendors at events. Calculate • for design improvements, volunteer time, public improve- the increase or decrease in percentage every year. ments, buildings sold, etc. The following is a comprehensive list of statistics that Document the number of participating retailers. Be sure • can be used to measure the progress of your commercial to calculate the change in percentage from year to year revitalization program. and use increases in participation to convince business owners to take part in your promotional events. Organization Estimate the impact of promotional events on sales. • Estimate the number of volunteers annually involved in When evaluating your promotional events, take the time • the program. To aid in evaluating volunteer impact, to survey participating business owners. Ask them to many Main Street programs set up a database, main- calculate the percentage that sales have risen or dropped tained either by program staff or the chair of the org- or to rate the change in sales by using a scale, such as anization committee, to keep track of the number of dramatically decreased, slightly decreased, no change, people who volunteer and the activities they’re working slightly increased, dramatically increased. Always ask on. Keeping an accurate tally of the people who donate retailers to compare last year’s sales to the present year - their time and skills to Main Street is especially impor —but respect the wishes of those who don’t want to share this information. 1. This section has been excerpted from “Benchmarking Your Program’s Progress,” by Matthew January 1998). Wagner ( Main Street News, PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 22 ORGANIZATION

24 tion program in which the number of employees Main Street’s impact on tourism takes place primarily • through marketing campaigns, tourism advertising, and is one of the questions asked during the interview. Interview or survey business owners each year and special events. Many programs work with the city’s look for increases and trends in employment. convention and visitors’ association to monitor the number of requests for information about the commu- Number of housing units created in the district. nity. Other methods include checking with retailers to • Residents provide additional nighttime activity, a new get the zip codes of shoppers and contacting hotels to customer market, and intensified use of properties. determine occupancy rates during events designed to attract tourists. Many states have departments of Average rental rates on ground and upper floors. This tourism or university extension offices that can help • information is best accessed through local real estate you estimate the impact of tourism on your community. offices or an informal survey of property owners. Design Vacancy rate. You can calculate the vacancy rate in a • couple of different ways. First, determine the amount Compile a list of private design improvements and their • of square footage available for businesses in the district. costs, including new signs, building rehabilitations, Next, locate the vacancies and calculate the square facade renovations, and interior renovations. To make footage of this space. To find the vacancy rate, divide sure the list is completely up to date, track the number the vacant store space by the available store space. of building permits issued during the year, then get in For example, if your commercial district has 200,000 touch with the business or property owner to gather square feet of available space and 10,000 square feet accurate information about each project. of that space is vacant, the vacancy rate is 5 percent. Another method is to count the total number of store- List the number of public improvement projects and • front or office spaces in the district and then determine their costs. Include street furniture, tree plantings, street how many are unoccupied. For example, if your district and/or sidewalk improvements, utility burials, parking has 150 storefront spaces and only five of them are spaces, new light poles, etc. empty, there is a 3 percent vacancy rate. Calculate three Track the number of design workshop participants. categories of vacancy rates: first-floor rate, an upper- • story rate, and an overall rate. These rates should be Determine the amount and value of in-kind design tracked every year to determine real estate trends. • assistance the Main Street program provides to business and property owners. Types of assistance can range Reinvestment ratio. One final calculation you should • make every year is the program’s “reinvestment ratio.” from facade renderings to help with interior design. A dollar figure can be attributed to these services. This is done by tallying the number of total improve- ments during the past year (including volunteer hours Calculate the increase in property assessments. This is converted to dollars as well as private and public • an important baseline figure to calculate at the begin- reinvestment) versus the amount of money spent on ning of the program. Calculate the percentage increase maintaining the program annually (the annual budget). from year to year. Private and public reinvestment can include build- ing and facade rehabilitations, streetscape improve- Economic Restructuring ments, building purchases, improvements to building interiors, new business signs, etc. This “reinvestment To accurately measure Main Street’s impact on the econom- ratio” is used by the National Main Street Center to ic growth of the commercial district, determine a number showcase the program’s impact on a national basis. of baseline figures at the beginning of the revitalization process. The list includes: Conclusion Number of current businesses in the district. You can • By developing clear, inspiring mission and vision state- walk or drive through the district and count the ments with the help of multiple stakeholders, your Main businesses or you can check with city offices that have Street program will be ready to accomplish significant business permits/licenses on file. projects in an incremental and strategic way. A detailed annual work plan that includes timelines and assignments - Number of net new businesses. Once you’ve deter • for each activity, an itemized budget, and an evaluation mined the baseline list of businesses, monitor new procedure will improve the program’s success rate by store openings in your district. The “net” figure is keeping the program organized and by offering bench- important because it reflects businesses losses as well. marks to measure progress. Number of jobs in the district. This baseline statistic • is usually determined as part of a business visita- PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 23 ORGANIZATION

25 RESOURCES Website Provides hourly value of Independent Sector: Promotion: Main Street Committee Members volunteer time each year. This nonprofit has an Handbook; Organization: Main Street Committee array of advocacy and lobbying resources, including Members Handbook; Economic Restructuring: Main information on tax status and lobbying restrictions. Street Committee Members Handbook; and Design: Main Street Committee Members Handbook , by advocacy_lobbying.htm Doug Loescher and Teresa Lynch (National Main Street Center, 1996). This series of handbooks was Articles developed especially to help Main Street committee members understand the Main Street approach, “Vision Planning: Charting the Future for Main Street the committee’s purpose, and the basics of their Communities,” by Nick Kalogeresis. Main Street News , respective subject matter. November 1999. Ways Main Street programs can use visioning exercises to chart their community’s path Guide to Community Visioning: Hands-On toward the future. Information for Local Communities , by Steven C. Ames (APA Planners Press, 1993). How to design and “Ultimate Work Planning: The high-performance implement a visioning process and develop policies organizational tool for the next decade,” by Kennedy that support your community’s vision. , December 1999. Main Street News Lawson Smith. Strategies for developing effective Main Street work Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A plans that meet your organization’s goals. , by Michael Allison practical guide and workbook and Jude Kaye (John Wiley & Sons: 2007). Concepts Books taken from the for-profit world to guide your organization’s work. The Main Street Board Member’s Handbook , by Strategic Planning Workbook for Nonprofit Suzanne Dane, et al. (National Main Street Center, Organizations , by Bryan W. Barry (Wilder Publishing 2003). This handbook was developed especially for Center, 2003). Tips for developing or updating your Main Street board members who are new to their organization’s strategic plan. Includes suggestions volunteer position as well as for the leadership group for boosting teamwork, managing people better, and working to establish a new Main Street program. working effectively despite funding cutbacks. Images, left and right: © Linda S. Glisson. Center image: © Mindy Wendele PLANNING MAIN STREET’S WORK 24 ORGANIZATION

26 ORGANIZATION chapter 4 RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM By Lauren Adkins, with additional writing by Teresa Lynch It is very exciting to see neighbors, coworkers, officials, and other stakehold- ers in your community get inspired to make positive change happen. Lots of great ideas will be put on the table and wonderful dreams captured in your vision statement. But who in your Main Street program is going to get all this work done? Don’t panic. It is important to remember that Main Street programs are true public- private partnerships, so various pieces of the work will be done in partnership with other agencies and organizations. For instance, perhaps your organization will team up with the nearby university or chamber of commerce to offer business assistance seminars. Or your program might work with the city to facilitate a streetscape project. Also, your committee and board structure is set up in a way that shares the work load. Each member of the organization has distinct duties to fulfill and must work with others to ensure their efforts don’t overlap and to prevent overburdening individuals. This is true of your staff as well. Typically, most Main Street programs have a full-time, paid executive di- rector. As funding allows, many programs hire administrative assistants, event planners, and other employees. The executive director should be viewed as the communicator, facilitator, and instigator of projects, not the sole implementer. The Main Street approach relies on cre- ating community-driven, not staff-driven, programs in order to encourage the support and involvement of local stakeholders. This chapter will explore the roles of the organization’s leadership; show how revitaliza- tion work is apportioned among staff, the board of directors, and committees; and look in- depth at working with volunteers. © Diana Kenney

27 Sharing the Workload The only way to lead a community-wide, volunteer-driven effort is with the support of others. Broad-based support and public/private partnerships form the foundation of a commercial district revitalization program. Building support among a variety of public- and private-sector stakeholder groups is essential because these people can serve as future volunteers, members, financial contribu- tors, donors of in-kind services, advocates, event partici- pants, and customers. There must be philosophical and financial support for the commercial revitalization effort from both the private and public sectors. For example, because the local government plays a major role in direct- ing the community’s economic growth and other policies, it must actively participate in restructuring the commer - © Linda S. Glisson cial district’s economic base and developing innovative Main Street staff, volunteers, and board members must respect the solutions for the district’s issues. The local government roles and responsibilities of each member of the organization. benefits from a strong community-based revitalization program; and, thus, the two groups are natural partners. rizing an annual audit, ensuring the organization has Private individuals and groups are also vital partners. sufficient revenue, serving as advocates of preservation- By including them, you ensure that people who care about based economic development, reviewing and approving the community or profit from its prosperity can make a the annual budget and committee work plans, setting difference by becoming avid supporters through volun- program goals, and giving direction to committees. The teerism or financial and in-kind donations. Their partici- board is also responsible for hiring and evaluating the pation in the Main Street program provides different executive director, recruiting new board members, and perspectives and ideas and helps represent the community approving personnel administration policies. Each board more broadly than a homogenous organization filled with member should serve as a committee chair, board offi- people from the same background could. cer, or active committee member, and should give be- Much of the early organizing that takes place when a tween four and 10 hours a month outside of meetings. Main Street program is just getting started sets the stage Large boards can be unwieldy so try not to exceed 13 for sustaining an organization that has broad-based voting members. There will be plenty of opportunities for support.* Many Main Street programs form when a core individuals to serve as members of a committee or as group of concerned citizens decide that the four-point project volunteers if they are not able to give the time and approach will help them meet their revitalization goals. effort necessary to serve on the board. Early program organizers identify the boundaries of the ex officio Your organization might invite a variety of Main Street district, open an office, raise funds, write board members to sit at the Main Street table by virtue of organizational by-laws, and hire an executive director. the position they hold with an organization or office. They Meanwhile, they contact various stakeholders to get their should participate in the board meetings, often as non- support and build initial partnerships with key groups. voting participants, when there is an opportunity to Oftentimes, the early organizers are the people who discuss how their organizations’ projects can intersect become board members and committee chairs. These with, or support, Main Street’s activities. people work with the executive director as the program’s leadership. The following section will outline each group’s Executive Director responsibilities and show how they form the backbone of a sustainable organization. One could be glib and suggest that an executive direc- tor can “walk on water.” Still, it is true that a Main Board of Directors Street executive director must do it all—he or she must be adept at managing and assisting in the implementa- Main Street board members aren’t figureheads—they’re tion of a comprehensive work plan that covers every busy! Board members are charged with policy admin- aspect of a volunteer-driven commercial district revital- istration, finances, public relations, setting program ization process. The executive director’s job includes: direction and evaluation, fund raising, leadership, and short- and long-term planning. Board tasks include Coordinating activities of committees and volunteers; meeting legal obligations, administering bylaws, autho- • *Note: This publication does not walk the reader through the process of establishing a new Main Facilitating work planning; • Board Members Handbook Street program. The National Main Street Center’s and the online document, Revitalizing Main Streets: Getting Started ,, are available for readers who are seeking information to help them start new Main Street programs in Supporting and upholding decisions made by • their communities. We encourage you to contact your coordinating program (which is listed on our the board; website) and research the aforementioned materials as you get started. RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 26 ORGANIZATION

28 Handling public relations for the program; Meet regularly; • • Working with business and property owners Develop work plans; • • (getting out of the office and interacting with Implement projects; people regularly); • Report to the board; and Handling administrative tasks with the officers • • of the board; Keep records and meeting minutes. • Building coalitions with local officials, chamber of • Each committee member should: commerce, and other entities; Commit to at least one year of service; Educating stakeholders on the importance of • • ®; the Main Street Four-Point Approach Attend training sessions; • Motivating, developing, and managing volunteers. • Learn the Main Street approach; • Regularly communicating with the board • Help recruit and orient new members; president and other staff members; • Take responsibility for projects; Attending all board and committee meetings, • • as well as relevant public meetings; and Represent the organization positively to the public; and • Providing technical assistance. • Support the organization’s activities. • Committees Every project a committee undertakes will have some connection to another committee’s work. Thus, it’s essential Most Main Street programs set up four standing commit- to keep the lines of communication open—particularly tees—design, promotion, economic restructuring, and orga- between committee chairs and board members so the left nization. Main Street organizations usually name their com- hand knows what the right hand is about to do. The board mittees after the four points, but in truth, you can use any reviews all committee work plans to make sure that each name. For example, the organization committee could be committee sticks to its own responsibilities and doesn’t called the “outreach committee” because its responsibilities assume another’s work. On certain projects, however, two can be seen as reaching into people’s minds (through public or three committees might work together; developing the relations), into their hearts (through volunteer develop- district’s business and building inventory, for example, is a ment), and into their wallets (through the fund-raising plan). joint design and economic restructuring committee project. Some communities create additional committees to deal The executive director helps manage and coordinate with a major issue, such as parking. In general, however, it is each committee’s work, not take responsibility for imple- better to set up a subcommittee that reports to one of the menting committee projects and activities. While the ex- standing committees. A parking subcommittee would be ecutive director will offer advice on revitalization issues under the purview of the design committee. However, there and will participate in the planning and many aspects of is no need to create subcommittees to deal with the respon- implementation, committee members must understand that sibilities assigned to each committee. For example, there they make the projects happen and complete work plan shouldn’t be a membership subcommittee, because that is objectives. Tasks must be delegated to volunteers, not staff. clearly a task of the organization committee. So, how does that work? If the promotion committee is Committees are responsible for developing and imple- producing a festival, for example, those volunteers are menting projects that fall within the Main Street four points. responsible for organizing and running the event. The As with the board, committee members should be recruited executive director can help coordinate the production of for their skills and interests. Consider all of the stakeholder promotional materials. Or if the organization committee is groups that you identified while developing your program starting a fund-raising campaign, those members raise the and discuss volunteer opportunities with them. funds, but they can ask the director to help coordinate the campaign and communicate with volunteers. Accomplishing Projects Through Committees Refer to the organizational chart on the next page to better understand how work is divided among the commit- Typically, volunteers should be expected to attend commit- tees, staff, and the board. For a more detailed list of the tee meetings and work about three to five hours a month types of tasks each committee handles, refer to the online outside of meetings. Usually, the committee chair is also a document “Revitalizing Main Streets: Getting Started,” by board member, which helps facilitate organizational com- Teresa Lynch at munication and transfer the board’s vision to the com- mittees. Each of the four standing committees will: RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 27 ORGANIZATION

29 Board of Directors —Financial tion of 70,000, regularly attracts 150 volunteers for its Advocacy — —Policy Program annual clean-up day alone. —Planning Manager —Personnel It is a major, and necessary, job to recruit, train, moti- Executive vate, manage, and reward the individuals who give their (Ocers) time to your organization. A shallow pool of volunteers will cause too much work to fall on the shoulders of the Economic Promotion Design Organization Restructuring same people—which will likely cause burn out and prompt —Public Spaces —Market Research —Marketing — Volunteer them to leave. Turnover can damage an organization. Strategy Development —Building —Business Volunteers are the lifeblood of your program and you Improvements Assistance —Communications/ —Image Public Relations Development —Design —Financial need to spend a lot of time working with them. Including a Education Assistance —Fund Raising —Retail Promotions line item in your budget can help make volunteers a —Environment —Property —Special Events Development priority. All volunteers, regardless of their backgrounds, need strong management and a clear understanding of their purpose. Management is more than telling people what to Working with Volunteers do; it involves getting the right people to do the right jobs and using their skills in the most effective ways possible. A Main Street programs emphasize grassroots support, good volunteer program involves: which is a different philosophical underpinning than most community or economic development strategies. By Defining your volunteer needs; • accepting the challenge of creating a community-based, volunteer-driven program, your organization must engage Creating a volunteer recruitment program; • people through outreach and volunteer service. Unlike most other nonprofit organizations, your board of direc- Interviewing and placing volunteers; • tors and committee volunteers must take a “hands-on” role in running the organization and implementing its activities. Orienting and training volunteers; • - Although changes in civic involvement and volunteer ism trends have made it more challenging to build a cadre Providing supervision and evaluation; and • of volunteers, a strong volunteer recruitment and develop- ment program is a critical component of a sustainable Recognizing their achievements. • organization. Part of what we learned from the urban renewal program in the 1960s is that a volunteer-driven Creating a Volunteer Recruitment Program approach to community revitalization is better for long- lasting change. Losing touch with local voices led to the A volunteer recruitment plan begins with understanding development of unrealistic plans that couldn’t be imple- your need for volunteers. Your annual work plans reflect mented after the federal representatives left town. Instead, your organization’s goals and define specific jobs and skills the Main Street approach leverages local resources, needed to complete projects that will achieve these goals. leadership, and perspectives so that ideas for change come Use your work plans to predict how many volunteers you from within the community and the entire process seeks to will need to complete the projects planned and figure out involve diverse stakeholders. Even as your organization grows and secures funding to hire additional staff, there should never be a shortage of volunteers. The staff’s role is to ensure that your volunteers are put to their best and highest use—not to replace them. A key component of the Main Street approach’s success is building broad-based, community support. Main Street programs have three types of volunteers: the visionary leaders who have the connections and experience that make them effective board members, people who have the right skills and dedication to plan and implement projects through committees, and the occasion- al volunteers who help when needed. The number of volunteers you have depends on your recruitment efforts and the size of your community. Staunton (Virginia) Downtown Development Association, a community with a population of 23,853, reported in 2002 that approximately 70 volunteers contributed 2,500 hours annually. Barracks Row Main Street, an urban neighborhood program in Washington D.C., counted 171 volunteers in 2005. And the Ashville (North Carolina) Volunteers staff the Main Street program’s booth during an event in Ellens- Downtown Association, whose community has a popula- burg, Washington, to promote the program and recruit more volunteers. RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 28 ORGANIZATION

30 which skills will be needed. Recognizing the timing of the Representatives from regional businesses, such as • manufacturing companies and corporations; work plan projects will help you recruit volunteers early so they will have enough time to get trained and become Leaders or members from other community organi- acquainted with the organization before performing tasks. • zations, such as community development corpora- Once you have defined your program’s needs, you can tions and economic development organizations; start searching for the right people to get the job done. To get the right people, your organization may need to be Leaders or staff members from regional governmental flexible in order to accommodate volunteers’ schedules and • authorities, such as transit or redevelopment authori- work styles. Frequently volunteers, especially younger ties; and people, seek ad-hoc roles—tasks they can complete on their own—and prefer communicating electronically rather than Leaders or members of civic groups, such as commu- at meetings. You might find that you can recruit more • nity service clubs or religious institutions. volunteers by breaking down projects into smaller tasks, distributing them among more volunteers, and allowing Don’t wait for people to come to you...ask them! Ask people to work on tasks outside the Main Street office. friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Ask various stakeholder Once you know what you need, write a job description groups and ask members of social and civic clubs (either as that includes: individuals or the group as a whole). Recruitment is all about spreading the word, making it easy to say “yes” to Job title; • volunteering, and getting people excited about becoming involved. The two most important things to remember: ask Purpose; • people to do a specific job and don’t say “no” for them. Tasks/activities; Amazingly, we come up with better excuses for people not • to volunteer than the individuals themselves. If you decide Qualifications or required skills; someone is too busy to ask, he or she will never get the • opportunity to say yes or no. Timeframe/time commitment; and Most volunteers report that they were recruited by • people who are already active volunteers. Take advantage Benefits of volunteering (free admission to events, of this and involve current volunteers in recruitment. • social events, etc.). Chippewa Falls Main Street in Wisconsin once recruited new board members by making a list of the skills possessed Ask for feedback on your job description from individu- by current board members, then identifying the skills that als outside your organization. Does it sound exciting? Is it were still needed. From this list, the group filled the gaps by clear? If you get stuck, look for good volunteer postings contacting people they identified as having the right skills from other organizations or volunteerism websites. If you and invited them to sit on the board. were a time-pressed but socially conscious individual, You can also get volunteers to recruit other people by which volunteer ad would prompt you to respond? making it a friendly competition or offering a prize to With your job descriptions in hand, think about how those who successfully recruit others. Another strategy is to you will reach your “dream” volunteer candidates. Think match the recruiter with the audience. For example, ask a about where you might find the right people—if you are college student to recruit other students and a Rotary Club looking for a specific skill, you might recruit from profes- member to recruit other Rotarians. Make sure your sional organizations, area businesses, or schools. recruiters are strong ambassadors for your organization. Typically, the stakeholders involved in a Main Street They should be able to briefly describe the organization’s program come from the immediate community but, some- goals, accomplishments, current projects, and volunteer times, as can be the case with urban neighborhood districts, opportunities. they can be from the larger metropolitan area. The follow- Charitable or service organizations are good sources of ing list includes some of the types of people typically volunteers. Working with groups such as the Lions Club or recruited as volunteers: the Jay-Cees on joint projects is an excellent way to leverage your community’s volunteer resources to achieve Residents; similar goals. Start by inviting these groups to collaborate • on a fun event and build the partnerships from there. Business owners and employees; Person-to-person requests are effective, but there are • other recruitment outlets that can help increase your Property owners; chances of finding the right people. Announce volunteer • positions in multiple places, including: Realtors and property managers; • Main Street and partner newsletters and websites; • Representatives from large institutions, such • as banks, universities, and foundations; Local media—efforts to promote the Main Street • program will have a direct impact on volunteerism; RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 29 ORGANIZATION

31 Effective Board Member Websites dedicated to volunteerism (, • Recruitment and Retention, as well as local community websites; Many of the same strategies that you use to recruit committee members are effective for recruiting board Presentations to service clubs, corporations, business or members. You must develop a plan to strategically re- • cruit new board members and mentor committee volun- neighborhood associations, schools, senior groups, and teers who are interested in becoming leaders. A board preservation organizations; member recruitment plan is crucial to ensure continuity of leadership and identify people who have the skills Intermediaries—Americorps, America’s Promise, city • and connections your board needs. volunteer offices, etc.; Some tips: Schools—grade school to college (especially high • Appoint a nominating subcommittee of the 1. school community service programs, college in- board of directors to analyze current needs tern programs, sororities, and fraternities); and prepare new member nominations. Analyze the skill sets current board members 2. Religious institutions; • possess. Community service sentences—usually best for big • 3. Write clear board member job descriptions. projects like clean-up days; Make sure candidates know exactly what their commitment entails. Community center or library message boards; • 4. Cultivate new board members among your current volunteers. Information kiosks; and • Ask candidates to serve on the board and put 5. interested individuals on a waiting list if there Booths at festivals, information fairs, and other events. • are more candidates than vacancies on the board. Take the apprehension out of recruitment by reinforcing the benefits of volunteering. Remember: you aren’t begging for Make recruitment a high priority that is 6. help; you are giving people rewarding opportunities to trans- included in your board’s or organization committee’s annual work plan. Outline form their communities. When you ask people to join in this tasks, timelines, and responsibilities for each work, you are inviting them to take responsibility for their person. community, to build or learn new skills, and to have fun! Don’t lose board members by failing to give 7. them proper orientation and training. Put Interviewing and Placing Volunteers together an in-depth training program so they can get up to speed quickly and hit the This really isn’t a formal interview, but, rather, a casual ground running. Educate them about the Main Street approach, current projects, board conversation about your organization, the volunteer job, member roles, and current issues. and the potential volunteer’s availability and talents. Ask open-ended questions to learn about the person’s strengths Excerpted from “Recruiting the Right Board Members,” and interests, and then suggest several ways he or she could , February 2008. Kathy La Plante, Main Street News Directors and Officers Insurance Acts beyond granted authority; or • Main Street organizations, and their volunteer board mem- bers, face unique liability exposures that are not included Other claims related to governance or management • in a standard general liability policy. While a general liabil- of the organization. ity policy is designed to respond to actual physical dam- ages, such as slipping and falling, it will not defend your The best way to protect your organization and volunteers is organization from lawsuits involving: to obtain a directors and officers liability insurance policy, which should include employment practices liability. While • Alleged misuse and/or abuse of funds and contri- no two policies are identical, these two forms of coverage butions; are often combined in a single policy for nonprofit organiza- tions. The policy not only protects the organization itself; • Discrimination; it also provides protection for the directors, officers, com- Harassment; • mittee members, trustees, employees, volunteers, and even spouses against lawsuits related to the management and • Wrongful termination of employees; governance of the organization. Misrepresentations; • Excerpted from “Are You Covered: Protecting Your Directors and May 2006. Officers,” by Genny Dill, Main Street News, Libel and slander; • RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 30 ORGANIZATION

32 Overview of the work plan and the volunteer’s particu- help the program. If necessary, modify the volunteer • lar area; and job description or offer the person a different assign- ment. Don’t assume that a public relations specialist will Descriptions of volunteer procedures (who they report want to volunteer for the organization committee or • to, time keeping, etc.). that an architect will want to work on design projects. If you find during the interview that the person will You should provide an orientation session to teach not be a good fit, don’t be afraid to gracefully say no. But volunteers about the Main Street approach. Basic Main if you decide to place the volunteer, do so quickly. If you Street training is offered by the National Main Street let too much time lag between volunteer interviews and Center and Main Street coordinating programs throughout assignments, you risk appearing unprofessional and the year. possibly losing them to another volunteer opportunity. Ask the board president or a board member mentor to Keep track of your new recruits by recording contact take new board members out to lunch and get acquainted. information, skills, and hours served in a spreadsheet or Committee chairs should also get to know their new database. There are a variety of information management committee members before their first meeting. Some Main systems, so pick the one that works best for you and keep Street programs use the buddy system and assign experi- it updated. Contact your coordinating Main Street enced volunteers to train new people; this frees up staff program, Main Street Member Listserv, or the National time as well as gives a seasoned volunteer a vote of confi- Main Street Center for recommendations on information dence by recognizing his or her importance to the program. management software packages. As part of a formal orientation program for new board and committee members, create notebooks containing Orientation and Training information such as: The best strategy for retaining volunteers is making sure Welcome letter from the board president; • that they have a positive experience. Giving them the tools, knowledge, and support to do a good job is the Brief history of the program; • best strategy for achieving this. Orientation training is your chance to make sure people know what they are Explanation of the Main Street Four-Point Approach; • doing and can get things done. It is also your opportu- nity to make a good impression with new volunteers Mission and vision statements; • and build their confidence in the revitalization effort. We all remember how frustrating the first day at work Descriptions of each committee and list of members; • can be when we don’t know what to do or where things are. Since we depend on our jobs for income, we find out Work plans (full copy for board members; abbreviated • what we need to know. Volunteers don’t have to waste copy for new committee members); their time standing around feeling awkward and con- fused...they can just leave. Train all volunteers before they An organizational chart; • actually show up to work by explaining the project or event and everyone’s roles in advance. Board and staff directory with full contact information • Match the orientation to the volunteer’s role or and organizational affiliation (if any), committee assignment. Even day-only event volunteers should be assignments, and how many years they’ve been in- considered ambassadors for your organization and should volved with the organization; be able to communicate the revitalization program’s mission and explain why the event is being held. Don’t let Budget and monthly financial reports from the • an untrained volunteer become a lost opportunity for past year; public outreach. Volunteers assigned to leadership roles, such as board Brochures about the organization; • members, committee chairs, and project leaders, will need in-depth training. They should be quickly brought up to Last annual report; • speed on: Map of the commercial district with Main Street • History of the organization and its accomplishments; boundaries clearly marked; • Mission and vision statements; Guidelines for volunteers, especially on how to get • • reimbursement and record their hours; Current projects and initiatives; • Emergency procedures and contact information; • Partners; • A list of reading materials (including the handbooks • ® ; Main Street Four-Point Approach produced by the National Main Street Center • RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 31 ORGANIZATION

33 specifically for Main Street volunteers; see the will give them enough time to act if they find that a volun- Resources section on page 36); teer is having difficulty completing the task. One way to set your volunteers up for success is to Minutes from the past year; assign them specific tasks rather than asking them to handle • an entire project. Here’s how: Let’s say your organization is Recent staff reports; developing a business directory and the project’s manager • decides that it is reasonable for each volunteer to contact Calendar of committee and board meetings 10 business owners. Since your district has 100 businesses, • and events; 10 people must be assigned to this task. The project manager would also assign other individuals specific tasks Bylaws and policy statements; such as working with the printer or distributing the final • product to 10 specific locations, etc. Articles of incorporation; A good manager does not make volunteers stay longer • than they have agreed. When the time is up, thank them A copy of the tax exemption notification from and let them leave. Another way of respecting volunteers’ • the IRS; and time is by making sure meetings are organized, efficient, and end on time. Meetings should include only the people A letter of agreement or MOU with the coordinating who need to be there and should only be convened when • Main Street program. the committee or a project will benefit from collaborative group work: planning, coordination, and making decisions. Lynch’s Landing, in Lynchburg, Virginia, holds exten- - Supervisors or mentors should keep an eye out for aspir ™ sive training for volunteers for its weekly Friday Cheers ing volunteers who would like, and can handle, more event so that they are prepared and feel confident in their responsibilities and thus climb the “volunteer ladder.” duties. During training, volunteers learn what happens Volunteers who want to advance can start by working at when and what each supervisor’s responsibilities are events and then move up to managing projects, chairing a throughout the event. Supervisors are provided with an committee, and possibly serving on the board. Rather than easy-to-use guide that contains phone numbers and looking for board officers all the time, program leaders information on ways to deal with a variety of situations, need to be watching for great volunteers who they can from weather evacuations to lost children. “promote.” This can be a great way to reward volunteers, as well as build the strong leaders the community needs. Support dedicated volunteers by helping them attend Effective Supervision and Evaluation training and conferences when possible. Don’t let the word “supervision” conjure up images of Volunteer Performance Reviews punching a time clock. The by One Minute Manager Kenneth Blachard and Spencer Johnson is a great resource If a volunteer program is relatively structured, then an on managing and supervising people. The basic premise of annual review for key volunteers may be appropriate. the book is that it takes only one minute to give feed- Keep the sessions confidential and one-on-one. Ongo- back—people don’t want or need long sermons. Addition- ing feedback throughout the year, however, can be just ally, the “one minute” after someone does something great as productive and is how most Main Street programs or improper is the best time to offer that feedback. - address this issue. Whether the review is formal or infor The work plan is the best tool for managing volun- mal, be sure to maintain a positive, motivational tone. teers. Board and committee chairs should check the work Annual reviews should be two-way conversations that plan weekly to see what tasks are due and then contact first recognize what the volunteer is doing well and then those volunteers a few weeks before their deadlines. This share ideas to help the person become more effective. The supervisor should listen carefully to the volunteer’s ideas for improving the organization. Using an evaluation form, which coordinating programs can share with you, will help give structure and guidance to this process. What happens if a volunteer must be fired? Although it’s difficult, it’s sometimes necessary, especially when the difficult volunteer is driving away other people. Your first step is to ask a peer to talk to the volunteer about the problem and suggest a means to correct the situation. If a particular volunteer is not productive and efforts have been made to help the person work more effectively, tell project or committee leaders that the volunteer isn’t reliable. When you need to let a person go, the board president and The Friday Cheers summer concert series in Lynchburg, Virginia, executive director should talk to the volunteer together, so can attract more than 3,000 people, which makes volunteer support critical for ensuring the events run smoothly. that no one can misrepresent what was said later. Keep the RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 32 ORGANIZATION

34 conversation brief, with a short list of what is not working Evaluation of the Volunteer Program and a request that the volunteer step down. Board members are volunteers, too, and they should Once a year or so—perhaps during the drafting of evaluate their own performance each year. Annual evalua- the annual work plan—program leaders should ex - plore what is working well and what is not. Identify tions will help the group focus its efforts, see if it is on overall and specific problems affecting volunteer track, and assure potential funders and other supporters management. Determine whether current assign- that your organization is credible and professional. Search ments are making full use of everyone’s talents. the Internet for sample “nonprofit board assessment tools,” You can also seek input from people outside the to help you structure an evaluation. program. Most coordinating programs provide an- nual program reviews as a condition of continued official Main Street designation. Recognition Management also means making volunteers feel neces- sary and appreciated. Main Street programs have always been creative in the ways they thank and recognize volun- than an ad in the newspaper weeks later. The Barracks Row teers. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance in Virginia Main Street program in Washington, D.C., hosts an annual keeps a line item in its budget for volunteer appreciation. Dine Around event, a four-hour restaurant tour during One year it planned a reception to honor its volunteers which people sample food at participating establishments. at a local brewpub. Free food and drinks, a slideshow Once their shift is over, volunteers get to participate in the highlighting past accomplishments, and a list of upcom- event for free. By the end of the event, volunteers are ing volunteer activities made people feel appreciated and well-sated and rewarded for their time! Immediate thank- showed them the big picture of their contributions. yous can also be delivered at the wrap-up meeting at the The Durant (Oklahoma) Main Street program has a end of the day, through notes mailed that week, or by Century Club that recognizes volunteers who have logged board members circulating and thanking volunteers during 100 hours. Volunteering with the group has been so big events. satisfying that the program has started celebrating its Don’t forget that how you treat volunteers is another 1,000-hour volunteers! MainStreet Libertyville in Illinois way to reward them. Make office equipment accessible for always makes a point of honoring volunteers during its people working on Main Street assignments. Hold meetings annual meeting. Recognition has ranged from handing out in comfortable places and offer refreshments. Remembering engraved Academy Award-style statues to making framed volunteers’ names and keeping them updated on projects award certificates with gold foils and blue ribbons. The - and the impact of their work makes a big difference. Shar program follows up with press releases highlighting ing information that keeps volunteers in the loop not only volunteers and articles about them in the newsletter. In fact, helps build a cohesive organization but will make them many programs write volunteer profiles for their newslet- - feel like valued members of the team. While not all infor ters and websites. Some also nominate important volun- mation is appropriate to make public or share with the teers for local and statewide awards. entire organization, withholding information diminishes Try to recognize volunteer contributions immediately. A trust and can lead to confusion about your organization. simple thank-you as soon as the job is done means more Cheers to Volunteers! Recognition of volunteer efforts does not have to be extravagant. It’s simply important to offer thanks for hard work and acknowledge that you value your volunteers’ time. The volunteers and board members of Barracks Row Main Street toast a successful taste-of event with the owner of a local liquor store who partici- pated with a champagne tasting. © Leslie Hatfield RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 33 ORGANIZATION

35 Organization You may not speak all the languages of your district, but you can still build strong relationships with business own- ers and residents. If you are the Main Street director, visit every business frequently so you become a familiar face. Engaging the children of your community’s New American population, especially through Junior Main Street programs, can help you build relationships with business owners: teenagers are likely to be straddling two worlds and, by virtue of their age, they probably adapt quickly. Your goal should be to build trusting, communicative, professional relationships while recognizing that not everyone will volunteer to serve on a committee—or even participate in various events. If you are a cultural outsider, at times you may become Multicultural Main Streets aware of intra-racial or intra-ethnic cultural tensions (e.g. among Spanish-speaking populations from different na- By Josh Bloom tions, or among Asian populations from different countries, or between African Americans and other black Americans). In downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts If these situations arise, your job requires that you gently fortunate enough to have a rich cultural heritage or to be but forcefully invite the participation of everyone in your the place where a new (to the neighborhood) culture has district—Main Street programs should have zero tolerance recently settled, diversity is often an economic strength. for prejudice of any kind. The specialization of people, products, and services serves to differentiate the district from other places in Economic Restructuring the region, and especially from the typical retail offerings available everywhere. Help all business owners make their stores accessible to “New Americans” have always been a source of innovation other cultures. This should work in both directions—and it and reinvention for us as a nation. Today, in an age where can only increase the bottom line for everyone. Anglo cus- many traditional business districts struggle to find an ec- tomers should feel welcome in specialty ethnic businesses, onomically viable niche amidst big-box stores, lifestyle and non-English speakers should feel welcome in “non-eth- centers, and e-commerce, ethnically distinct commercial nic” businesses. Bilingual (or multi-lingual) signs or menus districts often create their own market. The think tank Cen- with pictures and descriptions are a start. To help multi- ter for an Urban Future states in its February 2007 report cultural entrepreneurs, Main Street programs should team titled A World of Opportunity: up with various community organizations to help business owners overcome language barriers, become good loan “During the past decade, immigrants have been the candidates, and expand their businesses when the time is entrepreneurial sparkplugs of cities from New York right. The owner of a beauty salon in a traditionally African to Los Angeles—starting a greater share of new busi- American Washington, D.C., neighborhood that also has a nesses than native-born residents, stimulating growth large elderly population was having a hard time determin- in sectors from food manufacturing to health care, cre- ing what products and services new, younger Caucasian ating loads of new jobs, and transforming once-sleepy residents would prefer. By working with Main Street volun- neighborhoods into thriving commercial centers.” teers and holding focus groups with these residents, the business owner was able to meet the needs of a new cus- But how does the Main Street approach work in these tomer base. communities? In nations with less-developed banking systems, entrepre- In some ways, the Main Street model is uniquely neurs may be accustomed to less formal sources of capital. American: few other nations or cultures have traditions of Borrowing and lending among family members may be the volunteer-based community development. This presents a standard method of capitalizing a new business. Because particular challenge (in addition to any language barriers of this tradition, these entrepreneurs may be uninterested that may exist) when trying to involve recent immigrants or unwilling to take advantage of matching-grant façade in a Main Street program. For some, the concept of com- incentives or tax credit programs, given the documenta- munity-based economic development may prove difficult tion these programs typically require. to understand. For others (especially those who may come from places with repressive governments), it’s natural to be Not all multi-cultural districts involve new immigrants, of a bit skeptical of an organization like Main Street—an orga- course. And there are many communities where the minor- nization that may sound governmental or, in some cases, ity is the majority. Leimert Park, in Los Angeles, for exam- may even be a part of local government. ple, is a majority African American community. Since the mid-1990s, the community has been working to create an Your work to make your Main Street program reflect the “African village” that will be a retail and cultural destination diversity of your district should be part of everything you for African Americans who live in or visit Los Angeles. do—and be integrated into all four points. RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 34 ORGANIZATION

36 Promotion Multicultural districts have a unique advantage when it comes to promotions, especially festivals and other special events. Geneva, Illinois, still celebrates its Swedish roots (even though there are few, if any, recent Swedish immi- grants) with a festival that began in 1925 at local Swedish fraternal organizations. Today, Swedish Days Midsommar Festival—which features Swedish food, music, and dress— is one of the largest community events in the state. China- town in Boston hosts the August Moon festival, which is thought to have its origins in the 14th-century overthrow of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. The Chinese supposedly defeated the Mongols with the help of messages hidden in Chinese pastries called “moon cakes.” The festival has become a regional draw for the celebration of Chinese culture and food. Design Storefront designs, window displays, signs, and awnings should reflect the occupant while respecting the build- ing. In the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, Mexi- can business owners are encouraged to use colorful pal- ettes in their signs and paint schemes. In some cultures, customers expect store windows to display a cornucopia of everything available inside—rather than featuring just a few items. When well executed, both of these design treatments can add vibrancy—and can easily be changed by a future tenant. Permitting procedures (for signs, construction, food, or alcohol licensing, etc.) may be confusing to immigrant entrepreneurs. The Main Street director should make an extra effort not only to explain the requirements, but also to guide the business owner through the process. Building Bonds It may take time to build trust with multicultural stake- holders in your district, but engaging them is well worth the effort as they bring a broad range of perspectives, talents, and resources to your revitalization effort. If your organization does not have someone who is fluent in the languages prevalent in your district, work with area agen- cies, nearby universities, or local nonprofit groups to find someone who can translate various materials or presen- tations that might be helpful to your constituents. Get to know the members of multicultural civic groups and churches to find people who can serve as liaisons with specific communities and to facilitate relationships. Con- sider asking these groups to work with you to produce an event or develop assistance programs that would be help- ful to their community members. Your presence, and your regular assistance in small but helpful ways, will quickly build trusting alliances and new bridges. But starting the relationship by letting them know who you are, the ways your organization can help them, and the ways they can become involved in community events and initiatives can generate goodwill and hopefully involve everyone in the revitalization effort. RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 35 ORGANIZATION

37 RESOURCES Websites The Executive Director’s Survival Guide: Thriving as Offers an online National Main Street Center: database with sample documents, case studies, a Nonprofit Leader , by Mim Carlson and Margaret back issues of its monthly journal, trainings, Donohoe (Jossey-Bass 2002). An insider’s guide to annual conferences, and a consultants directory. nonprofit leadership, this book provides practical advice and words of wisdom. Alliance for Nonprofit Management: “Frequently Asked Putting the One Minute Manager to Work: How to Questions” offers resources on board development, Turn the 3 Secrets into Skills , by Ken Blanchard and strategic planning, financial management, and more. Robert Lorber (William Morrow, 2006). Management tips. Offers checklists on Board Development: Secrets of Successful Board Development Books: ways to establish a strong board of directors. Boards , by Carol Weisman (F. E. Robbins & Sons PR, 1998); Build a Better Board in 30 Days: A Guide for BoardSource: Supports nonprofit board develop- Busy Trustees , by Carol Weisman (F.E. Robbins & ment through workshops, publications, training, and Sons, 1998); and The Main Street Board Member’s online resources. Handbook , by Suzanne Dane, et al. (National Main Street Center, 2003). Free Management Library: Links to articles and resources on a variety of topics including employee Volunteer Management Books: The (Help!) I-Don’t- issues, bylaws, board term limits, and much more. Have-Enough-Time Guide to Volunteer Management, by Katherine Noyes Campbell and Susan J. Ellis Maryland Nonprofits: Publishes standards of (Energize, Inc., 2004) and What We Learned (the excellence for nonprofit operations and offers Hard Way) about Supervising Volunteers: An Action guidelines on mission statements, human resources, Guide for Making Your Job Easier, by Jarene Frances fund raising, and more. Lee and Julia M. Catagnus (Energize, Inc., 2004). Provides informa- Nonprofit Good Practice Guide: The Volunteer Volunteer Management Books: tion on all aspects of nonprofit management, from Recruitment (and Membership Development) Book , board development and evaluation to online fund- 3rd edition, by Susan J. Ellis (Energize Inc, 2004) and raising software. , Volunteers: How to Get Them, How to Keep Them 1st edition, by Helen Little (Panacea Press, 1999). The Nonprofit Quarterly: Writes online and print articles about current nonprofit development issues. Articles for Nonprofits: Official information and “Are You Covered? Protecting Your Directors and services from the U.S. government. May 2006. Main Street News, Officers,” by Genny Dill, Business/Nonprofit.shtml Discusses the type of coverage your program needs to protect its employees and the organization. Publications , Main Street News “Building an Effective Board,” Promotion: Main Street Committee Members September 2003. Main Street board member Handbook; Organization: Main Street Committee responsibilities and roles, and leadership Members Handbook; Economic Restructuring: Main development. Street Committee Members Handbook; and Design: Main Street Committee Members Handbook , by Doug “Managing and Retaining Your Main Street Director,” Loescher and Teresa Lynch (National Main Street , July 2002. by Stephanie Redman, Main Street News Center, 1996). This series of handbooks was developed Discusses how the board of directors can effectively especially to inform Main Street committee members manage and retain the executive director. about the Main Street approach and the committee’s purpose. They explain the foundations of each point “Recruiting the Right Board Members,” by Kathy La of the approach. Plante, Main Street News , February 2008. Outlines a plan for making sure that your organization is prepared for board member turnover as well as steps for strategic volunteer recruitment. RUNNING A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROGRAM 36 ORGANIZATION

38 ORGANIZATION chapter 5 FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION By Kennedy Lawson Smith Revitalizing a Main Street district benefits everyone. Business owners reach more customers and increase sales, enabling them to pay higher rents, which in turn, can translate into property improvements. More jobs are available for area residents. The city’s tax revenues increase as buildings appreciate in value and businesses earn more money. Overall you create a community that looks more vibrant, is cleaner and safer, and attracts new businesses and residents. While it is difficult to determine with pinpoint accuracy which of these gains are directly attributable to the efforts of a local Main Street program, it is certain that the district’s econ- omy would not make these strides without the ongoing, concentrated focus of a revitaliza- tion program. One of the long-term opportunities—and challenges—of revitalizing a Main Street district, therefore, is to capture some of this increased economic activity to support the district’s ongoing revitalization needs. Myths of Main Street Funding No other aspect of the Main Street revitalization process is more misunderstood or dreaded than funding the revitalization effort itself. Among the common myths and misunderstand- ings of financing Main Street revitalization:

39 help with some of the administrative aspects Funding Main Street revitalization is the responsibil- • of funding, but leave the rest to the board. ity of the public sector or private sector. Actually, Main Street revitalization is the shared responsibility of both Funding should cover the costs of program adminis- the public and private sectors. Neither sector can—or • Yes, of course, but “funding” is not limited to tration. should—support the revitalization initiative single- program administration. Revitalizing a Main Street handedly. Any organization, agency, or individual who district involves funding for specific activities, as might benefit from the district’s revitalization should well—organizing festivals, offering training programs consider investing in your program. for business owners, creating incentive programs to encourage property improvements, and much more. Raising money for Main Street is the same as rais- • A pro rata share of the organization’s administrative ing money for any other nonprofit organization. costs should be built into each of these activities, of Well, it is similar in some ways to other nonprofits, course, as the time and resources the organization but, because Main Street districts have so many ® Fay Jacobs invests in each activity represent real costs of imple- different uses, so many different participants, and menting that activity. For example, if public improve- so many different needs, fund raising for revitaliza- ments or a small business equity fund is part of the re- tion must be a true amalgam of sources and tech- vitalization strategy, capital and equity costs should be niques. Fund-raising techniques that work for af- built into the budget, with administrative costs allo- fordable housing development or the United Way cated to each according to the proportion of the revi- may work satisfactorily for some aspects of the talization program’s time it will require. Too many re- revitalization effort, but Main Street revitalization vitalization programs set their funding sights too low. might also employ public funds for physical im- provements, assess merchants for retail promotional The same funding tools that worked in the early years activities, raise venture capital for business devel- • of the Main Street program will continue to work as opment, and utilize municipal service contracts. This is probably the greatest the program matures. myth of all. In reality, as revitalization programs ma- Funding Main Street revitalization is a staff re- • ture, their funding needs—and opportunities—change, sponsibility. Raising money is a fundamental as well. As explained in chapter 3, revitalization responsibility of the organization’s board of direc- programs typically go through three distinct organi- tors. If a staff person is given primary responsibil- zational phases: catalyst, growth, and management. ity for raising the money to cover his or her salary, What do these three phases mean for the organi- fund raising—not Main Street revitalization—will zation’s fund-raising strategies? During the catalyst become his or her primary interest. Staff should Federal government. • Who Benefits from Increased income tax revenues; reduced burden of Main Street Revitalization? federal support. Property owners. Social service agencies. • • Growth of rental income; increase in property values; Stronger local employment base; better range of safer environment. goods and services for residents. Business owners. Civic groups. • • Higher sales; safer work environment; access to Venue for holding events; partner in strengthening business resources. community. District workers. Arts organizations. • • Access to a broader range of goods and services; Strengthened cultural environment; venue for more pleasant work environment; rise in wages. holding events. Residents. Financial institutions. • • Access to a broader range of goods and services; Safer investments; CRA compliance; more/larger more pleasant living environment. commercial deposits. Local government. Police. • • Increased property tax revenues; stronger civic Reduced crime; greater neighborhood involvement engagement. in community policing. State government. Schools. • • Increased sales and income tax revenues; reduced Living laboratory for civics, local history, architecture, burden of state support. small business development. FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 38 ORGANIZATION

40 FUND-RAISING NEEDS AND TYPICAL SOURCES, BY PHASE OF PROGRAM ACTIVITY PHASE NEED TYPICAL SOURCES Unrestricted funds to support the Private-sector pledges; appropriations Catalyst revitalization process. from local government. Public and private contributions; al- Project-related funds (including sup- locations for specific activities; some Growth port for program administration). earned income. Revenues from special assessment Both unrestricted funds to support districts; earned income; municipal ser- the ongoing management of the Management vice contracts; sponsorships; ongoing district and project-related funds. contributions and allocations. ® Fay Jacobs phase, Main Street programs usually raise money sues that are important to them—and they give by obtaining unrestricted pledges and commitments money to organizations they believe can resolve from both the public and private sectors. Because the those issues. Articulate your organization’s vision new program has not yet established a track record, for the Main Street district in a clear, exciting way it gets funding commitments by exciting people about and convince people that, with their support, your the possibilities—in essence, by selling a vision. organization can turn that vision into reality. By the time the organization moves into the growth phase, however, it must have something to Start-up funding. During the catalyst phase, both • show for its efforts. Organizations and agencies will the public and private sectors usually contribute want to see tangible progress—more importantly, start-up funds for the program’s administration. In they will want to see a solid, achievable plan for economically distressed neighborhoods, it is com- the next few years—before investing more money mon for the city government to contribute a larger in the revitalization program. In other words, they percentage than the private sector. There’s no magic want to see a realistic, achievable business plan. formula for raising this start-up money, just elbow Finally, when your organization shifts its focus grease and persuasiveness: ask the local government from revitalization to management, you will almost and members of the community for commitments. certainly need several sources of ongoing, earned There may be opportunities for creativity, though. income (or another constant, reliable revenue stream), In its early years, Oklahoma City’s stockyards as people will feel less passionate about contributing pledged one cent to the Stockyards Main Street to a healthy, vibrant district. At this point, the organi- program for every head of cattle it processed. zation becomes a very different entity. The threaten- If your program is part of a citywide Main Street ing challenges that propelled the community to take effort, that program may already have some start-up action usually no longer exist, and, for that reason, funding lined up as one of the benefits of Main Street people may no longer feel as motivated to support the designation. Often revitalization program as they did at the beginning. this type of Main Street programs have proven time and again support offers how creativity and innovation help them pay the grants to cover bills. The Great American Main Street Award winner, administrative Lynch’s Landing in Lynchburg, Virginia, supplements expenses of the its budget with $200,000 in annual revenues from op- neighborhood erating downtown’s largest parking garage. And thanks Main Street to the Internet, the Ellensburg Downtown Association programs for the in Washington State took its “ask” beyond the city first few years, limits. By working in partnership with interns from a with the grant nearby university and local businesses, the group built amount declining a website to solicit $10 donations online. The idea over a three-to- generated excellent media attention as well as funds. five-year period. Some CDC-based Main Street Tools for Funding Main Street Revitalization programs offer similar financial In your program’s first few years, you need three primary support. Whether funding tools: your revitalization organization is A vision. Individuals, organizations, agencies, foun- part of a citywide • © Ron Frantz dations, and businesses give money to support is- program or is in a FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 39 ORGANIZATION

41 A Strategic Plan rural, small, or mid-sized community—all Main Street programs should have public and private partners and As a Main Street organization moves from the catalyst to should secure some public funding. the growth phase, the individuals and institutions who Try to secure pledges from private donors for the contributed start-up funding will want to know that their first four years of your revitalization program. Make investment has paid off and that the organization has a sure the revitalization effort makes some highly visible plan to build on the foundation they helped support. You progress during these years, keep your contributors can prove this to them by sharing your organization’s informed about this progress, and diligently collect strategic plan. the pledges. Let’s say your community’s vision is to make the district a center for environmentally friendly shopping, It is difficult to believe, but the best “Future vision.” • time to begin thinking about the Main Street pro- working, and living. Your program might then identify two or three strategies to realize this vision by: 1) mak- gram’s long-term funding is during its first year. Your program’s future funding will depend at least in part ing the district a living laboratory for developing and growing small, innovative green industries, and 2) creat- on the quality and breadth of the relationships it ing a self-sufficient, “green” village, with jobs, housing, establishes in its first few years. As you plan program activities, strategically engage other organizations in and services. It would then break these strategies down the process and work with them to explore long-term into specific actions for the annual work plans and use the strategies as the basis of a fund-raising plan. funding ideas. Here are a few basic points to help you structure a The transition between the catalyst and growth strategic plan and determine what you’ll need from it in phases is one of the most critical moments in the evolution of a revitalization program. Of all those order to develop a fund-raising plan: communities whose Main Street programs have failed, Use a three- to five-year time frame. almost all have done so at the transition point be- • tween the catalyst and growth phases. While causes Distill your priorities into three or four major chal- differ from community to community—one of the • lenges you want to tackle in that period of time. primary reasons programs do not succeed is because they fail to build momentum early enough to acquire Don’t get stalled in an effort to choose one major long-term, sustained funding. • “challenge” for each of the four points of the Main As your Main Street program begins moving Street approach; instead, think of the four points as a toward the growth phase and development of a stable, matrix for defining the activities necessary to achieve long-term funding base, it needs four tools. First, it each of your goals. needs a strategic plan that crystallizes exactly what your organization hopes to achieve in the next five to Be sure your strategies have an economic 10 years. Second, it needs a detailed financial plan • development purpose. that translates your strategic priorities into a financial blueprint. Third, it needs a well-organized fund-rais- A Financial Plan ing campaign. And, fourth, it needs to determine ways to harness the district’s increased economic strength Once you have your strategic plan in hand, turn it into by reinvesting a portion of that activity (retail sales, a budget and then use the budget to create a fund- commercial rents, property values, etc.) in the district’s raising plan. ongoing management and, thus, in the revitalization First, the budget: What will it cost to do everything program’s continuing operations. necessary to advance your Main Street revitalization efforts over the next five years? For each of your major strategies, hammer out a budget that includes not only your program’s operating costs but also capital costs, the Distributing Program Administrative cost of consultants, any expenses related to providing Costs Among Individual Projects financing or financial incentives, and everything else. The budget should determine the amount of funds your Project cost/year program needs to raise; the funds raised should not percent x (Administrative expenses determine your budget! + of time to be spent on this project) At this point, it doesn’t matter if some of these ex- penses will actually be covered by another entity and Total project cost therefore don’t really need to be included in your fund- raising goals; put everything in your budget anyway. For instance, if replacing the district’s sidewalks is a $100,000 priority for achieving one of your goals, and the city is x 20%) ($150,000 + planning to use Community Development Block Grant $130,000 (CDBG) funds to pay for their replacement, you should FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 40 ORGANIZATION

42 still put this cost in your preliminary budget (it will be an expense for which dedicated funding already ex- ists). This gives you not only an accurate estimate of all the costs involved in the revitalization effort but also helps illustrate the wide range of agencies, organiza- tions, businesses, and individuals who can and should play a role in funding the district’s revitalization. After completing the budget, estimate how much you might reasonably expect each potential “investor” to contribute. You will probably need to ask potential major donors, such as local government, how much they might contribute before you develop the matrix. Start Individual donors likely to make large contributions; • with public-sector contributions, particularly CDBG funds, Certified Local Government funds, and other Individual donors likely to make moderate contri- • money that may be available for specific types of bricks- butions; and and-mortar projects or other activities that typically rely on public funding. In essence, you can almost shape the Individual donors likely to make small contributions. • future availability of funds and make this part of the fund-raising plan a self-fulfilling prophecy. For instance, Each segment manager should recruit a core team of if sidewalk replacement is part of your five-year strategy, volunteers. The size of each team will depend, to an extent, the city has plenty of time to allocate CDBG funds to on the size of the potential donor pool. If there are only cover most or all of the cost, but, if you don’t ask, the three financial institutions operating in your downtown city might decide to use that money for other priorities. or neighborhood district, that team can be small, but the It is also wise to preview your strategic plan with team of volunteers required to reach a thousand potential potential major contributors—the president of a major individual donors likely to make contributions of $100 local industry, for example, or the chair of an influential or less needs to be fairly large. Each team should consist civic organization. Visiting with these potential donors of people who know likely donors in that category. will help you find out if the direction your strategic plan lays out for the district is one they are willing to support, The first task of each team is to develop a list of poten- • and it will give you a sense of how much each of these For each tial contributors—as long a list as possible. major sources is willing to contribute. prospect, jot down some thoughts to guide your meet- ing. What aspects of the revitalization process is the The Fund-raising Campaign potential donor likely to find most compelling? Which of your planned activities will be most appealing to him Now that you’ve established your targets, it’s time to or her? And, based on what the team knows about the expand your fund-raising team. Your first task is to find a person’s resources and previous contributions, take a great manager to oversee the campaign, keep everyone stab at estimating how much he or she should be asked moving in the same direction, enforce deadlines, act as a to contribute. Remember that this is a multi-year gift, public spokesperson for the campaign and its goals, and so you should be asking for a multi-year amount. twist a few influential arms. Look for someone who is well organized, great at working with people, influential, Next, create campaign materials. Each team should • and respected by the community. give the campaign manager and team managers feed- Next, recruit “lieutenants”: the people who will back on the major messages they think the campaign manage specific segments of the campaign. The segments should emphasize. Use this information to shape for which you will need managers will depend on how your campaign materials. Also, be sure to combine you structure your list of potential contributors, of course; the lists of potential contributors developed by each but, in general, you will probably want to select people to team and review them to prevent duplication. manage such segments as: The fund-raising campaign should have profes- sionally produced materials with compelling mes- Financial institutions; sages about why revitalizing your commercial dis- • trict is so important; how the direction laid out in Local industries; your organization’s strategic plan is the right one for • tackling the tough challenges ahead; and how each Foundations; donor’s contribution plays an important role in mak- • ing that happen. The campaign materials should Civic clubs; outline opportunities for potential contributors to • sponsor a specific activity or project, such as “adopt- Main Street businesses; ing” a bench or underwriting a promotional event, • as well as to make an unrestricted contribution that Main Street property owners; can be used for whatever the organization needs. • FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 41 ORGANIZATION

43 To do the best job possible, your volunteers need a few words about why they support both the revi- • thorough training. Team members making “cold calls” talization effort and the fund-raising campaign. to ask people for contributions should work with each Now that the public is aware of the campaign, it’s other to practice starting a conversation, explaining the time to send your volunteers out to make contacts. - program’s goals, and asking for a contribution. Insur Set clear deadlines, get frequent feedback, and keep ance agents or stock brokers who make cold calls for them informed on the progress of the campaign. a living may be able to provide training or advice. The campaign, of course, does not end when you reach your target. The most important steps in the fund- Using feedback from Start with a “quiet” campaign. raising program lie ahead: collecting your pledges (an- • each of the segment managers, the campaign manager nually), fulfilling your promises, and keeping all of your should finalize the fund-raising targets for each seg- contributors updated on the program’s progress and ment. The old adage about 80 percent of the funding the good work their contributions have made possible. coming from 20 percent of the donors really is true, A few additional guidelines: more or less. It’s likely that government agencies, a handful of financial institutions and industries, and People are more likely to give money to someone ◉ several key individuals will contribute the bulk of the they know than to someone they don’t. money you raise, while you may have several hundred individuals who contribute $100 or less. Ask all your volunteers to contribute up front to the ◉ by visiting a Start the fund-raising campaign quietly campaign before asking anyone else to give money; few potential donors who are likely to make major do- people are more likely to donate to a cause if volun- nations. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule about teers also contribute. this, it’s a good rule of thumb to raise one-quarter to one-third of your target amount before going “public” Two people making a personal request for a contri- ◉ with the campaign. This gives the public campaign bution are generally more effective than one person considerable momentum and an impressive list of making that request. influential groups, businesses, agencies, and individuals who have already made a commitment to the campaign. Anticipate the tough questions in advance. Be sure ◉ your volunteers know how to handle them. When you’re ready to go “public” with Go public! • the fund-raising campaign, make the campaign kick- Give your campaign volunteers plenty of feedback ◉ off a big media event. Invite key individuals to pres- throughout the campaign; it increases the chances ent the major strategies your organization plans to that they’ll exceed their individual fund-raising pursue over the coming years. Stress both the urgent targets. need to strengthen the commercial district and the ways a strong, vibrant Main Street benefits the entire Thank everyone who contributes. Thank them a ◉ community. Publicly acknowledge and thank those lot. And keep them all informed about your pro- who have already contributed and ask them to say gram’s progress. It took about two years from the time San Diego’s North Park neighborhood launched its Main Street program CASE STUDY in 1996 before things really started to turn around, says the program’s former director, Jay Turner. But, in those two years, the foundation was established for expansive San Diego, California growth and some surprising sources of funding. North Park Neighborhood Success! North Park Main Street (NPMS) received funding for its first three years from the city’s Business Improvement District Council, under the aegis of the city’s Office of Small Business. The program used those years to launch development projects throughout the district and create tools to guide future development. During the first year, for instance, the program adopted an ambitious arts and entertainment plan for the district, including a project to redevelop the neighborhood’s historic theatre. In 1998, the program drafted and implemented its Development Guidelines for North Park Main Street, which won a city planning award. The ambitious planning and careful groundwork paid off. Just as NPMS’ initial funding began to disappear, the pro- FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 42 ORGANIZATION

44 support the program. BIDs and TIFs will be discussed in the If people do not want to contribute, don’t be pushy. ◉ following Funding Mechanisms for Main Street chapter. Thank them for their consideration, give them a Beyond the obvious benefits of keeping the organiza- brochure on Main Street, and ask for their contact tion fiscally fit, working to fund your Main Street initia- information so you can send them updates on tive can be the single most effective tool available to build your work. volunteer and political support. It requires you to make long-range plans, build strategic partnerships, think cre- atively, and measure and publicize the program’s progress. Long-term Funding Options A few final points to remember: As your Main Street program approaches its transition Program funding is different than project funding. into the management phase, investigate ways to channel • The program itself needs ongoing, annual funding to some of the district’s tangible economic growth into cover the costs for everything from postage to utilities. ongoing funding for the program. After all, if buildings The program will undertake many projects over the improve in value, business sales grow, rents increase, and years: everything from festivals to business assistance municipal tax revenues from the district expand, it makes workshops. Funding for projects will probably come sense for some of that new economic activity to be “cap- from government sources, corporations, and founda- tured” in some way and invested in the revitalization tions, while funding for operating the Main Street program’s continuing activities. program itself will most likely come from pledges, The most frequently used tool for capturing and routing memberships, special assessments, and earned income. increased economic activity back into the district’s ongoing revitalization is a special assessment or business improve- Don’t let the availability of funding determine your ment district (BID), in which property owners—or, in some • organization’s agenda. It can be tempting to ap- states, business owners—pay a voluntary assessment in ply for a grant simply because it is available, re- exchange for district-wide management services provided gardless of whether it fits your program’s agenda. by the revitalization program. About 20 percent of all Main The Main Street program’s agenda should lead, Street programs in the United States have launched BIDs to and fund raising should follow (not vice-versa). support their ongoing revitalization activities. There are other ways, besides special assessment dis- Ultimately, remember that funding Main Street revi- tricts, to capture some of the increased economic activity talization is an exercise in long-term planning. When the for the Main Street program’s ongoing work. For instance, medieval carpenters built College Hall at Oxford Uni- the Main Street organization might acquire and redevelop versity in 1386, they planted seedlings from the oak trees one or more key buildings, then use the income from from which they had cut the stone building’s oak beams. those buildings to cover part of the program’s operating They knew that, sometime in the future, the oak beams expenses. Or the program might contract with the local would need to be replaced. Sure enough, the beams were government to provide certain services, such as managing replaced in the 1960s, almost 600 years later—using municipal parking areas. Some neighborhood Main Street wood from the oak trees planted just for that purpose. programs have also used tax increment financing (TIF) to Turner credited the success in building funding sup- gram began getting small grants for streetscape im- port for both administration and special projects, to provements, public arts projects, and development a few points: planning. By 2001, the Main Street program was on a roll. In July 2001, it received a $56,000 grant for a traf- Political support. • fic-calming plan, $5,000 for the North Park Street From the beginning, NPMS had strong sup- port from its city councilor. “You’ve got to have Gallery, and two grants totaling $10,300 for the stable funding,” said Turner, “and you’ve got North Park Spring Festival. In July 2002, it received to have the political will in back of you.” $300,000 from the California Department of Trans- portation for a planning project to improve Univer- Spreading projects throughout the district. sity Avenue, the district’s major thoroughfare. It also • “People get jealous on every block,” said Turner. received $450,000 in CDBG funds for streetscape improvements. In February 2004, the city selected Sharing credit. the neighborhood as one of its “City of Villages” pilot • It’s important for everyone to feel included and to projects, which gave North Park priority for capital feel like they’ve made a difference, too. improvement funding; assistance from the city in ob- taining state and federal funding for improvements; and support for arts programming. As a result, the district saw $100 million in development projects, including the theatre rehabilitation, new condomini- ums, a parking garage, and a public plaza. Image © Christian Michaels FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 43 ORGANIZATION

45 RESOURCES Websites “Reflections on Main Street Membership,” by Karen National Trust for Historic Preservation: Provides sources of funding, categorized by type (funding Main Street News, January 2006. B. O’Connell, for income-producing property improvements, Learn about a Boston neighborhood’s membership funding from federal agencies, and many success. other preservation-related funding sources). Books Foundation Center: Offers free- and subscription- Business Improvement Districts, 2nd Edition, by based information such as foundation and corporate Lawrence O. Houstoun Jr. (Urban Land Institute giving directories, Form 990 databases, and giving and the International Downtown Association, trends. 2003). Information on planning, organizing, and The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: Offers financing BIDs. access to a searchable database of all available federal programs. ABCs for Creating BIDs , by M. Bradley Segal (International Downtown Association, 2003). Articles Practical information for starting and running BIDs. “Building Support for Main Street: Membership Successful Fundraising: A Complete Handbook Main Street News, June 2001. Drives,” by Sheri Stuart, for Volunteers and Professionals, 2nd edition, by Creating a membership campaign and developing Joan Flanagan (McGraw-Hill, 2002). Tips for the related materials. nonprofessional fund raiser. “Funding Your Streetscape Project,” by Donna Dow, Secrets of Successful Fundraising: The Best from the Main Street News, November 2007. Case study , by Carol Weisman, (F. E. Robbins & Non-Profit Pros and tips on using multiple funding streams for Sons PR, 2000). Nonprofit fund-raising advice. streetscape improvements. , by Worth Fearless Fundraising for Nonprofit Boards “Is a BID Feasible in Your Town: 10 Questions to George (BoardSource, 2003). Help for empowering Ponder,” by Donna Ann Harris, Main Street News, your board members. April 2007. Steps to take when considering the establishment of a BID. , by the National Trust Fundraising Basics Set for Historic Preservation (Preservation Books). “Make More Money from Members: 10 Easy Ways This collection of fund-raising resources has Main to Boost Revenue,” by Donna Ann Harris, been developed especially for nonprofit, historic , August 2008. Tips for enhancing your Street News preservation organizations. membership program. How to Be Successful at Sponsorship Sales , by “Public-Private Development Finance: A Primer for Sylvia Allen and C. Scott Amann (Allen Consulting, Main Main Street Practitioners,” by Kennedy Smith, 2002). Learn how to assemble attractive sponsorship , May 2007. Benefits of public-private Street News packages that provide value to your supporters. financing and the ways you can help close the financing gap. Main “Tips on Membership Drives,” by Mary Helmer, , January 2006. Creative ideas to make Street News membership drives fun for volunteers and successful for your program. Image, far left © Ron Frantz; image , far right © Steve Cole. FINANCING MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION 44 ORGANIZATION

46 ORGANIZATION chapter 6 FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET By Kennedy Lawson Smith There are a variety of mechanisms that communities use to fund Main Street revitalization programs and projects. Sustainable Main Street organizations seek a blend of funding sources. By diversifying funding, your program will be financially stable and able to continue operations even if a funding stream is lost. Here are some of the most frequently used funding mechanisms: Memberships. While offering paid membership in the revitalization program is a good • way to build volunteer support and community ownership of the district and its revital- ization, it is not usually a big money maker. That doesn’t mean that memberships aren’t important, though; they are great for building support and interest. Your members will be an easy audience to whom you can communicate your message. By asking stakehold- ers to pay dues, you can elevate their perception of your revitalization program’s value. You help them realize that a vibrant, healthy commercial district is not free, and gener - ally people value things they pay for more than freebies. Direct municipal line-item appropriations. Some Main Street programs receive line-item • support from local government during their first few years of operation. As the program matures, municipal contributions often shift away from operational support to project- specific support (e.g. funding for infrastructure improvements or business development

47 initiatives can be used to persuade a corporation to activities). In a 2007 survey, Main Street organizations sponsor an event or program so it can reach new nationwide reported that 47 percent of their budget customers or solidify its market position with already came directly from public sources. A large portion of valued consumers. that funding came from city general funds and grants, Do some research by checking a corporation’s with additional revenue streams from CDBG funds, state website or annual report to find the kinds of events it funds, county grants, general funds, and other sources. currently underwrites. Examine the company’s adver - tising to see what kinds of market segments it targets. State historic pres- State historic preservation offices. • Also, keep in mind that corporations give money ervation offices (SHPOs) aren’t usually the wealthi- - in several different ways. Their marketing or adver est state agencies around, far from it, unfortunately. tising departments may contribute to activities and But most do have funds available for certain kinds events that strengthen the product’s market position, of activities. If your city is a Certified Local Govern- but the corporation may also have a philanthropic ment, for instance (and most major cities are), the giving arm that supports a broader range of activities. SHPO is required to distribute some of the annual funds it receives from the U.S. Department of Inte- Grants from foundations. There are thousands of rior to the state’s Certified Local Governments. The • charitable foundations in the United States—entities funds are generally used for surveys of historic build- tasked with giving away money. Research the founda- ings, for educational purposes, and for other activities tions whose priorities seem compatible with your that strengthen the community’s capacity to preserve organization’s goals and then learn about their historic buildings. Some SHPOs have funds available application process. for other purposes, as well, such as helping to intercede if a historic building is threatened with demolition or A few Main Street Public improvements donations. providing matching funds for rehabilitation projects. • districts have successfully raised money for public improvements—benches, street lights, and planters, State and city arts and Arts and humanities councils. • for example, by asking for donations or sponsorships humanities councils often have money available to to offset costs. Individuals and businesses can spon- support projects that promote the arts and humanities. sor items and gain recognition for their contributions, Check into funding available from the National En- usually through a small plaque attached to the item. dowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Durant Main Street in Oklahoma put a creative the Humanities. twist on this idea to get local stakeholders to support its streetscape project. The program sold sponsorships Corporate sponsorships. The demographic information • for corner bump-outs, complete with landscaping and your organization collects through market research Most membership dues structures follow two formats: either a flat rate for all members or a specific dues struc- A Closer Look at Memberships ture. Decide on a goal for your membership drive so you have something to work toward and figure out how much of the financial goal should be met by each membership group. Choose a dues structure that is compatible with your local cost of living. Main Street programs that use a dues structure often set up something like this: • Individuals $25 • Small Businesses $100 • Large Businesses $300 • $500 Small Property Owners • Large Property Owners $1000 A few Main Street programs have structures that allow peo- ple to choose how much to give. Often the names of different membership tiers will correspond to the district’s history or something else that people associate with Main Street. For example, Main Street Collierville in Tennessee employed a train theme for its program. Its membership brochure used the tagline, “Tracking the Ties that Bind,” and its seven mem- bership levels ranged from “The Platinum Ticket,” a $5,000 category that includes title sponsorship for events, to $10 for “The Caboose Kids.” Members are given a Collierville Pass- port for savings downtown and a calendar of events. FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET 46 ORGANIZATION

48 amenities, for $2,500. The corners feature a lamp post banner with the donor’s name on it and a permanent paver in the sidewalk, also engraved with their name. Special events. Many revitalization programs earn • significant amounts of money from special event entry fees, concessions, sponsorships, or other forms of income. In a 2007 survey, 70.4 percent of 324 Main Street organizations reported that they earned net rev- enue from special events and sales. Some programs— such as the Main Street organization in Baltimore’s © Donna Dow Federal Hill neighborhood—raise substantial amounts Durant (Oklahoma) Main Street raised streetscaping through special events (see sidebar for more details). funds by selling amenity sponsorships. If your organization is a nonprofit, keep in mind In general, BIDs require approval by at least half that earned income from events that don’t specifically of all property owners in the district or by those further its charitable purpose will probably be taxed by who control at least 51 percent of the value of the the IRS as “unrelated business income.” If too much of property being assessed. Before they agree to volun- your overall budget consists of unrelated business tarily pay an additional assessment, property own- income, the IRS may revoke your organization’s ers need to be convinced that the Main Street pro- nonprofit status. gram is improving the district, thus increasing their rental income and the value of their buildings. Business Improvement District (BID). In order to create • BIDs offer Main Street programs several key ben- a BID, you must be in a state that has enabling legisla- efits. For instance, all property owners contribute, and tion for this purpose. While most states have this type they contribute equitably, which alleviates the “freeload- of legislation, it varies considerably from state to state. er syndrome” some commercial districts experience Many states require the community to have a local when stakeholders reap the benefits from the revitaliza- redevelopment plan in place. In most places, the BID tion effort but don’t contribute to it. A BID provides can be administered by a nonprofit organization, such guaranteed annual income, and the funds generated can as a Main Street program, if the local government generally be used for program administration. formally names the organization as the administrative Still, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. With contractor for that district. Usually, a Main Street a certain amount of funding more or less guaranteed, program has to be active for several years before other contributors may think that the Main Street attempting to launch a BID. Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets in Dorchester, Massachu- As with your local business owners, finding new custom- setts, made it easy for business owners to say “yes” to Main ers takes a greater effort than retaining existing ones, so Street membership. During the program’s business net- your membership program should be focused on retaining working breakfasts, participants were offered the chance members through renewals. Always keep members in the to buy a $15 ticket or upgrade to a $50 membership. loop and send them print or electronic newsletters so they The group saw a 65 percent increase in membership in can track how their “investment” in your program is creat- three months. ing tangible results in the community. Most Main Street programs provide benefits for participat- Emporia Main Street in Kansas offers members an “early ing businesses, such as reduced rates on group advertis- bird” discount on their dues if they pay a month before ing, listings in brochures, profile write-ups of businesses the official membership drive starts. This helps Main Street in newsletters or on the website, booth space at a Main secure 75 percent of due renewals so the organization can Street event, discount cards, advanced sales of event tick - focus on wooing business owners who expect more per- ets, postings of logo and/or links from your website—the sonal attention—and often pay higher dues! Once the early list goes on and on. bird drive is complete, the board develops a list of mem- bers who haven’t renewed yet and businesses they would Allston Village Main Streets in Boston offers its members like to sign as new members. Working in teams, the board voting privileges on board membership and by-laws, dis- members divide the list and contact both target renewals counts on website development and hosting services, and and new members. All targeted members receive informa- special rates at the local YMCA. Depending on what your tion about the membership drive, which is then followed membership package includes, you may need to check up by a letter stating which board member will be con- federal tax law restrictions on charitable organizations. tacting them. To provide extra motivation, board members Nonprofits with a 501(c)6 tax status will have no issues compete against each other for a prize as well as the pres- from the Internal Revenue Service, but organizations with a tige of signing up the most members from their target lists. 501(c)3 may want to consult a lawyer or accountant. Iden- Members receive a hand-delivered packet, which includes tifying the monetary value of such member benefits and a decal, thank-you letter, and a small token of appreciation notifying members that a portion of their contribution is (like chocolate). not tax-deductible is a good strategy. FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET 47 ORGANIZATION

49 CASE STUDY Baltimore’s Federal Hill Main Street program, knows its special events. The program nets about $80,000 annu- Baltimore, Maryland ally from three events—an October street festival (Street- Beat), a spring block party, and a summer jazz/blues fes- Special Events as a Fund-raising Tool tival. To increase its special events income, the program is adding a new event—a Halloween festival. The events’ profitability can be attributed to several factors, includ- ing beer sales and the use of more money to hire better, more popular bands. Bonnie Crockett, the former director of Federal Hill Main Street, recommends block parties as a good way for neighborhood Main Street organizations to launch a revenue-generating special events program. Because they’re fun, she says, they attract lots of volunteers. She advises keeping the block parties small and compact at first, then gradually expanding them in successive years. to specific development projects. In essence, if a prop- program no longer needs their support. City govern- erty appreciates in value because of a new development ment might even cut back its funding; but BID income should not be considered a substitute for general city or rehabilitation project, the city agrees to dedicate support because it is actually a direct assessment paid the increased property tax revenue to the project itself. by property owners. Also, your organization will need For example, suppose an organization redevelops a historic theater, boosting its value from $100,000 to to determine how to maintain its volunteer-driven $1 million, and the city’s annual property tax revenue nature and continue working within the Main Street increases tenfold. The city might issue bonds to pay approach. One way to deal with this challenge is to for an amenity, such as a parking garage, in conjunc- set up a subsidiary to your Main Street program. The best way to get started is to look at state legis- tion with the redevelopment project and then use the lation and study all the details about setting up a BID. increased property tax revenue to pay off the bonds. Then assemble a taskforce to decide if you are ready to Like BIDs, TIF requires state enabling legislation and a local redevelopment plan. Unlike a BID, tax-incre- move forward. This group needs to assess your district ment financing does not increase property tax rates—it and organizational capacity to determine the feasibility generates income only when property values increase— of pursuing a BID. If your taskforce believes a BID is nor does it usually require the approval of the district’s right for your district, review the legislation’s assess- ment formula to see what the gross revenues for your property owners. To use TIF, the local government creates a redevelopment district, names a commission to BID could be. The formula could increase property oversee the redevelopment activities, adopts a plan that taxes based on the buildings’ assessed values, square footage, or other variables. You can use this formula specifies the types of improvements that will take place to create a spreadsheet of hypothetical revenue streams in the district and the ways TIF funds will be used, and issues bonds based on its estimates of the tax revenue by calculating increments of tax assessments from one percent to 10 percent. Will assessments be too much likely to be generated as a result of redevelopment activity. of a financial burden on small property and business owners (to whom property owners will pass down TIF has been widely used to pay for items essential this cost)? How much revenue could you generate? to a proposed new development—parking garages, While your organization is gathering informa- sewer lines, sidewalks, street lighting, environmental tion about creating a BID, find out what your prop- clean-up, etc. erty and business owners need. Determine if a BID Some cities add a Business license taxes or surcharges. will fulfill those needs and help meet their concerns • tax or surcharge onto business licenses, then dedicate for the district’s future and their desire for increased the additional revenue for specific activities. One services. If a BID still seems like an appropriate direc- example is the funding of neighborhood business tion for your organization and district, make sure that improvement districts in San Diego through a surcharge the board is ready to invest time in adopting a BID on business license taxes. and is willing to exercise political muscle to move the initiative forward. Also be sure your organization has A grow- Property development and management. enough funds to maintain usual Main Street opera- • ing number of revitalization programs acquire one or tions along with BID development during this time. more key buildings in the district and serve as a non- profit developer of the property. In many instances, Tax-increment financing (TIF). Tax-increment financ- • property development can save a threatened build- ing has become an increasingly popular funding mecha- ing and also generate rental income to support the nism for district amenities, particularly those connected FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET 48 ORGANIZATION

50 They must benefit low- and moderate-income people; revitalization program. There are tax consequences ◉ for nonprofit organizations that engage in real estate and/or development; so before pursuing this type of activ- They must meet an urgent need to eliminate a public ity, talk with a CDC and/or an attorney or accountant ◉ safety threat for which other funds are not available. familiar with nonprofit real estate development issues. - Greater Gallatin, Inc., in Tennessee owns and oper Types of projects that are eligible for CDBG funding ates the 1913 Palace Theater. The oldest silent movie include property acquisition, code enforcement, technical theater in Tennessee, the Palace was almost torn down assistance, economic development assistance to business to make room for a parking lot when the owner, who - owners, economic development activities, and engineer bought the building at auction, realized he couldn’t ing and design costs.The HUD office has published a few rehab it on his own. Instead, he donated it to the Main booklets to guide people in using CDBG funds for Street program, which actively sought funds through historic preservation projects. Some states, like Kentucky, private, public, corporate, city, and state sources as well require that CDBG applications be prepared and man- as state and federal grants and a loan, that enabled it to aged by a certified CDBG administrator. invest approximately $600,000 in the theater. The group Adams County, Colorado, for example, received rents the space for special events and shows movies on $50,000 in CDBG funds to conduct a business training the weekends. The revenues cover the operational costs program for small businesses, with training conducted for both the Main Street program and the theater. in English and Spanish. More than 250 people partici- Additional information on real estate projects, pated, leading to the creation of 17 new businesses. including funding, can be found in Chapter 11, Real Estate and the Main Street Business District. SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient • Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users). What A public-private partnership Save America’s Treasures. • a name! SAFETEA-LU is the successor to two previ- between the National Park Service and the National ous federal programs: ISTEA (the Intermodal Surface Trust for Historic Preservation, Save America’s Treasures Transportation Efficiency Act) and TEA-21 (the Trans- helps communities raise money for the preservation and portation Equity Act for the 21st Century). Each of rehabilitation of significant historic buildings by giving these programs has been a subset of enormous federal them sizable grants that must be leveraged with other surface transportation bills that have appropriated funds. See for details. billions of dollars for the construction and repair of highways, bridges, and transportation infrastructure. Utility companies. Many utility companies have con- • These subsets provide federal funds for “transporta- cluded that it makes better economic sense to invest in tion enhancements,” including pedestrian and bicycle communities in which they already have substantial facilities, landscaping, scenic easements, rails-to-trails infrastructure than to continue expanding to undevel- conversions, and preservation of transportation-related oped areas. Utility companies such as Georgia Power historic resources. If your strategic plan includes trans- and Pacific Gas and Electric have provided cash and portation-related activities, be persistent in working in-kind support for Main Street revitalization for with your state department of transportation to include many years. these funds in your plan. For more information, visit Federal Programs Community Development Block Grants. All cities • with populations greater than 50,000 receive Com- munity Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Some cities have used CDBG funds to sup- port neighborhood Main Street programs in their first few years of activity; others have also used them to pay for public improvements, master plans, afford- able housing, and energy retrofits. In addition, HUD often makes a small portion of CDBG funds available each year on a discretionary basis for special proj- ects. These funds are usually allocated by Congres- sional action, at the request of members of Congress. Projects funded with CDBGs must meet one of three © Barbara Gosney national criteria: South Boston, Virginia, used federal transportation enhancements funds to help finance the rehabilitation of the historic Prizery build- They must prevent or eliminate slums or blight; ◉ ing, a former tobacco warehouse. The Prizery now serves as a multi-purpose community center. FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET 49 ORGANIZATION

51 The tax credit isn’t actually “sold”; the property Created by former U.S. HOPE VI Main Street Program. • owner forms a partnership with and transfers the Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) in 2003 and rolled out by HUD credit to an investor; in exchange, the investor puts in 2005, the HOPE VI Main Street program provides equity into the building rehabilitation project. The grants of up to $500,000 to close financing gaps in de- amount of equity depends on a number of factors, velopment projects that create affordable housing units. - from the size of the project to how risky investors per The program is available for communities that have ceive it to be. For rehabilitation projects over $5 mil- fewer than 50,000 residents, have fewer than 100 units lion, investors are usually willing to invest about 92 to of public housing, and have a comprehensive revital- 95 percent of the tax credit’s value. So, if a rehabilita- ization program in place. Oskaloosa, Iowa, received a tion project has qualified rehabilitation expenses of $5 2007 HOPE VI grant to develop low-income housing million, the federal rehabilitation tax credit would be in a four-story, burned-out building located on a key $1 million (20 percent of $5 million), and an inves- corner of the Main Street district. The infusion of funds tor would typically pay between 92 to 95 percent of was critical in preventing the structure’s demolition. this amount for the credit, or $920,000 to $950,000. The U.S. Department of U.S. Department of Justice. Many states also offer rehabilitation tax credits to • Justice, as well as many state departments of justice, offset state income tax liability. See pages 130–131 for offers funding for projects that help reduce crime. more information. For a detailed listing of state tax Projects tend to change as federal (and state) adminis- credits, visit the “Find Funding” section of www. trations change, so check for current information. Federal New Markets Tax Credits. Enacted in 2002, • Al- Economic Development Administration (EDA). the New Markets Tax Credits program offers federal • though its grant programs have changed over the income tax credits to investors—usually banks—that years, EDA generally makes grants available for busi- make capital available for business development in ness incubators, brownfields development, sustain- economically distressed areas. Typically, intermediary able development, and economic development-related organizations, such as the National Trust Community technical assistance. For more information, see www. Investment Corporation, apply for allocations of New Markets Tax Credits from the U.S. Department of Treasury, which administers the program, and then Federal and state rehabilitation tax credits. Develop- partner with an investor(s). The investors make loans • ers and property owners who rehabilitate historic, or equity investments in eligible business development income-producing buildings may be eligible for a activities in economically distressed neighborhoods federal income tax credit. The federal government of- and, in turn, receive tax credits. Because of the tax fers an income tax credit equal to 20 percent of quali- credits they receive, the investors are generally able to fied rehabilitation expenses for historic buildings that reduce the interest rates on their loans, waive part of a are listed in the National Register of Historic Places loan’s repayment, or offer other favorable terms. Most or are contributing structures to a registered historic importantly, however, the New Markets Tax Credits district, and a credit equal to 10 percent of qualified program makes capital available in areas that might rehabilitation expenses for non-historic buildings that not otherwise attract investment. were built before 1936. If the entity that rehabilitates the building cannot take advantage of the tax credits In summary, ensuring your program has diversified (e.g. because it does not have enough tax liability or funding is critical to your organization’s stability and because it is a nonprofit organization that does not sustainability. This chapter presents a wide variety of pay federal income tax), it can “sell” the credit to an sources you can tap for funding requests, but keep in investor and use the cash to help finance the rehabilita- mind that some of these sources might also make good tion, fund an operating reserve, or something similar. partners that can provide in-kind donations in terms of services or supplies. RESOURCES For more information on funding, please see the list at the end of Chapter 5, Financing Main Street Revitalization. FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR MAIN STREET 50 ORGANIZATION

52 ORGANIZATION chapter 7 PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM By Andrea L. Dono In a perfect world, all stakeholders will know about the great revitalization initiatives happening in your district and will recognize that your Main Street program is leading the charge. People will be knocking at your office door asking to contribute time and money to the cause and be your advocate when you need one. In reality, however, the burden is on your organization to tell the public about your projects, promote your role in the revitalization ef- fort, and ask for support. When done right, effective communications will make fund raising, partnership development, volunteer recruitment, and advocacy easier. Strategic promotion of your organization will build excitement for its mission and convey a professional image. Your strategy must focus on creating consistent messages that position your Main Street program as the reliable and credible revitalization organization in your community. Creating an effective strategy involves planning regular communications that reinforce the message of your written materials, visual imagery, and official verbal communi- cation (from interviews to presentations). Every communication must pass a quality control test. In order to accomplish this, the executive director must know about all of the organiza- tion’s projects to ensure that they rise to a high standard. When it comes to publicity, it is important to first understand the responsibilities of all members in your organization. Promoting the organization is a function of the organization committee, not the promotion committee. The promotion committee focuses on promoting © Maryland Office of the Governor

53 volunteers with online- the image of the district, event publicity and advertising, and ribbon-cuttings for new businesses or rehabilitations. marketing expertise; Writing press releases about promoting the Main Street they plan strategies for program itself is a shared responsibility among board improving outreach and aligning the organiza- members, the organization committee, and the executive director. Staff, board, and committee members may col- tion’s communications laborate on certain projects and work individually on other priorities to better meet activities. For example, among other duties, the board the changing needs and preferences of its con- plays a primary role in advocating for the organization, the organization committee is responsible for develop- stituents. The team sends ing a public relations strategy, and a major part of the out regular e-newsletters, executive director’s job is promoting the organization. plans constant updates - for the website, and Promoting the organization involves explaining its pur pose and operations so people understand why your pro- writes daily blogs to keep people interested in Boulder. gram exists. This ranges from conversations between vol- unteers and festival attendees to media interviews with the Communication Tools board president. All volunteers and staff must be trained in the Main Street approach and brought up to speed on ac- There are two kinds of communication tools—ones through complishments, goals, and other important talking points. which you control your message and those that you can’t While your organization must designate an official spokes- control. You can control what you put on your website and person, everyone associated with your program plays a role the topics you cover during a public presentation, but you in shaping the public’s perception, for better or for worse. can’t control how a reporter will interpret a press release. Keep in mind that promoting the organization is more This section will look at common communication tools than writing press releases. Fayetteville (Tennessee) Main that you can use to get messages out consistently and make Street has a two-minute video, produced by Fayetteville it easy for people to learn about the Main Street program. Public Utilities, on Google Video that features historic photos and current images of the community. The video Newsletters features Fayetteville’s prized 1951 Lincoln Theatre and includes information on other attractions, details about the Print and electronic newsletters are great outreach tools for Main Street program, and contacts for visitors seeking disseminating information about upcoming events, your more information. People unfamiliar with this community program’s goals, current projects, volunteer highlights, can get a feel for Fayetteville before leaving home and business spotlights, fund-raising goals, and other appropri- know that a community group is hard at work making the ate topics. The best part is that you control the message and town great. distribution. E-newsletters are excellent vehicles for getting timely in- Targeting Communications formation out, such as a call for action to save a threatened building, and can be produced quickly in-house using free The best way to reach specific groups of people, your target or cheap software. By avoiding printing and mailing costs, audiences, with your messages is to tailor your communica- electronic communications are incredibly cost effective. tions and delivery channels to meet their needs. Different And, building and continually updating a distribution list constituent groups have different preferences for receiving is easy if you make collecting e-mail addresses a priority. information. To communicate effectively with diverse Even though traditional constituents, you need to know how to appeal to each newsletters have printing group’s interests and identify the best vehicles for convey- and postage costs associ- ing information. ated with their produc- For example, business owners and potential entrepre- tion, hard copies of your neurs will be most interested in your business assistance newsletter are excellent programs. Distributing brochures about your program’s marketing and advocacy services to the local Small Business Association or chamber tools. By having a tangible of commerce will enable you to reach business owners and item to hand to poten- help them view your organization as an entrepreneurial tial donors, supporters, support entity. members, and others, you Tech-savvy individuals and many younger people can reach a new audience. prefer getting information through blogs, e-mail, or social Many programs find networking sites. Recognizing this, Downtown Boulder, it’s useful to produce Inc., established an Online Strategy Committee that is print and electronic dedicated solely to identifying ways to communicate with communications. Both various groups through new media. The group recruited types should have a PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 52 ORGANIZATION

54 high-quality design, be well-written and proofread, and sent regularly. Producing newsletters erratically will reflect poorly on the professionalism of your organization, so set a schedule and stick with it. Newsletter production can be a shared responsibility among staff member(s) and organization committee members who are skilled in graphics and writing. Don’t forget to post an archive of your newsletters on your website—this helps track your organization’s history and accomplishments. Collateral Materials These materials include brochures, letterhead, business di- rectories, walking tour booklets, business cards, annual re- ports, utility bill inserts, and even giveaway items like hats. Business cards and letterhead Miscellaneous materials. Each of these items has a different purpose, but each offers • also help convey the professionalism and credibility of an opportunity to promote your organization. And each your organization. Hats and pens printed with your item also shares something else—your Main Street logo. logo are nice giveaways, but definitely are not a priority when you are just starting a revitalization program. Logo. Every organization needs a logo—a visual repre- • Regardless of what materials your organization pro- sentation of the program that creates instant recogni- duces, the bottom line is that they must be high quality tion with the viewer. This logo will become part of your and convey an appropriate image for your program. image and a symbol that the public associates with the revitalization effort. The logo will inform people that Website Main Street is behind various projects and initiatives. Avoid the well-intentioned logo-development Websites facilitate communication with a large audience, contests, which often produce amateurish designs, including people who stumble across your site. For instance, and instead hire a graphic design specialist to cre- your online calendar of events might catch the attention of ate your logo. A skilled professional can visually potential visitors or your success stories might spark a capture the spirit of your organization and design a reporter’s interest. logo that will look attractive on a variety of materi- Establish a website task force to identify your intended als. Some of the best logos incorporate an architec- messages and audience, and work in partnership with a tural or streetscape detail within their design. Does web design or web hosting company to build a website your district have a landmark building? Do you that meets your organization’s needs and promotes your have unique visual elements that people might as- image. The group should also think of keywords that will sociate with the revitalization and your program? make your site pop up in popular search engines’ results. Main Street communities have successfully worked with student web developers and volunteers to create af- fordable websites. Whether you hire someone or work with volunteers, your task force will have to write the content and establish a process for frequently updat- As a nod to the community’s copper mining past, Main- ing information. Work with the developer to make sure street Uptown Butte in Mon- you can easily update content and fix broken links on tana incorporates the head- frames that still stand today your own or find a firm that will make changes quickly into its logo. and affordably. The trick is in building a website that you can handle on your own or can afford to maintain. Sure, there are a lot of cool web tools, but if you can’t keep on top of them, then they are a waste of money. And if you can’t frequently post new content, then your website will be nothing more than a virtual brochure. While web content must remain fresh to keep visi- Main Street brochures. Groups just starting out can • tors coming back, that doesn’t mean that initiatives create a simple brochure in-house and later develop a should be deleted from your website after they are professionally designed piece once funds are available. completed. Make sure people know about completed General overview brochures should include the orga- projects and initiatives so they can trace your effective- nization’s mission statement and purpose, services of- ness. The Adams Morgan Main Street Group in Wash- fered, accomplishments, reinvestment statistics, awards ington, D.C., does this well because it posts current or recognition, future plans, and contact information. events and projects online and then updates the site Other brochures can also be developed to meet specific with related news coverage and post-event details. purposes, such as to promote a façade grant program. PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 53 ORGANIZATION

55 At a minimum, your Calendar of board and committee meetings; • website needs to include: Spotlight on featured businesses; • Logo; • Links to social media tools; • Pictures of your • History of district and historic photos; district; • Blog; Contact information; • • Archives of past newsletters; Staff and board • • member directory; Capability to accept donations online; • Directions; • Photo gallery (before and afters!); • Event calendar; • News; • Appeal for volunteers, members, and donations; • Demographic information about the trade area; • Explanation of Main Street approach; • Volunteer job listings; • Mission statement; • Resources for property and business owners; and • Incentives or assistance offered; • Links to other community resources, coordinating • program, National Main Street Center, and partner Successes and recent reinvestment statistics; and • organizations/agencies. Annual report (if available electronically). • There is plenty of room for your website to grow as More extensive websites might include: your program matures. Two examples: Mount Pleas- • ant MainStreet in D.C. uses a blog to solicit ideas about Business directory (possibly one that is interactive); what people want to see happen in the business district • and the Davis (California) Downtown Business As- Design guidelines; sociation has produced a podcast to give an exciting • audio introduction to its community and its events. Committee work plans, minutes, reports; • Presentations Map of district; • With all the discussion about blogs and newsletters, don’t By-laws; underestimate the impact of verbal communication to • create a buzz about successes and build the organiza- Archive of press releases and/or media coverage; tion’s credibility. Presentations to civic associations, the • municipality, other organizations, and conferences are Electronic Downtown Manhattan, Inc. Downtown Manhattan, Inc., (DMI) a Kansas Main Street to trivia questions posed in the e-newsletter with down- program, communicates regularly with more than 260 town certificates. The Update covers news about volun- people in its business improvement district. It turned to teer jobs, road closures, sponsorship opportunities, and the free Google™ Groups to engage various groups of more. The quality of the content has made it easy for lo- people according to their interests, activities, or Main cal media to reprint news bites directly from the Update. Street committee membership. The organization set up The Downtown Retailer Update poses questions to the two accounts: the Downtown Update, which serves as business community, such as how helpful has snow re- DMI’s e-newsletter; and the Downtown Retailer Update, moval been or are downtown workers parking in prime which facilitates a dialogue among business owners. The customer spaces? Merchants can provide feedback to Downtown Update initially started with 200 subscribers the Main Street program and discuss topics with each and quickly grew to 500, including members of the me- other. Often, more than 50 replies to a topic go out im- dia, local officials, mall representatives, and others. As an mediately after the question is sent. incentive, the Update rewards the first few responders PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 54 ORGANIZATION

56 Working with the Media excellent ways to get your message There are three main ways to get your message to media out and build outlets. One is buying ad space, the second is contribut- support. The ing an article, and the third is getting media coverage. National Main Clearly, the first two options allow you to control the Street Center publishes several messages you send. You can buy ads to thank volun- PowerPoint pre- teers, publicize events or projects, and promote the sentations that district; or you can work with local media to publish a monthly column about revitalization news—both you can use to © Timothy Bishop teach people about Main Street. help keep the business district in the public eye. While being a vocal and informed participant in town While some editors publish press releases as written, more often than not, you lose control over media mes- hall or city council meetings isn’t the same as giving a - sages when you’re not buying ad space or writing the presentation, it is an effective way to articulate the or ganization’s role in the community. By sharing helpful, story. Sending press releases or being interviewed doesn’t guarantee that a journalist will convey your message. compelling information, you can build your organiza- tion’s credibility; and decision makers and members of However, with practice, your organization’s spokes- the media may start turning to you for information. people will be able to answer any question that is thrown at them in a way that delivers the program’s important messages. They can do this by planning out what they Annual Reports want to say and anticipating reporters’ questions so Your annual report serves two purposes: to show your in- that they can work key messages into their answers. vestors your accomplishments and financial activity during Even though you can’t control what reporters write, the last year and to present your organization in a favorable you can develop a public relations strategy for get- light to secure continued or new investment. These reports ting your message to appropriate media outlets, thereby prove that your organization is accountable to its inves- increasing your chances for favorable coverage. tors and has made progress toward its goals. They can be great collateral materials for donation requests and vol- Creating the Public Relations Campaign unteer recruitment, too. Once complete, post an electronic Although creating a P.R. campaign is mainly the job of the version on your website. Annual reports should include: organization committee, volunteers can collaborate with the promotion committee and executive director to develop A letter from the board president; • a thorough plan and coordinate annual messaging. When Mission statement; developing your plan, decide who your audience will • be—who do you want to reach? Then, decide what you Directory of board members, staff mem- want them to do. • bers, and committee chairs; Next, think about your objectives. What outcomes would you like to see from your communications? How Committee reports; would you like the public to perceive your organization? • Then grab a calendar and plan when you want to promote Financial statements; upcoming events, initiatives, or issues and identify the • most appropriate communication vehicles. You’ll need to Market profile; determine which media outlets you want to target—local • District profile; • A brief report on changes in the dis- • trict’s economy during the past year; Reports on new programs or initiatives for the • coming year; Reinvestment statistics and volunteer hours • contributed; Awards and recognition; • Testimonials; and • Explanation of the Main Street approach. • PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 55 ORGANIZATION

57 Elements of a Public Relations Plan newspapers, regional magazines, trade periodicals, national 1. Set goals and objectives. media, community cable channels, bulletin boards, web- 2. Identify your target audience. sites, blogs, utility bill inserts, partners’ communications— the list goes on. On your calendar, mark deadlines for 3. Identify appropriate media outlets. If your district is in a multilingual community, submitting story ideas, press releases, ads, guest columns, don’t ignore audiences whose first and other activities to make sure your outreach is timely. language is not English. Let the goals of your communication efforts and the au- diences you want to reach guide your public relations plan. Create a media contact list, including 4. Don’t waste time courting a reporter whose readership reporters’ beats and contact preferences. doesn’t include your target audience. Media outlets know Identify the Main Street spokesperson. 5. the demographics of their audience or subscribers. If it isn’t posted on their website (if you can’t find it right away, read 6. Identify methods for reaching media their advertising information), you can use media directo- outlets (press release, op-ed pieces, public service announcements, advertisements, ries to get this information. Directories provide audience presentations, media tours, etc.). demographics as well as contact information, reporters’ beats and preferences for receiving press releases, lead times Cultivate relationships with media 7. for stories, editorial calendars, and more. Call or e-mail representatives. the reporters with whom you will be in frequent contact 8. Create a media calendar to promote to introduce yourself and your organization. Then follow planned news and events (using work up by sending a note with your press kit package and offer plans) to ensure the proper timing of to help with any upcoming features, such as an article in a press releases. travel magazine or breaking news for local news media. Collect media “hits” and find out media 9. Just keep in mind that journalists are looking for good outlets’ viewer/readership. stories that will interest their audience, so if your story is relevant and interesting, you are helping them as much as Assess whether goals and objectives 10. they are helping you. were met (what worked and what could be improved). Crisis Communication Let’s face it. Unexpected problems and conflict hap- pen, and when they do, the Main Street program needs to be ready to deal with them publicly. Nonprofits are not exempt from controversy. If your organization has to fire a staff member, if it doesn’t receive a public fund- ing allocation, or if a local resident sends a scathing letter to the editor that slams your program, your Main Street program’s leadership must be ready to develop a public relations response to minimize the negative im- pact. Taking an active role in communicating during a crisis requires a strategy to shape public opinion about your organization instead of letting the media do it. Track Media Coverage Wherever your news shows up—track it! Keep article clippings and save web pages or e-newsletters to track your media hits. This is a great way to discover what the media considers news- worthy, identify Main Street-friendly media and reporters, docu- ment news coverage in your annual report, and build your cor- porate history file. Find out the readership of publications that cover your stories so you can report how many people may have read them. Count how many people became members or vol- unteers since you started specific media campaigns. All of this information will help you measure the impact of your public rela- tions campaign and determine its effectiveness. PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 56 ORGANIZATION

58 During these situations, the board of directors should Do’s and Don’t’s for immediately meet to brainstorm solutions to the problem Working with the Media and devise strategies. The strategy should always focus on honesty and assuring the public that your organization is dedicated to righting any wrongs. Depending on the crisis, strategies similar to your public relations plan should suf- fice. First, communicate with your organization internally to limit rumors and misinformation. Second, if the situa- DO tion requires it, hold a meeting or contact the individuals • Provide photos with press releases; involved to discuss the problem and seek solutions. Third, figure out your message and start sending it. Does your • Avoid saying “no comment”; organization need to take responsibility for something? If you offer to send additional information or • Does it need to announce it has put new controls in place provide contact information for other people to prevent something from happening again? Does it need they can interview, do so right away; to get facts out about an issue to correct misinformation? • Remember that television stories must have Decide who your spokesperson will be and identify which visual appeal; so think about the site for activities (press releases, press conference, website state- the shoot; ments, letters to the editor) are appropriate in order to protect your program’s credibility, reputation, and image. Use the Associated Press (AP) style guide • when writing press releases and brush up on press release writing skills—some members of The Value of Tooting Your Own Horn the media publish them verbatim; • Politely contact the journalist if a mistake is Annually tabulating your benchmarks and reinvest- made and provide the correct information so ment statistics and then actively promoting the (hope- that an erratum can be published; fully) good news goes a long way in promoting your organization and its effectiveness. Talking about Main Select a few key individuals as your main • Street’s successes is not shameless self-promotion— spokespeople (board president, members of promoting the organization’s impact and community executive committee, and executive director) benefit is critical in building public support. Without and make sure someone is prepared and avail- this support, renewing memberships, soliciting dona- able for comment at all times; tions, advocating for specific issues, and countless other Hold conferences in the morning so reporters • Main Street activities will become more difficult. Your can meet their deadlines. Send media adviso- stakeholders need to know that the program is posi- ries to reporters, but if they don’t come, send tively changing the community so they that will con- polite follow-up information; tinue to support your organization and its mission. • Write thank you notes or e-mails to reporters who cover your story; and Be realistic; of course you think Main Street • work is interesting, but is it really newsworthy? DON’T • Don’t send press releases on irrelevant or underwhelming “news”— this may cause the media to ignore your “real” news; Don’t miss or be late for interviews; • • Don’t send angry e-mails or nasty voice mails to journalists who didn’t cover your story the way you wanted; and • Don’t send out old news or resend press re- leases if your story wasn’t picked up. PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 57 ORGANIZATION

59 RESOURCES Books Articles A Primer on Nonprofit PR...If Charity Begins at “Effective E-Communication: Using E-mail to , by Kathleen A. Neal (Pineapple Press, 2001). Home Communicate with your Constituents,” by David A manual for nonprofit organizations to guide their November 2003. Tips for Main Street News, Tully, public relations efforts. Touches on topics ranging writing effective e-mails, managing distribution lists, from crisis communication, and working with media avoiding spam, and other considerations. professionals, to fund raising. “E-newsletter Enhances Communication Effort,” by The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on November 2003. Main Street News, Scott Grove, Media Law , by Norm Goldstein (Basic Books, 2007). Discusses the advantages of e-newsletters and some This style guidebook is most often used by journalists considerations you need to give to their design, and will help you “speak their language.” distribution, and editorial copy. by 3rd Edition The Non-Designer’s Design Book, , “Leveraging Public Relations to Promote Your Main Robin Williams (PeachPit Press, 2008). This book Main Street News, Street,” by Malcolm Johnstone, was developed with amateurs in mind to help October 2008. Discusses the basics of a publicity them with details such as selecting the proper font plan, from making a strong media pitch to putting and using good alignment. It also discusses basic together a press kit. It also explores special topics design principles and offers sample images to guide such as crisis communication. the reader. “Making the Most of Media on Main Street,” by Kendall New Edition: The Inside , The Publicity Handbook C. Mooney, May 2003. Discusses Main Street News, Scoop from More than 100 Journalists and PR many common media opportunities for Main Street by Pros on How to Get Great Publicity Coverage, programs. David R. Yale and Andrew J. Caruthers (McGraw- Hill, 2001). This primer teaches you how to set goals “Network Notes: Characteristics of an Effective and develop a publicity plan to help you meet them. Main Newsletter: A Checklist,” by Luke VanBelleghem, Discusses Internet campaigns, writing press releases, January 2003. Tips for ensuring that Street News, using databases, and more. your e-newsletter gets read instead of left unopened in recipient’s inboxes. Logo Design Workbook: A Hands-On Guide to Creating Logos , by Noreen Morioka, Terry Stone, “Working with a Web Designer: 10 Tips,” by Greg Stein and Sean Adams (Rockport Publishers, 2006). This Main Street News, and Andrea L. Dono, November publication is intended to help designers work with 2003. The basics of how to work with a website clients to understand their goals, logo concept, and designer to create a website that works best for your the logo-development process. Includes case studies program. of logo usage. Building Support through Public Relations: A Guide (National for Nonprofit Preservation Organizations Trust for Historic Preservation, 1998). Explains how to conduct a successful public relations campaign. PROMOTING THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM 58 ORGANIZATION

60 ORGANIZATION chapter 8 EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS By Rhonda Sincavage and Stacey VanBelleghem You likely have heard that effective advocacy is one of the keys to the success of a Main Street program. In fact, revitalization organizations that actively advocate for community issues are better able to establish a Main Street-friendly climate in which to conduct their work. By building general awareness of the Main Street program and the commercial district’s needs within the community—and especially among elected officials—your organization will have an easier time implementing projects and getting the variety of resources your program will need to accomplish its goals. Unfortunately, there is often confusion about the definition of advocacy and how to ex- pand a Main Street program’s advocacy capacity. Advocacy can include anything from rela- tionship-building activities, such as educating decision makers, informing the public, raising visibility, and gaining support for Main Street, to activities designed to bring about a specific change in policy. In general, advocacy involves the same communication and support-build- ing skills that you already utilize in advancing your program, so even if you do not realize it, you are probably already engaging in advocacy on a regular basis. Lobbying is a subset of advocacy activities involving efforts to influence legislation. Spe- cific laws govern lobbying by nonprofit organizations, so it is important to understand what constitutes lobbying and ensure that your program does not run afoul of these limitations (see the section,“Lobbying by 501(c)(3) Organizations,” on pages 66–67). Members of the Missouri Main Street Connection meet to discuss advocacy strategy for saving the state Main Street coordinating program whose funding was threatened.

61 You should be aware that there are laws on the federal, state, and possibly even local level governing the types of lobbying activi- ties that are allowable for nonprofits and government employees. Before your organization engages in lobbying activities, you should contact your lawyer about the specific restrictions that apply to your program. Why is Advocacy Necessary? Where to Begin Your first priority in incorporating advocacy into Your program needs the support of decision makers because they may determine policies that affect your com- your program is to lay the groundwork for form- ing relationships and introducing your program to munity or your program directly. For example, elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels make deci- stakeholders and policymakers. A little research and planning up front can help you identify the aspects of sions on funding measures and grant programs; enact tax incentives to encourage historic preservation and your program that will appeal to decision makers. community revitalization (federal tax credits, state tax Who Can Be Involved? credits, or local property tax abatement programs); and enact legal protections to preserve the historic build- Supporters of Main Street come in all shapes and ings that are the core of your community. These decision sizes, from Main Street executive directors and board makers are shaping policies that may affect not only members (see the section, “Lobbying by 501(c)(3) Or - your local Main Street organization but also your state- ganizations,” on pages 66–67) to volunteers, business wide, countywide, or citywide coordinating program. owners, and allied community and neighborhood or - In the best circumstances, your advocacy efforts ganizations. Build a group of supporters who represent will produce policies that benefit your community and a wide-ranging, diverse constituency. You should also your program; in the worst case, your advocacy and select an appropriate spokesperson who can culti- relationship-building efforts will prepare you to defend vate relationships with elected officials. Your program against threats to your program. In any case, decision must be strategic in its efforts to identify advocacy makers can and should be partners in your success. partners—aligning yourself with contentious or contro- Building relationships with elected officials is like sav- versial groups or individuals could derail your efforts. ing money in the bank. Cultivating those relationships Elected officials respond well to groups of constitu- gives you people you can rely on in times of need. ents who represent multiple interests, so broadening your Don’t think of your advocacy as only benefiting base of support will pay off as you move forward with your program or community, however. Your relation- relationship building and advocacy. As a first step, think ship with an elected official benefits the official as well. about program supporters who already have relationships Decision makers and their staff members are required with elected officials. Elected officials respond to people to be “experts” on a wide variety of issues, and you can they know and trust, so tapping Main Street support- help by keeping them informed about what is happen- ers who have established relationships with decision ing in downtowns and neighborhood commercial dis- makers can help you identify a potential representative tricts and by sharing your benchmarks and reinvestment for your program or someone who can introduce of- statistics. You provide value to the relationship because ficials to your executive director or board members. you know about your community and can provide new Keep in mind that the person who introduces you to and exciting ideas. Your events and activities also pro- an official may not be the best person to be your advo- vide valuable opportunities for your elected officials cate or representative. A committed board member or to appear in public and interact with constituents. the executive director would be the best person for the job. When selecting your main advocacy representative, be sure to choose someone who is an effective com- municator, who can be readily available, and who is well-informed about the program and current issues. Researching Your Decision Makers Researching decision makers at every level of govern- ment is an important first step before you approach them. Get to know your representatives in Congress and the state legislature as well as important local decision makers, such as the city manager, planners, and council members. Basically, you need to know what motivates elected officials and how they can help your cause. Here are some things that may be useful to know: What is the official’s background: hometown, school, • Iowa Senator Tom Harkin poses with various agency representatives previous career, outside interests? This information and the Main Street manager from Jewell, Iowa, during a celebration of a federal grant for assisting Main Street communities. EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 60 ORGANIZATION

62 sites. Each state has its own legislative website and most include an overview of that state’s legislative process. In ad- dition, the Library of Congress’ legislative site, THOMAS (, is a great resource on the federal process. Understanding the decision-making process is a prereq- uisite to pursuing policy objectives. It will also help you plan strategically and time your efforts to coincide with important points during the decision-making process. Getting to Know the Issues Study policies and issues that affect Main Street, such as funding sources, economic incentives, and zoning regula- tions. Your advocacy will be more persuasive if you have a © Ed Richter, City of Orlando thorough understanding of how and why these issues are Representatives of College Park, one of Orlando’s oldest neighborhood priorities for your Main Street community. Although many business districts, pose with Mayor Buddy Dyer at the announcement policies may impact Main Street in some way, advocates ceremony for the new Orlando citywide program. should select a few important issues on which to focus. Prioritize these issues and research the pros and cons so that you can anticipate people’s concerns or potential can help you identify people who work with the official opposition; this will help you craft your message, ex- as well as issues that are important to him or her. plain why an issue is important to Main Street, determine which outcomes would be favorable to the revitalization What committee memberships does the official hold? • effort, and prepare informed rebuttals to the opposition. What is the official’s seniority? This information will A knowledgeable advocate is often seen by the elected of- tell you what types of policy the legislator can most - ficial as a valuable resource. Your role as a reliable infor effectively influence and the official’s relative position mational resource can strengthen your relationship with among his or her colleagues. This type of information elected officials. Finally, researching the important issues will be important at every level, from county legislatures will help you counteract any opposition to your position. and city councils to the state legislature and Congress. You’ll be able to anticipate what the opposition would say and plan your message accordingly. Do not overlook What are the official’s positions on issues that matter • your Main Street colleagues; they can be a great resource to Main Street? What is the official’s voting record on for sharing lessons learned on similar policy issues. these issues? This will tell you where you stand as you start out. Your elected official may already be a sup- porter of Main Street or you may have to work to gain his or her support. What other issues does the official support? This • information will help you connect your policy priorities with the issues that are at the forefront of your elected official’s policy agenda. Review the official’s policy platform and campaign issues by visiting his or her website, talking with staffers, or searching for press releases and media coverage. Remember to cultivate key decision makers outside • your district as well. These individuals can be influen- tial in supporting Main Street-friendly policies on a broad level. Understanding the Decision-making Process As you start your efforts, familiarize yourself with the poli- cy-making process at the level you are targeting (local, state, or federal). If your priority is an issue before the city coun- cil, learn how the decision-making process works in your city. If your priority is a matter before the state legislature, Joette Booker of the city manager’s office welcomes Alabama State study your state’s legislative process. State and federal legis- Senator Harri Anne Smith to Dothan, Alabama, during a breast cancer lative processes are often described on free legislative web- awareness event. 61 EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS ORGANIZATION

63 Putting Advocacy into Practice ing the tour if the need arises. Share your message with people who may be on the tour and encourage them Once you lay the groundwork for effective advocacy, to highlight their business in a certain manner. That you will need to put this knowledge into practice, both way, if a sudden opportunity arises to give a decision by communicating directly with your elected officials maker a tour, the plan will already be in place and all and by assisting other Main Street supporters in their you’ll need to do is confirm participants’ availability. advocacy efforts. As an active participant in your Main Street organization, you are poised to take a leadership Identify spokespeople who can effectively commu- • role by expressing the needs of the community to decision nicate your message. Share all of your messaging makers at all levels of government. In addition to acting materials with them and keep them informed about as a spokesperson for Main Street, you can coordinate your program’s activities and progress. That way if with other advocates in your community by reaching you get a call from the media or a decision maker out to like-minded groups, such as smart growth advo- who wants to learn more about the program, you will cates, developers focused on revitalization, or support- be prepared with a consistent, persuasive message. ers of heritage tourism. By taking on this responsibility, you can ensure that decision makers hear about Main Unfortunately, not every decision maker will be able • Street’s importance from a wide, diverse constituency. to tour your Main Street. Effective alternatives to a tour include producing a high quality visual presenta- Messaging tion or printed materials that explain your work and successes. These visuals can be useful for any type Carefully craft a message that conveys to decision mak- of stakeholder: an elected official, a member of the ers how important the Main Street program is to your press, a potential volunteer, or a possible funder. community and how it relates to specific policies or issues of interest. As you develop this message, keep in mind the Finally, prepare a brief “elevator speech” that sum- • advantages that the Main Street program has. You have marizes your message. You never know when you the support of constituents: local patrons of Main Street, will run into an elected official or stakeholder business owners, and allied community groups. You also and have the opportunity for a very brief con- have the added advantage that community revitaliza- versation. If you have the main points summa- tion is a nonpartisan issue that everyone can support. rized in your head as an “elevator speech,” you’ll In crafting your message, identify aspects of your be able to make the most of the opportunity. program that will persuade a decision maker to support your policy agenda. If job growth is an issue in your area, Communicating with Your Elected Officials focus on the jobs created and maintained by a vibrant commercial corridor. If tax base is an issue, focus on When contacting elected officials—either as an individual the increased tax revenue of an active business district or as a representative of your Main Street organization— with low vacancy rates. Be sure to showcase statistics to engage them in different ways. It is important to use each highlight your success with measurable data. For instance, of the following methods of communication to build a the Main Street reinvestment statistics offer impressive strong relationship with decision makers. If you are new evidence of the benefits of the Main Street Four-Point Ap- to advocacy, begin building a foundation through out- proach. Also consider highlighting a specific accomplish- reach and education, then advance to specific requests and ment such as a major streetscape improvement project recognition opportunities. You may find it more challeng- or a festival to show the benefits of your program. ing to work with certain elected officials than others, but a sustained effort will often produce a positive result. Crafting Your Message Outreach. First, you need to reach out to your deci- Plan a tour of your downtown or neighborhood busi- • sion makers, introduce yourself, and explain the ness district. Decide which businesses you want a importance of the Main Street organization to them decision maker to visit and which stakeholders you and their staff members. Elected officials want and want him or her to meet. Ask select business owners if expect to hear from you; they appreciate your taking they would be willing to meet a decision maker dur - time to get to know them. It is your responsibility as a citizen and constituent to communicate with those in office. If elected officials don’t know who you HINT are, they cannot effectively represent you or make informed decisions on issues affecting Main Street. If your city government or a partner nonprofit organi- Remember that decision makers are constantly bal- zation has lobbyists, take them out for coffee and ask ancing the interests of concerned citizens, so be sure them to explain the process to you. Ask them for tips, you and your message make a positive impression. and be on the lookout for common interests that could suggest a joint advocacy partnership. Hopefully, your elected official is already familiar with EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 62 ORGANIZATION

64 your Main Street district and organization and has Be Creative! had firsthand experiences in your community. A few ways in which you can engage your officials are to: Advocacy should be taken seriously, but that does not mean it can’t be fun. During a Kentucky Main Street Include their office on your mailing list; ◉ quarterly meeting held in the state capital, for example, many of the local program directors met with their leg- Include them on the distribution list of your ◉ islators. To capture the attention of the lawmakers, they newsletter if you have one; distributed jars of fruit preserves with labels that read: “Preserve our Main Street Funding.” Invite them to present at or attend community ◉ The group also gave the governor a “candy-gram” meetings; poster that incorporated candy bars in place of certain words to let him know how much they wanted his sup- Inform them and their staff about events in your ◉ port in keeping Kentucky Main Street funding in place. district; and The clever poster garnered a lot of attention and hung in the governor’s office for weeks. Invite them to participate in events that you ◉ sponsor; be sure to arrange a photo opportunity Translation of the poster: while they are visiting and distribute the pho- “Dear Governer Fletcher: As you walk down the halls of the Capi- tos to print media with a media release to pub- tol, trying to crunch the numbers, we know you have mounds of re- licize their visit to your Main Street district. quests for funding—and all have good reasons not to cut a big red line through it. KY Main Street/Renaissance have been lifesavers to down- town, now and later. We don’t want to be Fifth Avenue, just freshen up Next, you need to educate your elected Education. • our streetscapes and have zero empty storefronts. It is important to officials and serve as an informational resource on score some more TEA 21 grant allocations. Please set aside a few gold coins for KY Main Street. It will make a big difference for many tiny size Main Street issues. Once officials know who you are downtowns in KY.” and what Main Street is, they should be made aware of the many issues that may affect your efforts. Don’t assume that decision makers will necessarily make the connection between Main Street and certain policy initiatives; it’s up to you to explain the impact of policies on your Main Street program. Elected of- ficials and their staff tend to have general knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, but when it comes to the specifics, they rely on experts in the field to guide and educate them. You should aim to be the “go-to” person for decision makers when they have a question about Main Street. Some examples of helpful infor - mation you can give your elected officials include: History and significance of your Main Street; ◉ Economic benefit studies; ◉ Reinvestment statistics; ◉ Letters of support; ◉ Local success stories; and ◉ Awards and recognition. ◉ Ask. Once you have established a relationship with • your elected officials and they are familiar with the concerns of Main Street, think about specific ways they can advance your Main Street agenda. When directly asking decision makers to support your program, you need to be cognizant of the lobbying limitations for your organization (see the section, “Lobbying by 501(c)(3) Organizations,” on pages 66–67). A specific ask can range from requesting EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 63 ORGANIZATION

65 tion and guidance on when and what to say to lawmak- the official to support or sponsor legislation that ers as they consider policies affecting Main Street. would benefit Main Street, to asking the official to Advocates will need to know background informa- vote a certain way on a measure, to including Main tion and details of a particular issue before springing Street in a legislative platform. Regardless of the into action. Often, Main Street supporters do not con- request, be sure to explain why the legislator’s sup- sider themselves advocates or don’t know much about port would benefit Main Street and use local ex- the legislative process, so it is important to make them amples to show the impact in his or her district. as comfortable as possible by providing clear, concise information and instructions. Any time advocates are The final stage of communication with Recognition. • asked to take action on an issue, you should provide: elected officials is recognizing when they have acted on behalf of your community. Not only should you Background information about the issue; directly thank them for their efforts; you should • also consider publicly acknowledging their support. Timing of the issue and communications needed; This can be done in person at a variety of occasions, • including Main Street events, ribbon cuttings, or a A clearly defined action to take; press event. Other options include bestowing an • award on the elected official or acknowledging his or Key talking points and messaging tips, including her effort in the press through a letter to the editor. • a sample letter or “script” for a conversation; In any case, it is important to let your elected officials know that you recognize and appreciate their support Contact information for targeted decision makers; and of Main Street. • A method for advocates to provide feedback to your • organization. Communicating with Main Street Advocates Your role in advocating for Main Street should not Communicating with advocates means not only end with contacting elected officials. You should also informing them of pressing issues, but also motivating mobilize your members and volunteers, as well as the them to take action. Specify how their action will benefit general public or “grassroots” Main Street supporters. Main Street and your community. There is “strength in As a leader in your community, you need to encourage numbers” so reach out to as many supporters as possible the advocacy of others who value Main Street’s mission. and encourage them to spread the message to others. In Communication with these supporters will differ from order to give advocates a sense of accomplishment, your direct communication with elected officials. In this remember to thank them for their involvement and case, you will act as a coordinator, supplying informa- provide periodic updates on the issue. DO’S & DON’T’S FOR MEETING WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS DO... DON’T... Show up unprepared to talk about your issues or with- Your research ahead of time out necessary materials Be afraid to say “I don’t know” and follow up with an Answer questions truthfully answer over the phone or in writing. Make clear, concise arguments Ramble or go into too much detail Show up on time Be offended if you are asked to wait Relax and speak in a conversational tone Be intimidated Be polite Get angry or defensive Make a specific request Expect an immediate answer Listen to the elected official to ascertain his or her inter- Allow the official to get you so sidetracked from the ests and priorities issue at hand that you are not able to make your request Understand that many offices lack proper meeting space Be disappointed if you meet with legislative staff Leave room for follow up Forget to send a thank-you note EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 64 ORGANIZATION

66 Methods for Mobilizing Success Of the many different modes of communicating your advocacy message, you will need to determine which is most appropriate depending on the situation. In general, communication with elected officials can take place via e-mail, fax, mail, telephone, or face-to-face meetings. Because you want to personalize your message to the greatest extent possible, face-to-face meetings are usually preferable, but that does not mean that other forms of communication can’t be just as effective. The method of communication is not nearly as important as the message it contains. A thoughtful, personal- ized, and well-written e-mail, fax, or letter that includes relevant Main Street examples familiar to the legisla- tor can have nearly the same effect as a personal visit. Communications that have the most impact on elected © Carol Thompson officials are from citizens they represent, so be sure to state that you are a constituent in every communication. California Assemblywoman Nicole Parra receives a plaque from the former California Main Street Association presi- When communicating with grassroots advocates, dent in appreciation of her efforts to reinstate the Califor- you often want to reach as many people as possible in nia Main Street program. as short a time as possible, so e-mail is a logical method given its ease of use and cost effectiveness. There are create a chaotic situation for you and your supporters. many tools, including advocacy software, that can make In most cases, these crises require an immediate, wide- this job easier, but a wide-reaching distribution list and a spread response, so it is important to prepare as exten- carefully crafted message are the most important compo- sively as possible for these situations before they occur. nents when communicating to advocates. The National Having an up-to-date contact list of advocates, back- Trust for Historic Preservation’s Public Policy Office can ground information, and talking points on critical aspects recommend software to help you with your efforts. A of your Main Street program can help alleviate some of few examples of advocacy mobilization tools include: the disorder when crisis strikes. The Coldwater Downtown Development Association in Michigan makes constant Use your website to assemble background Website. - contact with its state senators and representatives a prior • information on the issue, status reports, contact ity. The DDA meets with legislators monthly when they are information for key decision makers, sample letter to in town, as well as regularly sending them meeting minute the editor, and talking points. notes and important correspondence on various issues. As a result, the group finds it easy to get direct interac- Use your newsletter either to provide Newsletter. tion with legislators when issues unexpectedly arise. • in-depth coverage or give status updates on an issue. In an ideal situation, you will be able to proactively By covering the issue in your regular publication, you advocate for Main Street. This often depends on timing, will educate your members so that they are famil- budgets, and political climate, so be sure to develop long- iar with the details and comfortable discussing it. term goals that you can propose to potential Main Street - legislative champions at the opportune time. A wonder Electronic alert. Use electronic alerts to call your ful example of proactive advocacy is the work of the • members to action. New Mexico Coalition of Main Street Communities. The coalition, initially formed in response to declining legisla- Feedback. Provide a mechanism for advocates to share tive support of the New Mexico MainStreet program, has • any responses they receive from decision makers. successfully pursued several legislative initiatives, includ- ing creation of a Main Street Revolving Loan Fund and development of Arts and Cultural District legislation. The Proactive and Reactive Advocacy coalition has evolved and grown over the years to the point where it now employs contract lobbyists and other Unfortunately, more often than not, advocacy tends staff to promote its agenda during the legislative session. to take place when there’s a crisis—the city council is Even the most successful programs, deserving projects, planning to permit the opening of a “big-box” retailer and worthy causes will not reach their full potential that would negatively affect eight Main Street busi- without support from elected officials who have the ability nesses, or the state legislature is considering cutting the to enact beneficial policies. Thankfully, every voice matters state Main Street program’s funding, for example. While in our legislative process and your advocacy can help responding to an impending threat can be a powerful ensure that decision makers hear and act on the Main way to mobilize advocates around an issue, it can also Street message. EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 65 ORGANIZATION

67 Advocacy Luncheon The Franklin (Parish) Economic Development Foundation, which houses Winnsboro (Louisiana) Main Street, began hosting an- nual legislative luncheons with members from its organization, the Franklin Parish Tourism Commission, the Catfish Festival, the Historical Society, and the Princess Theatre, along with northeast Louisiana legislators. These luncheons, which the regional utility company, Entergy, sponsors, have become events that legislators expect each year. The groups travel to Baton Rouge so they can meet with sena- Baton Rouge tors, representatives, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of Economic Development, the Secretary of Agri- culture, and regional economic development representatives to or BUST! exchange updates and ideas on economic development issues. The group prefers to keep the lunch informal and without a set agenda, as many legislators come from committee meetings or the floor. However, the outcomes are not at all casual. In 2006, the Main Street program received an operational funding allocation that allowed it to leverage its membership budget monies so it could start a $10,000 local façade matching grant program. Homepage image courtesy of Winnsboro Main Street ( larly if lobbying activities are minimal.) The expenditure Lobbying by 501(c)(3) Organizations: limits under the election rules are graduated, beginning The Basics at 20 percent of the first $500,000 of the organization’s expenditures for charitable “exempt function” purposes, The following thumbnail description of lobbying and political plus 15 percent of the second $500,000 of charitable “ex- activity is a summary to assist organizations in identifying these empt function” expenditures, plus 10 percent of the third issues. This brief description is not intended as legal advice. $500,000, plus 5 percent of any additional expenditures, Organizations should seek the advice of qualified legal counsel if subject to a maximum of $1,000,000 for any one year. they are considering engaging in lobbying or similar activities. It is important to understand the activities that will For more information, see “Lobbying by Historic Preservation constitute “lobbying” for the purposes of these require- Organizations: Understanding the Rules,” by Stephanie Ann ments. Lobbying activities seek to influence specific legisla- Ades, 13 Preservation Law Reporter 1107 (June 1994). tion. Legislation, in turn, is defined as action by Congress, by any state legislature, by any local council or similar The general rule is that 501(c)(3) organizations are limited governing body, or by the public in a referendum, initiative, in lobbying by the requirement that “no substantial part constitutional amendment, or similar procedure. of the activities be used for carrying on propaganda or Lobbying is broken down into two categories. Direct otherwise attempting to influence legislation.” Because this includes contacting members and employees of lobbying vague rule was difficult to interpret and apply, Congress legislative bodies, such as congressmen, senators, state modified the tax code to permit certain 501(c)(3) organi- legislators, city council members, their staffs, or others who zations to elect to lobby under prescribed limits, which formulate legislation. Grassroots lobbying is an attempt to provide a safe harbor for the lobbying activities of the influence the general public on legislative matters. Within organizations. An organization that chooses not to follow the limits on lobbying expenditures, a separate limitation is the safe harbor limits of the tax code can still lobby, but placed on “grassroots” lobbying. Only 25 percent of the only if lobbying does not constitute a substantial part of permitted lobbying expenditures may be made on “grass- the activities of the organization. roots” lobbying. to elect A 501(c)(3) organization may choose to participate in lobbying activities under the safe harbor A critical distinction for nonprofit organizations • provisions of the tax code by filing form 5768 with the considering these activities is the difference between Internal Revenue Service. Once the election has been - lobbying and political activity. While 501(c)(3) or made, the organization is subject to specific expenditure ganizations may lobby within the limitations noted limits for lobbying activities rather than the more vague above, they are prohibited from engaging in political “no substantial part” rule. (Election is optional; the orga- activity, and may lose their tax exempt status if they nization may prefer to rely on the general rule, particu- do so. Political activity is defined as participating in or EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 66 ORGANIZATION

68 Keep in mind that building relationships and getting re- sults from your advocacy efforts can take time. In the case CASE STUDY of the Main Street programs in Washington State, it took four legislative sessions to build momentum and support before the “Main Street Bill” was passed in 2005. In this ef- Walla Walla, Washington fort, local programs banded together to advance a bill that Persistence Pays Off would codify the statewide Main Street program (which, as a stage agency, could not lead the advocacy effort) and help provide a funding stream to support local downtown revitalization organizations. By partnering with the Association of Washington Cities and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, both of which added this initiative to their legislative agendas, and by rallying local stakeholders to contact their legisla- tors, the group built momentum over time and got a loud- er and broader voice each year. The advocates noticed that the bill gained traction once local residents and business owners started contacting representatives. “Oftentimes, we rely on Main Street staff members to write letters and make presentations, but it is important that decision makers hear from ‘average’ citizens,” advises Timothy Bishop, who was an active ad- vocate of this bill while he was executive director of the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation. Just as it took a few legislative sessions to increase awareness and support for this issue among legislators, grassroots awareness at the local level also took time to build. Regular updates and continual communication helped sustain interest. intervening in any political campaign on behalf of “Main Street managers are tenacious by nature,” says Bish- or in opposition to any candidate for public office. op, “and they need to know that nothing is really dead in the legislature until the final gavel falls.” He points out that There are several notable distinctions between • sometimes initiatives look like they are moving forward 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 501(c)(6) organiza- but then get sidetracked. Even though advocacy efforts tions regarding lobbying restrictions. First, un- take time, initiatives can suddenly start moving quickly like 501(c)(3) organizations, 501(c)(4) and 501(c) and it is essential for a designated person in the advo- (6) organizations may engage in an unrestricted cacy group to track the bill and make sure that someone amount of lobbying. However, the lobbying activi- can respond quickly by attending hearings or testifying on ties must be related to the organization’s exempt short notice. purpose. Any lobbying activities not related to the organization’s exempt purpose are taxed. Second, A key component of this success story involves the staunch whereas 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely support of Representative Bill Grant (D-16) who refused to let the bill die and rallied last-minute support among barred from engaging in “political activities,” both his colleagues. Already a supporter of downtown revital- 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) may engage in political ization, he was frequently visited by Main Streeters at his activities, but such involvement cannot consti- office in Walla Walla and was invited to special events, rib- tute the organization’s primary activity. A 501(c) bon cuttings, and other events celebrating downtown re- (4) or 501(c)(6) organization’s expenditures for vitalization achievements. Bishop stresses that it is impor- engaging in political activities are taxed. (Re- tant to keep legislators engaged in downtown successes minder: A donor’s charitable donations to 501(c) as they happen. (4) and 501(c)(6) are generally not deductible.) At the end of the day, the bill passed with 16th District Representative Grant’s encouragement, and the National Main Street Center presented him with its Civic Leadership Award in 2006 for his efforts. The Washington State Main Street Program was incorporated into the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development; a state- wide Main Street Advisory Committee was established; and a tax credit incentive that encourages businesses to make qualifying contributions to a designated local down- town revitalization program was created. Even though the credit is capped at $100,000 for any one organization, this resource allows Washington State’s Main Street programs to essentially double their annual budgets. EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 67 ORGANIZATION

69 RESOURCES Websites Books This website offers advocacy Advocacy Guru: These publications are available from the National Trust checklists, tip sheets, articles, and other resources. ): for Historic Preservation ( Effective Communications for Preservation Nonprofit Organizations , by Richard McPherson, This website is dedicated to fostering civic participation. Among its resources include Debra Ashmore and Timothy Oleary (National Trust tips for communicating with elected officials, a for Historic Preservation: 2002). Tips on effective congressional directory, committee hearings search, communication to get your message out to the and current Senate schedule. general public and increase awareness. Includes communications evaluations, advocacy help, working Independent Sector: This nonprofit has an array with the media, annual reports, and more. of advocacy and lobbying resources, including information on tax status and lobbying restrictions. , by Susan West Montgomery A Blueprint for Lobbying (National Trust for Historic Preservation: 2002). A advocacy_lobbying.htm primer on lobbying, timing your efforts, background THOMAS: The Library of Congress’s legislative site on the legislative process, and lobbying techniques. is a great resource on the federal process; it includes search features for committee reports and current Politics of Historic Districts: A Primer for Grassroots legislation. Preservation , by William Lanham Schmickle (Altamira Press: 2007). This book covers everything you need Periodicals to know about the politics of organizing a grassroots campaign to create a historic district. “Main Street Advocacy,” by Laura Cole-Rowe, Donna Harris, Hayley Klein, Maria G. Rinaldi, and Stephanie Redman. Main Street New s, January 2005. Four case study articles featuring Main Street programs from four different states telling their war stories and lessons learned regarding the importance of dedicated advocacy efforts to save the state program or restore funding. Useful tips on ways your local Main Street network can advocate on behalf of your coordinating program. “Raising Program Visibility: Educating Public Main Officials About Main Street,” by Cara Camacho. Street News, February 2003. More tips on educating elected officials, ways to make the case for your revitalization effort, and advice from experienced Main Street managers. Image, far left © Jason Clement EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY FOR MAIN STREET PROGRAMS 68 ORGANIZATION

70 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING chapter 9 IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS By Kennedy Lawson Smith Revitalizing a neighborhood business district or downtown is essentially a real estate problem: how can you make the buildings generate enough income to support their rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance? At the same time, revitalizing a commercial area is an opportunity to define and cel- ebrate the personality of the district. In almost all communities—even severely distressed ones—there are many combinations of building uses that can provide an adequate income to support property improvement and maintenance. The challenge for your revitalization orga- nization is to find the combination of uses that best reflects community preferences, captures emerging market opportunities, builds on local assets, and strengthens community identity. The key to finding that optimum combination is to determine what the district’s best economic uses might be, and, armed with this information, implement a sound, long-term economic development plan. You can renovate buildings, improve parking, and organize the coolest promotional events imaginable; but if the revitalization program’s staff and leaders don’t understand the district’s economy and don’t know how to manipulate it effectively, all the building renovations and great promotional activities on earth won’t ensure commercial success. Your Main Street program must know what kinds of stores, offices, apartments, and other uses are not only economically viable but also a good fit for the district’s buildings and the community’s values. © Athens Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

71 in the other Main Street points. Market strategies, for Improving the commercial dynamics of a Main Street district involves action in five major areas: example, must be reinforced by the district’s promotional program: special events, business promotions, and im- Understanding the district’s economic strengths, age marketing messages should all target specific audi- • weaknesses, and opportunities; ences and aim to “reposition” the way people perceive the district. Efforts to develop underutilized space must Diversifying the district’s economic uses; coordinate with the district’s design program—guidelines, • assistance, and incentives for design improvements should Strengthening existing businesses and developing strive to create viable, competitive commercial space. • (or recruiting) complementary ones; Reversing the Disinvestment Spiral Encouraging building rehabilitation projects and • new construction; and As discouraging as it might seem to tackle the down- ward spiral of disinvestment as discussed in the sidebar Monitoring and reporting the district’s economic • “The Disinvestment Domino Effect,” even the most performance. distressed districts often have several revitalization advantages. For example, it is likely that the district’s Economic restructuring activities are closely inter - businesses aren’t meeting local consumer needs. As a related, with actions in one area invariably affecting ac- result, there are probably unrealized opportunities to tions in another. There is a close relationship, for example, launch successful new businesses. The availability of between real estate development activity and retail rent vacant, inexpensive, and smaller spaces might enable levels in a commercial district. Without careful atten- the revitalization program to attract new entrepreneurs tion, substantial building improvement projects can drive who can quickly respond to market opportunities and up rent levels for retail tenants too quickly, displacing remake the district; the offer of free or cheap rent for them in favor of retailers who can afford higher rents several years would give these business owners a chance and putting the district at risk of “gentrification.” to establish an economic foothold in the neighborhood. What is commercial gentrification? Here is an ex- The district’s economic condition will likely mean that ample. Early in the district revitalization process, the investors (banks, in particular) would be eligible for owner of a two-story commercial building on High Street incentives such as federal New Markets Tax Credits if decides to invest $100,000 to upgrade the building—a they invest in business development in the district. These new roof, new HVAC systems, façade improvements, and credits are a powerful tool, particularly when combined other upgrades. She gets a 15-year, 6.5 percent interest with the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit. loan for $100,000 from a neighborhood bank. Her an- Historic Main Street districts also have inherent stra- nual principal and interest payment will be $10,635. tegic advantages over shopping centers and malls. Most The building’s current ground-floor retail tenant, a shoe Main Streets are still mixed-use districts, offering not store, currently grosses about $300,000 per year. He pays just retail stores, but also housing, offices, government, $24,000 annually in rent, or 8 percent of his gross sales. entertainment and cultural venues, service businesses, and The building owner, though, plans to pass the costs of the industry. Consequently, the people who live and work in property improvements along to her tenant when his current and around Main Street provide a built-in customer base lease expires—so, his rent will increase by $10,635 per year, for local businesses—an advantage shopping malls just to $34,635. don’t have. But, most important of all, Main Streets have The shoe store owner wants to know how much his historic buildings. Main Street districts are one-of-a-kind gross sales will need to be in order to stay in the build- places, and Main Street buildings are one-of-a-kind build- ing, so he divides the new rent by 8 percent (the per - ings. Shoppers can be in a mall anywhere in the world and cent of gross sales he currently budgets for rent): not know where they are. From Boston, Massachusetts, $34,635 ÷ 8% = $433,000 to Pleasanton, California—or, for that matter, from Rio To his surprise, he realizes he will need to increase de Janeiro to Singapore—“sprawl” looks basically the his gross annual sales by $133,000 (from $300,000 to same and offers basically the same products and services. $433,000). Worried that he cannot boost his sales by that - Historic Main Streets, by contrast, are differ amount, the store owner decides to close his business. ent, and that difference gives them a competitive This is an overly generalized example, of course, and there market advantage. One of the forces that pro- are a number of things a Main Street program might do to duces economic value is uniqueness, and all his- mitigate the problem. However, it illustrates the delicate rela- toric Main Streets are authentic places that offer tionship among retailing, real estate, and rent levels in com- unique experiences with intrinsic economic value. mercial districts and underscores the importance of working It is important to note that for severely distressed comprehensively, with change occurring incrementally over Main Streets, the performance and achievement bench- time. (For more information, see ”Commercial District Gen- marks will be different. Depending on the community’s trification” on demographic and physical assets, its Main Street program In addition to these interrelationships, the five areas of might concentrate its initial efforts on a small section of economic restructuring activities should also affect actions IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 70 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

72 the district, then use this area’s successes to gradually ex- The Disinvestment Domino pand outward. Or, if the district is relatively large, the re- Effect vitalization program could create a development strategy that focuses simultaneously on two or three areas. Also, As people moved to the suburbs and stopped severely distressed districts will probably need to address shopping in downtowns and neighborhood crime and other socio-cultural problems before trying commercial districts, businesses lost custom- to establish niches and other revitalization initiatives. ers and either had to follow the traffic and relocate to suburban shopping centers; stay, but struggle to adjust to a changing market; or close. The decisions of local business own- Learning About Your District’s Economy ers had an overwhelming effect on local Main Street economies: There is no “wrong” place to begin analyzing a Main Street district’s economy and identifying development As demand for commercial space dwindled, possibilities. Some programs look for opportunities to fill vacancies increased, and rents decreased. ground-floor vacancies with new retail businesses. Some focus on upper-floor housing by examining market demand or interest in living above storefronts. Others Property owners had less money to maintain their buildings, which fell start by increasing the employment base in the district. All into disrepair. of these activities are, of course, economically interrelat- ed—and it is this interrelationship that, at least in part, makes Main Street economies dynamic. Each activity As buildings fell into disrepair, the supports the others by providing customers or services. commercial space became less desir- able, further increasing vacancies and The process behind building a dynamic commercial decreasing rents. environment requires the involvement and cooperation of many stakeholders, from your business owners adopting convenient business hours to your municipality developing Along with rents, property values de- ordinances that support a thriving business community. creased; and with less real estate taxes collected, public investment in the dis- People in all Main Street districts have choices about trict decreased. their economic futures. There is no single economic development strategy that will work—instead, there are a variety of options. Of course, each has pros and cons. Below-market rents attracted margin- Some options may be more expedient, but less beneficial al and undercapitalized businesses. in the long run. For example, it may be more expedient to recruit chain stores than to develop locally owned busi- Inappropriate uses such as store- nesses, but chain stores don’t keep as much of their profits front churches, storage, or residen- in the community as independently owned businesses do. tial units located in some commer- cial spaces. It might be more expedient to cultivate entertainment- related businesses that cater to tourists rather than recruit a grocery store, clothing stores, and a pharmacy, but this A confusing combination of uses strategy might force community residents to shop else- eroded the market cohesion and where for basic goods and services. identity the district once enjoyed, further decreasing demand for its Improving the commercial dynamics of a Main Street commercial space. district involves many different components and demands many difficult decisions. Ultimately, it requires a market- based strategic plan to guide all the actions and decisions The high vacancy rates and de- made by the organizations and agencies involved in the caying buildings contributed to negative image issues and socio- district’s revitalization. cultural problems, like crime. To develop a market-based strategic plan, begin by gathering and analyzing information about your district. The following are some of the categories of information Investor confidence bottomed you may want to gather and analyze: out, and traditional financ- ing for building and business development on Main Street Information about the district’s buildings: • dried up because of the as- sessed and/or perceived risk. Ownership; ◉ Tenancy and current uses; ◉ Size (square feet, number of floors, number of units) ◉ and physical configuration; IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 71 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

73 district, people who work in or near the district but do not live there, tourists); and Information about how the district is perceived by ◉ shoppers, neighborhood residents, and other potential market segments (e.g., what do they consider to be its strengths and weaknesses? What do they like and dislike about it?) Information about the number of businesses the • district could support: © Craig Terry Utilities; “Buying power” of neighborhood residents, work- ◉ ◉ ers, and visitors; Physical condition and special features; ◉ Types of businesses the district could support, and ◉ Age, historic status (if any), and history; size (square footage) of each; ◉ Appraised and assessed value; Customers who might patronize your district if ◉ ◉ certain needs were met; and Zoning; and ◉ Barriers that prevent the district from capturing ◉ Legal identification and GIS (Geographic Informa- more of the immediately available market (e.g. ◉ tion System) coding. inconvenient store hours). Information about the district’s businesses: • Using Market Research Ownership; ◉ Gathering and analyzing this information is, in essence, market research. Market research is an essential tool for Business description and assessment of business ◉ identifying realistic choices and weighing the pros and performance; cons of each choice. Good market research has many 1 practical uses, including: code (North American Industrial Classifi- NAICS ◉ cation System); Helping businesses identify ways to sell more products • and services to current customers; Number of full- and part-time staff; ◉ Description of primary customer base; ◉ Business history; ◉ Business hours; and ◉ Size (square feet). ◉ Information about the district’s visitors: • Demographic profile of current customers; ◉ Information on the shopping habits and preferences ◉ of current customers; Demographic profile of neighborhood residents; ◉ Information on where neighborhood residents shop ◉ for various goods and services; Maps and building and business inventories help your economic restructur- ing committee figure out what already exists in your district before it starts Demographic profile of other potential market ◉ to assess local economic opportunities. Understanding what your district segments (e.g., people who commute through the already has and where everything is located is an important part of under- standing your market. 1. See for more information. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 72 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

74 Helping businesses respond to market trends and identify • new customers and ways to attract them; Identifying types of new businesses that your district can • probably support; Deciding where to locate businesses within your dis- • trict—or where to encourage existing businesses to within the district; relocate Planning effective promotional activities that appeal to • the types of customers you are trying to attract; Determining how much money you should encourage © Josh Bloom • property owners to spend on building rehabilitation Shopping malls are by and large single-use facilities. projects (so that rents don’t increase too quickly/outpace • They mostly contain shops and restaurants, while the market); and Main Streets include homes, professional offices, government facilities, cultural amenities, and many Establishing realistic, economically based performance • other uses—all of which shape, or have the potential benchmarks for your revitalization program and moni- to shape, the district’s economic activities. toring your program’s progress over time. Shopping malls generally cater to a demographically Even more significantly, good market research can • homogeneous group of customers. Main Streets provide the foundation for the revitalization program’s usually attract a more demographically diverse group overall strategic plan by grounding the program’s actions of customers. in a sound, market-based understanding of the most re- alistic opportunities for the district’s economic growth. Shopping malls usually have one corporate owner. Many people have misperceptions about what market • Main Street districts have multiple owners, with research is—and isn’t: divergent interests. First, market research is not an exact science. It won’t give you a detailed blueprint for improving your commercial Shopping malls, with the development as a whole district, and it won’t give you a list of priority actions • being a destination, generally draw customers from a to pursue. It does not use precise numbers, just approxima- geographically broad trade area. Main Streets, by tions. And, because economic conditions are always chang- contrast, often aren’t singular destinations (although ing, market research isn’t even a process with a clearly they could be, particularly as tourist draws). Each defined end. business within the district may have a different trade Market research is simply a tool to help you make area: some destination businesses may attract custom- educated guesses about the potential success of various ers from great distances while others primarily serve development strategies. More precisely, market research is a local customers. set of measurements which, when used together, provide a snapshot of current market conditions and trends that could Market research is an process of continually ongoing affect the district’s potential for growth and change. Although learning more about the district’s economic condition different methods of market research may contain different and choices, taking action, and monitoring the results. types of measurements, good research should help you: Begin with a few simple measurements drawn from read- ily available information—then add new measurements Shape a vision and create tangible economic goals • as your program matures. Avoid the trap of waiting to for your district; use what you learn about your district’s economy until you have gathered all the information that you think you Build on your district’s strengths and strategic • might ultimately need. Instead, use information as soon as advantages; and you get it to make better decisions, plan better promotion- al events, and strengthen local businesses. As you gather Mitigate your district’s weaknesses. • more information, continue to refine your activities. A Main Street district’s “market”—its economic condi- tion, potential, and performance—differs from that of a Understanding Your District’s Strengths shopping mall or shopping center. While some of the same tools used for shopping mall market research can also be Before you can figure out what your district can be- employed for Main Street districts, market research for a , you need to have a solid understanding of what come Main Street district differs from that for a shopping mall it is. This may be the easiest part of the entire market in some important ways. Among the key differences: IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 73 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

75 Should You Hire A Consultant? district’s economic condition and prepare you to interpret Some organizations choose to speed the information- changes in its performance. On the other hand, it is a time- gathering and analysis process along by hiring a consultant consuming activity that can draw attention away from oth- to conduct a market analysis. There are numerous advan- er priorities. Some districts strike a balance by conducting tages to hiring a consultant: in particular, it saves time and some parts of the market analysis themselves, while hiring gives you the benefit of their expertise. But there are draw - a professional to help interpret the information. backs, as well: a good market analysis is expensive, and the market analyst might not understand your community You can successfully do this research. Many Main Street and its preferences as well as you do. You will also need to programs in districts of all sizes have done it on their select someone who has worked with historic commercial own. For a guide through the market analysis process, districts—not just with shopping centers. Step-by-Step refer to the National Main Street Center’s manual. Market Analysis Doing the entire market analysis, or just parts of it, your- self will give your organization a keen understanding of the research process. Your strengths distinguish the district’s Downtowns and neighborhood Consumer Niches. • competitive advantage over your competition. Some commercial districts are often uniquely suited to serve find strength in continuing to meet the basic consumer one or more segments of potential customers. Those consumer niches can be clearly defined demographically needs of the community by holding onto the strongest (by age, income, gender, etc.) or psychographically (by of their staple businesses. Others tout a strong destina- tion business that can attract customers from a consider - personality, lifestyle, etc.). They can also be defined by able distance. To be successful, Main Street programs geography such as “captive,” or nearby consumer groups including people who live, work and play in (or need to move beyond their district’s past glory, and through realistic self-evaluation, identify what their com- who travel through) the neighborhood. This is why some places are referred to as neighborhood-servicing mercial strengths are (or can be) and develop them. districts—their niche is defined by their primary con- sumers who are local residents. The closer people are to Niches a business, the easier it is for that business to capture Within the context of market research, a niche is a market them as customers. Providing more, and better, busi- specialization—a clearly defined and tightly focused seg- nesses for that audience is often a good way to develop ment of potential customers (consumer niche) or products/ commercial strength. For example, grocery stores, services (business niche). Subsets of the larger market- bakeries, hardware stores, pharmacies, fast-food place, niches are often smaller markets not occupied or restaurants, and dry cleaners are all convenience-orient- covered well by the mainstream. Since the competition ed businesses whose customers usually live or work may not be aware of them or want to bother with them, close by. filling a niche presents a unique opportunity for your The Gunnison Main Street district. The goal is to find a niche for which you are College student niches. • Program in Colorado made it a goal to better engage well suited and not try to be all things to all people. Strengthening your niche will allow you to develop your students at nearby Western State College. It developed . Market position is essentially your market market position the Western Orientation Weekend (WOW) promotion to welcome new students to the community by hosting strength relative to the competition based on your primary business niche. Estab- concerts, activities, and giveaways in addition to primary consumer niche and/or your promotional pieces highlighting local businesses and lishing a strong market position involves matching a stable, special discounts. The parents also received flyers or growing, consumer niche whose needs are not being promoting businesses so they could visit the downtown met with a profitable business niche that offers products or during orientation sessions. During WOW’s first year, services that satisfy those needs. Individual business owners, whether they are merchants or service providers, should de- business owners reported their best sales of the year. velop their own market positions and market their strengths versus those of their competition. By promoting the advan- tages associated with their brand name, quality, expertise, and other attributes, local businesses will build customer loyalty and strengthen their position in the marketplace. For an exercise that can help you identify your district’s existing niches, see A strong, memorable market position will prompt consumers to choose your district over the competition. Likewise, businesses may choose to locate in your district and investors may choose to invest there simply because they buy into Main Street’s market position. For more Gunnison (Colorado) Main Street developed its WOW (Western Ori- information on market position as it relates to promotions, entation Weekend) event to introduce the new Western State College see pages 196–197. students and their parents to downtown Gunnison. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 74 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

76 © Luke VanBelleghem (Left) Theaters often serve as “anchors” for arts and entertainment niches. (Right) Personal service businesses are an important part of a neighborhood’s business mix. Business Niches. Downtowns and neighborhood In Oakland, Ethnic and cultural heritage niches. • commercial districts often have businesses that of- California, the Fruitvale Main Street program has stimu- fer clearly defined and tightly focused products and lated development of a thriving collection of Latino businesses—restaurants, clothing stores, even a recording services that are unique in the area. Some niches are so strong that they attract customers throughout the studio—and reduced the ground-floor vacancy rate from region. New business niches can be created by recruit- 40 percent to less than one percent since the late 1990s. Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville Professional service niches. ing or expanding existing businesses that meet the neighborhood has developed a strong concentration of needs of customer groups who are currently under - served. Some common types of business niches include: interior design-related businesses and home furnishings stores, many of which include working studios. Law- Arts and entertainment niches (including res- renceville branded and cooperatively markets the neigh- taurants). The Downtown Frederick Partnership borhood as the 16:62 Design Zone. (DFP) was designated the managing entity of the Personal service niches. downtown’s Arts and Entertainment District. As a The annual Bel-Hair result, it provides tax credits and other incentives Back-to-School Festival in Baltimore’s Belair-Edison Neighborhood features local hair salons that put on to support arts-related businesses and entities. DFP a hairstyle show to model the latest fall fashions and works in partnership with the Tourism Council and showcase this important service business cluster. several local arts groups to produce a variety of arts-oriented events, support public art programs, Home furnishings/improvement niches. Sheboy- gan Falls, Wisconsin, is home to businesses that sell and create an entertainment district with several furniture, paint, fixtures, wallpaper, kitchen supplies, performances spaces and cultural centers (many of which are housed in rehabbed historic properties). outdoor home accessories, fireplaces, and more. In Boston’s Allston Village Main Street district boasts addition to providing business assistance, the Main more than 50 restaurants, which are promoted through Street program holds an annual “Home and Hearth” event that promotes the home improvement niche. The an annual dining guide, and the yearly “A Taste of event features demonstrations, deals, and prizes. Allston Village” festival. Bringing a Grocery Store to the Neighborhood building, issued a request for proposals, and located an When the last grocery store closed in Boston’s Roslindale independent grocer to operate the Village Market. Village neighborhood in the late 1980s, few neighborhood residents would have predicted that the Boston Globe The Village Market, though, was just part of the district’s would one day call the district “the next cool hot spot in plan to better serve the neighborhood. Roslindale has re- Boston.” The ground-floor vacancy rate was high, buildings tained almost all of the district’s ethnic bakeries (Greek, were being vandalized, and residents were moving away. Italian, Middle Eastern, and others), has a farmers’ mar- ket, and has recruited more than a dozen new restau- The community, however, was determined to turn things rants. The Main Street program has worked diligently to around as well as attract a new grocery store. After fail- improve storefronts (including removing the threatening- ing in its bid to get a co-op grocery in the early 1990s, the looking metal security grates), organize neighborhood Roslindale Village Main Street program spun off a separate festivals, and upgrade sidewalks and street lighting. The organization to create the district’s own co-op. The new district now boasts more than 160 businesses—almost all group raised money by seeking grants and by selling $100 of them independent and locally owned—and a ground- shares of stock to 600 neighborhood residents (who would floor vacancy rate below 5 percent. get a 2 percent discount on their groceries); they bought a IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 75 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

77 generate customer traffic among them. Businesses located near others in the same or similar niche often do better than those separated from their peers; cooperation and friendly competition can lead to more customers for all. For clusters to be truly effective, they must reach a critical mass. Some clusters evolve from existing businesses; others are developed deliberately. The following are three useful ways to categorize business clusters. Competitive Clusters: Clustering based similar business on niches. Competitive businesses sell the same type of products and services. There are some purchases—clothing, for example— for which shoppers like to compare prices, styles, varieties, and brands. For that reason, they like to shop for these items in different stores. Competitive businesses generally do bet- ter when clustered together, which is exactly what shopping malls do—they specialize in comparison shopping—and is a strategy you can use. Your promotion committee will find that competitive clus- ters lend themselves to cooperative business promotions that market the ability to comparison shop within your com- mercial district. Even though the stores are competitors, it is in their financial interest to cooperate. Complementary Clusters: Clustering based on related business niches. Complementary businesses, by contrast, sell related prod- ucts and services; they are not direct competitors. Some combinations of purchases just naturally go together, such as the bridal cluster that groups together everything a cou- ples will need when getting married. Or home décor busi- nesses that sell carpets, draperies, and appliances. Com- plementary clusters facilitate what may best be described as “power shopping,” which lets shoppers easily patron- ize stores that are near each other. While some big-box © Linda S. Glisson businesses are now attempting to capture all related pur- Locating businesses in your district is more an art than a science. Busi- chases under one roof, commercial districts with comple- nesses like this yoga studio can thrive in an upper-floor space because most patrons enroll in regularly scheduled classes rather than dropping mentary clusters of independent businesses have already in on an impulse. Businesses that rely on customer interaction, like this proven successful. hair salon, are appropriate for locating in ground-level storefronts. Complementary clusters lend themselves to cross-business promotions that compel the customer to purchase all re- Clustering Businesses lated products and services while shopping in your com- mercial district. By Todd Barman Compatible Clusters: Clustering based on The process of strategically arranging/locating businesses consumer niches. to increase foot traffic and sales is known as “clustering”— a skill perfected by shopping mall managers. The goal is Compatible businesses may sell unrelated products and ser- for customers to visit more than one business before leav - vices but share customers. Consumers, like businesses, can ing the district. A clustering plan would help businesses be grouped according to commonalities. Customers who are decide where best to locate in your district. This is more similar demographically or psychographically will, in theory, an art than a science. A good way to figure out if you have have similar purchasing preferences. Compatible clusters business clusters—even if they are small or still a bit weak— include a concentration of businesses that appeal to a par- is to visually map out or model your business district. The ticular customer group, such as up-scale, senior-citizen, or location of a business on the street strongly affects its discount-oriented customers. If your district has half a doz- chances of success. en businesses that cater to teens, for example, they will do with- A commercial district could have a business niche better if they are located near one another than if they are out having a if those niche businesses are business cluster scattered throughout the district—the teens will be more in- scattered throughout the district in a way that doesn’t clined to visit all of these stores if they are near one another 76 IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

78 than if they have to search for them. Compatible clusters fa- Understanding Market Demand cilitate what may best be described as impulse shopping. The next step in the market analysis process is to take a Compatible clusters lend themselves to consumer segment promotions that focus on connecting the targeted customer look at your area’s market demand for various products group with all the businesses in your commercial district that and services, then determine how much of that demand is will appeal to them. currently being met—and how much is not being met— by local businesses. The most successful clusters have at least one anchor busi- “Market demand,” which is sometimes called buying ness that acts like a magnet and initially attracts customers, power, means the dollar amount that people in your area often from a large trade area, who will then ideally shop their are likely to spend on something, somewhere, in one year. way through the cluster. Corner locations have greater vis- The calculation is based on what average American ibility than interior-block spaces. By definition, all clusters will make shopping more convenient because the businesses households similar to those in your community spend, each customer wants will be close together. and on the number of households in the geographic area you are examining—your downtown or neighborhood, Because property in downtowns and neighborhood commer- probably, and perhaps adjacent regional or metropolitan cial districts is usually independently owned, Main Street is areas as well. at a disadvantage when it comes to clustering businesses. You’ll need three basic tools to figure out the Unlike mall managers and shopping center directors, Main market demand: Street programs probably won’t be able to actively cluster businesses through lease management (although some pro- grams have established first right-of-refusal agreements with First, you will need the Consumer Expenditure • property owners to govern selection of future tenants and Survey , a document produced by the U.S. Bureau of bought lease options to keep a space available until such Labor Statistics to track the way Americans spend time as a mutually agreed upon tenant is found). money ( The economic restructuring committee must be strategic, Census of Population or Second, you will need the patient, and more creative than the competition and subtly • another reliable source to find out how many influence where businesses are located. Two-way communi- cation about the financial benefits of using a clustering plan households of different income levels, ages, and sizes is the key to success. Your district’s existing businesses may are in the trade areas you plan to examine. Go to be locked into their current locations for a while—but, when, navigate to “American Factfinder,” there are new vacancies or when you recruit or develop new then follow the online prompts to select data for businesses, you have an opportunity to strategically sug- the city, census tract(s), or zip code area you want gest the location most likely to help them generate traffic. to examine. Here are some tips: Finally, make a list of the products and services for • The economic restructuring and design committees • which you want to calculate market demand. Start can work together to create a pleasant streetscape of with general categories, such as “apparel,” “restau- storefronts that encourages people to walk throughout rants,” and “home furnishings,” and gradually the district. Storefronts without window displays, va- become more specific as you go along. cancies, businesses that aren’t part of a cluster, parks, parking lots, poor lighting, buildings set too far back With these three tools you are ready to get started. from the sidewalk, and other situations can cause peo- The formula for calculating market demand is: ple to lose interest or feel threatened. • Locate automobile-dependent and destination busi- nesses on the outskirts of the district and at transi- Market demand = tion points, which is where transit stops and parking # households x typical sales per household lots/ramps should be located. Use business placement to encourage circular pedestrian movement, drawing Example: people into and through the district so that they pass by stores that might not generate as much traffic on If there are 10,000 households in your neigh- their own. borhood, and the average American household • Locate “impulse” shops that sell things like flowers or spends $2,700 per year on groceries, then the coffee and stores that attract recreational shoppers in for groceries in your dis- total market demand heavily trafficked areas (near bus stops or employment trict is $27,000,000 per year (10,000 house- centers) so that they benefit from the flow of people. holds x $2,700 per household). • Businesses that require planned or scheduled buying can thrive on upper floors and on secondary streets more complicated than that. little It is actually a adjacent to the pedestrian core. Businesses that Different households spend different amounts of money don’t require face-to-face interaction with custom- for things, depending on their income, size, age, and ers may be better situated on the periphery of the other factors. So, to be more precise, you will need to do commercial district. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 77 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

79 Household # of x Sales per Market Hslds Hsld Demand Income Under $5,000 400 x $1,703 = $681,200 $5,000–$10,000 550 x $1,790 = $984,500 = $10,000–$15,000 650 x $2,200 $1,430,000 $2,690,700 = x $2,437 1,100 $15,000–$20,000 = 1,900 $20,000–$30,000 x $2,598 $4,936,200 $30,000–$40,000 x $2,834 = $6,234,800 2,200 $40,000–$50,000 1,700 x $3,176 = $5,399,200 $50,000–$70,000 1,000 x $3,582 = $3,582,000 © Linda S. Glisson Business owners use customer demographics and other Over $70,000 x $4,023 = $2,011,500 500 market data to identify potential sales opportunities. = TOTAL potential sales for groceries $27,940,100 a separate calculation for every income group, age group, The total market demand—$27.9 million, rounded— and so on, to more accurately reflect the demographics of is relatively close to the total number reached in the your community. earlier example ($27 million), but it reflects the actual Let’s say that the Census of Population shows that demographic characteristics of the community a little your 10,000 households break out into the following more accurately. If you wished to do so, you could repeat income categories: this exercise using other demographic characteristics, such as household size, ethnicity, or region of residence. Income # of Households The estimates will vary somewhat; for the purposes Under $5,000 400 of market analysis, you should use the most conserva- tive (meaning the lowest) estimate when determining $5,000–$10,000 550 whether there is enough unmet market demand to sup- 650 $10,000–$15,000 port a new business or to help an existing one expand. 1,100 $15,000–$20,000 Repeat this process for other products and services. Once you have calculated estimated potential sales for 1,900 $20,000–$30,000 all the categories you want to examine, compare market 2,200 $30,000–$40,000 - to see if your district is captur actual sales to demand $40,000–$50,000 1,700 ing all the available dollars local residents and other $50,000–$70,000 1,000 district visitors have to spend. You will sometimes hear - this referred to as “sales gap analysis”—literally, measur 500 Over $70,000 ing the gap between potential sales and actual sales. Then, let’s assume the Consumer Expenditure reports that the average American house- Survey hold in each of these categories typically spends Gap the following amount each year on groceries: (or surplus) = Potential sales – Actual sales Groceries: Income $ /Year You can find information on actual sales in your com- Under $5,000 $1,703 munity in several places. In many states, the state office of $5,000–$10,000 $1,790 taxation or revenue collects and publishes sales data annu- $10,000–$15,000 $2,200 ally; it is usually listed by city and county and sometimes by census tract. If your state does not publish this data, $15,000–$20,000 $2,437 or if you live in a state that doesn’t charge sales tax, such $2,598 $20,000–$30,000 as Delaware or Florida, you can get information from the $2,834 $30,000–$40,000 , published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census of Retail Trade $40,000–$50,000 $3,176 Census every five years ( You probably - won’t find information on actual sales in your neighbor $50,000–$70,000 $3,582 hood, so you’ll need to calculate the average sales per busi- Over $70,000 $4,023 ness, by business type, for your city, then multiply this by For each household income category, multiply the the number of businesses, by business type, in your district. number of households in your trade area by the amount If you think your district’s businesses are performing below of money a household in that category typically spends average businesses in your city, you may want to subtract on, in this example, groceries. 20 percent or so from your estimate of actual sales. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 78 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

80 Focus groups are brief (e.g., 90 minutes), Focus groups. • Sales Gap Example facilitated, small-group question-and-answer sessions. Total clothing store sales in the city $195,000,000 They can provide rich, qualitative information from a small number of people and a deeper personal perspec- # of clothing stores in the city 600 ÷ tive on a topic. Convene groups of eight to 12 people $325,000 Average sales/clothing store = who represent a particular customer niche—for in- stance, people who work in the district; teenagers; # of clothing stores in the district 8 x Asian Americans; or another characteristic, such as Estimated sales for district clothing $2,600,000 = people who think the district’s prices are too high. stores During the focus group, an experienced, neutral Potential sales (neighborhood $4,800,000 - facilitator asks participants questions about their residents) perceptions of the district, shopping preferences, and ($2,200,000) GAP = other attitudes and opinions. Surveys are more structured than interviews Surveys. In this example, there is a sales gap—meaning that • and involve more people. They provide less quantitative residents are (probably) spending more on clothing information and are useful when you want to collect than the district’s eight clothing stores are selling. comprehensive consumer information. For tips on If there are more potential sales than actual sales, your conducting surveys, see district is most likely losing sales; there might be an op- ingMainStreet. portunity to capture more dollars, either by strengthening existing businesses or developing new ones. Likewise, if In an intercept survey, you stop Intercept surveys. there are more actual sales than potential sales, your dis- ◉ people on the street and ask them to answer brief trict is attracting customers from other areas and thereby written questions. By selecting people randomly, you capturing more dollars than its own residents generate— help ensure that their responses represent everyone in which case your district might be “saturated.” visiting the district. Intercept surveys provide a good Of course, there are always exceptions. For instance, profile of current users of your district: who they are there could be an unusual reason why people in your (demographically speaking), what they like (and community don’t buy certain products, no matter how don’t like) about the district, where they park, where much potential demand appears to exist on paper. On they shop for various items, when they visit the the other hand, having a surplus doesn’t necessarily mean district, etc. The best intercept surveys have two that your district cannot support additional businesses volunteers working together because that helps with of that type. Business niches are perfect examples of situ- comfort level and logistics: one volunteer can ask ations where a Main Street district’s market position al- someone to complete a survey, while the other keeps lows it to draw customers from far beyond the downtown, track of the number of people walking by or the neighborhood, or even the city’s typical trade area, thus passage of time. outstripping the demand generated by residents alone. Thus, a sales gap analysis alone won’t give you Mail, Internet, and phone surveys Distance surveys. enough information to reach reasonable conclusions ◉ fall within this category. For a distance survey to about the new types of businesses your district can sup- reflect the characteristics of the entire population, port and how many of each type might be viable. You participants should be selected using random-sample need to gather firsthand information from consumers. methodology—meaning that every person in the survey area has an equal chance of being selected to Understanding Consumers participate. Again, the survey should be brief. Until now, we’ve been talking about gathering information Analysis involves collecting data and organiz- Analysis. • from secondary sources—the Census of Population and ing it according to criteria you develop to determine the Consumer Expenditure Survey, in particular. Now, it’s some trend or pattern. Point-of-purchase customer time to get information directly from the people who visit tracking systems, zip code tallies, and license plate (or might visit) your commercial district. Before you begin surveys all fall within this category. your primary research, review all the data you’ve collected so far. Get your committees to discuss the data and decide Any of these information-gathering techniques, if whether additional information is needed. Clearly define administered properly, will provide valuable informa- what you hope to learn. If your sales gap analysis suggests tion. Most communities would be best served by using a enough market demand to support a new restaurant, for combination of techniques. A distance survey could pro- instance, you’ll want to ask residents within the district’s vide general consumer information, while data from an trade area which restaurants they currently patronize. on-the-street intercept survey will allow you to compare Use the following ways to ask a specific group of people and contrast users of the district with the general popula- to answer a specific question or questions about when, tion. Focus groups are intended to “focus” research on where, why, how and for what they shop. specific topics; for example, they can explore the attitudes IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 79 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

81 CASE STUDY of a specific consumer niche in-depth. They aren’t meant to substitute for a survey. Each technique will require different commitments of time (staff and volunteers) and Livermore, California money to conduct/tabulate. You could conduct a survey Livermore Downtown, Inc.: Female Focus every few years, while using focus groups or analysis to gather information as needed during the years in between. By attending a workshop and doing market research, Synthesizing Market Information Livermore (California) Downtown, Inc., Executive Di- rector Rachael Snedecor learned that females be- There is no “correct” format for synthesizing the mar - tween the ages of 30 and 60 make 80 percent of the buying and dining decisions for their households. To ket information you gather. Use the process that works tap this demographic locally, Livermore Downtown, best for your organization: discussing key questions in Inc., (LDI) launched its Female Focus initiative in 2005. small committees; holding a series of facilitated meet- LDI assembled a group of 50 women and gave them a ings for the entire economic restructuring commit- homework assignment: to do as much of their holiday tee; or dividing up responsibilities among individual shopping downtown as possible and to make notes program participants are a few methods. The critical about their impressions of the business district. They - element is to methodically sift through all the infor were asked to note the businesses they liked, explain mation and to answer these 10 sets of questions: why they didn’t go into certain shops, and jot down other impressions. Following the shopping blitz, a fo- Which consumers visit the Main Street district 1. cus group was assembled to collect their findings. most often? Why do they visit it? What do they Using that information, the program educated the like most, and dis like most, about it? city’s economic development office, commercial real- tors, property owners, and investors about the needs Who are the consumers who live in the 2. and desires of Livermore ladies. LDI was able to con- neighborhood and surrounding areas but don’t vince property owners that renting to businesses that visit the district on a regular basis? What do they met these needs would result in a supported, and dislike about it? therefore, rent-paying tenant. The information also made a compelling recruitment tool. Since then, Liv - 3. Where do neighborhood residents of different ermore’s downtown has become home to a couple of ages, incomes, and ethnic characteristics shop for new clothing boutiques, a shoe store, a few home dé- various goods and services? What shopping areas cor/gift shops, new art galleries, coffee shops, several new restaurants, and a dozen other new businesses. In predominate for each type of product or service? 2007, 80 percent of the new businesses were locally owned, and 80 percent of those were female owned. Are there significant differences in attitudes 4. toward the district among people of different ages, This information was a valued complement to the com- incomes, or ethnicity? Do people who work or live munity’s storefront improvement loan and grant pro- in the district perceive it differently than people grams, rent assistance program for targeted business- who visit the district less often? es, and the huge streetscape project. Not only have many of the focus group ladies become Main Street volunteers and avid shoppers, but Livermore has won Are there any categories of retail goods or 5. many California state awards, as well as being named services that appear to be underserved in the magazine! the 31st best place to live by Money neighborhood? In other words, do neighborhood residents seem to have the ability to spend more ©© Carmen Martínez Banús money on certain products or services than they are actually spending? 6. Conversely, are there any categories of retail goods over or services that appear to be served? In other words, is the community generating higher sales of certain goods or services than it might be expected to support? 7. Is there any correlation between a particular demographic group’s attitudes about the district and that group’s shopping patterns? For instance, people may to shop in the district more often want than they are able to, due to limited store hours or difficult access. On the other hand, people may be IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 80 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

82 avoiding the district because they perceive it to be Strategy. What specific steps will the revitalization • unsafe or unattractive or because they think it has program pursue over the next three to five years to high prices or poor quality merchandise. achieve its goals? Finances. What will it cost the district revitalization 8. What are the district’s strongest businesses? What • program to carry out the activities outlined in its plan? do these businesses have in common? Who are the key organizational partners Management. Does the district have any unique strategic 9. • involved in the district’s revitalization? What roles will advantages—something that sets it apart from they play in implementing the business plan? What are other commercial areas and makes it unique in their capabilities? Are they lacking any skills that they the regional marketplace? For instance, it might will need to find through new partnerships or through be located near a major traffic-generator, such as a hiring new staff or consultants? factory, a popular tourist attraction, or a highway; it might have an unusually popular business or a Activities in all four points of the Main Street ap- large number of workers; or it might be the site of a proach—design, organization, promotion, and economic historic event. restructuring—must be incorporated into your market strategy. Strengthening commercial activity involves more Which of the survey findings surprised you the 10. than simply expanding existing businesses or recruit- most? Why? ing new ones; it also means correcting tangible problems that deter people from shopping in the district, changing attitudes and perceptions, and distinguishing the Main Crafting a Market-based Business Development Street district from all other commercial districts in the Strategy region. Eliminating concerns about crime, for example, generally requires concerted work in all four points of the After each of these 10 questions has been thoroughly dis- Main Street approach. In this way, the business develop- cussed and the market analysis team has developed answers ment strategy cross-cuts the entire Main Street revital- for each of them, put together a brief written document ization process, engaging all four primary committees —the same basic format in the format of a business plan and gradually shifting the revitalization program’s focus a business would use. Include the following “chapters”: from committee-specific activities to integrated objectives carried out by the four committees working together. Write a concise overview of the Executive summary. The information you gather about your district’s econ- • entire business development plan (although this should omy, demographics, and market potential will have many be the first chapter, you’ll probably write it last). applications beyond business recruitment and development. Two of its most beneficial uses are for developing effec- Description of the district. How would you describe tive promotions and monitoring your program’s success. • the district’s physical appearance, accessibility, busi- Strategic promotions will reinforce your marketing image nesses, the demographic groups that visit it most often, and attract your targeted consumer groups. See Chapter public perceptions, and strategic advantages? Be sure to 21, Promotion: Building Excitement, for more information. discuss the district’s strengths and weaknesses (both Your district’s reinvestment statistics are another important real and perceived). tool to build support among local government officials, po- tential funders, the media, and various stakeholders. Refer Competition. Who is your district’s competition? Why? to pages 22-23 for more information on benchmarking. • How would you characterize each competing commer - cial area in terms of business strengths, demographic Diversifying Main Street’s Uses strengths, and consumer perception? So far, this chapter has discussed techniques for retail and Market opportunities. For which products or services • small business development in Main Street districts— does there appear to be unmet market demand? For they are important but far from the only components of what products or services does there appear to be a a district’s economy. As the district’s primary ground- surplus of actual sales over potential sales? floor use, retailing is its most highly visible component; and, as the most important element of Main Street’s Objectives. What are the revitalization organization’s • economy, it is almost always the best starting point for economic development goals? Be as specific as possi- examining the district’s development possibilities. ble—for instance, “increase daytime sales to district But almost all Main Street districts also have significant workers by 20 percent over the next three years,” or opportunities to develop other building uses as well. “reverse negative consumer perceptions about the Diversifying Main Street’s economy is an important variety of goods and services available on Main Street.” strategy for commercial districts for a number of reasons. Back up each objective with hard facts. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 81 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

83 For instance: Banks usually offer loan products for housing and loan • products for commercial development, but not loan Apartments, offices, and small industries provide ad- products that combine both uses. • ditional customers for the district’s retailers. Convert- ing vacant or under-used space to a new use provides Zoning codes written with single-family housing in mind • often require a certain number of on-site parking spaces more income for the building’s property owner, eas- for each housing unit—even in dense neighborhoods ing rent pressure on the ground-floor retail space. well-served by public transit, where residents do not Small industries generally provide greater economic typically own cars. • returns per worker to the neighborhood than retail Life-safety codes designed for new construction can be businesses do. • difficult to apply to older and historic buildings. Some districts no longer need as much retail space • Federal programs designed to stimulate housing develop- as they once did, and it may be unrealistic to fill all • available retail spaces with new stores. Remember ment usually work best for large-scale projects and to group retail businesses together and to avoid in- multiple units—not for small-scale, one-at-a-time units terspersing retail clusters with non-retail uses. developed over storefronts. While there are methods for estimating market demand There are several questions to consider when your pro- for new housing and office space, very few (if any) apply to gram decides to stimulate upper-floor housing development: historic Main Street districts. Traditional housing and office Are most of the development opportunities for small market analyses rely on the assumption that new housing • numbers of units (e.g., two apartments over a storefront) units and office spaces are more or less homogeneous— or for larger numbers of units (e.g., conversion of that a “Class A” office space in one location, for example, multi-floor warehouses to dozens of apartments)? will be comparable to a “Class A” office space somewhere else. Most Main Street spaces, however, are one-of-a- For small-scale projects with only a few units, are the kind and the key to marketing them is their uniqueness. • buildings’ current owners interested in developing the housing units themselves, or will you need to find a devel- Housing oper? If it’s the former, what kinds of guidance, assis- tance, or incentives will they need? If it’s the latter, will Housing has always been a central component of Main the developer want to acquire the properties or work for Street’s economic map—not just housing in the residen- one or more property owners on a fee basis? Will it be tial areas surrounding the business corridor, but housing cost-effective for the developer and property owner(s)? above storefronts in buildings on the district’s main com- mercial streets. Many of the nation’s earliest merchants Is there likely to be more demand for rental units or lived above their businesses in storefront buildings. • for condominiums? Lots of literature is available on the process of creating new, freestanding housing in older neighborhoods, and most Is there demand for both market-rate and affordable Community Development Corporations (CDC) have experi- • units? ence developing new houses in older neighborhoods. But little has been written about creating housing in older com- Are there city, state, or federal programs that can assist mercial buildings—above storefront spaces, for instance, or • with development of small numbers of units? in “white elephant” buildings, like warehouses and facto- ries. While many of the tools are similar to those used to Creating upper-floor housing and converting unused develop new, freestanding housing units, creating housing warehouses and other peripheral buildings into new hous- in older commercial buildings has some special challenges: ing units require a great deal of persistence in tailoring lending programs to accommodate Main Street buildings, working with lenders to craft new programs for older com- mercial districts, and building partnerships with zoning and building code officials to ease the process of developing housing in older commercial buildings. Fortunately, many Main Street programs are overcoming these obstacles and creating new housing units in upper-floor spaces, “white elephant” buildings, and new construction. For example: San Diego’s North Park Main Street Program played an • active role in developing a new condominium on the site of a former Rite Aid drugstore and a bakery. The new development—La Boheme—will contain more than 200 © Andrea L. Dono IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 82 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

84 Cool Space Locator residential units and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor The Cool Space Locator, a Pittsburgh company that retail space when completed. Forty-five of the new began as part of Pittsburgh’s East Carson Street Main units will be affordable units at 100 and 120 percent of Street program, helped businesses find unique office area median income. space in older and historic Main Street buildings. The company found that few professional offices A developer working with Detroit’s Wayne State • were locating in the city’s historic neighborhood Main University to create new housing and retail space in the Street districts. Staffers spoke with a number of cor- neighborhood will be setting aside a portion of the rent porate decision makers in the area and found that collected on apartments leased to recent graduates. most of them used real estate brokers to find office After three years, the graduates can apply the rent set space and that the brokers were showing them space aside to down payments on the units they have rented, out in the suburbs, not in the historic neighborhood if they so desire. commercial districts. Cool Space Locator served as a broker of one-of-a-kind spaces in Main Street district Working in conjunction with the Boston Redevelop- • commercial buildings. ment Authority and the Boston Society of Architects’ Housing Committee, the citywide Boston Main Streets program sponsored a six-month planning program in peared, many Main Street districts retain clusters of small the Grove Hall neighborhood. Called “Housing on industries often related to their forbears. Others have Main Street,” it identified opportunities for upper-floor developed new industries over the years—both Philadel- apartments and new freestanding units and helped phia’s Frankford neighborhood and Providence’s East property owners and other program participants Broad Street district have clusters of architectural metal develop the skills and find the resources needed to crafters (like wrought-iron craftspeople), for instance. create housing in the district. Some areas, like Paducah, Kentucky, have strong art- ist and artisan niches, while many other districts have In recent years developers, lenders, and federal agen- high-tech industries, often spurred by high-tech zon- cies have begun to recognize that compact, mixed-use ing overlay zones that provide tax credits and other districts—like historic and older Main Streets—are among incentives to high-tech businesses that locate there. the most beneficial forms of development. Programs like Light industries not only bolster the district’s retail the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s and restaurant sales, but also provide opportunities for Homeownership Zones, HOPE VI, and HOME and the specialized retail businesses and offices that serve those U.S. General Services Administration’s Good Neighbor industries. And a neighborhood’s proximity to larger Initiative provide incentives for cities to develop mixed- industries can create opportunities for smaller, related use, mixed-income new development. A growing number industries in the district. A luggage repair business located of communities, like San Diego’s North Park neighbor - in East Boston’s Main Street district, for instance, because hood, are taking advantage of opportunities to replace the of the district’s close proximity to Boston’s airport. suburban-style, single-use retail buildings of the past 30 to 50 years with new, Main Street-friendly mixed-use develop- ment. The federal HOME program is particularly ben- Working with Existing Businesses eficial for creating small numbers of housing units in the upper-floor spaces of Main Street districts. See www.hud. When it comes down to it, retaining your district’s gov for information on its affordable housing programs. existing businesses is easier than recruiting new ones. While it is tempting to rush into a business recruit- Offices ment program, your district’s current businesses are the front line in the battle to strengthen the commercial - Offices are another excellent use of vacant and under area. They have established relationships with shop- used upper-floor spaces on Main Street. Upper-floor pers, they know the market, and they are committed offices put workers near restaurants, postal services, to the community. An effective business assistance pro- office supply stores, and other services they need. gram helps your district’s businesses expand their sales Many of the same obstacles that affect upper-floor and do better a job of meeting customers’ needs. housing development also affect upper-floor office This is not to say that business recruitment and development—building and zoning codes, for example. development shouldn’t be an important part of im- Again, the key is to build partnerships with organiza- proving your commercial district’s dynamics. Work- tions and agencies that can streamline the process and ing with talented entrepreneurs and seeking other systematically identify and chip away at the barriers. businesses to relocate or open up another location in your district are also important opportunities to rein- Small Industry force a niche and build clusters. The next sections will look at both aspects of strengthening businesses. Like housing, small industry has traditionally been part There are two ways a business can make more money: of many Main Street districts. While many industries— it can sell more merchandise or services to current custom- like tanneries and blacksmiths—have long since disap- IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 83 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

85 ers, or it can sell current merchandise or services to more least the successful ones do), it may not be possible to rely customers. Your program can help in a number of ways: solely on meetings to share information. A number of revi- talization organizations have found that summarizing small Build relationships. Property and business owners bits of information on a single sheet of paper, then distrib- have to trust the Main Street program to support their uting a different summary to businesses every few weeks, interests—a trust that will be earned over time. Until they makes it easy for people to digest market information. trust you, people won’t accept your “expert” advice. If the economic restructuring committee can build a good Share ideas. Main Street businesses thrive on new, relationship with business and property owners, it can creative ideas that they can incorporate into their opera- tailor counseling and assistance programs to best meet tions. By sharing good ideas, you can help them find ways the owners’ needs and satisfy their personal interests to expand sales. For example, the Ellensburg (Washington) while working toward meeting revitalization goals. Downtown Association joined the Ellensburg Public Sometimes business assistance means creating con- Library to launch a cooperative project called Brown Bag nections among businesses. It is not uncommon to find Business Basics. This monthly book review seminar series that business owners on the same street don’t interact became extremely popular with local businesses owners with each other. Chances are they are so busy running who met during their lunch hours and discussed ideas for their own businesses that they seldom see each other, improving their businesses. There are many ways in which let alone collaborate on joint efforts. In order to facili- businesses can apply creative ideas, such as: tate regular interaction among downtown stakeholders, Finding ways to bring products and services to custom- Downtown Manhattan (Kansas), Inc., uses free software • ers, rather than waiting for customers to visit the to distribute regular e-newsletters and manage an e- business. For example, a merchant could use a webcam mail list. Neighboring business owners who previously to show merchandise to online customers. didn’t communicate regularly with each other can now interact daily. The Main Street program has been able Adding new products or services to augment established to get them talking, build a stronger community, and • product lines or build on unmet market opportunities. get stakeholder feedback quickly on various issues. In downtown Seguin, Texas, for example, a group of friends opened Chiro-Java, a chiropractor’s office and The market information your Share information. Internet café under one roof. Main Street organization gathers is invaluable to your district’s businesses. The more business owners can Collaborating to market services with other Main Street learn about their customers—and potential customers— • businesses that have similar customers. In downtown the greater their chances of increasing sales. Armed Livermore, California, BeWellYoga, a yoga studio, with this information, they can make changes in the teamed up with nearby restaurants for Yoga Date merchandise they carry, the services they provide, the Night. Couples were able to attend a relaxing yoga places they advertise, the design of their window and session before heading out to dinner while the yoga in-store displays, their store hours, and a host of other studio provided babysitting services. business practices—maybe even moving the business to a more advantageous location within the district. Many Main Street businesses have increased their Use multiple communication channels to get this infor - profitability by becoming more than just a storefront. mation to the business community. Because independent Instead of simply selling merchandise, they give customers business owners spend lots of hours on the job (well, at Your Main Street program is in a unique position to help strengthen the district’s existing businesses by sharing informa- tion, creating networking opportunities for the business community, coordinat- ing joint-marketing opportunities, and making suggestions for new products or services that could meet the needs of local customers. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 84 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

86 an experience. Experienced-based retailing has a lot of potential to increase the competitive advantage of historic commercial districts. The Beauty Bar in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, sells a variety of skin care products but also has The Blending Lounge, a unique space that groups can reserve for special perfume blending parties complete with music and truffles. Another business called RVP 1875 in Story City, Iowa, is more than just a furniture store in a historic building on Main Street. It specializes in using period tools and techniques to make 19th-century furni- ture styles by hand. Because of this unique niche, the store is able to offer tours, classes, and hands-on demonstra- The owner of the Ellensburg Pet Center participated in the Brown Bag tions, which cost participants anywhere from $2 dona- Basics business owner book discussion club in Ellensburg, Washington. tions for tours to $250 for workshops. and they have extensive experience. See more information on the Small Business Association’s Service Corps of Market existing business assistance programs and cre- Retired Executives (SCORE) program in the Resources ate new ones. Many business improvement resources may section. Be careful not to involve professionals with active already be available in your city or region. The economic business interests that might create a conflict of interest, or restructuring committee should compile a list of these the appearance of a conflict. resources, serve as a clearinghouse for the information, Businesses generally need help reaching customers, and market the resources. By learning what assistance is connecting with complementary businesses, and improving already available, you can create new business improve- their operations and physical environs. Your organization ment resources to fill the gaps. Below are some types of can help business owners learn more about topics such as: programs that you can create if none already exists: Improving visual merchandising—window displays, Matching grants for small-scale façade and sign • • in-store layout, point-of-purchase displays—in order improvements; business startups, transitions, and to maximize merchandise visibility and improve spin-offs; and business improvements and expansions. store efficiency. Low (or no) interest loan pools and revolving loan • Setting up and maintaining accounting systems, funds for major building rehabilitations. • particularly as the business grows and accounting demands more of the business owner’s time. Tax abatement programs. • Complying with zoning regulations; tax laws; the Free or below-cost buildings, land, or rent. • • Americans with Disabilities Act; and other local, state, and federal regulations. Supplemental equity capital (i.e., angel investment • funds targeting local entrepreneurial ventures). Designing advertisements, advertising campaigns, • in-store promotional events, and collaborative promo- In order to maintain high-quality businesses and tional events with other district businesses. buildings, assistance programs should be tied to design and/or business standards and guidelines. Partnering with product suppliers and manufacturers • to tap into co-op advertising dollars. Facilitate access to expert advice. Chain retailers and franchises generally get plenty of guidance from their Developing strategies for selling products and services national corporations, but independent businesses have • online, designing effective websites, and capturing new few sources of information and advice. Your organiza- and existing customers online. tion can help level the playing field by facilitating access to expert advice. Contact your coordinating program Identifying business-to-business sales and service to find out what expertise they have on staff or arrange • opportunities. for a business specialist’s visit to your community. For - districts that have universities nearby, look into oppor Preventing shoplifting and improving in-store security. tunities to bring faculty and students to your businesses • as part of internship programs or special projects. Evaluating and training in-store staff. Many Main Street organizations put together business • assistance teams of professionals and other people with Improving customer service. guidance to business pro bono specific skills to provide • owners. Retired business people often make excellent Staying on top of emerging retail and demographic business assistance team members; they have time to • trends that might affect their businesses. commit to the process, they know the community well, IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 85 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

87 new businesses, though, is a long-term process that requires The economic restructuring committee can help reduce an organized infrastructure. There are essentially two ways the overall cost of business consultations by negotiating to bring a new business to a Main Street district: group rates and coordinating visits with multiple business- es, or it could create a business improvement grant pro- Work with local entrepreneurs, financial institutions, gram. A grant could cover part or all of the cost or offer a • and other partners to develop completely new busi- 50/50 match of the consultation/visit or continued training nesses; and at seminars or conferences. Find an existing business that is interested in relocating Sometimes profitable Help businesses in transition. • to the district or opening a branch there. businesses close simply because the owners want out and believe their only, or most profitable, option is liquidating. Both methods share some common needs—like financ- It can be devastating for a Main Street district to lose a ing, management training, and information about the successful, long-established business because the business demographic and economic characteristics of the district— owner is ready to retire. but involve different techniques. Your Main Street program can play an active role in First, the common needs. An active business develop- keeping a business open by finding a buyer or, if necessary, ment and recruitment program requires the following. by finding a way to incorporate the store’s product and service lines into other businesses within the district. While A good building inventory. You’ll need current infor - each business situation will differ, some of your options mation on all the available spaces in your district—the include: owner, square footage, lease terms, amenities, whether the spaces are available for purchase, etc.—so that you can Connecting the business owner with a business broker; • quickly match a prospective business with a space that meets its needs. Many Main Street programs list prop- Using the national Main Street network to locate a • erties available for rent or purchase, including specific buyer for the business; details of the space, contact information, and photos. Working with financial institutions to line up financing • Current information about the district’s economy, and create financial incentives to facilitate the sale of customers, and opportunities. The first question prospec- the business; tive business owners will ask you is, “Why do you think my business would do well in your district?” They’ll be Working with the business owner and employees to • interested in your program’s marketing activities and the explore the possibility of an employee purchase pro- district’s amenities, but what they really want to know is, gram; “How large is the market, how much money am I likely to make there, and what can you do to help me succeed?” Offering trainings or resource materials on transition- • A good business owner will want to know as much as ing a business; and possible about the district in order to make a decision. Be prepared to provide: Preparing marketing materials for the business owner • to distribute to potential buyers. A demographic profile of the kinds of people who visit • your district, including the percentages of people of Your organization can help store owners prepare for different incomes, ages, and ethnic groups; a transition by encouraging them to get their operations in order. They can do this by writing down their business Times of day and days of the week that attract the most processes. Ironically, many of the most successful small • shoppers; business owners do well because they are good at adhering to a formula or plan, not because they’re creative. That’s Specific businesses that generate the most customer one of the reasons why chains and franchises are often so • traffic and a demographic profile of the kinds of successful. Main Street business owners should organize customers who visit each of these places; their financial statements as well as document their promo- tional efforts over the last three to five years. Business own- The district’s total estimated retail sales for at least the ers should also keep good employees in mind—employee • past three years—divided by retail categories, if pos- purchasing programs are an option for a smooth transition. sible, and hopefully showing a steady increase in sales in most categories; and Bringing New Businesses to Main Street Estimates of the region’s “buying power” for the • New businesses add dynamism to Main Street districts. products the prospective business sells—in other words, They keep the district fresh, forward-looking, and respon- how much money people in the region are likely to sive to emerging market trends. Developing and recruiting spend on those products and services. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 86 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

88 ties where they do business—so, banks should be willing Be sure to sell your community by sharing perks for local business and property owners. For example, the to work with you and other community organizations Downtown Newark Partnership in Delaware markets its to create programs that support start-up businesses. $1,500 grants for utility expenses to targeted new busi- A supply of trained workers. One of the greatest chal- nesses, and Main Street Galion in Ohio generates interest in its district by teaming up with the chamber of com- lenges small businesses face when opening a new loca- merce and the Ohio Business Institute to have a busi- tion is finding qualified staff to operate the business. The ness consultant visit the Main Street office once a week owner simply can’t be in two places at once. Consider to advise small business owners and entrepreneurs. partnering with local job training programs to develop The Rochester Downtown Development Authority in a core of people with retail management skills (draw- Michigan produced an online video that shows vibrant ing from existing district retail sales staff, perhaps) so images of the downtown and asks business owners why - that when a prospective business owner expresses inter est in opening a new store your district, you can intro- the community is good for business. Your marketing ma- duce him or her to a few management candidates. terials need to show prospects the potential for success. Make your resources, incentives, and market re- The business assistance team you Business mentors. search data available in print and online. The basic package should include the information listed above, assemble to help existing businesses will be equally valu- along with a current business directory, a map of the able in working with new businesses. It’s a good idea for district, and information about your organization. a member of the business assistance team to meet with the You can create a virtual business recruitment pack- onwers of new businesses weekly for three or four months, age by putting this information online, as well as produc- then monthly thereafter for at least three years (the period ing a professionally designed portfolio with all relevant of time in which new small businesses are most vulnerable). information and brochures. Have the portfolios handy for Business resource library. people who drop by your office as well as sending them Collect publications, trade to your partners, local and regional economic develop- magazines, and other business-related resources for a com- ment groups, and real estate agents. If the information plete library in your Main Street office. Cover both the ba- from your market analysis is stored in your computer sics and advanced resource materials (e.g., publications on developing a business plan, marketing on a shoestring, etc.). in an easy-to-access format, you can print out custom- ized information with details about a business niche or potential customers for a prospective business owner. Developing New Businesses Posting your district’s market analysis information on your website can help your recruitment efforts, especially The process of developing new businesses has many aspects if you register keywords for some of the basic character - in common with the process of recruiting existing business- istics that distinguish your Main Street district. If a busi- es to your district. New businesses need technical assistance, ness owner or real estate agent is searching the web for financing, information about the district, help in finding compatible business locations, popular search engines will the right location, and mentoring. The primary difference is read the keywords and direct them to your homepage. that you will be cultivating individuals who might open a new business, rather than targeting established businesses. A pipeline of potential businesses and entrepreneurs. One of the most frustrating aspects of Main Street busi- ness development is timing the availability of business space with the supply of potential new businesses. It can take years for a business willing to locate in your district to be able to do so—and it can take years for a prime re- tail space to become available. Build relationships with several prospective business owners and stay in contact so you can inform them when a space becomes available. Seed funding and ongoing, long-term business financ- ing. Work with banks, Small Business Development Centers, and Community Development Corporations to put together a range of financing packages and seed funding incen- tives to support new businesses. Lending to start-up busi- nesses can be risky, but you can reduce the risk for lenders by seeking grants for loan guarantees, for instance, or by helping ensure that the prospective business is well capital- ized and has a solid business plan in place. Remember that © Donna Dow the federal Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to make loans and other investments in the communi- New businesses contribute freshness to a healthy business mix that keep customers coming back to see what is exciting and new on Main Street. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 87 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

89 There are several places where you can look for people interested in opening a new business in your district. Many prospective entrepreneurs contact a Small Busi- ness Development Center (SBDC) for information and assistance. There are SBDCs throughout the country, most housed within a college or university. Be sure to familiarize the staff of your city’s SBDC with your dis- trict’s business development plans and with any resources you can offer, and stay in close contact with them—they can be an excellent source of referrals and contacts. Another place to look is at area colleges, community col- leges, and universities. Most of these institutions have active career planning and placement programs to help new grad- uates and alumni find jobs. Meet with the staff of the career planning offices of local colleges to tell them you are look- ing for prospective business owners and that you have pro- Ribbon-cutting events are a public celebration of a new addition to the business community that convey the message that business own- grams in place to provide training, financing and support. ers are valued and supported. For more information on ways to develop new busi- nesses, read “Becoming an Entrepreneurial Support Center” services. They might want to be surrounded by businesses online at that complement them better, or they might want to be next to a “magnet” business that attracts lots of customers. Recruiting Existing Businesses Finding out what would motivate a business owner to move to or open an additional location in your district When business owners decide to relocate or to open an ad- is one of the keys to recruiting success. Find out what he ditional location, they do so for a variety of reasons. They or she needs to make the business more successful—and, might be looking for a district with better traffic volume, if your district can offer that, you have a good chance of or with customers more likely to patronize their business, persuading the business owner to locate in your district. or with better district-wide promotional activities than Consider your own district before you start looking their current location. They might be looking for opportu- elsewhere for existing businesses. Local business own- nities to lower their operating costs—lower rent or labor ers already know the district. They already have estab- costs, for instance, or better financing. If they are currently lished working relationships with financial institutions, in a shopping mall, they might be eager to stop paying property owners, local government, and other businesses. the “common-area maintenance” fees that malls typically Owning more than one business in the same district also charge. They might want a building that offers more space makes it possible for the owner to share storage space and or a better configuration or better access to parking, a load- shuffle sales staff from one store to another as needed. ing area, or public transportation. They might be looking So, how does one recruit businesses anyway? Busi- for a district that is cleaner or safer or that offers better ness recruitment has both active and passive components. CASE STUDY The city used $1.2 million in federal Community Develop- Winston-Salem, North Carolina ment Block Grants to fund its portion of the loan pro- gram. The city’s goal was to provide financing for 10 new “Restaurant Row” restaurants, with the hope that at least six of the new restaurants would succeed (nationally, about 50 percent of new restaurants fail within their first few years). The In 2000, the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, cre- program ultimately provided loans to nine restaurants ated a loan program to encourage development of new before the program ended in 2007. restaurants on several blocks of its historic downtown. Two of the nine restaurants failed, but the rest appear to Designed to bolster the city’s efforts to create an en- be succeeding. The portion of the loans repaid to the city tertainment district downtown and to foster nightlife, will be used for other community development programs the loan program offered low-interest 15-year loans to in Winston-Salem, including housing rehabilitation. The restaurant owners, with loan repayments deferred for program met its Community Development Block Grant - two years. For restaurants that opened on one of sev obligations to HUD by creating 75 jobs for low- and mod- eral designated blocks, interest rates were three percent; erate-income individuals. And, when the program end- five-percent loans were available to restaurants locating ed in 2007 there were more than 700 residential units in other designated sections of the downtown. The city downtown, up from 400 in 2000, with another few hun- provided 37.5 percent of the loan, with two local banks dred under construction. providing the remaining 62.5 percent. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 88 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

90 “Active” recruitment means seeking out potential busi- Avoid Conflicts of Interest nesses. But many Main Street businesses are recruited While the idea of earning a broker’s fee for the revital- “passively,” when a prospective business owner simply ization program by helping district property owners re- walks in the door and asks for information about your cruit new business (or residential) tenants is tempting, district. For example, Bob and Linda Metzger decided to don’t do it. At best, it could make your organization move from their long-time home in Alaska with the goal liable for an Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). At of opening up a coffee roaster and café. They sought a new worst, your organization could be sued (business bro- home specifically in a district with a Main Street program kers must be licensed), and it could lose its nonprofit, - in place. They opened Badger Brothers Coffee and Inter tax-exempt organizational status. Moreover, collecting net Café in Platteville, Wisconsin, because they felt their fees for finding tenants would almost certainly create investment dollars would go farther there because a dedi- conflict with real estate agents and business brokers cated group was focused on enhancing the downtown. in your community. It’s better to partner with property Your program is likely to be better prepared for active owners and realtors in your district to identify prospec- tive tenants—but doing so should be a service the revi- recruitment—but passive recruitment is just as important. talization program provides for free. Be sure you have programs in place and materials ready and be ready to drop everything to show a new prospect around the district. A Main Street executive director in North Carolina keeps keys to all the district’s vacant properties in is as persuasive as a peer talking glowingly about her office; that way, if a prospective business owner drops the district and about how successful his or her in, she can show off available spaces right away. business is. Something to keep in mind before you get started is that some businesses have special needs. Toy stores like com- Follow up with specific, helpful information. 4. After munities with elderly residents—grandparents are their the visit, follow up with a letter and information top customers. Clothing stores prefer to locate in districts that addresses the needs and questions the business that have several other established, successful clothing owner raised. stores. Restaurants want districts that offer good trash collection and security services. Before beginning an active Stay in close contact. As mentioned earlier, it can 5. recruitment program, talk with your Main Street busi- take years for a business to be ready to open a ness owners and find out what sorts of special needs they second location—and it can take years for the right have—then be sure you can offer these to your prospects. location to open up. Contact the prospective business owners every few months and send additional Recruitment Steps information from time to time, so that they know you are still interested. If your organization has a There are a number of ways to recruit a new business. newsletter, add them to your distribution list. Most programs, though, include these steps: Bring business prospects to your district. 6. Give them 1. Write a brief Develop profiles of desired businesses. a driving and walking tour. Show them prospective profile of each type of business you would like to sites that you have previewed. Share the history of recruit—what it sells, for instance, and what types nearby businesses (particularly within their niche) of customers it targets. and why businesses similar to theirs have closed (if any). Introduce them to prominent local merchants Ask volunteers to visit other Send out scouts. 2. and bankers and provide a list of local business neighborhoods and nearby cities to look for service professionals and qualified contractors for businesses that match the profiles of those you would rehabilitations. Take them to a lunch/dinner meeting like to recruit (this will be a popular volunteer job!). with key “influencers.” They don’t have to make contact with the business owner—but they should jot down notes about the When the business is finally Celebrate the opening. 7. business and explain why they think it would be a ready to open in your district, introduce the owner good fit for your district. to his or her new neighbors and to the community by organizing a ribbon-cutting (always nice to have the When a business appropriate Visit business owners. 3. mayor there, if possible), sponsoring an open house, for your district has been identified, contact the and arranging for coverage in local news media. business owner and make an appointment to visit at a convenient time. During the visit, explain that you The process of recruiting a national retailer is, of course, have heard good things about the business and that somewhat different. In most instances, national retailers they might find it profitable to open a new store in will ask you to contact a business broker who will work your district. More importantly, find out what the with them on your behalf. But, if the retailer is willing to business owner would need (bigger space? lower work with you directly, it will want detailed information rent?). It’s a good idea to bring one of your district’s about the district, including: successful retailers to the meeting, as well—nothing IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 89 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

91 Pedestrian traffic counts in the district—by location, • time of day, and day of the week; Retail sales volume, by retail category; • Demographic profile of current shoppers; • Inventory of the district’s businesses; • Information on available financing; • Photos, profiles, and lease terms of available properties; • and The district’s annual promotion calendar. • If you are interested in attracting a chain store or fran- chise to your district, contact the corporation’s site location division and provide a brief overview of your district’s market statistics, including those listed above, and ask if your district meets their basic criteria. In addition, if you are trying to attract a franchise, the franchise company will want you to assist in finding prospective franchisees. To better understand the balance between chain stores and independents, read “Understanding Commercial Gentri- fication” at Economic restructuring is the component of the Main Street approach that works toward finding viable eco- © Linda S. Glisson nomic uses for commercial buildings, both new and historic, which helps keep structures occupied with busi- nesses and people coming to the community. Market Should you work with a broker? research will help the economic restructuring commit- tee support a strong mix of thriving businesses as well as Business brokers serve as agents to find business- provide valuable information that the entire organization es (usually retailers) to fill vacancies in your district. While this may sound like a good idea, there are will use to make educated decisions about projects and some drawbacks. strategies necessary for meeting revitalization goals. Brokers work mostly with chains. Very few brokers • have good networks of independent businesses. Also, many brokers have exclusive relationships with particular national retailers. A broker who has a relationship with Starbuck’s, for example, will not help you recruit a rival coffee shop. Business brokers typically charge It’s expensive. • about five percent of the rent the new business will pay for the next five years. So, for a new business whose monthly rent will be $3,000, you’ll pay about $9,000—up front. Brokers will often charge more if you want independent businesses, rather than chains, because the process is more time consum- ing and involves more due diligence. If you want to recruit a national retailer, though, you will almost certainly have to hire a broker; most nation- al retailers only work with brokers. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 90 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

92 RESOURCES Websites Associations of independent businesses: There are The SBA offers a US Small Business Administration: numerous national associations for independent busi- wealth of training and technical assistance to small busi- nesses, and most of them provide valuable information, nesses. procurement, and networking opportunities for small businesses. Among them: These programs include: American Booksellers Association’s “BookSense” program: Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). One • of the SBA’s most valuable programs, SCORE pairs American Independent Business Alliance: retired, experienced business people with small businesses that need assistance. American Specialty Toy Retailers’ Association: SBA offers several pro- Certification programs. • grams that certify small businesses in categories where the government is committed to creating op- The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies: portunities—minority-owned, women-owned, and small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), in particu- Council of Independent Restaurants of America: lar. It also offers a special certification for businesses in “HUBZones” (Historically Underutilized Business Zones). In all instances, certification provides special Independent Community Banks of America: opportunities for small businesses to sell their prod- ucts or services to federal government agencies and federal contractors. National Association of Theater Owners (NATO): Women’s Business Centers. SBA operates almost • 100 Women’s Business Centers throughout the National Community Pharmacists’ Association: United States. These centers offer a wide range of programs to help women open and operate successful businesses. The Boston Main Streets pro- National Cooperative Business Association: gram has a longstanding partnership with the Bos- ton area’s Women’s Business Development Center, which conducts training programs for the city’s National Grocers’ Association: neighborhood Main Street managers and business owners and helps participating Main Street pro- The National Business Incubator Association: grams recruit new businesses and find resources for Provides trends research, resources, and success existing ones. stories on business incubators. The SBA also offers loans, but, frankly, most Main Street retailers will usually do better with local banks, which Articles are required by the federal Community Reinvestment Act to reinvest in the neighborhoods in which they con- “Andersonville: Where Local Businesses Come First,” duct business. , November Main Street News by Andrea L. Dono, 2008. Explores Andersonville’s successful “Buy Affiliated with Small Business Development Centers: Local First” initiative. (but not technically part of) the SBA, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide a broad range of “Averting Disaster: Asset Protection for Main Street technical assistance to small businesses, including start- Businesses,” by Genny Dill, , Main Street News up assistance and help maneuvering through the SBA’s December 2006. Explains the type of insurance certification and loan programs. Many prospective busi- coverage small businesses need. ness owners contact a Small Business Development Center for information and assistance. Located through- , Main Street News “Focus Groups,” by Josh Bloom, out the country, most SBDCs are housed in colleges or universities. March 2006. Explains when and how a program should conduct a focus group. Be sure to familiarize the staff of your city’s SBDC with your district’s business development plans and with any “Main Street Business Assistance Round-up,” by other resources you can offer, and stay in close contact Andrea L. Dono, Main Street News , December 2005. with them—they can be an excellent source of referrals Describes innovative and creative strategies several to and contacts. Use the SBDC locator on Main Street programs have devised to help their find a center near you. local independent business owners. IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 91 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

93 RESOURCES, continued Articles, continued Books Step-by-Step Market Analysis: A workbook for “Market Analysis: Going it Alone,” by Andrea L. Dono, , by commercial district business development , January/February 2006. Case Main Street News Kate Joncas (National Main Street Center, 2004). study on how Jamestown, N.Y., conducted its market Steps for volunteers to follow when collecting analysis research without hiring a consultant. market data. Profitable Solutions series by Tom Shay. Discusses Fill-in-the-Blank Business Recruitment: A workbook Main Street News retail management in issues: , by Kate for Main Street Business Development October 2008, January 2009. Joncas (National Main Street Center, 2000). Explains “Protecting Locally Owned Retail: Planning Tools how to develop a recruitment program and ways to for Curbing Chains and Nurturing Homegrown achieve the right business mix. Businesses,” by Stacy Mitchell, Main Street News , February 2004. Regulatory strategies and planning tools to help small business owners prosper; looks at economic impact reviews, land-use rules, limiting chains and big-box stores, and more. “Recruiting Sustainable Businesses,” by Diane Laird and Rick Ferrell, Main Street News , August 2007. A primer on creating a business inventory, recruiting businesses, and balancing the right mix of businesses. “Servicing the Service Sector,” by Todd Barman and Sheri Stuart, , October 2006. Ways Main Street News to include service businesses, not just retail, in the revitalization effort. Shop Talk series by Margie Johnson. Discusses business improvement in Main Street News issues: January 2008; March 2008, May 2008, July 2008, September 2008, December 2008. Main Street News , April “Surveys,” by Josh Bloom, 2005. A primer on conducting surveys and designing survey tools. Image, left: © Kennedy Lawson Smith; Images, center and right: © Linda S. Glisson IMPROVING COMMERCIAL DYNAMICS 92 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

94 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING chapter 10 REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT By Kennedy Lawson Smith It is virtually impossible to separate the economics of a commercial district and its real estate. All economic activities require real estate and nearly all—the exception, perhaps, being street vendors—need buildings. Even a business selling its goods and services through the Internet needs a building at least to house the computer. Furthermore, there is a direct, inter - dependent relationship between the building—and its economic value—and the economic activities within the four walls. The public sector’s return on its “investment” in a commercial district is also related to the area’s real estate—directly through property tax revenues, building permits, utility hook-up fees, and special assessments; and indirectly from sales taxes, business license fees, franchise taxes, water and sewer charges, and business income taxes. The vast majority of buildings in commercial districts are owned by private-sector users or investors. For a business owner who also owns his or her building, the most significant fixed asset on the balance sheet is that piece of real estate. For an investor who owns a com- mercial property, the economic health of that asset is intimately related to the economic health of the business district, whether the owner recognizes that or not—and many don’t. The primary funding source for some mature Main Street organizations is a Business Im- provement District (BID) or the equivalent, which is usually structured on a property value- based levy. Regardless of whether or not your Main Street program receives BID funding, a big part of your organization’s work is helping property owners make appropriate design improvements to their buildings to protect the district’s historic fabric and contribute to the desirability of the community. © Josh Bloom

95 before So all three sectors—private, public, and nonprofit— have a vested interest in maintaining the economic health of real estate within the commercial district. But the appearance of economic vitality is at least as important in a commercial district as the reality. Vacant or poorly maintained buildings send a less-than-subtle message that “business isn’t so great here.” So do buildings with deferred maintenance, boarded-up structures, vacant lots, and low-quality alterations. Thus, frequently on the agenda of the business district after management organization is the question, “What should we be doing about the real estate here?” This chapter will help Main Street board and staff members answer that question. Basics of Real Estate Real estate is a particular challenge since it has characteris- A new awning, tuck pointing, and new upper-floor tics shared by no other asset, including: windows turned this declining asset into a shining asset in Charles City, Iowa. Images © Jim Davis Real estate is fixed in place (unlike a government bond • or gold coins). own it). There’s an old saying in real estate that “far more buildings are torn down than fall down.” What this means Every parcel is unique (unlike, say, shares of Microsoft, • is that the remaining economic life is—or is thought by the where one share of stock is, by definition, the same as owner to be—shorter than the remaining physical life. all others). This reality of real estate is why Main Street organiza- tions become concerned about the economic viability of Real estate is finite in quantity (Will Rogers was • their commercial buildings. Some buildings in the district: right—we’re not making any more land). need expenditures to remedy deferred maintenance; require substantial rehabilitation; or face demolition. Real estate is necessary for every human activity • So real estate should be an agenda item on the Main (not true of any other asset). Street program’s work plan. Real estate is a longer term asset than virtu- • ally any other (and the land portion of the real Why Get Involved estate will outlast any of its possessors). Ask anyone to name the three most important things in When the term real estate is used, it generally implies real estate and they’re likely to respond— “location, loca- both land and any structure built upon the land. For tion, location.” But consider what that means. The cliché investment purposes, however, the land portion is assumed isn’t “roof, walls, and floor.” The three most important to have an infinite life, while the building has a “declining” things actually don’t have anything to do with the build- life. This characteristic is shared with other types of ing at all. Real estate is peculiar as an asset because its investments. An oil well or a coal mine, for example, is also economic value does not come from four walls and a roof. a declining asset—that is to say as oil or coal is extracted, It comes from the building’s context—its location, in other the asset diminishes in value until it reaches a point where words, factors generated external to the property lot lines. the supply is exhausted and the economic value is essen- An individual property owner may claim, “my property tially zero. is my castle.” But the economic value of that “castle” is But one important difference exists between these generated by the investments of others, including the city, “declining” assets and a building. With proper maintenance other property owners, institutions, transportation agen- and periodic reinvestment (renovation or rehabilitation), cies, and business owners. The economic value of a parcel the productive life of a building can be repeatedly extend- of real estate is created not by that parcel but by its con- ed. This is proven by the sheer number of buildings 50, text. Conversely, the condition, occupancy, and use of an 100, and even 200 years old that are still in active use and individual property directly affect other properties near it. economically productive. You may look at an empty building and think, “that From a real estate perspective a building is said to property owner isn’t making any money,” but he or she isn’t have two life expectancies: 1) the remaining physical life the only one suffering a loss. Adjacent property owners, (how long the building will continue to stand); and 2) nearby businesses, and city hall all suffer the consequences the remaining economic life (how long the building will of the action, or inaction, of an individual property owner. generate sufficient net income to justify continuing to REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 94 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

96 That is the core reason why your Main Street organiza- In many situations, however, the opposite is true—the tion may get involved in real estate. It is not an indepen- of the completed project is less than the of the cost value dent asset but an interdependent one. Buildings that are project itself. poorly maintained, vacant, and deteriorating are liabilities, not assets, to the entire commercial district. If a vacant, or underused, building that is poorly maintained and physi- cally deteriorating adversely affects both the owner’s financial statement and the economic health of the business district, why, then, doesn’t the owner reinvest? There are two possible reasons—the market or the owner—and each is discussed below. Understanding the Market—Cost and Value It doesn’t matter if this situation results from ac- Two words are often used as synonyms in real estate— quiring a building and rehabilitating it, buying a va- cost and value. While both are important concepts in cant lot and constructing a new building, or renovat- understanding real estate, not only are cost and value ing a building already owned. If the owner/investor not synonyms, they have decidedly different meanings. anticipates that the cost exceeds the the project value, In somewhat oversimplified terms, cost is the will need incentives before it can be started. The dif- sum of the dollars that will have to be spent between is called the ference between cost and value gap. an idea— “I think I’ll buy that building and turn it into a coffee shop”—and a completed project. Value is what the property is worth to someone else—potential third parties in the marketplace—who will buy or rent the property when the project is com- value and Cost are driven by different variables. pleted. is composed of the acquisition price, construction Cost costs, professional fees, construction financing, and miscel- laneous costs. Construction costs are typically identified hard costs (building construction labor and materials) as (fees, financing, professional services, etc.). soft costs and The existence of a is often the reason that a local gap Value is more complex, but is affected by anticipated development entity gets involved in a real estate project. operations (rents, vacancy, expenses); financing (amount, Usually, the organization will identify or create incentives to interest rate, loan term); equity perceptions (risks, invest- help close the gap. In some cases, however, the organization ment alternatives, tax benefits); and market expectations might become a direct participant in the development, either (anticipated appreciation, liquidity, management intensity). on its own or in partnership with a private-sector entity. cost is what will have to be spent; value is More simply, In real estate, the market generally works well, although what can be obtained from the market. not perfectly. The private sector won’t undertake certain , private cost exceeds, or is expected to exceed, If value activities without incentives or assistance of some type. capital will generally act without further action by the Examples might be: affordable housing, business incuba- public or nonprofit sector. Graphically, that situation might tion, community meeting spaces, parking facilities, and be represented as follows: others. Why won’t the private sector, by itself, invest in those activities? Simple—the cost is greater than the . value While, as noted above, there are many variables that and cost the most critical nexus between value, affect value is the rental income the property can generate. While real estate analysis is a technical field that can in- clude extremely sophisticated mathematical techniques, it is possible to establish some general parameters that will apply to most buildings in most places most of the time. The table, “Estimating the Gap,” on page 96, is not a mathematically exact calculation of how large a gap might be; instead it provides an “order of magnitude” estimate your cost value is greater than and if what the private If Main Street organization can use to figure out the size of a sector is proposing to do is consistent with the overall potential gap. economic development strategies of the district, your Main Across the top are a series of project costs. These are Street organization doesn’t need to do anything but stand expressed in dollars per square foot and should include hard back and cheer them on. Ultimately that should be the costs, soft costs, and acquisition cost, if any. Down the left long-term goal—private capital making real estate invest- hand side is a range of rents, expressed in dollars per square ments without subsidy. foot per year. At the juncture of the anticipated project costs REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 95 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

97 Estimating the Gap (per square foot) 1 Project Costs 2 $125 $25 $40 $50 $60 $75 $90 $100 Rent $150 $5 $0 $5-15 $15-25 $25-35 $40-50 $55-65 $115-125 $90-100 $65-75 $20-35 $5-20 $0-10 $35-50 $0 $8 $95-110 $70-85 $45-60 $0 $80-100 $0 $0 $0 $0-10 $5-25 $20-40 $30-50 $55-75 $10 $12 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0-15 $5-30 $15-40 $40-65 $65-90 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0-20 $14 $0-5 $0-30 $25-55 $50-80 $0-20 $0 $0 $0-10 $0 $0 $0 $16 $10-45 $35-70 $18 $0 $0 $0 $0 $ $0-$10 $0-35 $25-60 $0 $20 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0-25 $10-50 $0 $22 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0-15 $0-40 $24 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0-5 $0-30 $0 $25 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0-25 $0 $30 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 1. Dollars per square foot include acquisition, hard costs, and soft costs. For a long-term property owner who plans to rehabilitate a building and continue to own it, use construction costs only. 2. Dollars per square foot per year. and the anticipated annual rents will be a range of 2. A business owner may They don’t know what to do. numbers representing the gap, if any, that the project is own his or her building, but that individual’s expertise likely to have. is probably in business, not real estate. A property Of course the particulars of the lease, the interest owner who is a landlord may be good at recruiting rate available at the time, the strength of the local real tenants and collecting rents, but may know little estate market, and numerous other factors will affect about redevelopment issues. Rehabbing a building the gap. But this table represents a starting point for is not a simple process. Thinking about what should estimating the incentives or other gap-closing tech- be done, who the architect and general contactor niques necessary for the desired project to go forward. should be, how to finance the improvements, how According to this table, then, if a project is anticipated to negotiate new leases to recover the additional to cost $125 per square foot, including acquisition and investment, and dozens of other decisions may simply construction costs, and the rent available in the district be beyond the capacity of the current owner. is likely to be $16 per square foot per year, then the expected gap would be between $10 and $45 per square 3. This may be the most They don’t want the hassle. foot. If the market is very strong, with properties rapidly common reason of all. Collecting rent from an appreciating and rents rising, the gap would be at the existing long-term tenant who doesn’t complain about lower end of this range (or perhaps even a bit below). much because the rent hasn’t gone up in five years If, on the other hand, the revitalization process is just is a relatively hassle-free way to invest in real estate. beginning, there is a high degree of vacancy, and interest Pondering all of the management decisions involved rates are rising, the gap could be toward the higher end. in rehabilitating a building and taking the speculative risk that things in the end will be financially better is challenging and stressful. Why Building Owners Don’t Invest The role of your Main Street organization in these The existence of a gap is probably the most common instances should be: reason that rehabilitation or new construction does not take place. But sometimes property owners don’t reinvest, To discover confidentially which of the above is the • even though it would appear to be in their best financial owner’s situation; interest to do so. Why wouldn’t they rehab their buildings under those circumstances? There seem to be three To figure out a way to provide the current owner with • primary reasons: what he or she is missing; and/or 1. They don’t have the money. Often people assume To facilitate new ownership. • that because a person owns a parcel of real estate that he or she must have other financial resources as At the very least, posting a current listing of available well. Sometimes this simply is not the case. “Land properties online and telling the stories of new property rich and cash poor” is not an uncommon situation. owners on Main Street in your newsletter will help poten- REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 96 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

98 tial owners see the advantages of buying property in your district. (Check with your real estate licensing board before listing properties on your website if you are working with real estate agents instead of property owners to compile the list.) Create a package of incentives available in your area and other information to make the process as easy as possible for property owners to improve their properties so they enhance the district. Rehabilitating a building can also benefit the owner in many ways. Improvements can: economic life. Extend the property’s • Achieve a better quantity, quality, and durability of the • income stream from the property (i.e. more rents, better tenants, longer leases). 1 capitalization rate. (A rehabilitated property Lower the • in good condition will be assigned a lower capitaliza- tion rate than a property in deteriorating condition. A lower capitalization rate results in a higher value for the property.) © Jackson St. Press Make the property eligible for more favorable financ- • Predevelopment. When you or someone else has an ing (lower interest rate, longer loan term). • idea for a project, the first step is to assess resources and local investment to determine if the project can Eliminate operating inefficiencies. • be successful. This is a lengthy process that involves time, resources, partnerships, study, and expertise Decrease operating expenses. • to decide if a project should be pursued or aban- doned. Cost analysis, financing, a detailed develop- Turn unused areas into productive space. • ment proposal, and a plan for the building’s reuse must all be factored into the decision to develop the Improve the net to gross ratio. • property. Gaining control of the site—via develop- ment rights through a disposition agreement with Establish a new depreciation schedule. • the city or perhaps through an option to purchase, for example—generally happens during this phase. Instill pride in the property owner. • Acquisition. Acquiring the property should be post- Eliminate embarrassment from owning a dilapidated • • poned until the project’s feasibility is determined. or deteriorating building. Many nontraditional developers erroneously be- lieve acquiring the property is the first step in the Prevent badgering from bankers, other property • process. If possible, unless a structure is threatened owners, tenants, other businesses, and the Main Street with demolition or is in need of immediate stabi- organization. lization, gaining control of the property should come first, and acquiring it should come after. Commercial building improvements can also help lower vacancy rates and spur reinvestment in adja- After the property Construction and development. cent properties, which are important indirect benefits • has been acquired, get out the hammer and nails and for a property owner, as well as the entire district. start marketing the space to potential tenants or buy- ers or begin planning for long-term ownership. When to Get Involved Operation. Create a plan to manage and maintain • Chronologically, real estate development gener - the property. This stage includes marketing and man- ally has five identifiable phases, each with its own aging tenants, drawing up lease agreements, draft- challenges and activities. Those phases are: ing a maintenance schedule, managing the budget, and all other aspects of operating a property. Disposition. When it is appropriate—when market • 1. Capitalization rate is the relationship between value and net operating income, which is usually expressed as a percentage. In a revitalizing community, a lower capitalization rate shows that the conditions are right and the proper buyer has been market values the future appreciation of the area more. identified—the owner can dispose of the property. REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 97 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

99 Depending on the needs of the project, a local Main How to Get Involved Street program could be involved in any or all of these phases. However, there is also another way to consider While there are dozens of ways when to get involved. Look at situations where some type for nonprofit organizations to of participation in the development process might be become involved in the real estate development process, the most particularly critical. These situations are: common are the following: When the private sector, by itself, will not act; • 1. As an advocate (acting as a When the private sector, by itself, cannot act; public proponent for • the project); When there is a need to influence the character, use, • scale, or timing of the transaction; As a packager (putting 2. together the incentives and When the proposed use is an extension of a public perhaps the property itself • benefit purpose; for development by someone else); When the project would serve as a catalyst for addi- • tional activity; and As a passive partner 3. (taking on an ownership When a nonprofit entity is needed as a conduit or other financial-reward • for funds. capacity, but leaving the management, development, While all of those situations occasionally arise, by far financing, and other the most common scenario is when the private sector will activities to be handled by not or cannot act on its own. When is that the case? the other partner(s). The other partner(s) could be private entities, When no financing is available; nonprofit organizations, or both); • When no acceptable financing is available; 4. As an active partner (directly assuming one or more • roles necessary for the development to take place); When there is high actual risk; and/or • When there is high perceived risk; As a developer (assuming all responsibilities of 5. • ownership, development, financing, management, etc.). When the property cannot be acquired; • Your Main Street organization needs to consider which When the scale of the project is either too small or of these roles, if any, it should assume according to the • too big for the interested developers or the owner; consequences each role could entail. Issues to consider are: When the relationship between the risk involved in the Financial risk; • • project and the anticipated return is out of balance; Political and/or community credibility risk; • When significant public benefits are an integral part • of the project; Short-term financial returns; • When the property is not producing net revenue; Long-term financial returns; • • When general economic conditions are unfavorable; Staff time required; • • When there are abnormally high transaction costs; Staff expertise required; • • When other available investment alternatives are Board time required; • • more attractive; and The influence your organization’s role would • When the project cost exceeds the project value. have on the use of the property; • In each of these instances, without the active involve- The financial capital required; and • ment of the public and/or the nonprofit sector, the project most likely will not go forward. The political capital required. • REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 98 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

100 The matrix below compares the various development Coordination of design work; • roles with the consequences of those roles. There is no way to absolutely determine which role is Tenant recruitment; • most appropriate. But before your Main Street program decides to become involved in real estate development, the Assistance in securing equity; • roles and the consequences need to be carefully considered. Often, a Main Street board will conclude, “We don’t Assistance in securing debt; • have any money and we don’t have any real estate develop- ment expertise, therefore we shouldn’t be involved in real Assistance in securing incentives; • estate development at all.” But this is looking too narrowly at what the organization might “bring to the table” to Assistance in lease negotiation; • help a private-sector developer. By getting involved with Main Street real estate, your organization can take con- Construction supervision; • trol over the fate of historic assets and find appropriate tenants who advance your revitalization goals. The list of Rental of the property; and/or • ways to get involved is nearly endless but could include: Long-term management. • Pre-development planning and evaluation; • The level of involvement will depend on your or - Community outreach; ganization’s human and financial resources, the needs • of the project, the importance of the development to Political contacts; the overall strategy of the district, and other factors. • Advocacy for stricter absentee landlord regulation; • Development Incentives Acquisition assistance; • One of the most useful ways that a Main Street program Preliminary design work; can participate in a prospective real estate development is • by identifying and facilitating incentives. This is an area Tenant identification; where the organization can build expertise and knowl- • edge that a local property owner, and even a sophisti- Assistance in structuring the transaction; cated developer, will find extraordinarily valuable. But • CONSEQUENCES OF VARIOUS DEVELOPMENT ROLES - Advo - Pack Active Passive Developer ager cate Partner Partner Moderate Low Low Financial risk Very high High Very high Moderate Moderate High Very high Political/community risk Low Short-term returns None Moderate Low to moderate None Moderate Potentially high Potentially high Long-term returns None None Staff time High Moderate Very high Very high Moderate Staff expertise Moderate High Very high Very high Low High Very high Moderate Moderate Low Board time Low Moderate Moderate High High Influence on use Very high Very high Moderate Low Financial capital Depends Very high Very high Moderate High Moderate Political capital REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 99 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

101 the starting point is to remember that the purpose of redevelopment projects to keep demolition at bay or incentives is to close the gap between cost and value. to spur other investment, becoming a developer often Your organization should find out what is avail- is the best decision. Don’t confuse a financially un- able and what is needed. Talking with area developers feasible project with one that simply has a financing will reveal what types of financing they have found gap. Projects must be viable, “bankable” projects. most helpful and what types have been most difficult to If you don’t know anything about being a developer, obtain. Area lenders can share if they have any spe- and if you don’t feel you know much about real estate cial loan products for Main Street property as well as in general, don’t let that be an insurmountable barrier. identify any financing needs in their Community Re- Here’s one inspiration: Historic Clarksville, Inc. (HCI), investment Act plans. Local government officials can the Main Street program in Clarksville, Missouri, a tiny explain what types of financing they currently offer, town of 490 people, bought its first property for $459 in and what they might be willing to offer in the future. 1988, and subsequently acquired 19 of the 31 contiguous Literally hundreds of incentives have been created downtown structures. At first, many people didn’t take over the years to encourage real estate development. the group’s vision seriously; they wondered why anyone Virtually all of them fall into one or more of eight would want to buy crumbling real estate in a sagging categories, according to the way they assist a project: economy. But HCI proved its ability to get things done by quickly turning a vacant lot into an attractive park after Reduce costs (e.g. sale of property for $1 in getting Southwestern Bell to donate the land to the city. • exchange for commitment to redevelop); Soon donations began to pour in. Ralph Huesing, HCI’s program manager, had spent a lot of time building Reduce cash required (e.g. grant for building relationships, informing people about historic tax credits, • code compliance); and soliciting contributions from people who stood to benefit from the revitalization. For example, Huesing con- Increase income (e.g. rent subsidy); vinced an area electrician to donate his services because • that money would come back to him in future rehab Reduce expenses (e.g. property tax abatement); work. HCI worked with an architect made available • through the Missouri Main Street Program to rehab the Reduce risk (e.g. loan guarantee); buildings and follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. • Over time, the private sector initiated several projects Improve financing (e.g. contingent subordinate on its own. HCI worked with the state historic preserva- • 2 ); debt provided tion officer (SHPO) to develop a façade easement policy and write legal agreements. The group also worked Improve the investment environment (e.g. es- with local banks to modify plans and find creative ways • tablishment of targeted investment area); and to make building sales happen. Read “Main Street as Developer: Salem, New Jersey,” on www.MainStreet. Improve the informational environment (e.g. pro- org/RevitalizingMainStreet for the full case study. • viding market studies to potential developers). Incentives can come from any of the three eco- after nomic sectors—public, private, and nonprofit. Public-sector incentives can come from the federal government (e.g. historic rehabilitation tax credits), from the state government (e.g. sale tax waivers on building materials), or from the local government (e.g. creation of a tax increment financing district). For additional examples of incentives such as sales tax sharing and the transfer of development rights, visit to access “Development Incentives.” before How to Become the Developer Many Main Street programs are assuming a devel- opment role in real estate. When the private sec- tor won’t act but the commercial district needs key Dilapidated and economically depressed in the 1980s, downtown Clarks- ville, Missouri, has seen a remarkable resurrection thanks to the efforts of 2. These are loans that rank lower in priority than other loans and therefore would get paid out after Historic Clarksville, Inc., which served as the catalyst for redevelopment the other loans in case of default, if your project meets certain lender goals (like affordable housing, for example). by purchasing and rehabbing downtown real estate. REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 100 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

102 The group offers these tips: • Conduct a real estate assessment and get recom- mendations from an expert; • Take a property inventory and document each prop- erty; • Work with lawyers and other professionals to help you close the deals; Develop a positive relationship with the city and • study city codes; Lessons Learned from a When working with contractors, don’t be afraid to • Main Street Program Developer ask questions and clearly define your expectations. Stand Up For Salem (SUFS) in Salem, New Jersey, was ap- Give contractors feedback on their performance; pointed the official redeveloper of municipal-owned, va- • Be the good guys—let the city play “bad cop”; cant properties and incorporated a separate nonprofit for development purposes. Guided by the goals from a master Don’t put off projects for too long—as buildings age • planning process, it began taking on exciting mixed-use they turn into more complex projects; and projects downtown. To fund its development work, SUFS Try to find an end use before buying a property so • created a real estate fund by selling properties it acquired to private developers, securing grants, splitting developer that you can build the cost of acquisition into the fees, and charging property management fees. overall project. Staying true to a comprehensive approach, HCI of the district, and real estate development needs to also identified four business niches that worked well in be an essential component of that strategy. Without Clarksville (artists/artisans, antiques, nature, and history) the active participation of Main Street, many projects and only sold or leased space to appropriate businesses. that ought to be done won’t get off the ground. Ev- ery program should at least ask itself: is now the time Conclusion to become more active in real estate development? Most importantly, if we truly want our commercial Not every Main Street program should be involved districts to be economically and culturally vibrant, it in the real estate development process. And certainly is imperative that they be among the easiest places for Main Street needn’t be involved in every potential proj- people to develop new businesses, rehabilitate historic ect. But it is likely that your organization has the pri- buildings, and construct new, compatible infill buildings. mary responsibility for improving the economic health When you apply for a grant, you increase your chances of suc- How to Be a Successful Loan Candidate cess by targeting your request to meet the grantor’s require- By Krista Kendall ments or goals. When applying for a loan, you need to assure the lender that you can repay it. The lender will assess the Projects take money to happen. Among the dozens of fi- project’s risk and you must be prepared to provide informa- nancing tools and incentives available for a development tion that backs up your vision. Be prepared to share: project, applying for a loan might be on your to-do list. The Your vision and the end goal of the project; • best way to be a successful loan candidate is to strengthen your lender’s confidence. One tool that will increase your • The economic viability of the project; success in securing money—whether for a loan or other • The capacity of the developer and development team; funding mechanism—is writing a sound business plan. De- veloping a business plan for your real estate project will Collateral for the loan; • make you look credible to lenders, as well as other stake- holders and partners, and will get you organized. The source of loan repayment; • Start your plan with the pre-development phase and end The financial capacity of your organization; • with selling or managing the space once the project is com- Other funding sources; • plete. The business plan will not only be your road map to completing the project, but will also include information The debt coverage; and • that lenders and other funders seek—even though each All other information that the lender requests. • funding source will have its own underwriting parameters. REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 101 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

103 RESOURCES Books Websites National Trust Community Investment Corporation Building Codes and Historic Buildings , by Melvin (NTCIC): This subsidiary of the National Trust for Green and Anne Watson (National Trust for Historic Historic Preservation makes equity investments in Preservation: 2005). Figure out which codes and real estate projects that qualify for federal historic other regulations apply in your community and tax credits and when available, state historic and how to work out alternatives that preserve historic New Markets Tax Credits. Online tools include the features. basics about historic tax credits, an interactive online tax credit calculator, and an interactive rehabilitation Buying Time for Heritage: How to Save an Endangered credit guide that walks you through the stages of Historic Property , by J. Myrick Howard (University using tax credits: qualifying, earning, and redeeming. of North Carolina Press: 2007). Practical tips on how a neighborhood, downtown, or preservation group can get involved in beneficial real estate work with National Trust Loan Fund (NTLF): NTLF specializes in modest resources. predevelopment; acquisition; mini-permanent, bridge, and rehabilitation loans for residential, commercial, and public-use projects. Eligible borrowers include re- Community Initiated Development: A manual for vitalization organizations or real estate developers nonprofit real estate development in traditional working in designated Main Street communities; local, commercial districts , by Donovan Rypkema (National state or regional governments; and for-profit develop- Main Street Center: 2004). This manual is written to ers of older and/or historic buildings. Read case stud- help nonprofit organizations to approach real estate ies and get checklists in the Resources section of development as an informed developer. This book . takes you step by step through the process. Articles Feasibility Assessment Manual for Reusing Historic , by Donovan Rypkema (National Trust for Buildings “Control Your Real Estate, Control Your Destiny,” by Jay Historic Preservation: 2007). Outlines a step-by- C. Jurgensen, Main Street News , February 2005. Learn step process that enables an assessment team to real estate finance, how to put together a development determine the feasibility of a building project and team, and how to make the right decisions during the prepare a written report to support its findings. pre-development phase. , by Jayne Guide to Tax-Advantaged Rehabilitation “Historic Clarksville, Inc.: Saving the Historic Downtown Boyle, Stuart Ginsberg, Sally Oldham, and Donovan by Buying One Building at a Time,” by Andrea L. Dono, Rypkema (National Trust for Historic Preservation: Main Street News , August 2003. The full case study of 2002). Provides information on the historic the Clarksville, Missouri, real estate success mentioned rehabilitation tax credit in an easy question-and- on pages 100–101. answer format. “Main Street Real Estate Development Strategies: Borrowing for Development,” by Krista Kendall, Sarah , Greenberg, and Tanya Winters, Main Street News July 2007. Get an inside perspective on what makes a good loan applicant, what information the applicant should have, how to write a business plan, how to approach a lender as well as tips for underwriting the loan, repayment, and building a sources and uses budget. See for the full article. REAL ESTATE AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 102 ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING

104 DESIGN chapter 11 VISUAL MERCHANDISING: Building the Main Street Experience By Leon Steele WANTED! If only creating a dynamic Main Street experience were as simple as A dynamic Main Street experience. advertising and interviewing for a position. Only serious communities need apply. Main Streets are about commerce—but unique retail and service businesses Applicant must understand and appreciate historic preservation, business, and peo alone do not make visiting Main Street exciting. A customer develops opinions ple; must recognize the value of economic - about Main Street based on real and perceived experiences within individual and cultural development associated with placemaking; must be committed for the businesses as well as the entire district. A positive trip to Main Street hinges on long haul; dedicated to instilling the col many factors, including great shopping experiences, an attractive streetscape laborative support required for revitalizing - a commercial district, with skills to moti and storefronts, effective signage, superior customer service, festivals and events, vate, promote, and energize the district to - security, and many other elements addressed by the Main Street Four-Point Ap- strengthen its vision. ® —all of which require a collective revitalization effort as well as indi- proach vidual merchant participation and the commitment of local government and community stakeholders. For example, in the heart of Louisiana, along the Cane River, sits Natchitoches— - a Christmas holiday destination for thousands of people who descend on this pictur esque downtown because stakeholders pull out all the stops to create a dynamic Main Street experience. Residents and tourists get a Norman Rockwell-style emotional rush through the annual Festival of Lights along the banks of the river, fireworks, caroling, food, parades, music, and other entertainment. Every merchant strives to create the best possible impression. Streets and sidewalks are clean, and storefront window decorations contribute to this holiday wonderland. This annual celebration only gets better each year. Why? Because the mayor, the chamber, the CVB, the tourism office, the Main Street program, and the merchants all . They understand the economic value of cultural tourism, preservation of their get it © Marcelo Fuentes Photography

105 The Five-year Rule There are no set rules of design that apply across the board. Interior design should be influenced by the needs of the occupant and the limitations and opportunities of the space. However, there is one guiding design principle— the Five-year Rule—which advises that a store should get a makeover or be refreshed every five years. Five years gives merchants a chance to notice which design strategies worked and which did not. Five years is also enough time for styles to grow stale so business owners should update their store’s appearance to keep its im- age fresh. Merchants should assess everything from store layout to signage and every other design component. Your design committee can help business owners make the Five-year Rule affordable by introducing them to por - © Linda S. Glisson table fixtures, which can be easily rearranged or moved to commercial structures, the need to work toward the storage as needed. Merchants can also make “lease-hold collective good, and the importance of marketing the town improvements,” which are achieved by changing fixtures, and the experiences it promises. Main Street programs installing carpet, and building out kitchens. But these invest- must help local stakeholders “get it” and convince them to ments are left behind when the merchant vacates the space work together toward the same vision. and thus should be kept to a minimum. Portable fixtures Adopting the Main Street approach is not a silver bullet will allow the business owner to refresh the store’s look for revitalization; maintaining success over time requires frequently and often cost less than permanent fixtures. support and commitment from all stakeholders. Your All businesses, from large national retailers to doc- organization must help them understand that the district is tor’s offices and small coffee shops, use design profes- truly the sum of its parts. Revitalization will take time and sionals to create an inviting, user-friendly space. After all, changes will happen in stages, but it must be addressed shopping isn’t fun when we have to blaze a trail though wholly, and with overlapping plans of implementation. densely packed racks, and it is equally unsettling to browse Main Streets are not just collections of buildings, but the through stores with sparsely stocked shelves. Your Main hearts of communities, distinct places, and the roots of our Street program can arrange consulting visits from coordi- nation. Ignored, abandoned, and otherwise unprotected, nating Main Street design staff or other specialists to help they disappear. And with that, so do the souls of communi- business owners meet their goals through better design. ties—and people. Specialists can analyze the floor plan, lighting, display Spending money is a big part of American life. Dell areas, and layout to ensure that customers can circulate deChant, a religion professor at the University of South comfortably and that design plans contribute to Main Florida, writes in his book, The Sacred Santa: Religious Di- Street’s appeal. A good designer can also help create design , that consumerism is a reli- mensions of Consumer Culture plans or models, especially during the concept and plan- gion itself and that “we buy, not because something is worn ning phases, for a business owner who wishes to expand. out, but because it’s what we’s a rush.” He states that we are not workaholics, but shopaholics who work so we can consume. Even during economic downturns, Americans shop, particularly for special occasions, because the associated activities and rituals make us feel good. The questions for Main Street executive directors and business people are: how aggressively do you capitalize on the emo- tional rush of consumerism and special occasions, and how do you contribute to making Main Street a special place? Many people consider shopping a form of entertain- ment, which makes it imperative that your Main Street offer more than a one-dimensional experience where customers buy what they need and then leave. A historic commercial district can be designed and programmed in countless ways to create a festive, exciting environment— through the business mix, the historic setting, unique architecture, appealing store interiors, walkable streets, © Andrea L Dono events, cultural attractions, and so much more. Creating Custom shelving looks attractive and meets the needs of this a dynamic experience can be achieved through blending wine shop, but are “lease-hold improvements” such as these aspects of each of the four points. This chapter will look right for your local businesses? at helping businesses create special, and profitable, spaces. VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE 104 DESIGN

106 exciting winter holidays window décor of major department Customer Service stores along Manhattan’s famed Fifth Avenue and the festive holiday atmosphere of downtown Natchitoches, Louisiana. The design of a commercial space is not the only tool for In big cities and small towns alike, exciting, creative win- boosting sales. Customer service plays a major role in dow displays contribute to the sense of place, an attractive attracting and keeping customers. When you think about streetscape, and “street theatre,” which is street-level visual your own experiences, when you compare shops where interest and activity that increase foot traffic. you are treated like the store’s most important customer Window displays project an image, either good or bad, and others where you were barely acknowledged, which of the quality of goods and services available throughout a left you with the best impression? Strong customer service district. Exciting, visually appealing windows that are visible is where Main Street businesses have a chance to stand out day and night contribute to a vibrant feel and positive from the competition. Your organization is poised to help public perception. At the other end of the design spectrum, business owners capitalize on customer service strengths. dirty windows, or worse, display space used for storage, Meet, Greet, and Excite contribute to a low-quality, negative public perception that hurts the entire district, not just the business with the The most important customer interaction is between the unattractive storefront. shopper and employees. Customers should always be treated as guests and welcomed with a friendly greeting Properly designed display windows Attract attention. • and warm smile, which go a long way toward making blur the separation between the sidewalk and the store people feel comfortable. The greeting offers an opportunity interior, and entice people to window shop. In order to to highlight featured merchandise or specials. Sales clerks motivate pedestrians to look inside, a display window may enjoy engaging in brief small talk or asking people must attract their attention. Merchants do this by setting where they are from, but they shouldn’t hover. Customers up special, eye-catching items in a window display along need their space, but employees can make it known they with merchandise. The special items may or may not be are available for assistance. for sale but they certainly can create a visual hook. For A customer-oriented personality is essential. Conscien- a toy store, the hook may be a giant Red Flyer wagon or tious employers train all employees in basic courtesies and an over-scaled model airplane. These hooks can either customer service, including something as ordinary as how be related to the theme of the window or season, or sim- to answer the phone because such skills cannot be as- ply be an item that adds complementary visual interest. sumed. Employees who are unfriendly, who never leave the Laconia (N.H.) Main Street even teamed up with the register, who don’t have sufficient knowledge of products local theater group to feature “live mannequins” in 11 or services, and who don’t thank customers are a detriment storefront window displays to lure people downtown. to a business. Color, pattern, and light also create visual interest. Good customer service makes or breaks a business Lighting, in particular, is extremely important. It can because word of mouth is powerful, especially given the highlight important aspects of a display, create a mood wide reach of online customer review websites. Seminars or (romantic for Valentine’s Day), or produce shadow/ visits by consultants can provide effective employee pattern interest as part of the window environment. training or customer service improvement tips. Avoid confusion and clutter. The average shopper • makes the decision to enter a store in less than three Window Display Design seconds. For this reason, it is important that a window display be simple, without too much information or Visual merchandising refers to the display of merchan- clutter. Encourage your merchants to display only a few dise—how it is presented in storefront windows and items at a time in a simple, aesthetically pleasing interior store displays. The manner in which merchandise is manner. Small windows should feature a few small-scale presented is a direct reflection of a business owner’s creativ- items, while larger windows can accommodate more ity and understanding of customers. A storefront is one of merchandise and bigger items. the first points of contact potential customers have with a Objects that are part of a display should not be business and should pique their interest enough to lure lined up like soldiers. Merchants can create visual them inside. interest by varying the levels of displays and arrange- ment patterns. Business owners should use their Visual Merchandising imaginations when selecting appropriate props for elevating items. For instance, a summertime window Display windows are essentially street-level billboards— display can use sand pails or other beach-related items they convey the image of the store and instantly communi- to display merchandise. cate price point, quality, or specialization of goods and Windows covered with many signs in varying styles services; therefore, they should be designed to command and colors are unattractive, confusing, and visually attention, send appropriate messages about the business, intrusive. Pedestrians and drivers passing by won’t have and entice people inside. Shoppers talk about exciting enough time to read and absorb all of the messages on window displays; consider the buzz generated around the the window and most will keep going. VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE 105 DESIGN

107 What Message Does Your Window Send? It may seem obvious, but the little things make a difference between a shopper choosing to enter your store—or not. © Andrea L. Dono AVOID CLUTTER Cluttered windows and storefronts that use © Leon Steele KEEP IT FRESH the space for storage project a negative If display items have seen better days, image of the business, and the district. retire them. Damaged displays don’t do your merchants any favors. LESS IS MORE A few signature pieces displayed in an unusual way can attract attention. © Josh Bloom © Tony Bowles ADD VISUAL INTEREST ADD MOOD LIGHTING This paper store sets a joyful mood through Dramatic window lighting draws attention its fun, summer-themed window display. to this business even after hours. © Linda S. Glisson ken fingers, missing limbs, chipped finishes, or other Coordinating the merchandise in a display damage should be refurbished or replaced. If man- makes good visual sense. It is confusing for custom- nequins are outdated (but not vintage) they should ers to see an evening bag, a pair of beach sandals, be put into storage until they become vintage. and a toothbrush tossed into a window just because Another tip: each window change should trig- they are all items the store sells. Every merchandise ger a thorough cleaning. When taking down signs, category offers an opportunity for a themed display all tape residue should be removed from the glass, that will create greater visual impact and enhance counters, or walls. Ideally, some method of display the credibility of the business. The important thing other than tape should be used, such as a small easel to communicate to your local shop owners is to or a plate stand, depending on the size of the sign. keep displays coordinated and focused whatever the season or niche and ensure that display designs Lighting. Far too many merchants shut their lights off reflect the messages they wish to send to customers. • when they close for the day. Surveys show that many Many potential Main people discover a new store after hours. Haven’t we all Change displays frequently. • Street shoppers probably work, live, or do their discovered a product that we want to check out another shopping in the district, and may pass by a particu- day or noticed a new store on the walk back to our car lar store every day. With this comes familiarity, and after dinner or a movie? familiarity can result in a person not even noticing Leaving window lights on at night implies activity and provides additional street lighting that alleviates places they pass by every day. To combat this indif- the anxiety of pedestrians in what may otherwise be a ference, business owners should change window displays frequently, at least monthly, and for every dark district. Window lights left on may also serve as a crime deterrent because they illuminate the store holiday and special event. More frequent display interior so that passersby and security personnel changes can showcase new arrivals and advertised can see inside. items. Encourage shop owners to include display fixtures in the budget, including those that are neces- Business owners should install timers on their sary for special themed windows or holiday displays, display lights and keep them on until at least 10:00 or but assure them that simple, inexpensive displays 11:00 p.m., if not all night. Store owners may express concern about energy costs incurred from leaving the and props can be just as dramatic as elaborate and costly ones. That said, only mannequins in top lights on. The lighting in most display windows is condition should be used. Mannequins with bro- incandescent, which uses more energy and produces VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE 106 DESIGN

108 more heat than necessary for the amount of light produced. In comparison, compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) uses less power and produces less heat. CFLs also have the added cost benefit of a much longer life and, although they have a higher upfront cost, offer a savings over the life of the lamp. CFLs typically average 8,000 to15,000 hours, compared to a life span of 750 to 1,000 hours for incandescent lamps. How- ever the actual lifetime of any lamp, CFL or incandes- cent, depends on many factors including manufactur - ing defects, exposure to voltage spikes, mechanical shock, frequency of cycling on and off, and ambient © Andrea L Dono operating temperature, among other factors. This traditional storefront in Franklin, Tennessee, shows how a CFL technology is constantly improving and colors bulkhead raises a window display so that merchants can effectively showcase merchandise and capture the attention of the passerby. are now closer to the warm, golden tones of incandes- cent lamps. Moreover, CFLs no longer have a signifi- cant delay in the time it takes them to light up. An- Some building owners reduce storefront window other advantage of fluorescent window display lighting sizes to conceal the activities going on inside. Often, bars is that it has no marked adverse effect on merchandise. utilize this method. Sometimes it is done with the best Compact fluorescent lamps, when combined with of intentions, because the owner wants patrons to be white mini lights, produce a good balance of white able to drink in privacy. Too often, however, it is done light while adding a bit of festive “sparkle” to windows to conceal the fact that illegal activities might be occur - and storefronts. ring. It is recommended, when privacy is an issue, that the storefront maintain the original percentage of glass Proportions and Transparency area and storefront proportions, and instead install waist or shoulder-high curtains on the interior. And with The proportions and transparency of the storefront are all storefront or upper-window replacements, the new extremely important, as it is here that a business puts the windows should always fill the entire original opening. majority of its advertising and visual displays. Architects The same is true of vacant storefronts and service from all different eras realized this, so most commercial businesses. In the case of a vacant building, there still buildings appear similar in that aspect. Typically, the dis- exists an opportunity to create attractive displays that play windows extend from the bulkhead up to the tran- boost the district’s image and contribute to the area’s som or lintel, and the entry doors are made primarily of vibrancy. In Uptown Butte, Montana, two local art- glass. Nearly all display windows have a bulkhead at the ists turned empty commercial spaces into the Butte base; it raises window displays closer to eye level to take Phantom Gallery Art Walk. One night a month these advantage of the eight-degree peripheral line of vision. “phantom galleries” become destinations along an art When the proportions and transparency of a storefront walk that features displays in vacant spaces as well are reduced, it not only destroys the overall context of as in occupied businesses, along with music, perfor - the façade, but also prevents the passerby from seeing the mances, and food. Each year, organizers find more new goods or services available inside. Most people are hesi- businesses occupying these long-vacant spaces. Now, tant, if not unwilling, to step inside a space they cannot once-empty buildings have new businesses in them! see into first. In the past, many business owners thought Vacant windows also offer Main Street organizations that if burglars couldn’t see into the store, they would space to display before-and-after photos of a building be less likely to break in. More often than not, however, or the district, or other displays showcasing the area’s the reverse is true. A well-lit, transparent storefront sends history or the revitalization effort. Main Street Perry a warning to burglars that if they break in, someone is (Oklahoma) found a way to promote local businesses, sure to see them, thus increasing their risk. In addition, it the revitalization, and the town’s history through a single has been proven that people are less likely to vandalize project—Whimsical Windows. The group fills vacant a place that looks well maintained, showing that some- storefront windows with displays that depict turn-of- one “owns” the space. When a space appears shabby the-century Perry while promoting merchandise from and neglected, the chances of vandalism or burglary are local retailers. Signs are placed in the windows to inform greater. The use of steel grates over display windows can interested customers where they can buy “the props,” have the same effect because they send a message that the and a brochure is produced to guide people through the area is dangerous, thereby driving legitimate customers town square so they can view the displays. Not to miss an away. Transparent windows make pedestrians feel more opportunity, the brochure also features a map for out- comfortable walking through the district and entering of-town visitors and includes the organization’s mission stores that appear safe because the interiors are visible. statement. These projects improve the appearance of the See Chapter 20, Clean and Safe Main Street Districts, windows and boost the district’s image, while property to learn more about deterring crime through design. owners benefit from increased interest in their buildings. VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE 107 DESIGN

109 their attention. Thoughtful color coordination of merchan- dise and themed presentations is important. Displays can also be based on materials or textures. For example, a salon or spa might display a luxurious white robe with a The landscaping outside of this Hingham, Mas- fluffy white towel and a bowl of bath salts against a cool, sachusetts, business is relaxing blue background that features a small water vibrant and inviting. fountain. Cases filled with small items or wall displays using little vignettes can trigger a positive visual experience for browsers and influence them to make purchases. It is important that merchandise be visible and not disappear or become secondary to the setting. Business owners should select paint colors that en- hance their image, take advantage of people’s psychologi- cal associations with colors, and make customers feel comfortable. Whether you are assisting local businesses with their five-year makeover or just helping them im- © Josh Bloom prove the customer experience, recommend colors that Maintenance won’t overpower the merchandise or make shoppers uncomfortable. For example, blue is a cool color; thus One of the most important and often overlooked aspects blue walls might make people feel less comfortable than of visual merchandising is maintenance. Countless busi- cozier, warmer colors. Light reflects the colors of wall ness owners have one unfortunate habit in common—they paints and will therefore alter the colors of merchandise park behind the store, enter through the rear entrance, and customer complexions. For instance, the green tinge and rarely, if ever, step out front to see what the storefront that light reflects from green walls is inappropriate for looks like. This is a mistake as unattractive storefronts stores that sell cosmetics and will ultimately impact sales. create a negative first impression that might drive custom- When in doubt, business owners can chose neutral col- ers away from a business, or the district, altogether. ors and let the merchandise provide the color interest. General untidiness and neglect inside and outside a store Lighting also subtly communicates quality and price or restaurant doesn’t make us want to shop or eat there. point. The use of ambient lighting, which doesn’t illuminate Window displays should be kept spotlessly clean. Cobwebs, a particular object, but rather lights up the entire space, can dirt, dead bugs, dirty glass, and trash should be cleaned out; range from the soft glow throughout a jewelry boutique to cracked glass should be repaired; burnt-out light bulbs and the jarring fluorescent overhead lighting in a second-hand old carpet should be replaced; and paint should be fresh. shop. Lights also have other jobs to do besides making sure Outside the store, the sidewalk should be swept daily people can see a space. Accent lighting beams a ray of light and hosed down when needed. Weeds growing through on a specific object or area of an interior to direct people’s cracks should be removed regularly. Live, colorful potted attention to it. plants at a store’s doorway or in window boxes attract There are various compositional lighting techniques attention. Live plants, although they require care and need that include downlighting, uplighting, backlighting, to be changed seasonally, make a better impression than wallwashing, highlighting, grazing, and sparkle. weeds, fake plants, or nothing at all. Plastic or silk flowers or plants imply a cheap, low quality business. Downlighting is directed down from the ceiling and • provides even illumination with no distracting beams of light. It is used for lighting desks or tables and for Interior Design distributing ambient light in high-ceilinged spaces. Inside a business, everything from shelving to merchandis- Uplighting is used to highlight objects. • ing displays must appeal to customers and tastefully attract Image, center © Timothy Bishop; image, right © Linda S. Glisson. VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE 108 DESIGN

110 Backlighting is a technique that • diffuses light through translucent materials such as acrylic, silk screens, stained glass, stone veneer, etc. Wallwashing creates a visual uni- • fication of a wall with a sheet of brightness, creating directional- ity for the space. Diverse objects on DeRidder, Louisiana, Lobby of First National Above: the wall are drawn together; large Bank, original slab marble details. quantities of gentle and indirect Right: Donaldsonville, Louisiana, original pressed metal walls, crown molding, and ceilings light are reflected into the space. Images © Leon Steele Highlighting creates more than five • toward preserving the buildings’ exteriors in order to times the amount of brightness on a featured object maintain the authenticity of the district. That sensitivity than on the background. It can also be used as a di- should extend beyond the façade into the building. Interior rectional device, for example, by highlighting a re- spaces that respect original architectural details will sup- ception desk located in a dimly lit elevator lobby. port, complement, and enhance the Main Street shopping experience and continue to tell the Main Street story. Grazing light is angled light used to highlight tex- • tures of vertical surfaces such as those seen when a Keeping Historic Details light source is close to the bottom or top of a brick wall. It is positioned to draw special attention to the A competent designer can incorporate historic elements construction, materials, and texture of the surface. within the interior design in a way that supports the district’s image, yet still meets the needs of the occupant. Sparkle refers to the points of light from candles in a • You can contact your coordinating Main Street program to fireplace or on the dining tables in dimly lit restaurants. inquire about interior design assistance to help Main Street business owners select a sensitive design and build-out Historic Interiors plan. Accommodating the needs of new occupants while preserving the integrity of a historic building’s interior often Many Main Street businesses are located in older build- requires seeking alternatives. For example, if an original ings. While some people embrace the history, architectural pressed-metal ceiling is missing some panels, the ceiling can details, and charm of older buildings, others do not value still be retained and incorporated in the design. If the oc- these assets. Some property owners and tenants prefer to cupant is interested in restoring the panels, there are several start with a blank slate when designing a building’s inte- - companies that produce pressed-metal components. Other rior. If we look at malls, we see how each new retailer will wise, a competent designer who is sensitive to historic archi- completely gut and rebuild the space with its own (usually) tecture will be able to cleverly work around missing panels. formulaic designs and fixtures. A store planner/designer Consider another situation where alternative options can for a chain store creates a shopping experience designed turn a historic element into an asset. Old fluorescent ceiling to appeal to a particular customer base and to comple- fixtures can look dated and dirty if they haven’t been cared ment the merchandise, the national retailer’s image, and the for over time. Thoroughly cleaning and refurbishing them customer lifestyle. As a result, customers of national retail- can add interesting details to a store’s interior. Depending ers know what to expect and seek out that experience. on the needs of the business, other types of lighting can be Main Street businesses, on the other hand, offer a added as necessary. Include historic interior design resourc- different experience. The variety of unique stores and es when building your program’s business assistance library. authentic atmospheres set Main Street commercial dis- tricts apart and are assets that must be leveraged. Main Continuing the Great Main Street Experience Street businesses offer more than commerce; they con- tribute to the sense of place and the collective experience This chapter emphasizes the idea that a customer’s or visi- that certain customers, tourists, and residents seek. True, tor’s positive experience in a Main Street community must Main Street and malls might share the same customers, extend beyond the street festivals and beautiful architec- but generally customers who come to Main Street dis- ture. True to the comprehensive approach, high standards tricts are looking for something different in each place. for customer service and designing attention-grabbing Completely gutting and rebuilding a historic building’s windows and attractive interior store designs continue interior not only creates unnecessary waste for landfills that special Main Street experience off the street. A Main because reusable building materials are discarded, but Street program should be poised to help local business it strips away all that is integral to the original interior and property owners embrace this concept and contribute design, which diminishes the overall Main Street experi- to creating a unique and appealing commercial district. ence. During rehabilitations, much attention is directed VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE 109 DESIGN

111 RESOURCES Website Visual Store: This website is the domain of ST (ST Media Group International, Stores & Retail Spaces Media Group International, Inc., which generally Inc.). ST Media continuously updates this series of has the market cornered on supporting retail books that showcase the annual Institute of Store design. The website offers resources for the retail Planners’ award winners to provide inspiration for industry such as a bookstore, free e-newsletter, store design and show the use of the latest design subscription magazine, message board, vendor list, innovations and technology. and free articles and photographs of retail concepts. (ST Media Group International, Visual Merchandising Inc.). ST Media continuously updates this series of Articles books focused on retail design, separated out by retail category. They demonstrate effective use of in- “Dressed Up Fitting Rooms,” by Susan Shaddox, store displays, graphics, fixtures, point-of-purchase July 2007. The design of fitting Main Street News, displays, and more. They can provide business owners rooms help sell merchandise as much as the design with visual cues and inspiration. of the store floor. Visual Merchandising and Store Design Workbook , “Shining a Light on Window Displays,” by Scott Day, by Greg M. Gorman (ST Media Group International Main Street News , October 2006. Improve lighting, Inc., 1996). This workbook helps the reader evaluate reduce glare, and maximize energy efficiency. the store’s identity and customers while planning for traffic flow, color usage, store window decoration, Books and other retail elements. Budget Guide to Retail Store Planning & Design, Visual Merchandising: Windows and In-Store Revised 2nd Edition, by Jeff Grant (ST Media Group Displays for Retail , by Tony Morgan (Laurence International Inc., 1995). This book provides a basic King Publishers, 2008). This illustrated publication overview of store layout and design to help people discusses store design principles and delves into open a new store or renovate an existing one. It the details, including fixtures, mannequins, props, touches on various topics including working with consumer behavior, and more. designers, lighting, color, in-store signs, and even working out lease agreements. and Why We Buy: The Science The Call of the Mall , by Paco Underhill (Simon & Schuster, of Shopping 2004 and 1999, respectively). Both of these publications offer a humorous take on consumer culture and insights gleaned from years of field observations of the effectiveness of retail merchandising and marketing and shoppers’ reactions. Paco points out various merchandising and design techniques that are so effective, most people don’t even notice them. Image, left © Joshua Bloom; image, center © Linda S. Glisson. 110 VISUAL MERCHANDISING: BUILDING THE MAIN STREET EXPERIENCE DESIGN

112 DESIGN chapter 12 IMPROVING APPEARANCES By Joe Lawniczak The physical appearance of a downtown or neighborhood commercial district affects several aspects of its revitalization. From storefront improvements to new mixed-use infill developments, when design proj- ects are done with respect to their surroundings, they show that positive change is happening. The appearance of a district portrays its image, which affects how people perceive the district and whether they decide to shop or invest there. Therefore, the appearance of your district should communicate qualities like safety, vitality, and uniqueness. Main Street design encompasses building improvements, new construction (or infill), signage, visual merchandising, public amenities, parking, transportation issues, and historic preservation. It will take education initiatives, incentives, guidelines, planning, cooperation, and most of all, patience, to improve appearances. Revitalization often requires many small improvements to signal to the public that things are happening and to inspire others to join the transformation. So with an eye on the big picture, your organization must start small, knowing that more dramatic design improvements will usually follow. Design committee members need to become familiar with design issues so they can ac- complish specific objectives and tasks such as developing design guidelines and incentives. Typically, the executive director, as the public face of the Main Street organization, acts as the liaison between building owners and the design committee. As with any committee work, it is important that volunteers handle their workload so that the director can focus on com- prehensive Main Street issues; frequently, however, the committee and executive director will work in partnership on projects. A good director will constantly keep in touch with build- ing and business owners, and while doing so, will remind them of available incentives and services, such as free design assistance or matching grants. But there are communities, such as the ones discussed in the sidebar about design assistance programs on pages 118–119, where committee members act as block captains or take on a more public role. The Main Street Center’s Design: Main Street Committee Members Handbook is a good resource for understanding the committee’s role. © Mark Preuschi

113 made in the past and what changes would be appropri- Main Street Architecture and Design ate now. The “Evolution of a Façade” series of pictures on page 113 shows a fictional building’s evolution. Many Unlike New Urbanist lifestyle centers that replicate the buildings on Main Street have gone through similar traits of historic districts, Main Street is “the real thing.” changes. Each alteration was a direct result of either a New Urbanist developments may mimic the density, change in social patterns or an attempt to adapt to current pedestrian orientation, and aesthetic qualities of Main trends, imitate the competition, or create a false theme. Street, but they lack authenticity. This presents an oppor - tunity for your program to leverage the commercial But as is evident in the last image, often, the best course - of action is to return the building to its original appear district’s historic assets. ance, or as close as possible. By doing this, there will Main Street districts have evolved over time and never be a need to change its appearance as design trends their buildings reflect that history. While cohesiveness is important, design committees should embrace the change. The building will be timeless; it will appear as architectural variety that has developed and never at- it was originally designed, nothing more, nothing less. But not all alterations of the past were inappropriate. tempt to make the district’s buildings look as if they all come from the same era. Demolishing or retrofitting Historic preservation doesn’t always mean restoring a build- ing to its original appearance and original use, but rather buildings that were constructed after the district was to a logical period of its evolution. An individual building’s established would tell an incomplete story and promote an unauthentic community. Some places make the mis- history and the significance of alternations made over time take of turning their historic downtowns into alpine will determine how the current owner should rehabilitate the structure. For example, suppose an 1880s building recreations or Wild West towns. These random themes has a 1920s storefront; even though that storefront isn’t are generally inappropriate for Main Street revitaliza- original, it might be considered important and should be tion and should be removed. When planning for the retained and repaired. If alterations have achieved signifi- restoration of any building, study its individual history and style, and determine how it evolved. Only then can cance in their own right, removing them could destroy a valuable resource and possibly cause a project to be de- you determine the appropriate improvements to make. Although architectural styles and their elements differ nied for tax credit and local design reviews. Ultimately, the property owner needs to work closely with the State from building to building, and from region to region, most buildings were originally constructed with similar Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the National Park Service (NPS) to determine the most appropriate elements and divided into similar segments: the storefront, rehabilitation, especially if tax credits or other incentives the upper facade, and the cornice. These elements and are sought, as well as working with the local design re- segments worked together to create a total composition. view board to make sure changes meet local guidelines. See the diagram of a typical Main Street façade below. Understanding the various elements of a building’s original design can help determine what changes were Building Rehabilitation Secretary of the Interior’s Stan- Many communities use the dards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitat- ing Historic Buildings as the starting point for guiding Main Street design. The 10 Standards for Rehabilitation (see the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards sidebar on page 114) and the accompanying guidelines were devised to ensure that work affecting a historic property would be consistent with the character of the building and the district in which it is located. These standards are used to determine if a rehabilitation project qualifies for certifi- cation as a historic structure and for the federal income tax credits authorized by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. As defined by the Department of the Interior, rehabilita- “... the process of returning a property to a state tion is: of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes pos- sible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are signifi- © Joe Lawniczak cant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values.” The storefront, arguably the most important segment of a commercial In traditional commercial districts, therefore, rehabili- building, is often the portion that pedestrians and drivers notice the most. tation is a practical way to make commercial buildings Whether a building has multiple levels, or is one-story with a raised parapet, economically productive once again. Rehabilitation blends it always has an upper façade. On multiple-story buildings, the upper façade typically has a regular pattern of windows, echoing each other and neigh- a building’s original, distinguishing physical characteris- boring buildings. This creates visual cohesiveness along the street. The cor- tics with the requirements of new uses and new tenants. nice acts as the visual cap to the building, tying the entire façade together. 112 IMPROVING APPEARANCES DESIGN

114 The Evolution of a Façade The standards guide each treatment level of historic properties: preservation; rehabilitation; restoration; and reconstruction. The Department of the Interior defines each as follows: Preservation: using measures necessary to • “sustain the existing form, integrity, and ma- terials of an historic property.” Properties are stabilized, with sensitive treatment of bring- ing buildings up to code and upgrading sys- tems, and ongoing maintenance is a priority. Rehabilitation: making repairs, alterations, and • additions that allow for a compatible use of a property while still preserving historic, cultural, or architectural elements. removing elements, as well as making Restoration: • repairs or reconstructing important missing ele- ments, so as to depict a property as it appeared during a particular period of time. Reconstruction: replicating a non-surviving his- • toric structure as it appeared at a particular time. Building owners can complete minimal rehabilita- tions for less than $10,000 by painting, maintaining the property, putting up new signs, and doing minor carpen- try. Moderate/major rehabilitations are typically com- pleted for less than $50,000 and often include rebuild- ing the storefront, repairing upper windows, and doing in-depth carpentry. Complete rehabilitations can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and typically include large-scale construction both on the exterior and inte- Images © Kentucky Main Street. rior. Professional design services often cost thousands of dollars. Adaptive-use projects and projects utilizing rehabilitation tax credits often fall into this category. building improvements and to make sure they are the Keep in mind that no matter how well an architect, highest quality possible. Design guidelines, when done designer, or contractor can handle new or residential correctly, are a one-stop resource for building owners to construction, that doesn’t mean they have experience with learn about proper techniques; local permitting proce- historic commercial buildings. Consult your Main Street dures; available design assistance; financial incentives; and colleagues and check the list of resources at the end of this contact information for building inspectors, contractors, chapter for places to look for qualified professionals. And and sign manufacturers. to learn more about the technical aspects of preservation, Once such a resource is created, talking to building look for guidance booklets by the National Park Service owners about restoring their buildings becomes a lot on topics ranging from preserving historic signs to easier. Telling building owners that their property needs removing graffiti from historic materials (also listed under work runs the risk of insulting them; instead, let them Resources on page 126). know about the incentives and free assistance available and show them compelling before and after photos. Using Encouraging Building Improvements this strategy will position your Main Street organization as a helpful resource rather than a nag. All nagging or Because historic commercial districts are largely made up insulting building owners will do is drive them further of privately owned buildings, revitalization in these areas away. With that said, no matter how inspiring or diplo- cannot occur without the support and investment of these matic you are, you will always have difficulty convincing individuals. One way to gain their support is through some building owners that proper improvements will education. As described in Chapter 13, Historic Preserva- benefit them as well as the entire district. Choose your tion Tools, most Main Street programs develop design battles and focus your energy on helping the owners who guidelines and financial incentives, both to encourage appreciate the benefits of improving their properties. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 113 DESIGN

115 The Secretary of Interior’s Standards Often, the transformation of the buildings brings in quality for Rehabilitation tenants and more customers, and building owners who were The Secretary of Interior’s Standards for (Taken from the National Park Service’s previously uninterested will have to make changes in order ) Rehabilitation & Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings to remain competitive. Some people, like property rights proponents, balk at the creation of local historic districts, preservation ordi- 1. A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be nances, and design guidelines, usually because they are placed in a new use that requires minimal change to afraid they won’t be able to make changes to their build- the defining characteristics of the building and its ings or that someone else will be telling them what to do site and environment. with their property. But the truth is that these tools help 2. The historic character of a property shall be retained protect the aesthetic integrity of the district and help sta- and preserved. The removal of historic materials or bilize or increase property values. This is because a single alteration of features and spaces that characterize a building in a district isn’t an island; its value is affected by property shall be avoided. its surroundings. With effective tools in place, investors and 3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical re- property owners can feel confident knowing that building cord of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a changes will benefit, not detract from, the district. Sure, no false sense of historical development, such as adding one likes someone else telling them what they can or can- conjectural features or architectural elements from not do to their buildings, but such restrictions or guidelines other buildings, shall not be undertaken. are necessary in order to protect these irreplaceable assets. Most properties change over time; those changes 4. Inappropriate design changes in the district could nega- that have acquired historical significance in their own tively affect property and/or resale values of buildings and right shall be retained and preserved. possibly hinder a property owner’s ability to attract or retain quality tenants. Low-quality or poor design changes 5. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction tech- could disrupt the appearance of the entire district, and thus niques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize its desirability to potential shoppers, tenants, visitors, and a historic property shall be preserved. investors. This is part of the reason why communities enact 6. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather land-use regulations (see Chapter 17 for more on zoning). than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration To help your design committee succeed with its work, requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new consult with preservation design experts whenever possible. feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, These experts can include state Main Street architects and and other visual qualities and, where possible, design specialists, SHPO staff members, or local architectural materials. firms with experience in historic preservation and design. 7. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Taming Teardowns and Demolitions Significant archeological resources affected by a 8. project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures Property owners who have neglected to take care of their shall be undertaken. historic buildings might have a number of reasons for doing so. Perhaps they don’t understand what proper maintenance 9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new is or how inappropriate changes negatively affect the entire construction shall not destroy historic materials that district. Your Main Street program must communicate the characterize the property. The new work shall be importance of proper building maintenance and care so that differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural the district’s building stock lasts for generations to come. features to protect the historic integrity of the Building maintenance and improvements are necessary property and its environment. for more than aesthetic reasons. They protect the building from deteriorating and failing over time. In fact, mainte- 10. New additions and adjacent or related new nance issues, such as roof repair, repointing (which is the construction shall be undertaken in such a manner repair and replacement of mortar between masonry units that if removed in the future, the essential form and like bricks or stone), and structural repairs should be done integrity of the historic property and its environment before any aesthetic changes are begun. A fresh coat of would be unimpaired. paint may look nice, but if it is covering up water dam- age and the owner isn’t repairing a leak, the problem will worsen with time and will probably lead to larger and more after before expensive problems. Some communities create minimum maintenance ordinances to ensure that buildings are main- tained to at least a minimal degree. Other communities, as part of their financial incentives, such as façade grants or low-interest loans, allow a portion of the money to be used for maintenance issues or code compliance. Most communi- ties address proper maintenance and repair techniques in IMPROVING APPEARANCES 114 DESIGN

116 Building Restoration versus New Construction Reuse of vacant historic buildings will increase the • Your Main Street organization will have countless instances during which to argue in favor of historic preservation—from owner’s income from the additional rent and will sta- fighting demolition threats to the master planning process. bilize the property value. You will be charged with educating property owners, offi- • Most historic buildings can be adapted to a mix of cials, developers, and others of the value of preservation. uses, which can help weather economic downturns. Your effectiveness relies on sound arguments and being able to speak their language—money. Many historic commercial buildings are inherently • good at conserving energy. The large percentage of The Economics of Historic Preservation: A community lead- glass area allows more natural light and solar heat er’s guide by Donovan Rypkema presents 100 useful argu- gain to enter the space, thus requiring less artificial ments for preservation, some of which include: lighting and heating. Historic materials such as wood • Historic preservation reduces sprawl by using existing and masonry have higher insulating values and ab- buildings and public infrastructure. sorb more heat than newer materials such as metal and vinyl. And buildings constructed with shared It often requires less time to rehabilitate a building than • walls, retain more heat and have less air infiltration to construct a new one, especially when demolition is than stand-alone structures. required first. And to most developers, time is money. their design guidelines so building owners will know the When historic buildings in your community are threat- most appropriate methods and avoid the damaging ones. ened with demolition, preservation advocates, such as Main Street organizations, need to spring into action. If a building is neglected for too long, the city may deem it unsafe and call for its demolition. Or a building There are several ways to stop the wrecking ball. None is easy, and very often, a demolition threat takes people by owner may demolish a building with the hopes that a vacant lot will attract an investor. Obviously, demolition surprise, creating a “preservation emergency.” But with is damaging to the streetscape, and an irreversible action. e-mail and the Internet, calling concerned individuals to action is much easier than in the past. In many cases, the Once gone, a historic building can never truly be replaced, and it leaves a hole in the urban fabric. Therefore, demoli- party threatening a historic property doesn’t want the negative publicity, so he or she may be willing to work tion should be a last resort for situations where the with preservation advocates to find an alternate solution. building has suffered irreparable structural damage and is Before emergencies arise, however, preservation advo- a legitimate safety concern. Similarly, demolition of a cates should: organize; know the local process for obtain- historic building solely to make way for a parking lot is rarely, if ever, a legitimate reason. ing a demolition permit and who makes those decisions; • Asbestos can be found in sprayed-on surface coatings, insulation, and products like floor tiles. Considering the widespread use of this mate- Dealing with Contaminants rial in buildings constructed from the 1920s to 1970s, there is a good chance asbestos will be present in many buildings. A certified profes- Three of the most common contami- sional should survey all asbestos-containing materials and decide if they nants in older buildings are asbestos, should be removed or encapsulated to keep particles from becoming an lead, and mold. The presence of these airborne health hazard. materials can result in costly abate- ment measures (removal) as well as • Federal legislation banned the use of lead in paint, gasoline, and plumb- problems in insuring the structures. ing pipes in 1978. Most buildings have converted their lead piping to PVC and copper but a lot of lead paint has been painted over or covered with wallpaper. When lead paint is chipped, scratched, sanded, heated, or otherwise manipulated, it can release toxic particles into the air. There are several professional and do-it-yourself tests available. Keeping these paint layers encapsulated and then cleaning lead dust particle build-up can keep a building safe; however, if abatement is done, contact your municipality to find out where to dispose of the waste material. Use a professional who has access to proper safety equipment and High Ef- ficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums. • Mold spores grow wherever there is moisture. Some building materials retain moisture more than others. For example, brick holds moisture and dissipates it well so mold has less of an opportunity to grow, but it is just the opposite for gypsum board. If you find mold, first identify the source of the moisture problem (repair leaks, correct drainage problems, etc.), remove the porous material and clean nonporous surfaces, remove dust using a HEPA vacuum, and dispose of waste materials properly. Be safe and contact a professional. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 115 DESIGN

117 Construction During Insuring Buildings Encouraging Appropriate Repairs Property owners know they need insurance to protect their buildings from losses due to catastrophes, but not Design committees must also deal with inappropriate al- all of them realize that they should have a builder’s risk terations, which come in many forms. In general, these policy. The policy, which would be written for the proj- are alterations that either spoil the overall composition of ect’s duration, covers the existing structure as well as the the building or destroy or conceal historic building ele- tools, materials on site and stored off site, and soft costs ments. Examples over the years have included installing (legal expenses, permit fees, architect fees, loss of income an aluminum slipcover over the facade, downsizing store- that results from delayed openings, etc.). Main Street pro- front or upper windows, concealing transom windows grams should encourage property owners to talk to their with oversized sign panels, or creating a false theme or insurance agents before the project starts. style. Examples today include concealing original ma- sonry walls with fake stucco, covering original wood siding and trim with vinyl, or replacing historic wood windows with new vinyl or metal windows that don’t know about local ordinances that may or may not allow match the original. It is part of Main Street’s job to edu- demolition; educate local elected officials regularly on the cate building owners and even local contractors about value of preservation, not only during emergencies; and appropriate historic building repairs and materials. compile information on local historic resources so when Concealing historic materials is a common repair threatened, you can prove their significance. Other tactics mistake that negatively alters the overall character of the that can also produce a positive outcome: alert the me- building and can be damaging as well. If structural issues dia; start a petition; track the issue online through blogs; are not addressed, they can lead to bigger problems that write editorials for local media; and meet with the party could jeopardize the entire building and become a safety threatening the property to explore alternatives. For more issue. For example, suppose a property owner decides ideas and strategies to tame the teardowns in your area, to apply stucco to a historic masonry wall that has been contact your state or local preservation officer and review deteriorating due to water damage. For stylistic reasons, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s resources this stucco may be inappropriate if the building was not on this issue online. Read Chapter 8, Effective Advo- architecturally intended to use stucco. For physical rea- cacy for Main Street Programs, for more information. sons, covering up the problem wall rather than fixing Sometimes a preservation emergency arises because it will trap the water between the stucco and masonry a historic property has been vacant and deteriorating and ultimately compromise the structure’s integrity. for so long that a call for its demolition arises simply Another inappropriate alteration is replacing historic because no other good ideas have been presented. In materials unnecessarily. The golden rule for historic build- these instances, the Main Street organization can save ing elements is to repair rather than replace them whenever the structure by seeking a suitable new economic use for possible. Repairing the original element usually costs less the building by either recruiting a new tenant or help- and results in a longer lasting and higher quality product. ing an existing business expand. Another strategy is for Upper-floor windows are a perfect example. Most historic the program to take the development reins itself. See windows were made of wood, which is relatively easy and Chapter 10, Real Estate and the Main Street Business straightforward to repair, even when drastically deterio- District, to learn more about ways your Main Street rated. While most new windows have the latest in energy- program can get involved in real estate development. efficient glass, the framing itself has a low rating. Wood frames of historic windows have a much better insulating value than vinyl or metal. When air leakage occurs at his- toric wood windows, it is usually the caulking and glazing that need repair, not the window itself. And for upper-story windows, one of the best ways to improve the insulating value is to install either interior or exterior storm win- dows. Often, these steps will give the original window an equal or greater insulating value than any new window. In addition, when most historic building elements are replaced, the new elements do not replicate the original in size, profile, material, or quality. Again, in the case of windows, standard new materials cannot duplicate the original profile of wood window framing, and thus should never be considered a “duplicate replacement.” And in far too many cases, the replacement windows aren’t even the same size or shape, especially if the origi- nals are arched or uniquely shaped. The same is true of replacement siding, masonry, trim, cornices, etc. When historic elements are deteriorated beyond repair, the replacement should duplicate the original in all aspects. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 116 DESIGN

118 consultation with a design professional, and design Another important building improvement is the cleaning workshops are so important. The Charleston (W.Va.) of historic materials. As a general rule, all elements should Area Alliance has developed an annual mobile workshop/ be cleaned using the gentlest means possible.This means no sandblasting or high-pressure water blasting, which damage walking classroom to conduct walking tours with a design professional, volunteers, and property owners to identify historic building elements. For proper cleaning techniques, refer to the National Park Service’s Preservation Brief #1 façade elements and to recommend methods for improve- and #6. ments. But even with educational tools in place, many Color is one area of design where a bit of leeway should building owners still have excuses or reasons why they want to do something one way over another. Some of be given to the property owners. It should not be the role these reasons include: of a Main Street organization to dictate a color scheme; rather, it should offer guidance on appropriate color selec- This is undoubtedly the most common reason, Cost. tion. Your organization can refer building owners to paint • which is understandable. While every property owner companies that offer historic color palettes, which should must consider his or her budget, construction work be appropriate for most uses. In addition, you can offer a based solely on cost is a dangerous thing. The adage few tips. First and foremost, previously unpainted masonry “you get what you pay for” is true. Building owners should be left unpainted. If used, paint should comple- need to understand that maintaining and repairing ment the historic building materials (brick, stone, wood). existing historic materials will usually produce a more While Victorian buildings historically have a lot of ornate stable structure and sometimes less frequent mainte- detail and are painted in several colors, most other building nance than any “quick-fix” or wholesale replacement. styles are more appropriately painted in more subtle color schemes, using only two or three colors in most cases. Because it is trendy. Nearly every inappropriate With all that said, however, it’s important to understand • alteration in the past century was done because it was why building owners make inappropriate changes. It’s not “the thing to do” at the time. By honoring a historic because they want to destroy their buildings or decrease building’s integrity and not succumbing to a trend, the their property values. In most cases, they don’t know they owner won’t have to make changes again when the are doing anything wrong. This is why educational tools fad fades in a few years. such as design guidelines, design review, one-on-one A young couple was looking to open a sports bar down- CASE STUDY town, so they contacted the director of the Downtown West Bend Association (DWBA). Because DWBA had recently completed a market analysis, it was able to de- West Bend, Wisconsin termine whether there was a demand for such an estab- lishment. Based on the market analysis as well as market Riverside Brewery research conducted by Wisconsin Main Street, DWBA determined instead that the downtown needed more unique dining options, specifically an establishment like a micro brewery. So after taking a month to think about it and working with DWBA, the owners decided to open a micro brewery instead of the sports bar. DWBA helped the owners find a building that would meet their needs and connected them with Wisconsin Main Street for free design and business plan assistance. The DWBA, along with the City of West Bend, provided financing through the West Bend Commercial Revolving Loan Program, and the DWBA sign grant and low-inter- est loan programs. Today, the business continues to make a buzz throughout the community. Not only has it been profitable for the owners (after only three months, they had to increase their staff from 35 to 50 employees), but it has also strength- ened the entertainment/dining cluster downtown. As an added bonus, it is located in an area that was potentially © Downtown West Bend Association slated for demolition, but the success of this business has kindled a spark in the area, and new businesses are locat- The importance of Main Street organizations working with ing there. Were it not for the resources made available by business owners cannot be overstated. Having resources DWBA, the city, local lending institutions, and Wisconsin and information available for them when needed can some- Main Street, and the willingness of the owners to adapt, times turn non-supporters into staunch advocates, or take chances are the impact on the community and on the an entrepreneur’s modest ideas and make them grander. owners’ bottom line wouldn’t have been as great. Such was the case in West Bend, Wisconsin. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 117 DESIGN

119 Unlike the front façade, however, visual improvements If building Because I want it to be “maintenance-free.” • here can often be done for less cost. Some communities owners could learn one thing, it should be that there is host a clean-up day to remove trash as well as make minor no such thing as a maintenance-free building material. repairs and improvements. Altus Main Street in Oklahoma There are low-maintenance materials, but some of the sponsors an “Alley Cats” volunteer day to bring some lowest-maintenance materials are those found in excitement to mundane alley maintenance tasks. Volunteers, historic buildings. outfitted in shirts donated by a local screen-printing busi- ness, get an orientation to the project and goals and then Because I want a new look. If building owners are • set to work, stopping only for a food and beverage break, itching for a change, show them what their buildings donated by local businesses. could look like with alterations that are compatible Cleaning and/or painting the walls, adding lighting, with the original style. Often, simple changes such as replacing the entry door(s), and adding a simple awning new paint, signs, and awnings can give a building a can greatly enhance the appearance. In many cases, attrac- fresh new look. This may take some compromise on tive enclosures that conceal dumpsters, meters, and condens- both sides, but with diplomacy, education, and persis- ing units make a world of a difference. Some business tence, common ground can usually be found. Most owners maximize the area’s fullest potential by creating coordinating Main Street programs offer this type of outdoor patios or using landscaping to create safe and design assistance to local Main Street programs. inviting entrances for their customers. Alley improvements frequently become necessary during Despite the challenges these excuses bring, by offering streetscape construction projects. More often than not, ongoing education, local financial incentives, design assis- during construction, the front entrances to businesses are tance, and historic preservation tools, you can give building temporarily inaccessible. This could be devastating for owners who want to do the right thing the know-how and businesses unless alternative entrances are provided. In resources to do it right. And with a dedicated and deter - other cases, if a front entrance is raised or has steps, rear mined Main Street program, hopefully the others will entrances can often be retrofitted to create an accessible follow suit. route into the building. Often times, due to limited space, cooperation between It’s Not Just the Façade: Improving Alleys and neighboring business owners can help solve problems with Rear Entrances clutter, functionality, and appearance of these alley-side spaces. The best example is shared dumpster enclosures. In The alley-side and rear entrances of buildings are often many communities, a logical spot is designated for a shared forgotten aspects of building improvements. Originally dumpster location. This drastically reduces clutter through- designed as service and delivery areas, today many of these out the alley. It also improves accessibility for waste man- facades are visible to the general public and some rear agement companies to service and empty the dumpsters. entrances serve as secondary customer entrances. As much Alleys often provide on-site parking for the building’s consideration should be given to the appearance of these tenants or customers. This extra parking can be an im- areas as to the storefront. portant asset to the entire district so the appearance and • The Claremore (Oklahoma) Main Street Design Local Design Assistance Committee gets very involved with property owners through its Façade Squad Subcommittee. Over the Many communities have utilized local talent and expertise years, this group has removed more than 125 feet to develop comprehensive design education and assis- of mansard awnings, rebuilt transom windows, and tance programs. Here are some creative examples of de- hand-scraped tin ceilings, among other projects. sign education programs throughout the U.S. Design Committee volunteers use their computer graphics skills to show the owners multiple options for renovations, color schemes, and other design im- provements. These renderings, as well as hands-on assistance from the Façade Squad, have prompted many of the property owners to proceed with the actual renovations. • The Sheboygan Falls (Wisconsin) Main Street Design Committee has a comprehensive design assistance program in place. In addition to state Main Street design assistance, the committee offers a “buddy system” through which committee members keep in contact with property owners to provide assistance, gather project estimates, and encourage them to make improvements. The committee serves as the © Ron Frantz 118 IMPROVING APPEARANCES DESIGN

120 maintenance of these spaces are important. These areas make doorways wider, replacing door knobs with lever should be well lit at night and signage should clearly handles, installing ramps, and other modifications. indicate the type of parking (private or customer). From the beginning, ADA legislation was never meant to make everything compliant by a certain date. The gov- ernment realized that while there would be obstacles that Accessibility and the Americans with couldn’t be overcome, we could move in the direction of Disabilities Act making places more accessible. These obstacles include the owner’s financial constraints for barrier removal, as well Prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act as structural or historical barriers in existing buildings. (ADA) in 1990, most states and building codes had When barrier removal is not readily achievable, busi- accessibility provisions, but those rules only applied when ness owners can use alternative measures to provide construction was initiated by an owner. With ADA, people with disabilities access to the business’s goods owners of existing buildings that are occupied by “public and services. For example, business owners could offer accommodations” have an obligation to make their home delivery until such time as it is readily achievable buildings more accessible whenever they have the resourc- to make the space accessible, if ever. Historic sites could es to do so—that is, whenever accessibility is “readily have displays and signage in the visitor’s center or on the achievable.” A “public accommodation” is any business grounds to interpret spaces that cannot be made accessible. that provides goods and services to the public, such as The federal Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibil- hotels, restaurants, shops, and doctors’ offices. Both ADA ity Guidelines (ADAAG) apply to alterations to existing and building code provisions that regulate accessible buildings and to new construction. Keep in mind that any design features, dimensions, and standards are virtually new construction must comply fully. Historic buildings are the same, with the difference being ADA’s retroactive in no way exempt from ADA guidelines, however. Property application and its enforcement through the U.S. Depart- owners are advised to first review the structure’s historical ment of Justice. significance, including its features and materials, and then Most property owners believe they only have to worry assess the structure’s existing and required accessibility fea- about ADA when renovating their buildings or when the tures. They should also check into state and local codes. For work results in a change of use. (“Change of use” means existing buildings, there may be instances where it is techni- that the space changes from one use, like office space, to cally infeasible to construct certain accessible elements. another, like retail.) However, the “readily achievable” If standard ADAAG requirements cannot be met with- rule applies to existing buildings, even when no other out harming the historic elements, minimal requirements work is being done, as long as it can be done without can be met. By working with people with disabilities as well much difficulty or expense. If the work will cause consid- as with preservation professionals, engineers, and building erable loss of profit, would destroy historic elements, or is inspectors, the property owner can identify modifications structurally infeasible, then it doesn’t need to be done that will create the greatest accessibility without compro- unless other renovation work is being done. Work usually mising the building’s historic integrity. If, after consulting considered readily achievable includes lowering paper with the SHPO, it is agreed that compliance with the mini- towel dispensers in restrooms, installing offset hinges to mum requirements would “threaten or destroy the signifi- design review board for all grant or loan applicants Main Street Millville (New Jersey) expanded a stan- • and also maintains an “idea file” filled with examples dard Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) service called and information on successful projects. Probably the Design Days. The MSNJ design consultant meets most visible aspect of the program is the Falls Face with local volunteers and property owners on an Lifters work crew. This is an all-volunteer crew that architectural walking tour, suggests improvements, removes inappropriate alterations to prepare proj- helps develop committee goals and priorities, and ects for construction. The entire program has been gives an evening presentation. In Millville, the De- a tremendous success, and today, most of the build- sign Committee took this concept a step further ings downtown have been completely restored. and developed a Design Makeover Program—a contest for property owners interested in receiving The Elgin (Illinois) Downtown Neighborhood Associ- • design assistance. The top three receive the state ation Design Committee prepared a Downtown Block assistance, and the others receive slightly less for- Walk Report for the entire district. In 2005, commit- mal assistance. For each of the three winning proj- tee members walked through the entire downtown, ects, a Design Committee member is assigned to looking at safety concerns and maintenance issues, guide it through construction. The entire process and making aesthetic recommendations. In the end, has garnered a lot of press and attention, and has the committee drafted a comprehensive report out- not only encouraged good design, but also spurred lining each block’s issues and recommendations, further investments throughout the district. from building maintenance problems, to dumpster locations, to sign clutter. The city and property own- ers refer to this report as a maintenance manual. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 119 DESIGN

121 In 2004, Portland, Michigan, received a $100,000 Michigan CASE STUDY Cool Cities catalyst grant for a boardwalk construction proj- ect that had been on hold since 1999 due to a lack of fund- ing. Portland’s Main Street is located at the confluence of Portland, Michigan two rivers, but the commercial buildings faced the street, © Portland Downtown Development Authority not the water. The boardwalk created an opportunity to give businesses a second storefront with space for outdoor ca- fés and other amenities to take advantage of the waterfront. The walkway also provided a connection to the city’s river trail system. The Portland Downtown Development Author- ity offered grant money to help business owners build out their rear facades and also supported the construction of upper-story lofts. Before the boardwalk opened to the pub- lic with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May 2007, 11 new lofts had already been built, one new business had opened and another existing business had expanded, bringing new in- vestment and jobs to the community, which has the local Main Street program anticipating more positive changes. cance of the property,” then alternatives may be employed. cost of the alteration. This is the “disproportionality - Historic building owners are allowed to make their proper rule.” It states that when renovating an existing space, an owner only needs to spend 20 percent of the total ties accessible using various technical alternatives that are alteration cost on providing an accessible route to the not available to non-historic buildings. Among the most im- altered area. For example, in many cases, installing an portant of these is the concept that the accessible entrance elevator would cost more than 20 percent. In this case, does not have to be the main front door of the building if other accessible features and elements must be installed another entry can more easily be turned into the accessible entrance. Historic buildings are also generally allowed to to make up the 20 percent. It is best to learn about your state and local laws so that your organization can provide keep the original doorways rather than widening them. For property owners planning upper-story renova- thorough information to property and business owners. tions, the ADA has specific provisions that do not re- Below are some easy ways business or property own- ers can make their buildings more ADA compliant: quire elevators to the upper floors of small-scale build- ings (i.e. fewer than three stories or under 3,000 square Complete and continually update a checklist that feet on each floor), typical of those found on most Main • identifies ADA-related deficiencies in a building and Streets. Of course, not every upper-floor renovation is lay out a plan for making readily achievable correc- intended to create housing units; however, if that is the tions. If building owners are sued, this can help case, the property owner should review the Fair Hous- immensely to show that they are making a good faith ing Act’s provisions on accessibility and housing. effort. An ADA checklist can be downloaded from When a portion of a building is being altered, every- thing along the accessible route to that altered space must comply, unless the cost is disproportionate to the overall Provide alternative means to access goods and • services (curb service, home delivery, etc.). Keep the path of travel in stores or hallways free of • obstacles or clutter. Educate employees about ADA regulations and what • to do if a person with disabilities needs assistance. Financial Incentives Fortunately, there are tax credits and tax deduction pro- grams available to make accessibility more achievable for building and business owners. The first is the Architec- tural/Transportation Tax Deduction, which allows busi- ness owners to take a tax deduction for expenses incurred to remove barriers. Eligible expenses include providing accessible ramps, curb cuts, parking spaces, restrooms, and drinking fountains, and for widening entrances and routes. The deduction can be up to $15,000 per year, but © Andrea Dono IMPROVING APPEARANCES 120 DESIGN

122 cannot be used for new construction or for accessibil- designers, but signs should promote a viable, unified busi- ity work already required as part of a renovation. Tech- ness district and communicate a high-quality image. nically, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Many Main Street communities establish design guide- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars lines and design review for new signs, and most review and can be used for ADA in some instances, but typically only recommend changes to their local sign ordinances. A sign in conjunction with a related HUD or CDBG project. ordinance is a powerful tool. For example, when a national There is also a Small Business Tax Credit, which is retailer comes in and says it needs to install the same pole- available to businesses with less than $1 million in gross mounted, internally lit sign to a Main Street building as it receipts in the previous year or with 30 or fewer full-time has on the strip, communities that have these tools in place employees. Eligible expenses are the same as the tax are able to say no. Signs on Main Street will be smaller deduction but also include sign language interpreters, than those on businesses located along the freeway because assistance for the blind, Braille, etc. The tax credit cannot they are designed to blend in with the architecture and are be used for new construction or for accessibility work oriented toward pedestrians and slower-moving traffic. already required as part of a renovation. The credit is 50 A sign ordinance should regulate size, location, height, percent of expenditures over $250, but less than $10,250, width, quantity, and type of sign allowed. It should include for a maximum credit of $5,000 per year. permit requirements, appeal procedures, and descriptions Littleton Main Street in New Hampshire participated of what needs to be done with non-conforming, deterio- in the Littleton Model Community Project in partnership rated, or abandoned signs. Be careful, however, to ensure with the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on that the ordinance does not dictate content, since this is Disability to address disability issues from a planning protected by the First Amendment. perspective. As a result, the Main Street program was able to give local business owners small grants to help pay for Appropriate Signs accessibility improvement projects. In general, signs should have a simple design and lim- ited information so they are easy to read. The following New Construction are examples of appropriate sign types for Main Street. Over the years, due to fire, owner neglect, or demolition, Projecting signs: These are two-sided signs, often made • many Main Streets have “holes” in the built environment. of hand-painted, medium-density overlay (MDO) These vacant lots present exciting opportunities for new plywood; wood; foam; or metal. Typically, they are infill construction. While there is no clear blueprint for the mounted at least seven feet above the sidewalk, and design of a new building or an addition to an existing project out three to four feet building, it is generally agreed that it should not pretend from the building face. The to be historic by too closely mimicking older, adjacent most effective strategy is to use facades. Instead, it should still complement the character a projecting sign with either a of its neighbors. flush-mounted or window sign. There are two main reasons for this. First, a new build- Both projecting and flush- ing or addition that appears historic will compromise the mounted signs are typically lit authenticity of its truly historic neighbors; people may not externally by separate light be able to distinguish historic buildings from new ones. fixtures, such as gooseneck lights. Secondly, historic commercial districts evolved over time These are the easiest signs to see and as a result, many different architectural styles exist. A on a street. new building should look new, although it should be © Linda S. Glisson designed to fit in with existing structures. This may sound These Flush-mounted signs: • confusing, but essentially, your guidelines should allow signs are attached to or painted directly on the wall, architects freedom of design while still maintaining the canopy, or cornice. They are often made of hand-paint- existing character of the district. See the sidebar on the ed MDO plywood, sandblasted or carved wood, next page for the new construction principles that should sandblasted or carved foam, raised letters, or metal. govern the visual relationship between new and old. Size and placement are crucial for this type of sign. They should not Signs and Awnings conceal important building elements. This Signs on Main Street project an image of the buildings, sign type is the easiest to businesses, and the district as a whole. Signs must re- see from directly across flect the character of the business they represent; must the street. © Joshua Bloom fit in with the building to which they are attached; and must be compatible in scale, quality, and design with the Freestanding signs: This sign type is often located • other signs on Main Street. This is a lot to ask of sign on the fringes of downtown or at gas stations where IMPROVING APPEARANCES 121 DESIGN

123 before New Construction Principles This infill building re- If a new building is surrounded by buildings that Height. • placed two buildings are all the same height, it should be the same height. If the that were lost to ne- heights on the block vary, then it should reflect the heights glect. Its design fits in of the buildings directly adjacent to it. The following illus- with the surrounding tration shows how infill construction can blend well with buildings due to its after the height of adjacent buildings. compatible architec- tural elements. © Joe Lawniczak Composition and rhythm. The composition and rhythm • of buildings on a street create a cohesive look. There- Width. If a vacant space exists on a lot that is as wide as fore, the wall-to-window ratio; storefront height; window • the other lots on the street, then the new building should spacing, height, and type; roof and cornice forms; and fill the entire width of the lot. There are two options for a other architectural elements in new construction should space where several buildings in a row are missing: the infill reflect the composition of existing buildings. can include multiple new buildings; or a single building can be designed with multiple parts, or bays. Each bay should reflect the width of the existing buildings on the block. While each building on Main Street has a dif- Materials. • ferent architectural style, there are surprisingly few types of original materials used. While there are exceptions, such as Cararra glass, stucco, terra cotta (as pictured below), and even tin, the majority used brick, stone, or wood. The materials used in new infill construction Setback. Chances are most buildings on most Main Streets • should complement the materials of adjacent buildings. extend right up to the sidewalk. This is called zero setback. Historically, this was done to maximize the use of the lim- ited land available in an existing commercial district. As a result, Main Street developed a so-called “street wall” of buildings. This street wall has a subconscious, psychologi- cal effect on pedestrians. If there are gaps in this street wall from demolished buildings or from buildings set back from the sidewalk, a pedestrian’s instinct is to stop and turn around. Typically, all new construction fronting Main Street should adhere to this zero setback. Image top, © Michael Dono; Image bottom, © Linda S. Glisson. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 122 DESIGN

124 before there isn’t a zero setback. These signs should not be the pole-mounted signs seen along highways, but should be scaled for pedestrians. They are often made of MDO plywood, wood, or brick and/or stone columns surrounded by landscaping. © Joshua Bloom There are two main types of window Window signs: • © Chippewa Falls Main Street signs: window lettering painted or applied directly to Chippewa Falls (Wisconsin) Main Street trained the interior side of the glass and interior-hung signs. volunteers to restore a 1930s wall mural. Both are appropriate, but neither should sible, these signs should either be preserved in their take up more than current state or restored to their original splendor. 25 to 30 percent of New murals that are done well can become the glass area, which sources of pride, especially for those who worked allows shoppers to see on them. The Community Bridge mural project in inside. This sign type Frederick, Maryland, transformed a plain concrete is highly effective in bridge into a symbolic and beautiful public art proj- attracting the atten- © Linda S. Glisson ect. A team of volunteers asked community members tion of pedestrians. to describe what community means to them and used their ideas in the design. Thousands of people Neon signs add light and vibrancy to the Neon signs: • submitted their ideas of symbols that represented the street at night. In some parts of the country, neon signs spirit of community—in fact, people from all over are appropriate, such as in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the world participated. The artist painted 160 sym- where Route 66 runs through the historic district. Both bols using trompe l’oeil techniques. The bridge was exterior-mounted neon signs and neon signs placed part of a larger catalyst and flood control project inside windows can be used. Neon window signs that included infrastructure improvements to remove should not take up more than 25 to 30 percent of the downtown from FEMA’s flood plain and create a window area. Prefabri- linear park along Carroll Creek. The improvements cated signs, such as attracted millions of dollars in new development “open” signs, should in the now-safe district, and the bridge symbolizes be allowed, but they the inclusive nature of the revitalization project. ideally should be custom designed, using Most communities Banners: no more than two or • include banners, frequently three colors. © Linda S. Glisson on lampposts, as part of © Linda S. Glisson their streetscape improve- These original signs should be restored Historic signs: • ments, as is discussed on - and preserved when possible. Many sign manufactur page 144. But banners can ers have the capabilities to perform such restorations. also be used as signs. Sandwich boards: This sign • type is, in essence, a portable freestanding sign and can ef- fectively capture the attention of pedestrians. They should be custom made and reflect the © Leon Steele character of the business. Their placement should not inter - fere with pedestrian traffic. © Linda S. Glisson Inappropriate Sign Types Wall murals and ghost signs: Ghost signs, located on • Inappropriate signs send a negative image about the dis- the blank side walls of historic buildings, were used trict and the businesses within it. Many business owners in the past as advertisement space. Whenever pos- IMPROVING APPEARANCES 123 DESIGN

125 Poorly crafted homemade signs: Arguably the most • who choose inappropriate signs do so in order to at- inappropriate sign type is the “homemade” sign. Some tract customers’ attention. Your job is to show them that people are adept at craft- there is a difference between standing out and sticking ing hand-lettered signs; and, out. Help them visualize how high-quality, appropriate in some cases, such design signs will improve the look of their buildings and at- styles appropriately match tract as much attention as a flashy, inappropriate sign. the business type. More Now, which signs don’t belong on Main Street? often, however, homemade signs have a low-quality Internally lit signs : Internally lit signs are discouraged • look and give a negative because the plastic and aluminum materials used in impression of the district. If this type of sign do not blend well with the natural the latter is the case, en- building materials of historic buildings. Many are courage the business owner prefabricated signs with no individuality so they don’t to take advantage of sign contribute to a unique grants and other resources sense of place. If inter - to hire a professional sign nally lit signs are al- designer or manufacturer. lowed, the background © Joshua Bloom should be opaque, with transparent text and Awnings and Canopies logo, which is the op- posite of most existing Awnings have been used for centuries on Main Street, internally lit signs. and serve many purposes. They are designed to protect © Andrea L. Dono the entryway and customers from the elements, to con- In nearly every community, there are Oversized signs: • trol the amount of sunlight allowed into the building, and signs of all types that are too large for their build- to provide additional signage space. Depending on when ings. Signs should your Main Street buildings were constructed, older aw- never conceal archi- nings were typically made of canvas stretched over a fixed tectural elements; or retractable steel frame or of corrugated metal held up they should fit within by brackets or poles. Retractable awnings allowed the logical spaces on a merchant to open the awning on sunny days and retract building and match it on cloudy days. Canvas was often used, primarily be- the proportions of the cause it blended well with the natural building materials. building’s elements. © Joe Lawniczak Vinyl awnings, on the other hand, should be avoided on Main Street. These awnings were fairly popular in the Reader boards/electronic signs: Reader boards or • latter half of the 20th century, but because the material electronic signs are typically located on a portion of contrasts drastically with historic building materials, they a sign where changeable lettering can be applied to detract from the overall design of the façade. In many cases, advertise such things as dinner specials, upcoming vinyl awnings are internally lit, which creates even greater events, and sales. They come in two forms: individual contrast with the façade. This awning type is better suited letter tracks and rolling LED. There are very few in- to strip shopping centers where buildings are more mod- stances on Main Street where ern, and the signs and awnings need to be seen from tasteful reader boards could farther away. be allowed; these include Fixed awnings are acceptable, although, in some cases, theater marquees, churches, they are not as practical as retractable awnings because schools, and community they are susceptible to strong winds and heavy snow loads. centers. With the exception Strong winds put a lot of stress on the semi-rigid frame, and of theater marquees, reader the fabric suffers excessive wear and tear when it flaps in boards on signs, when al- the wind. Similarly, heavy snow loads can put excessive lowed, should be limited to pressure on the frame and can accelerate the deterioration no more that 20 percent of of the fabric. the total sign area, includ- As with any building material, fabric awnings need ing the sign structure. © Joe Lawniczak frequent maintenance. It is not uncommon for fabric to need replacement within eight to 10 years. Fortunately, the Signs on Main Street should be com- Flashing signs: • steel frames have been known to last for decades and can patible with each other; none should stand out over often be reused. the rest. The most drastic example of this type is a Awning fabric comes in numerous colors and patterns. flashing sign, with a series of individual light bulbs The awning color should suit the natural building elements around the perimeter. In order to maintain a level and building trim colors. Be aware that dark awnings will of continuity, flashing signs should not be allowed. IMPROVING APPEARANCES 124 DESIGN

126 fade more quickly and may need to be replaced more Awnings: Do’s and Don’t’s often than lighter colors. In many instances, awnings also double as signs. There are appropriate ways to fit an awning to a Typically, simple lettering is applied to the awning va- building (above). These two separate awnings re- lence. In other cases, a simple logo or lettering can be veal the building’s ornate piers and transoms with- applied to the main sheet of the awning. But as with any out wrapping around the corner. The awnings are other sign type, size and placement are important. The integral design features of the façade. lettering or logo should fit seamlessly with the overall awning design in both size and color. Some Main Street buildings have fixed canopies instead of awnings. These are often made of metal and wood, and are fastened to the façade using steel rods. Canopies can be appropriate alternatives to awnings on more monumental buildings, such as the main entrances to hotels or theaters, but they do have some drawbacks. Canopies are more expensive to build and install than awnings, they require a great deal of construction and structural work, they are not retractable, and they have flat roofs on which snow and rain can accumulate. If designed properly, however, canopies can add to a build- ing’s character. Mansard roofs are one type of canopy that is not appropriate. Part awning, part canopy, these elements were nearly always installed as inappropriate alterations to storefronts, often concealing transom windows and other elements. Mansard roofs have no relation to the DO original historic structure and are heavy and clumsy in appearance. Whenever possible, mansard roofs should be removed to reveal the original building elements or replaced with a fabric awning and steel frame. In contrast, the large awning (below) is an example of the wrong way to design a storefront awning. It is so large that it conceals important building ele- Conclusion ments and separates the storefront from the upper façade—passersby cannot see the upper façade Clearly, tackling design issues in your commercial district when they are underneath the awning. involves a wide scope of activities, from the installation and maintenance of awnings to building rehabilitations. For any building improvement project, large or small, the overarching idea is that the design appropriately fits in with existing elements of the district, respecting commu- nity character and adhering to standards of high quality. DON’T Images © Joe Lawniczak IMPROVING APPEARANCES 125 DESIGN

127 RESOURCES Websites An online resource for Preservation Directory: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: This historic preservation, building restoration, and cultural advocacy group advises the President and Congress resource management in the U.S. and Canada. www. on historic preservation policy. Its website provides information on current issues relating to preservation Home.aspx nationwide and by state. Rehabilitation Tax Credits: Provides information American Industrial Hygiene Association: Provides on the federal rehabilitation tax credit program. information about mold. The U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Provides information on billboard Scenic America: Department of Justice’s website provide information and sign control, community planning and design, on the ADA. model ordinances, scenic easements, scenic byways, You can download the Standards for Accessible transportation planning, and design guidelines. www. Design: ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) from The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Lists U.S. Blue Book of Building Construction: An illustrated version of the standards Rehabilitation: contractors, manufacturers, architects, and engineers, can be found at including those with experience in building restoration. index.htm Provides information on Traditional Building: The EPA The Environmental Protection Agency: products and services for commercial, civic, has information about lead, asbestos, and mold. See institutional, and religious building projects. for an online form for more information on lead or call 1-800-LEAD- for more FYI; The National Transportation Enhancements: information about asbestos; and Transportation Enhancement Clearinghouse has moldresources.html for more information about developed a free manual on information about mold. the federal transportation enhancement funds. Historic American Building Survey/Historic American This Library of Congress website Engineering Record: Article provides documentation, such as measured drawings, photographs, and written historical information, on more than 37,000 U.S. sites and structures. www. “Inappropriate Building Materials on Main Street,” by (Nov. 2005). Learn Joe Lawniczak, Main Street News all about building materials, the importance of design Index of Historic Preservation Design Guidelines: guidelines, and how you can persuade property Provides an index of design guidelines from owners to make sensitive improvements. communities throughout the U.S. facilities/owenslibrary/designguidelines.htm Books Indoor Air Quality Association: Offers tips for finding a qualified professional to deal with mold. See www. Design: Main Street Committee Members Handbook , by Doug Loescher and Teresa Lynch (National Main Street Center, 1996). Explains the Main Street National Alliance of Preservation Commissions: approach, the committee’s purpose, and typical Provides links to online design guidelines from many responsibilities. U.S. cities. napc.htm Guiding Design on Main Street: The Professional’s , by Richard Wagner Manual for Managing Design National Trust for Historic Preservation: Provides (National Main Street Center, 2000). Teaches the preservation news and information on funding design-related aspects of commercial district opportunities, taming the teardown trend, and revitalization, including design guidelines, regulation advocacy. and review, design incentives and financing, public National Park Service (NPS): The NPS has a series outreach, and compatible design. of Preservation Tech Notes and Preservation Briefs that focus on a different aspect of restoration and preservation. and IMPROVING APPEARANCES 126 DESIGN

128 DESIGN chapter 13 HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS By Joe Lawniczak As a Main Street organization, your mission is to facilitate historic preserva- tion-based economic development by becoming a clearinghouse for resources that are available. Your community may have programs in place that support local preservation efforts, so your design committee’s first step is an easy one—to determine which resources and tools already exist. Then, it should create whichever necessary programs that are missing or work in partnership with stewards of existing programs to realize their fullest potential. For ex- ample, a city or village will most likely have a sign ordinance, but it may need to be revised to fit the goals of the revitalization effort. Or, there may already be a Landmarks or Historic Preservation Commission that fulfills the duties required by a landmarks or preservation ordinance, such as designating local properties, establishing design guidelines, and acting as a design review board. Learning what exists and what is needed is vital for an organization to plan its activities, avoid duplication, tap into the experience and expertise of other groups, and avoid stepping on any toes. In addition, members of these partner entities could be great design committee volunteers. The following are the most common tools that can help Main Street programs protect irreplaceable assets. Most coordinating Main Street programs or state historic preservation offices have examples and information for each.

129 Giving Guidelines Teeth Design Guidelines Guidelines, on their own, are actually just suggestions. Façade and sign design guidelines create a blueprint for all They are not legally binding in any way. future developments and improvements. Most property One way to make them binding is to incorporate the owners would like to do the right thing as far as restoring guidelines into a local historic preservation or landmarks their buildings and designing their signs, but many simply ordinance, a sign ordinance, and any other local land-use do not know how. Design guidelines will help property ordinance or overlay zoning requirements that affect the owners do the right thing, as well as benefit contractors, district. As a result, all proposed building improvements, new carpenters, sign manufacturers, and other trades people construction, and signs within a designated area (i.e. Main who may not have experience rehabbing old buildings Street or local historic district boundaries) would have to or designing appropriate signs for historic districts. follow these guidelines before a building permit is issued. Of- Effective design guidelines outline proper techniques ten, these proposals are reviewed by a design review board. for a vast array of design issues. Areas of focus include Another recommended method is to incorporate the façade restoration, including all elements of a façade guidelines into financial incentive programs, which will (storefront, upper façade, doors and windows, masonry, be discussed in the next section. Only proposals that meet cornices, etc.); paint selection; dealing with alterations the design guidelines would be eligible for incentives. from the recent past; masonry cleaning; signs; awnings; Similar to ordinances, the proposals are reviewed by a the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards; energy effi- design review board. ciency; alleys; accessibility; lighting; visual merchandis- Since all design review board decisions will be based ing; and more). In addition to building restoration, design on these guidelines, it is important that they address as guidelines should address new infill development and many issues as possible. With that said, though, it is impos- building additions to ensure that the height, width, pro- sible to foresee every possible issue. With time, the design portions, setback, composition, rhythm, and materials review board may come across issues that may warrant a respect and reflect the surrounding historic architecture. revision of the guidelines. It is for this reason that guide- In addition to the above, truly effective guidelines lines should be reviewed annually, and revised as needed. also include specific, local information. Design guide- It is important, however, that you don’t make the guide- lines should be a “one-stop” resource for property lines too stringent, or too weak. They should still achieve owners, contractors, and other people working on re- the goal of guiding proper development and improve- habilitation and infill projects and should include: ments and should protect the area’s historic integrity. A map of the district; • Local Financial Incentive Programs Local building styles; • Establishing local financial incentives, such as low-interest Pertinent local ordinances; • loan pools or matching grant programs, and awarding incentives to projects that adhere to design guidelines are Pertinent local and state building codes; • great ways to give them teeth. These incentives also help offset the additional costs of proper restoration versus Local permit procedures; • - sub-par alterations, and thus act as a “carrot” to encour age proper design. For these financial programs to be Local design review process; • effective, the proposed project must be approved by the design review board before it receives any of the incen- Contact information for building inspectors, • tives. Loan pools and grants are two common finan- code officials, bankers, contractors, etc.; cial incentives many Main Street programs develop. Loan pools. There are two fairly common types of All local incentives and application processes; • loan pools: façade improvement loan programs and building improvement loan programs. A façade im- All available assistance; and • provement loan program is used for façade renovations, signage, etc. A building improvement loan program is Anything else a property owner would need to know • frequently used for building maintenance, code compli- in order to obtain a building permit, complete the ance, interior renovations, structural repairs, etc. building improvement, and find help along the way. - Typically, several local banks pool money that is ear marked for the program(s). Often, there is a per-project Your community is unique; writing design guidelines will cap of anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000. Rates are help protect its authenticity. Contact other organizations, typically set at either a percentage of or a number of such as historic preservation commissions and other Main points below prime (75 percent of, or 2 points below). Street programs, to request copies of their design guidelines Grant programs. Typically, these are 50-50 match- so you can get a better idea of the issues and scope of work; ing grants for improvements such as façade renovations, however, your own guidelines should be customized to best signs, awnings, etc. Grant programs generally range from reflect local building styles, history, and issues. HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS 128 DESIGN

130 $500 to $5,000 or more per project. The money for which is forwarded to the local building inspector or the these programs often comes from various fund-raising entity providing the funds, depending on who requires the efforts, CDBG funds, and private foundations. Many review. If the plans are not approved, the applicant must donors want their contributions to be used for pro- make any necessary changes and resubmit the proposal. grams that will produce positive physical changes. Grant programs fall into that category. Again, all projects Design Review Board Members requesting grants must adhere to the design guidelines. The most effective design review board has four or five members. That may seem small, but having more than Design Review five members can lead to overly long discussions and make reaching consensus difficult. If this group is estab- Design review is often the last step in assuring that lished by an ordinance and functions as an extension of building renovations, new construction, and signs fit the local government, it must notify the public before within the context of your historic district. In many holding its meetings; therefore, property owners must Main Street communities, some design committee mem- allow time for permit reviews when starting on projects. bers also serve on the design review board. With the If your design committee is reviewing building projects advent of Historic Preservation Commissions (HPC), as part of a financial incentive program, then the group many communities defer this responsibility to the HPC. can usually meet on an as-needed basis, depending on An HPC is created through a historic preservation or the organization’s bylaws and ability to meet quorum. landmarks ordinance and its members are appointed by Each board member should understand and appreciate the chief elected official of the municipality. This type historic preservation. People with appropriate experience of ordinance is vital in identifying, designating, preserv- include architects, landscape architects, interior design- ing, and protecting a community’s historic resources. ers, planners, graphic artists, preservationists, historians, Typically, the HPC is given a set of powers and du- building inspectors, contractors, sign manufacturers, ties that include preservation education and market- and sometimes developers. They must be able to of- ing, as well as designating local properties as historic fer workable alternatives to inappropriate proposals. and providing design review for renovations to those The members of a review board must be diplomatic properties. It is recommended, when a community has because their decisions directly affect what people can both a Main Street organization and an HPC, that or cannot do with their property. Members must be able some design committee members serve on the HPC. to compromise when appropriate, yet stand firm when If, for some reason, they don’t get on the committee, needed, all the while treating applicants with respect. they should encourage HPC members to become in- The line between being too lenient and being too stringent volved in Main Street. Thus, while all design review is a fine one. A design review board that is too lenient would fall under HPC jurisdiction, there would be may jeopardize the historic integrity of an entire district, consistency between Main Street and HPC goals. and lose its credibility. On the flip side, a board that is too A design review board is responsible for reviewing the stringent and unwilling to compromise when appropri- plans for any proposed building renovation, new con- ate may gain a reputation as an obstacle in the permit struction proj- process. As a result, potential developers and investors ect, or signage may choose to invest elsewhere, or property owners will before within designated decide not to improve their buildings simply to avoid the boundaries. In “headache” of dealing with the review board. Both situ- some instances, ations are counter-productive to revitalization. All com- design review is promises need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. required by an ordinance; in Documentation other instances, it is part of the It is a fact of life that some applications will be rejected. approval process When a project is not approved, the applicant must be for local grants, given written documentation explaining why. Each portion loans, or other of a project that doesn’t adhere to the guidelines should be incentives. Ide- itemized. This process will create transparency and build after ally, the plans credibility for the board. Don’t just say “not approved.” are reviewed Instead refer the applicant to specific sections of the based solely on guidelines, and, if possible, offer suggestions that can help established design the applicant make changes in order to gain approval. guidelines. If Whenever the review board makes a compromise, it approved, the re- should be documented. Explain exactly why something was view board issues allowed in a given situation to avoid setting unwanted a Certificate of precedents. The biggest fear of a review board is having an Appropriateness, applicant who was not approved ask, “why do they get to HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS 129 DESIGN

131 tal tax credit in addition to the 20 percent. The rehabilita- do this, but I don’t?” Documentation will also help when tion must be substantial and must involve a depreciable revising the guidelines. For example, if a building owner building. (These terms will be explained later.) There is proposes something that is not covered in the guidelines, also a 10 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation of non- and the review board must make a judgment call, address historic, non-residential buildings built before 1936. that issue in the next revision. A tax credit lowers the amount of income tax owed by the property owner. This differs from a tax deduction, which Preparing Applicants merely lowers the amount of income subject to taxation. In general, a dollar of tax credit reduces the amount of income Any permit process takes too long in the minds of tax owed by one dollar. The amount of tax credits provided property owners, developers, and contractors. Anything relates directly to the amount spent on rehabilitation. that can be done to minimize the time it takes to go With the 20 percent federal tax credit, the project must through all of the channels should be considered. Seek be a certified rehabilitation, meaning it must follow the feedback and continually improve your guidelines and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. assistance you give the public. Certification, which is done by the SHPO and the NPS, Make it clear to the property owners and developers should be sought before beginning any work on the build- that they need to review guidelines before designing their ing. It must be a certified historic structure, meaning the projects. Prior to the actual design review, the applicant building must be individually listed in the National Register, should be given all material required for the application, be eligible for listing, or be a contributing building within whether it is an application form or a reference slip from a National Register historic district. It must be a substan- the building inspector or banker. The applicant should tial rehabilitation, meaning the rehabilitation costs must be also know what materials to bring to the review. Typical- equal to or greater than the adjusted basis of the property, ly, they consist of a colored rendering or working draw- or $5,000, whichever is greater. The adjusted basis, in very ings, paint selections, material samples, and any specifica- general terms, is the purchase price of the property, minus tions the applicant may have. Assisting applicants presents the cost of the land, plus improvements already made, minus a fantastic opportunity for the Main Street program depreciation already taken. And the building must be de- to facilitate the process and increase the willingness of preciable, or income producing. Uses can include offices, developers and property owners to invest in the district. commercial, industrial, agricultural, or rental housing, but Becoming a one-stop information source and acting as the building may not be the owner’s private residence. a liaison with municipal offices will also help build Rehabilitation costs include construction, architectural, support for your organization. In Kansas, Emporia Main engineering, site survey, legal, and development fees as long Street’s Business Enhancement Committee coordinates a - as they are added to the basis of the property and are deter “Code Service Team” that includes the fire marshal, mined to be reasonable and related to the project. Rehabilita- building inspectors, architects, Main Street representa- tion costs do not include furnishings, new additions/construc- tives, and other stakeholders who meet with business and tion, parking lots, sidewalks, landscaping, or out buildings. building owners and developers to discuss the project There is a three-part application process. The first and on-site. This meeting saves the developer time and money second parts should be submitted as quickly as possible, because costly plans no longer need to be drawn up and preferably at least 60 days before the rehabilitation is due to submitted to separate agencies. A permitting process that begin. However, it is recommended that the SHPO be con- once took months now only takes a few hours and the sulted during the design stage. The application is first submit- developer can walk away knowing all the requirements to ted to the SHPO, who has 30 days to review it; then it is sent move the project forward. to the NPS, which has 30 days to approve or deny it. Step one of the application is to determine if the building Rehabilitation Tax Credits is a certified historic structure. If the building is already individually listed in the National Register, the first step is Since 1976, the National Park Service (NPS) has adminis- unnecessary. This step is required if the building is in a tered the federal historic preservation tax credits program National Register historic district or is not yet individually in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) listed in the National Register. and state historic preservation offices (SHPO). These tax is to determine if the owner’s rehabilitation Step two incentives attract new private investment to the historic plans will qualify as a certified rehabilitation and meet the cores of cities and towns across the U.S., and also gener - Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. Once the first two steps ate jobs, enhance property values, and provide additional are submitted and certified, then the actual rehabilitation property tax revenues for local governments. Through this can begin. - program, abandoned, underused, and deteriorated proper takes place after the rehabilitation is complete. Step three ties have been restored to life in a manner that maintains The SHPO and NPS determine if the completed project their historic character. Tax credits were created to make qualifies as a certified historic rehabilitation. They check to historic preservation as attractive as new construction. see if it was done in accordance with the Secretary of the The federal portion of this program provides a Interior’s Standards by following the plans submitted in step 20 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic two. This step requires photos and a description of the structures. In addition, many states offer a supplemen- completed work. HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS 130 DESIGN

132 Once completed, the building must be placed in ser - vice (returned to use). The date the building is placed in service is critical in determining when the tax credits will be allowed. From that date, the owner must keep the building for five full years and must not perform any unapproved alterations during that time. If the building is sold, or if unapproved alterations are made, the IRS can recapture all or part of the tax credit. During this five- year period, the SHPO or NPS can inspect the building at any time. Because there are so many factors involved in the use of the rehabilitation tax credits, the building owner should consult a knowledgeable accountant. Ten Percent Non-historic Tax Credit The IRS has made a 10 percent non-historic rehabilitation tax credit available for buildings that are not listed in the National Register (although they may be eligible).While there is no formal review process for this credit, the follow- ing criteria apply: the building must have been built before Historic districts are geo- National historic districts: 1936, the rehabilitation must be substantial (adjusted graphically definable areas that possess a significant basis or $5,000), must be depreciable, must be for non- concentration of sites or properties united aesthetically residential use (rental housing not allowed), and must be by design or past events. Most historic districts have both in its original location (never been moved). In addition, the contributing and non-contributing buildings. Generally, following applies to the retention of walls and framework: contributing buildings must retain historic exterior integ- at least 50 percent of total existing walls must remain in rity and be at least 50 years old; however, exceptions can place. At least 75 percent of existing external walls must be made for younger structures that have achieved signifi- remain in place as internal or external walls, and at least 75 cance because they are deemed of extreme importance. In percent of the internal framework must remain in place. order to be established, historic districts need the approval The 10 percent tax credit must be claimed on IRS form of property owners within the district; if more than 50 3468 for the tax year in which the rehabilitated building percent of the owners object, they can block the listing. is placed in service. Consult an accountant for assistance. National landmark designation: This type of listing is reserved for buildings, sites, structures, and objects of National Register of Historic Places national significance to American history or culture. All National Historic Landmarks are included in the National Probably the most misunderstood preservation-related tool Register, and examples range from Pearl Harbor to Mount is historic designation. Most people automatically assume Vernon. The NPS generally identifies potential landmarks that having a building within a historic district or individu- but other federal agencies, SHPOs, and individuals have ally listed in a historic register means they will be told what submitted successful applications (which use criteria they can or cannot do to their property. However, this is not and procedures different from the National Register). always the case. First of all, it depends on the type of listing. The benefits of National Register listing include: There are three types: listing in the National Register of Historic Places, listing in a statewide register, or local desig- In 2003, a study was done Protection of investment. • nation by a historic preservation or landmarks commission. in 18 historic districts in Florida. In none of the dis- The National Register is the official list of the nation’s tricts studied did the historic designation depress cultural resources worthy of preservation. Entries are of- property values. In fact, in 15 of the 18 cases, the ficially nominated by the SHPO and submitted to the NPS. value of property in historic districts appreciated Nomination forms are prepared by local citizens, building more than in comparable non-historic districts. owners, historic preservation consultants, or by the SHPO itself. There are three types of National Register listings: Incentives. Owners of individually listed or contribut- • Individually listed properties: These types of listings ing buildings may be eligible for state and federal are “important” in American history, culture, archaeol- rehabilitation tax credits, tax deductions for easement ogy, or architecture. They are typically of regional or donations, and property tax abatements for the reha- statewide importance, however, not necessarily of national bilitation of their buildings. Federal and individual state importance. For instance, the building may represent a requirements vary. unique architectural style, or it may have been the site of an important event or the home of a significant resident. The owners of individually listed or contribut- Grants. • The NPS has online and print resources that detail the ing buildings may be eligible for certain public or criteria for listing properties as well as various exceptions. private preservation grants. HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS 131 DESIGN

133 Listing provides limited protec- Protection of property. • A statement of purpose; • tion from adverse effects by federally funded, licensed, or assisted projects, such as demolition for a federal Definitions of terms used; • highway project. Contrary to popular belief, simply having a Description of the make-up and length of office of the • building listed in the National Register generally does historic preservation commission; not prohibit the owner from demolishing the building, The powers and duties of the commission; nor does it dictate what can or cannot be done to the • building. The exceptions are school districts that The criteria and procedures for designating historic receive federal funds, or city, county, and state govern- • properties or landmarks; ments (unless covered by a state preservation law) that obtain federal permits, funds, or licenses for a project. The procedures and guidelines for regulating alterations It is only when a local landmarks or preservation • to designated properties; ordinance is in place, or when the owner is utilizing rehabilitation tax credits or other financial incentives, The procedures and guidelines for regulating the that any restrictions above and beyond standard • demolition of designated properties; building codes apply. A summary of other powers and duties; Most states maintain State registers of historic places: • a state register of historic places that, for the most part, Methods of enforcement; and mimics the National Register. Listing in these registers • does not restrict the building owner from demolishing or Provisions for recognizing and marking designated altering the building (unless covered by a state preserva- • properties and landmarks. tion law), but does provide limited protection from ad- verse effects by state funded, licensed, or assisted projects, This certifi- Certified Local Government (CLG) status: such as demolition for a state highway project. Again, it cation by the SHPO and the NPS recognizes that your is only when a local landmarks or preservation ordinance community meets certain criteriafor historic preservation is in place, or when the owner is utilizing rehabilitation tools and activities. tax credits or other financial incentives, that any restric- By definition, any city, village, or town is eligible to tions above and beyond standard building codes apply. receive CLG status if it establishes and enforces a local Local historic designation and local Local designation: preservation or landmarks ordinance, has a qualified HPC, landmarks or preservation ordinances provide the best has conducted an architectural/historic building survey, protection for historic resources and regulate what can be provides for public participation and education on historic done to historic buildings, including demolition. Typically, preservation, produces an annual report each year, and the task of designating local historic districts or properties provides the SHPO with meeting minutes. falls to the historic preservation commission or landmarks To apply in most states, the mayor or chief elected commission, which itself is formed through a preservation official must submit a letter supporting the protection of or landmarks ordinance. historic properties, a copy of the historic preservation But in some cases, when a building is threatened with ordinance, a list of locally designated historic properties demolition, and there are no such ordinances or commis- and districts, a list of HPC members and their qualifica- sions in place, this type of designation is community driven. tions, and a copy of the most recent comprehensive plan. However, it is always best to have these tools in place to A CLG community is eligible to apply for Preservation avoid preservation emergencies. The designation of local Fund Subgrants, and can formally comment on National historic districts requires a majority of the affected building Register nominations before they are sent to the SHPO. owners’ support. This almost always requires that the HPC The Preservation Fund Subgrants typically range from conducts a vigorous educational process before attempting $2,000 to $8,000 and are set up on a reimbursable format, to designate any properties. contingent upon proof they were used for approved If a majority of the building owners agree, then all activities. The subgrants can be used to pay for architec- properties designated, either individually or as part of a tural/historical surveys, National Register nominations, district, are subject to design guidelines and design review. educational activities, comprehensive planning, and admin- A typical historic preservation or landmarks ordinance istration of preservation programs. will include: Please refer to the list at the end of Chapter 12, Improving Appearances. RESOURCES HISTORIC PRESERVATION TOOLS 132 DESIGN

134 DESIGN chapter 14 REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY By Tom Liebel, AIA, LEED AP Rehabilitating existing structures is recycling on a grand scale and inherently sustainable in and of itself. By encouraging public and private property owners in your community to rehabilitate existing buildings, preserve treasured historic and cultural assets, and focus on energy effi- ciency, you will be well on your way to creating a sustainable commercial district. There is no shortage of compelling reasons to embrace sustainability. By finding new economic uses for older buildings, we not only protect our culture, but also stimulate the cycle of reinvestment. Revitalization is smart growth because by turning existing commu- nities into vibrant places to live, work, and play, we give people alternatives to sprawl- ing suburban development, prevent the demolition of existing infrastructure, and leverage our initial public and private investment. Smart land use not only preserves undeveloped land and natural landscapes but also keeps building materials out of landfills. Clearly, re- vitalizing an established commercial district has many benefits, including its impact on the community’s sustainability. © Linda S. Glisson

135 Environmental Sustainability Reusing a historic building is the ultimate form of recy- cling. As preservationists, Main Street programs educate the public about why adaptive-use projects are impor - tant—including the environmental benefits. With new con- struction comes the need for processing materials, energy consumption associated with manufacturing and shipping materials, site excavation, and possibly the development of new infrastructure. While new buildings can strive to make a lighter environmental footprint by incorporat- ing recycled materials or energy-efficient systems, a lot of already expended energy and expenses went into con- structing existing buildings. When historic buildings are demolished, their embodied energy, which is the amount © Imagery by Dimension IV of energy associated with extracting, processing, manufac- turing, transporting, and assembling building materials, On Broadway, Inc., in Green Bay, Wisconsin, purchased a 22-acre is lost and building material waste is hauled to landfills. industrial site and plans to turn it into an economically and ecologi- cally sustainable mixed-use community. Sparked by the energy crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Advisory Council on Historic Preserva- There are three aspects of sustainability that contribute tion commissioned a study that quantified how much to truly successful projects: energy was saved by rehabilitating buildings. One ex- ample showed that the Grand Central Arcade in Seattle, Environmental; Washington, embodied 17 billion BTUs (British Thermal • Units of energy) and that a new building equivalent in size Economic; and would require 109 billion BTUs to construct. Therefore, • the study concluded that preserving this historic structure 1 Social. . saved 92 billion BTUs or 730,000 gallons of gasoline • We’re not only throwing away thousands of dol- Known as “planet, profits, and people,” typically these lars of embodied energy; we are also replacing historic three attributes are mutually reinforcing: a building that structures with new developments that use vinyl, steel, is rehabilitated and reused takes advantage of existing aluminum, and other energy-consumptive materials. infrastructure (reducing the building’s impact on the envi- Reusing our historic buildings will almost always be ronment), incorporates sensitive design to promote public more environmentally responsible than building new interaction (social sustainability), and helps spur addition- structures, even if those new structures are “green build- al investment in the community (economic sustainability). 1. Source: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Assessing the Energy Conservation Benefits of Historic Preservation: Methods and Examples, Washington, D.C.: 1979. What Can You Do in Your Community? Not every project that focuses on sustainability has to be and educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, a large-scale green rehabilitation project. See what some business owners, and city agencies to survey the district innovative Main Street communities have worked on: to identify and improve problematic areas such as bro- ken crossing signals, poor sidewalk conditions, missing In 2002, the Village of South Orange received a • handrails, and other issues. $720,000 transit village grant (federal funds admin- istered by the NJ DOT) for new jitneys. The program • The San Luis Obispo Downtown Association in Califor- has been well received and has expanded from one nia surveyed the health of downtown trees. An urban jitney line to three. arborist assessed the condition of all trees and made recommendations about which trees should be pruned, Downtown Boulder, Inc., (Colorado) uses solar panels • replaced, or left as is. Any tree that was removed was to power a free wireless Internet network downtown. replaced by a species indigenous to the Californian en- • Cambridge Main Street (Illinois) built a rain garden in vironment. The new trees are less prone to disease and College Square Park that features native plants and will mature in a way that won’t tear up the sidewalks or collects rain water to reduce water runoff and provide block entire storefronts. innovative storm-water management. • Lafayette, Indiana, has taken care of its urban forest, too. Mission Hill Main Street in Boston participated in an • As part of its Columbia Street Model Block streetscape Elder Friendly Business District pilot program that project, the city used “structured soil” to extend the life worked with neighborhood senior citizens, medical of street trees by creating better drainage. REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 134 DESIGN

136 ings.” Mike Jackson, an architect with the Illinois His- toric Preservation Agency, has calculated that if a build- ing were demolished—even if some of its materials were salvaged—and replaced by an energy-efficient building, it would take 65 years to recover the energy lost demol- ishing one building and constructing another. Most new buildings don’t have a life span that long and therefore cannot recoup the energy expended in their construction. Inherently Sustainable Design Sustainability is not a modern concept! Historic buildings can Many historic buildings were constructed with features that use natural light and awnings to maximize energy efficiency. made use of specific building materials and the local climate organization should encourage property owners interested to maximize their performance. Up until the post-World in sustainable design to interview architects and engineers War II era, buildings were designed to operate on much with experience integrating sustainable design strategies lower energy budgets and take advantage of natural ele- into historic properties and to work in partnership with the ments. High ceilings, natural light, and windows for cross State Historic Preservation Officer to ensure that sustain- ventilation; shutters and canopies for controlling sunlight; able design concepts don’t sacrifice historic elements and and a variety of other traditional design elements are being prevent the project from receiving historic tax credits. rediscovered today as effective means to reduce a building’s energy consumption. By removing insensitive modifications, such as dropped ceilings and fixed-pane windows, and Preservation and LEED allowing the building to function as originally designed, building owners can significantly reduce energy consump- Some people believe that rehabilitating an older structure is tion. Property owners might consider removing inappropri- less “green” because rehabs do not always incorporate new, ate additions as well as reinstalling energy-conserving com- sophisticated technology. They may also think that historic ponents that were removed during previous renovations, buildings cannot easily earn certification under green such as over-door transoms, ceiling fans, and awnings. building standards, such as the LEED (Leadership in Energy Making improvements to a building’s exterior walls and and Environmental Design) program developed by the U.S. roof—called the building envelope—can reduce the heating Green Building Council, because traditional design would and cooling demands on a building’s mechanical systems. not be compatible with new green standards. Typically, these improvements take the form of adding The LEED rating system is a point-based system that storm windows or replacing original window panes with rates five primary categories (Sites Sustainability, Water insulated glass units, adding insulation to perimeter walls Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Re- and attics, and sealing up the building to reduce drafts. sources, and Indoor Environmental Quality). There are While these improvements can effectively reduce energy a total of 69 points available, and of those 69 points, a consumption in older buildings, property owners must be project must obtain 26 points to be LEED Certified, 33 aware of the implications of modifying the original fabric points for LEED Silver Certification, 39 points for LEED of a building. Changes cannot violate the Secretary of the Gold Certification, and 52 points for LEED Platinum Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation if the project plans Certification. Historic preservation projects can fare well to pursue historic preservation tax credits; inappropriate under LEED. In fact in some instances, historic proj- alterations include replacing historic wood windows with ects actually have an easier time earning points than new aluminum, fiberglass, or vinyl frames that contain new construction. For example, historic buildings often insulated glazing units. The designer must also understand readily earn points for density and connectivity to ex- the impact the modifications will have on the existing isting infrastructure, such as public transportation. fabric. Just as inappropriate changes to a historic building Historic preservation and adaptive-use projects, by can ruin the architectural design or cover up a structural taking advantage of existing infrastructure, the reuse of problem rather than fixing it, inappropriate modifications existing structures, and the selection of simple items that in the name of energy conservation can harm a structure. have low- or no-cost impact (such as using low-VOC For example, a classic problem occurs when additional paint), can easily secure 18 to 26 of the 26 points required insulation is installed in perimeter walls without adding for LEED certification. a functional vapor barrier. If not carefully considered, the addition of insulation can change the condensation point 2 : the moisture from air infiltra- within the wall assembly Economic Sustainability tion condenses in the wall cavity, soaking the insulation and creating a potential source of mold and rot. Because Buildings that consume fewer resources inherently cost less these concepts can be very technical, your Main Street to operate. By advocating wise stewardship of existing 2. Source: Mike Jackson, “Embodied and Operating Energy: Balancing the Eco Equation – Presentation,” resources, historic preservation advances this goal. St. Paul, Minn., Oct. 5, 2007. REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 135 DESIGN

137 © Patrick Ross Photography The Brewer’s Hill project (left) and planning sketch (right) illustrate many of the “green” initiatives incorporated into the mixed-use complex. Sustainable Baltimore Many communities have already begun to embrace sustain- able design principles in their redevelopment projects. Bal- timore, Maryland, for example, has a variety of excellent ex - amples that integrate adaptive use and sustainable design principles into preservation projects. One large-scale ex - ample is the $120 million renovation of the former National and Gunther Breweries Brewer’s Hill project, which created 750,000 square feet of office and retail space while utilizing before both Historic Preservation and Green Building Tax Credits as well as obtaining LEED Certification. The Can Company project—successfully sustainable. One of Baltimore’s oldest adaptive-use projects to integrate preservation and sustainability is the American Can Compa- ny site, located near the harbor east of downtown. The Can Company exemplifies the spillover effect successful projects can have, as this project has spurred revitalization throughout the surrounding neighborhood. A 2002 economic analysis of the project commissioned by the developer, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, indicated that the project created significant direct and indirect benefits for the community. Total building permits in the area surrounding the Can Company site rose after from 14 in the four years preceding the completion of the Can Company project in 1999 to 45 over the next four years. The © Patrick Ross Photography economic impact of the project’s two-year construction pe- has been developed as below-market rent apartments tar- riod was calculated at $44,007,435, with more than 400 jobs geted at Teach for America participants. Through extensive created. interviews and surveys of Teach for America participants, a A new project that has taken the cause of sustainability even series of key elements was designed into the facility to cre- further is the rehabilitation of the historic H.F. Miller & Sons ate a supportive, collaborative environment that will create Tin Box and Can Manufacturing Plant. Located in a transi- a sense of community for the residents and tie the building tional neighborhood in northern Baltimore, this magnificent into the surrounding community. brick factory, now renamed Miller’s Court, sat vacant for near- As with so many other effective adaptive-use projects, ly 20 years. Through a combination of historic preservation these rehabilitations removed a blight, which spurred in- tax credits and enterprise zone credits, the structure is being vestment in the surrounding neighborhood. Since the re- redeveloped (on a tight budget) as a mixed-use facility that habilitation, an interesting cycle has developed. Improve- will also achieve LEED-NC Gold Certification. However, what ments to the rehabilitated structures led to improvements makes this facility unique is not its focus on environmental and throughout their neighborhoods, which have now led to fur- economic sustainability, but its focus on social sustainability. ther improvements to the originally developed properties, Approximately 35,000 square feet of space has been redevel- with higher-end tenants moving into the ground-level retail oped as office space for nonprofit organizations that support and upper-level office spaces as they become available. Baltimore city schools. Approximately 40,000 square feet REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 136 DESIGN

138 building being developed (see the sidebar on Sustainable Improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings, as Baltimore on page 136). In 1998, David and Barbara Li- discussed earlier, is also economically sustainable for build- stokin and Michael Lahr researched the economic benefits of ing owners and users. Over a 30-year period, the cost to historic preservation. They found that for fiscal year 1997, operate and maintain (heat, light, cool, and clean) a typical the National Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit certified office building will average three times the cost to design investment was $688 million, which generated $762 million and construct the facility. Prudent investments in quality 3 in income and $319 million in taxes. construction upfront can have long-term positive economic benefits over the life span of a building. Property owners can Older neighborhoods, typical of Main Street communi- ties, tend to be denser, with a wider variety of uses than new install low-flow water fixtures, solar panels (where appropri- ate), high-efficiency HVAC units, and other building systems developments. The revitalization of existing neighborhoods and appliances that feature higher energy efficiency to cut and downtowns, many of which feature pedestrian-friendly utility bills and energy consumption. Money saved through streets, access to public transportation, and mixed uses, helps discourage sprawl and promotes efficient land use. Reclaim- the reduced consumption of utilities can be invested in more important items such as reduced rent and staff salaries. ing underutilized older buildings allows us to use existing infrastructure, reducing the demand to extend basic services such as water, power, roads, and sewers into undeveloped The Big Economic Picture areas, thereby reducing the pressure of suburban sprawl. Economic sustainability goes beyond saving individual Saving the cost of extending infrastructure and services building owners money, however. The effect of reclaiming a into the suburbs and beyond directly benefits the developer blighted property can extend well beyond property lines and or the taxpayer—if improvements are publicly funded. spark the revitalization of an entire neighborhood. Historic What’s more, the concentration of commercial and preservation-based revitalization can be a catalyst for residential buildings in Main Street communities allows economic development. When a property sits vacant and people to find shopping, housing, jobs, and entertainment neglected, it can drag down the surrounding area. Converse- all in one place. The mixed-use nature of Main Street dis- ly, a successfully renovated project can have spillover effects tricts gives people the ability to meet their needs without well beyond the property line, leading to neighborhood 3. Source: David Listokin, Barbara Listokin, and Michael Lahr, “The Contributions of Historic Preservation improvements that in turn will further improve the specific to Housing and Economic Development,” Housing Policy Debate 9, no. 3, 1998, pg. 456. When the city staff of Port Townsend outgrew their office space in the 114-year old city hall, instead of moving to an- other site or constructing a new building, the city worked CASE STUDY with the community and the local historical society to re- hab the historic building as well as build an annex to create more space. The final project not only saved the treasured Port Townsend, Washington local landmark, but it also incorporated sustainable design Sustaining the Old with the New concepts into the new annex so that it earned a LEED Silver Rating. The annex, which was designed to be architecturally compatible with city hall, also provides seismic support for the historic building. The project leaders used local contrac- tors as much as possible and incorporated many sustainable design features, including: • A highly reflective roof that deflects UV rays and thus absorbs less heat; • More than 50 percent of wood materials that were For- est Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified (which pro- motes responsible forest management); An optimized HVAC system; • • Low-flow and waterless fixtures; • Regional manufacturing of more than 60 percent of the materials used; • Recycling 50 percent of construction waste; • Purchasing green power for 100 percent of energy needs; and • Using low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emitting materials (VOCs are chemicals that “offgas,” such as those found in some paints, adhesives, and sealants, thus emitting harmful chemicals into the air). 137 REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY DESIGN

139 Sustainable Small Businesses • Use video-conferencing and conference calls when- By Andrea L. Dono ever possible instead of traveling; How can local businesses become more green? The Ander- • Reuse or recycle shipping materials; sonville Development Corporation (ADC), a nonprofit com- munity development organization that supports the An- Conduct a waste audit to determine which materials • dersonville neighborhood in Chicago, asked itself the same could be recycled; question and ended up launching the “eco-Andersonville • Replace disposable items with permanent items Sustainable Business Certification Program,” on Earth Day (e.g., mugs, towels, utensils); (April 22) in 2009. Use eco-friendly take-out containers (e.g., replace • The program helps local business owners set goals for sus- Styrofoam containers with paper or cornstarch con- tainability and provides the technical assistance and area tainers); resources to help them achieve those goals. In order to get certified, businesses get points for sustainable business • Maintain adequate liability insurance; practices in three areas: people, planet, and prosperity. When the program launched, it included 171 practices that • Develop and maintain a marketing plan; recognized the ability of a business to create a sustainable • Maintain an annual business plan with goals and workplace; give back to the community; reduce usage of budget; energy, water, and hazardous materials; maximize recycling and reduce waste; improve air quality; adopt best practices • Buy supplies from other nearby businesses; for business visibility; and account for the welfare of the planet in products sold and purchased. Participants in the • Refer customers to other local businesses; program not only learn how to become more sustainable, • Make sure at least 20 percent of products sold are a quality that local consumers want, according to an ADC environmentally responsible; and survey, but they would benefit from strong marketing and promotions. Buy at least 30 percent of paper and business sup- • plies (e.g., toilet paper, wrapping paper, bags) made So, what are sustainable business practices? Here is a sam- with 35-100 percent post-consumer waste or biode- pling of some of the 171 metrics used by ADC: gradable/recyclable materials. • Participate in a shop local campaign; As you can see, businesses can achieve sustainability on • Offer employees medical benefits; many different levels, and your program can communicate the variety of sustainable business practices without insti- • Encourage employees to walk, bike, or take public tuting a certification program. transit to work; Business owners would benefit greatly from instruction on Donate to local nonprofit organizations that support • ways they can maximize energy efficiency, whether you community initiatives; educate them through a workshop or resource materials. Give them specific activities they can do. For example, Regularly check the water bill for spikes in water us- • explain to businesses owners that they can save on their age, which could indicate a leak; energy bills by installing blinds, drapes, shutters, and/or • Use environmentally friendly, low-toxic hand soap awnings as appropriate. For a minimal cost, they can apply and cleaning products and avoid using aerosols; weatherstripping in window gaps to seal the top, bottom, and meeting rails; replace glazing putty to keep window Print with soy or vegetable-based inks; • glass securely in its frame; and caulk holes in the mate- rial around their windows. Remind them that things they • Use at least 40 percent natural, recycled, or renew - do at home, such as fixing leaky faucets or cleaning vents able materials; and sealing parts of mechanical systems, should be done Create a green space outside of the building to help • at their business as well. reduce stormwater run-off; Images © Linda S. Glisson REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 138 DESIGN

140 traveling to the fringe of metropolitan areas, which in turn reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. The denser, more compact nature of historic commercial districts and their typical multi-storied buildings re- sult in lower utility costs, which lead to less demand for fossil-fuel-dependent power, light, and heat. Preservation also supports economic sustainability by encouraging reinvestment in existing communities and local economic bases. A number of studies have demonstrated that historic preservation is a powerful catalyst for additional investment in communities and creates opportunities for heritage tourism, resulting in more jobs and a stronger tax base. Historic commercial heart of social sustainability. What’s more, Main Street districts are also prime locations for new entrepreneurs districts that have unique businesses, a full calendar of and business incubators because small businesses can events, beautiful historic buildings, trails and connec- fit better in the smaller spaces in historic buildings and tions to green spaces and waterfronts, and historic and find them more affordable than the often larger, more cultural assets contribute to a high quality of life. expensive space of new commercial developments. In Your Main Street program can have a huge influ- June 2006, the Small Business Association reported that ence on your community’s livability. A volunteer-driven there were 25.8 million small businesses in the United organization by its very nature makes civic engagement States and that small businesses employ 50.6 percent of 4 easier, and fun, for local stakeholders. Participating in America’s private–sector work force. Smaller, indepen- community planning activities or becoming a Main Street dent businesses are good for Main Street: they create volunteer gives people a say in how the district will evolve jobs and keep more dollars in the local economy instead over time and ensures that initiatives and projects re- of sending profits to distant corporate headquarters. flect local values and meet local needs. It is an excellent way to get people involved in civic activities and ensure Social Sustainability that the long-term goals of your municipality support community character. This involvement helps prevents Historic preservation protects and celebrates the social your Main Street from becoming Anywhere, U.S.A. and cultural resources that define and unite us as a na- tion, and ensures that they will survive to enrich our Conclusion communities, and our lives for generations to come. Protecting our heritage is integral to social sustain- There is no shortage of opportunities that your Main ability. By maintaining key elements of the original Street program can use to promote all three areas of built fabric of our communities, we ensure that our sustainability. Workshops and educational materials will children can actually experience their heritage and inform property and business owners about ways they history instead of just reading about it on a plaque. can make their buildings, businesses, and lives “greener.” By preserving and reinforcing the qualities of tradi- Effective sustainable design strategies incorporated into tional, dense mixed-use neighborhoods, we can continue the rehabilitation or adaptive use of existing facilities will our collective legacy of social sustainability and civic reinforce environmental, economic, and social benefits. engagement. Pedestrian-oriented communities promote Sustainability has become recognized as a smarter way social interaction and community building, which facili- of building communities, with historic preservation tate the bonds and personal relationships that are at the playing a major role in achieving sustainability goals. 4. See the Small Business Association’s website for small business trends and statistics – Getting Started with “Green” Rehabs • Undertake an energy audit to determine the • Contact the NPS, SHPO, and local building’s baseline performance and measure preservation officer to determine improvements to the building. ways to make your historic building “green” without harming the integ- Assess your project and look for ways to • rity of the structure. achieve sustainability. Use LEED point charts when considering specific sustainability ele- • Analyze the systems or products ments that you could incorporate. your project could employ to meet your specific goals. Research case studies and products. • REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 139 DESIGN

141 RESOURCES Websites National Trust for Historic Preservation: The NTHP’s AIA Best The American Institute of Architects: sustainability initiative seeks to educate historic Practices has dozens of free documents on historic property owners on green rehabs and advocate for preservation, sustainable design, and energy analysis adaptive–use projects and reinvestment in older topics that provide basic information and case communities. This website offers resources and studies. additional links for more information. The Association for Preservation Technology International: Offers training and publications, like Explains the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): APT Bulletin —a peer–reviewed journal that explores Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design preservation technology topics and is published (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ (the nationally three times a year. Volume XXXVI, No. 4, APT Bulletin accepted benchmark for the design, construction, published in 2005 is dedicated to preservation and and operation of high-performance green buildings). sustainability. Find research data, technical information, and the This joint program of the U.S. Energy Star: process for LEED certification. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. U.S. Department of Energy: The Energy Efficiency Department of Energy offers energy rating systems and Renewable Energy program provides many and resources to help promote energy efficiency in online tools and resources for improving the energy buildings. efficiency of buildings, using solar energy and Environmental Protection Agency: Offers a variety compact fluorescent bulbs, software simulation tools of informational resources, tips, and research on for determining how much a renovation project will sustainability and smart growth. save in energy, help with finding sustainable design specialists, and more. Its “Rebuild America” program National Park Service Preservation Brief #3: also saves money for business and property owners www.nps. Conserving Energy in Historic Buildings. by conducting energy audits of their buildings and gov/history/hps/tps/briefs/brief03.htm helping them find ways to improve energy efficiency. National Park Service Preservation Brief #44: The www. Use of Awnings on Historic Buildings. 2004. U.S. General Services Administration: Provides a variety of information about its Sustainable Design Program, including green roof examples and information on energy and water conservation through its Environment Program. REVITALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY 140 DESIGN

142 DESIGN chapter 15 PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS By Joe Lawniczak Public improvements include all streetscape elements, from lampposts and benches to parking and pedestrian amenities. While these improvements can make a visible difference, they cannot revitalize Main Street alone. Their design must complement the surrounding architecture as much as serve the pedestrians and motorists who will use them. When done correctly, these projects can greatly improve the appearance of a district, reinvigorate local business owners and resi- dents, and send a message that the public sector is willing to invest in the area, which can be vital in motivating building owners to improve their properties as well. It is incumbent upon the Main Street organization to encourage municipal investment in public improvements and to work with the local government to ensure that the improve- ments meet the goals of the revitalization effort and benefit the entire community. Upgrading public amenities not only improves the district’s safety and appearance but also increases the willingness of the private sector to get involved. For example, a consultant with a site selection firm met with economic development and chamber of commerce representatives in Louisiana and told them the CEO of a large corporation was considering a new location and would be interested in touring small towns. When the CEO drove through a community that met all of his requirements, such as work force and location, he saw the town itself looked unkempt. Sidewalks were crumbling, weeds were growing all over the town square, and litter was everywhere. Based on appearances alone, the CEO didn’t give this small town a second thought. © Linda S. Glisson

143 before after Streetscape Improvements The streetscape improvements necessary for your dis- trict will depend on current needs and plans for future growth. While there may not be much activity on Main Street when a program starts, the number of residents, shoppers, and employees may drastically increase once revitalization occurs. All of these factors need to be con- sidered before any public improvement project begins. Pedestrian malls were once created to imitate enclosed shopping malls. Blocking auto traffic also discouraged foot traffic, which led to the wide- The design of the streetscape depends on a number spread removal of pedestrian malls—such as the one pictured here in of factors: local history, architectural diversity, popula- Parsons, Kansas. tion, current uses, and future uses. When selecting ameni- Many misguided cities installed single, low-impact ties such as benches, lampposts, and trash receptacles, projects like a public sculpture or expensive benches make sure they reflect local history and character. They in an attempt to attract pedestrians. As the Main should not be off-the-shelf items with no correlation Street approach advocates, a comprehensive strategy to what exists now or what existed years ago. In addi- is needed; no single big or small-fix project can bring tion, they should reflect the architectural diversity of the a struggling commercial corridor back to life. People area. If the architecture is rich and varied, the streetscape need a reason to come back, such as recreation or shop- should serve as a subtle foreground for the buildings. ping. Then they will admire the public art and sit on If the architecture is nondescript, streetscape amenities the new benches. Improvements to public infrastruc- should add character and a visual focus to the area. ture and beautification initiatives are just one piece In addition to improving the appearance of the of the revitalization puzzle; the Main Street organiza- streetscape, the Main Street approach focuses on mak- tion should be involved from day one in the planning ing the district more pedestrian friendly by widening process and remain involved through completion. the sidewalks, providing pedestrian amenities, creating This chapter will discuss the following aspects of buffers between auto and pedestrian traffic, improv- public improvements: streetscape improvements and ing the visibility and safety of crosswalks, and slowing wayfinding systems. down auto traffic (traffic calming). These topics will be addressed in Chapter 18, Managing Traffic on Main Street. The design of public spaces also affects the secu- rity and perception of safety in an area, which are topics covered in Chapter 20, Clean and Safe Main Streets. Streetscape Amenities While most municipalities will make the final decisions about design, product selection, budget, and contracting for streetscape improvements, it is essential for Main Street organizations to be involved from the start to make sure that improvements will benefit the commercial district. Sometimes this is easier said than done, so forming and maintaining strong relationships with city Downtown Encinitas MainStreet planners, public works directors, and other agency staff members is vital. Association Streetscape Success In some cases, when the street being improved is Encinitas, California, embarked on a $5.2 million a state highway, the state department of transporta- streetscaping project to improve pedestrian safety, traf- tion will be making decisions. In this situation, too, the fic flow, parking, and the appearance of the historic Main Street organization should be at the table—even downtown. The project included new sidewalks, street- if you have to ask to be included—to make sure the lights, and street furniture; new bike lanes; landscaping; business district’s needs are met. While state transpor - sidewalk bump-outs; curb repairs; and new signage. The tation agencies in the past often tended to be insensi- Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association (DEMA) re- tive to the needs of historic commercial districts, many ported that there was no sales tax reduction during the have realized that the best designs occur when there is nine-month project that ended in 2002. In the year be- community input and have changed their strategies to fore the project was completed, sales tax revenues were reflect that. To learn more about transportation issues, $64.9 million; by 2007, they had exceeded $110 million. Encinitas has seen both property and sales taxes increase see Chapter 18, Managing Traffic on Main Street. since DEMA began using the comprehensive Main Street Several common streetscape amenities can be found approach to revitalize the district in the late 1980s. on Main Street. First and foremost are lampposts. A PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 142 DESIGN

144 Planning Public Improvements The extent to which public improvements are needed in any business district varies according to patterns of use, levels of activity, population density, and the scale of the buildings in the area. Small communities with tradition- al Main Streets usually have sidewalks and small public spaces that adequately accommodate existing levels of activity. Larger cities with intensively active commercial districts may need expanded pedestrian spaces and addi- tional amenities. These districts, as well as urban centers, may also be able to support extensive improvements such as plazas, parks, fountains, and monuments. © Marianne Lods Successful public improvements result from careful delib- The plaza in Millville, New Jersey, is an example eration and are tailored to the specific needs and charac- of a well-designed, expanded pedestrian space. ter of the commercial district. Although the impetus for the program can come from anyone, broad participation is necessary for it to succeed. A public improvements program can be triggered by general concern about the condition of the business district or by a specific event, such as the closing of an important downtown store, the opening of a regional shopping mall or discount store, or the deterioration of utilities. In general, a combination of city staff, elected officials, business owners, community leaders, property owners, citizens groups, and consultants may need to be involved. Strong leadership and citizen participation are essential throughout the entire process. Goals and priorities will vary among districts but should be used to determine strategically which public improve- ments are needed. A good way to get started is to take an inventory of current elements in the public space and © Donna Dow note their condition, usage, and impact on the business district. In addition to conducting an inventory, collect any These corner “bump-outs” in Durant, Oklahoma, add to pedestrian safety and to the attractiveness of downtown. existing studies on present or forecasted patterns of use in the commercial district, such as pedestrian and/or traf- fic counts, parking usage, and plans to upgrade public in- • Planning the scope of work (including ADA frastructure. Also review your district’s master plan, if one improvements); exists. This information will help your community decide which projects are needed. • Designing the project; After developing the goals, put together a list of priorities • Securing funds; for each goal. Keep the following considerations in mind: • Soliciting bids from contractors and selecting Correct problems with existing infrastructure be- • consultants (the bidding process might be sub- fore adding new public improvement elements to ject to municipal or federal policies depending the district. on your funding source); • Try to find management solutions to problems be- Collaborating with other district entities, such as • fore considering design solutions. utility companies; • Plan and implement major improvements so as to Obtaining appropriate permits and easements; • cause the least disruption. Getting public approval and promoting the dis- • • Make sure that new public improvements are trict during construction; visually, as well as functionally, compatible with Working as a liaison among construction • existing elements. companies, residents, and business/property Consider maintenance concerns when upgrading or • owners; adding new public improvements. • Developing a timeline for improvements that Your program will work in partnership with the municipal- causes the least inconvenience for the commu- ity to solicit public input on these improvement projects nity; and and might have a supporting or even leading role in imple- Setting up a maintenance plan. • menting them. Public improvement projects involve: Main Street 101: Public Improvements on Main Street, Part I Excerpted from Main Street News , June 2000). by Kennedy Lawson Smith ( PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 143 DESIGN

145 major consideration when selecting a lamppost design is that it must illuminate the street as well as the side- walk, which usually can be achieved with one fixture. There are certain requirements concerning the wattage needed over a specific area, which affects quantity, type, height, and placement. Selecting a lamp with insufficient wattage, for example, will mean that more lampposts will be needed to meet those requirements. Most state departments of transportation or local public works departments can provide these requirements for you. And if a planner or engineer is designing the streetscape © Mike Dono improvements, he or she should be familiar with these requirements and be able to make selections accordingly. called Arts Alive —a public banner program. Artists design To ensure that your new lampposts reflect the his- the banners and the city hangs them from the lampposts tory and character of the area, study historic photos to along Hwy 101. The original works of art are auctioned determine the style of lamp used in the past. If historic off and the proceeds go to the chamber of commerce, the photos are not available, the lamppost style should artists, and the local arts group. An online gallery of the reflect the district’s current character. This will pre- banners shows off the beautiful works of art as well as pro- vent the designer from selecting a “trendy” style that vides details on the artists and stories behind the banners. is bound to fall out of favor in a few years or an off- It is usually easier to select additional fixtures once the-shelf style used by countless other communities. lampposts have been chosen because their design cues the For districts that are more urban and “hip,” however, it style of other elements. Of these additional amenities, the may be appropriate to select contemporary amenities. most common are benches, which are visual indicators of Many communities install planters or hanging a pedestrian-oriented street. They provide a resting place baskets on lampposts to add color and vibrancy to for shoppers, a spot to converse and “people-watch,” or a the streetscape. You can find many new fixtures with place to wait for public transit. Benches should be located hangers or brackets but there are also vendors who where people will feel comfortable using them. Avoid plac- make hardware that can be installed on existing lamp- ing them too close to automobile traffic, or in spaces where posts. It is extremely important to develop a mainte- people may feel vulnerable to crime. Select benches that nance plan that identifies an agency or volunteer group are resilient to wear and tear or vandalism. Many com- who will plant and water flowers on a set schedule. munities choose benches with an armrest in the center to Main Street programs also design and hang ban- prevent people from sleeping or skateboarding on them. ners to add color to the streetscape, announce events, Another amenity is the or promote the district’s image. Most communities trash receptacle. Consider have designs for various seasons, events, or holidays. its placement as much as its Check with the public works department on the process design. If people have to walk and regulations for hanging and changing banners. more than half a block to The Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association throw away trash, most will (DEMA) in California started a public art fund raiser not do it. While the design of trash receptacles should complement the character of the other amenities, they need to be easily maintained. Trash bags should be easy for sanitation workers to remove, yet be secure and resistant © Leon Steele to vandalism and wind. Many streetscapes use trees because they soften the hardness of the built environment, provide shade, and boost the image of the district; it has even been shown that sales increase at businesses that have trees in front of them. There are many things to consider when select- ing the type of tree for Main Street. While a professional trained in regional horticulture or urban forestry should be consulted, here are some general guidelines: The tree should have a light canopy so that it does not block the view of storefronts and signs, yet should provide sufficient shade. It should also have a small root system to prevent damage to the sidewalk, curb, and underground utilities. PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 144 DESIGN

146 particular design that reflects your community’s character and helps determine a visitor’s experience and impressions of your district. A unified system of signs not only enables people to find parking and destinations but also delineates the dis- trict’s boundaries. If tourists or customers cannot easily find your district from the highway, they might give up before they © Mike Dono ever reach it. And once they get Buried utilities, clean sidewalks in good repair, and trees there, if they get lost or can’t complement the rehabbed storefronts in Franklin, Tennessee. locate parking lots because of poor or non-existent sig- One of the keys to creating an attractive streetscape nage, they may not return. is to avoid clutter. A common example is the vending Wayfinding systems start machine. Whether they are beverage vending machines with gateways, which are mark- or newspaper dispensers, if there is no consistency in ers at community entrances design or placement of these fixtures, they can clutter designed to show visitors that up the streetscape. In general, beverage vending ma- they’ve arrived some place dis- chines should be limited strictly to public spaces, such tinct. Gateways should be de- as parks or recreational areas. If placed on the sidewalk veloped at strategic points along directly outside of private businesses, they give the street tourist routes to welcome and a shoddy appearance. When vending machines are put direct people to your commu- in public spaces, the illuminated front panel should be nity. Gateway treatments that a custom design consistent with other streetscape ele- accentuate the main entrance(s) ments or signs throughout the district; for example, it into an area can include: could incorporate the district’s logo. For newspaper dispensers, a similar approach should be used. Instead Entry signage welcoming • of dozens of different colored and shaped dispensers, it people to the district; is recommended that they all be of identical design, with only small, uniform signs to differentiate among them. Attractive landscap- • The goal of any streetscape improvement should be ing around the signs; to increase the vitality of the street by making it invit- ing for people. One of the best ways to create activity Monumental treat- • on the street is to give people places to interact com- ments, such as pil- © Diana Kenney fortably, or just to sit and watch the world go by. The lars or arches; and benches discussed earlier help achieve this at the public investment level, but private businesses can do this as Art or statues. • well. Outdoor dining is one of the best ways to make a street vibrant by creating the impression that something In larger cities, a gateway can help separate one com- is always going on—that the district is a great place to mercial district from another, or a commercial district be a part of the urban experience. When outdoor seat- from the residential area. In smaller communities, it may ing is allowed, however, the amenity zone, needs to attract the attention of motorists driving along an adja- be wide enough to accommodate it, while at the same cent highway, bypass, or thoroughfare. Similar to all other time allowing enough room for pedestrian traffic. streetscape elements, gateway designs should reflect the character of the district and its amenities and signage. De- pending on the design of the primary gateway, secondary Wayfinding gateway signs might be installed on other streets that lead to your district but aren’t necessarily major roads. They After all the time and effort that your program has might simply consist of well-designed signs on attrac- devoted to improving the commercial district, don’t you tive posts. Consider complementing the gateway design want visitors to find it? Wayfinding signage is a great tool treatment with the design of other elements and signage to lead people not just to the district, but to various in your community to create a unified, cohesive look. amenities and attractions as well. Unlike the typical street Once people are within the boundaries of your signs that we see on our roads and highways, wayfinding community, trailblazer or directional signs help point systems include gateway and trailblazer signs that not pedestrians and drivers to Main Street, parking, public only direct people to points of interest but also convey an transportation, public restrooms, the visitor’s center, image or sense of place. These signs generally have a library, and other attractions or anchors. Signs meant to PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 145 DESIGN

147 Gateway Signs Set the Tone - The compact-sized and modern-look ing gateway of Lawrenceville, a historic neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, complements the urban environment. The larger, more traditional gateway to Charles City, Iowa, is appropriate for its placement along the highway. © Lawrenceville Corp. be viewed from vehicles need to be readable from afar so the Arts grant and other funding to develop The Del- that the driver can safely make a decision. They should be ray Beach Cultural Loop. The Loop is a 1.3-mile walk- placed at least 20 yards before the intersection and use ing trail that links the cultural history and contemporary lettering that can be read from a distance. Your community life of the white, black, and immigrant communities. may have guidelines for lettering, but the rule of thumb It uses maps, markers, and artwork to guide visitors throughout 22 blocks of cultural and historic sites. generally is to have one inch of letter height for every 40 feet of desired readability. Signs intended for pedestrians When working on a wayfinding system, put yourself in the shoes (or car) of a visitor, and try to experience your can use smaller lettering; however, they still must be readable and clearly convey information. For any sign, the district from the perspective of someone who has never fewer words the better; also use simple fonts for text. been there before. Try to find the historic district from the highway using only signs. Try to read signs as you are Arrows, icons, and symbols will help visitors get around driving past them in traffic. Look for outdated and unhelp- more easily. ful signs. Are there locations where signs or better signs Historical markers and interpretive signs can also would be helpful? Are there too many signs? A rule of communicate a sense of place and generate activity on thumb is to locate signs at every major intersection and at the street. One example: The Pineapple Grove (Florida) Main Street program used a National Endowment for other logical points throughout the district. Re-creating a Calendar of events; • Information kiosks placed throughout your Information Kiosks: district can pick up where your signs leave • An emergency call box; off. Visitors can use kiosks to find more in- What happens when formation about amenities, attractions, and • Slots for brochures, walking tour maps, visitors get out of events, which is especially helpful if you Main Street program brochures; their cars? don’t have a visitor’s center or if it is closed. Interactive touch screen interface; and • When designing this streetscape amenity, © Kathy Frazier Community bulletin board. • use materials that are weather resistant and deter vandalism. Incorporate a design that Just like your website and business directo- - complements your architecture and way ries, your kiosk has to stay current in order finding system and consider lighting the ki- to be helpful. If you list the district’s busi- osk to assist visitors who are out enjoying nesses, you will have to keep on top of the the nightlife. Keep text clear and short— turnover when stores open or close. Instead people shouldn’t have to read copious you may want simply to indicate streets that amounts of text to figure out where points have concentrations of shops or show where of interest are located or decide what they your “restaurant row” is located. Also, if you want to see first. Also, be sensitive to various use a bulletin board, keep it tidy and up to groups who visit your community. Consider date. Decide which types of flyers—size, using multilingual text to aid visitors who are design, and content—are appropriate and not proficient in English. If the kiosk is a Main remove any that aren’t. Post guidelines on Street project, put your logo on it and tell your website. people who you are. Place your kiosk(s) near parking, intersec- Elements that you can include: tions, and destinations. Think about where your visitors arrive and where they might park Maps with points of interests; • and place kiosks along widely used paths. • Public transit stops, routes, and schedules; PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 146 DESIGN

148 newcomer’s tour will help you decide which assets, park- ing areas, and attractions should be highlighted; where the most confusing areas in your community are; and which streets will take visitors back to main roads or high- ways. Once you decide which signs are needed and where they should be placed, you are ready to design them. Signs should be uniform; they can include the district logo and/or an image, with no more than five lines of text below. Work with a graphic designer to choose a clean, clear design that represents your town or district. The Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices , published by the Federal Highway Administration, sets the standards for signs and other transportation-related elements. It has many guidelines that can help you design highly visible signs that © Andrea L. Dono promote safety. Some tips include using text with simple, readable lettering and arrows large enough to be read from Funding for Public Improvements an appropriate distance. When installing signs, make sure they won’t be blocked by parked cars or any streetscape Because a public improvements program is often amenities, such as flower baskets. Your wayfinding sys- carried out incrementally, funding for various stag- tem won’t just help people move throughout the district; es of the program can come from different sources. it is part of the brand or image that you are marketing. It Public funding commitments can be used to lever- helps you build a sense of place. Coordinating wayfinding age private contributions. A local government, for signs with banners and other design elements will unify example, might offer to fund part of the cost of street the appearance of the entire district. Work in partnership and sidewalk improvements if local property owners with your municipality and department of transportation. agree to finance the rest through a special assess- ment district. Common sources of funding for public improvement projects include: Conclusion Public Funding Your Main Street program has a variety of design tools that • Bond issues; can make the streetscape look inviting and send a message to visitors, potential investors, business owners, and others • General revenue funds; that your community is a thriving and attractive place. By • Special taxing districts that levy a tax on the working in phases to make your commercial district and its property owners who most directly benefit; attractions easy to navigate and visually appealing, you can turn your district into a reflection of the commitment • Tax-increment financing, in which future in- stakeholders have in the revitalization effort. creases in tax revenue are allocated to pay for improvements; Special sales or food and lodging taxes; • Federal grants and loans for projects that ben- • efit low-to-moderate income residents, create additional jobs, or finance the rehabilitation of deteriorating infrastructure; and • Federal funds through TEA-21, the transpor- tation enhancements act, for projects that improve the streetscape and make roads and intersections safer. Private Funding Foundation grants; and • • Donations for the purchase of items such as pavers, benches, or public art. © Leon Steele Excerpted from Main Street 101: Public Improvements on Main Street, Part I by June 2000). Kennedy Lawson Smith ( Main Street News, PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 147 DESIGN

149 RESOURCES Website Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD): “Selecting a Streetscape Consultant,” by Donna Dow, An international, nonprofit, educational organization , March 2008. Discusses everything Main Street News that provides resources for design specialists. SEGD you need to know about selecting and working with a has publications, magazines, and other information consultant, including meeting specific requirements if on design issues and wayfinding and directional sign you are using federal funds. systems. Books Articles Building the Streetscape Training Presentation , “Community Wayfinding,” by Kathy Frazier, Kathy produced by the National Main Street Center (2002). Moore, and Sandy Hanger, , December Main Street News This 40-image PowerPoint presentation shows you 2006. Discusses using wayfinding to promote your how to improve a Main Street district’s streetscape. district’s image, guide visitors, and create a visually cohesive look. , Design: Main Street Committee Members Handbook by Doug Loescher and Teresa Lynch (National Main “Denny Triangle: Building a Gateway and Building Street Center, 1996). This handbook was developed Main Street News , Community,” by Kyle Vixie, November especially for Main Street design committee members 2006. Discusses how a community organization to teach them the Main Street approach, the developed a grassroots approach to create a importance of design, the committee’s purpose, and neighborhood gateway that supported its image. the foundations of good design. “Designing a New Look for Your District,” by Donna Guiding Design on Main Street: The Professional’s , April 2008. Discusses the Dow, Main Street News Manual for Managing Design , by Richard Wagner design phase of a streetscaping project. (National Main Street Center, 2000). Written for Main Street professionals, it explains design-related “From Planning to Promotion: Surviving Streetscape aspects of commercial district revitalization, including Main Street News , Construction,” by Bill McLeod, developing design guidelines, regulation and review, January 2007. Looks at Barracks Row Main Street’s design incentives and financing, public outreach, and 15-month project that required a lot of communication compatible design. and coordination to successfully transform this urban neighborhood business district. Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices: Traffic Signs for Streets and Highways , Standard Highway “Funding Your Streetscape Project,” by Donna Dow, Signs Book, New Clearview Typeface Federal Highway , November 2007. Discusses how to Main Street News by the Federal Administration Rules (CD-Rom), use Transportation Enhancement (TE) funding as well Highway Administration (2003). This is available as creative sponsorship ideas to raise matching funds. from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ website bookstore. It offers “Preparing for Streetscape Construction,” by Donna hyperlinks for easy navigation, bookmarks, search , July 2008. Discusses the Dow, Main Street News capabilities, and the ability to copy and paste text and planning phase of a streetscaping project between the graphics. design and construction phases, including timing of the project, collaborating with utility companies, the bidding process, requirements for using federal funds, and more. PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS 148 DESIGN

150 DESIGN chapter 16 MASTER PLANNING: Advancing the Future for Main Street Communities by Nicholas P. Kalogeresis, AICP Local Main Street organizations develop and adopt master plans to deter- mine a long-term vision for their commercial districts and set the course for future community decision making about commercial district development and investment. For instance, with a good master plan, a Main Street community can: Plan efficiently for major short and long-term physical improvements to public spaces • and infrastructure, including streetscapes, streets, parks, plazas, parking facilities, and special environmental features like waterfront areas; Address historic preservation issues such as encouraging the rehabilitation of historic • commercial buildings through special financial incentives and design guidelines; Identify potential sites for mixed-use infill development; and • Recommend changes to existing zoning codes to remove regulatory barriers to reinvest- • ment or to adopt new zoning mechanisms, such as zoning overlays that control first-floor uses and guide new development.

151 A good master plan encapsulates and promotes a potential. The lack of a strong vision could also open the door to inappropriate planning decisions that could compelling vision that builds community enthusiasm and strengthens consensus about the district’s future. Main threaten the long-term health and viability of the busi- Street organizations from small rural downtowns to urban ness district. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how master planning can benefit your Main Street district. neighborhood districts should be involved in community planning activities regardless of whether they are a pro- Guiding physical improvements. Historically, master gram that is just starting out or a mature program that has • plans have focused almost exclusively on physical been around for years. Since your organization represents improvement needs, such as streetscaping, road and the business district, your feedback and perspective are parking facilities, and other public space elements like important. While a master plan provides strategies for parks and plazas. While master plans of the past often revitalization and long-term growth, the process of involv- included schemes for urban renewal and demolition of ing the general public in guiding the district’s future is existing building stock to accommodate new develop- just as important as the final document itself. Public input ment, today’s planners have recognized the important in building a powerful vision for your business district roles historic buildings play in revitalizing traditional will ensure that the plan reflects local values and needs. commercial districts. In addition, wayfinding signage, Essentially, a commercial district master plan is a identifying infill development sites, and plans for course of action mutually agreed upon by the municipal- special environmental and landscape features like ity, local stakeholders, and the private sector for guiding waterfronts and courthouse squares are increasingly decision making and types of projects that should take common elements included in downtown or neighbor - place. In some states, however, once adopted, master 1 hood commercial district master plans. Guidelines plans become official municipal law. Either way, a mas- that manage the design of new infill development as ter plan is a statement of a community’s vision for its well as encourage the proper rehabilitation of his- future and a plan with strategies to achieve that vision. toric building resources are also common elements. When investigating master planning in your com- munity, you might learn that your city’s master plan Diversifying economic uses. Master plans offer more has been sitting on the shelf for 20 years. Or, you may • than just guidelines for new streetscapes; they also are - find that the city does not have a master plan, per effective tools for creating new economic opportuni- haps because it does not have a local planning depart- ties and spurring new investment in the district. A ment. These are all good reasons to initiate a master master plan can address economic development issues planning process in your Main Street community. such as business recruitment and retention, appropri- ate new land uses, and incentives and finance mecha- Benefits of Commercial District Master Planning nisms that encourage reinvestment and development. To assess economic development planning goals and Commercial district master plans help get everyone on opportunities, a master plan may include market anal- the same page—your organization, the municipality, and yses for retail, office, and housing; and studies and the private sector—and help build vision and community recommendations for developing special financial in- consensus for future revitalization initiatives and proj- centives or new sources of revenues, such as tax-incre- ects. Without a clear vision, your community may not be ment financing (TIF). For instance, a market analysis able to marshal the strategies, resources, and activities may determine that upper stories could be converted needed to revitalize the commercial district to its fullest into residential or office uses. A planning process will 1. States of Oregon and Washington. Master plans: Bigger than annual committee work plans! A master plan can help Main Street programs address various aspects of revitalization more comprehensive- ly than annual committee work plans, which typically focus on short-term initiatives and projects. A master plan can provide specific tools and strate- gic direction for revitalization activities and dealing with complex issues. For example, it could address a streetscaping design or a market analysis to de- termine adaptive-use options for a white elephant building. A master plan helps your Main Street orga- nization determine appropriate short-term work plan projects to achieve the community’s vision for the The Larsen Green master plan for Green Bay, Wisconsin. commercial district. 150 MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES DESIGN

152 A master planning process lets stake- holders establish a community vision as well as leverage assets like waterfront areas and upper-floor spaces. give your community a more complete understand- Mart is being developed near the Main Street district, ing of potential economic development strategies than or a new mixed-use development project with an the economic restructuring committee’s work plans. inappropriate design is slated for construction on a vacant lot. Both scenarios represent possible threats Introducing and revising land-use regulations and that have to be addressed through planning activities. • Most master plans recommend the develop- zoning. ment of new zoning codes or the revision of existing The most important Vision and consensus building. • regulations, especially if certain provisions restrict reason for undertaking a commercial district master commercial district reinvestment. The municipal plan is the opportunity it affords to engage the broader zoning code is usually categorized as an “implementa- community in determining the vision for your dis- tion element” of a master plan. (We will discuss trict’s revitalization and development over time. The elements of master plans later in the chapter.) In some end products of a master plan are more than recom- instances, a zoning code can hinder revitalization mendations, strategies, and studies; they should offer efforts if it prohibits certain uses, such as residential, a compelling vision that motivates the community to office, or light manufacturing, from locating on upper take action. In addition, it is this consensus-building floors. Another example is a zoning code parking aspect of planning that can help you build a stronger requirement that mandates more parking spaces for constituency and stakeholder partnerships that sup- - new developments and upper-floor residential conver port your revitalization projects and initiatives. sions than are actually needed. Therefore, revising zoning codes and ordinances can remove barriers to Elements of a Commercial District Master Plan reinvestment. New zoning and land-use regulations can also accomplish other revitalization goals, such as So, what’s actually in these master plans? protecting old buildings through a historic preservation In general, comprehensive commercial district plans are ordinance or encouraging appropriate signage and composed of several chapters, or elements, depending on the awnings through a special overlay zone. In addition number of planning and revitalization issues that are being you can use the master planning process to determine addressed. Therefore, the size and content of the final plan if new zoning is needed to restrict formula businesses are determined by the number of planning elements and the and non-retail establishments from occupying valuable plan’s scope of work. In some respects, large commercial storefront space. districts, especially in more urban areas, often have more complex revitalization issues and need a multi-element plan District revitalization and sustainability. One of the • to address them. Smaller downtowns, with less challeng- most significant reasons for creating a master plan is to ing, more straightforward planning concerns, may create a ensure the long-term sustainability and economic vital- master plan with only a few elements or chapters. Overall, ity of your commercial district. Rather than allowing plan elements can be categorized in three ways: physical sprawling growth on the fringe of your community, a plan elements, economic plan elements, and regulation/ good master plan can explore ways to accommodate implementation plan elements. Specific physical, economic, growth and new economic uses on Main Street, wheth- and implementation plan elements are described in detail in er it is in the form of reinvestment in older commercial the following sections. It should be noted that in many mas- buildings or through new development. The master ter plans, the implementation plan elements, which focus plan, in essence, becomes the community’s policy state- on zoning and land-use regulations, are often produced as a ment for revitalization and the role the Main Street separate document. In some cases, the implementation plan district should play within the municipality’s overall is developed after the rest of the plan has been completed. economic and community development efforts. Physical Plan Elements Many Main Street communities Addressing threats. • use the master planning process to address specific Land use. Land use is perhaps the most common threats to the well being of the commercial district. • chapter included in commercial district master plans For instance, perhaps a new lifestyle center or Wal- MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 151 DESIGN

153 bilitation of historic commercial buildings may also because it examines current usage of Main Street’s land be included. A historic preservation element can be and buildings and explores ways the district’s land can critically important for many Main Street communi- be used more productively to strengthen the economy ties, especially those that are experiencing develop- and the overall urban fabric. Master plans look at ment pressures and want to protect their irreplace- potential historic preservation and adaptive-use proj- able historic resources and overall sense of place. ects as well as at vacant and underutilized land parcels where new development can occur. One aim of these Building and infill development Design guidelines. • planning activities is to introduce new land uses. The design is another common planning issue usually ad- issue of land use is critically important because it deals dressed with a set of guidelines that outlines appropri- not just with the physical development of land but ate building design standards. These design guidelines also its potential for diversifying the economic base. should focus not just on new development but also on building rehabilitations and improvements, especially Many commercial Streetscape and infrastructure. • if the master plan does not have a historic preserva- district master plans focus almost exclusively on tion chapter. In many master plans, design guidelines streetscape improvements, such as sidewalks, light- provide only general information and few, if any, ing, wayfinding, and pedestrian amenities. In addition, graphic or photographic images that can demonstrate recommendations for infrastructure upgrades, includ- how to effectively manage building design. As a result, ing road improvements, bridge replacements, and local Main Street organizations and their municipal sewer systems might also be included in this chapter. planners usually develop additional design guideline In many Main Street communities, the streetscape and materials and publications after the adoption of the infrastructure chapters are often developed in response master plan. During the planning process, your orga- to plans by state, county, and local transportation nization should strive to develop a comprehensive set and public works departments to upgrade roads and of design guidelines that includes standards for both other infrastructure. Generally, this chapter focuses on historic commercial buildings and new construction. streetscape design concepts rather than full construction and engineering documents, which are completed sepa- Because parking, traf- Transportation and parking. • rately after the master plan has been officially adopted. fic, and various other transportation issues affect the pedestrian-friendly nature and accessibility of Main Historic preservation. This chapter examines ways to • Street districts, you will likely handle them with encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of historic com- parking and traffic management studies as well as mercial buildings as well as the feasibility for historic pro formas for constructing new parking facilities. district designations, whether for the National Register For suburban downtowns and urban neighborhood of Historic Places or a local district through a local districts in particular, master plan parking and trans- historic preservation ordinance. Design guidelines that portation chapters may include studies on the con- outline standards and procedures for the proper reha- Who Plans? In almost all com- Local city council or legislature. • munities, master plan documents, new zoning codes, Now that you understand the benefits of master and other plan implementation mechanisms are rati- planning, let’s talk about where your organization fied at the city or village council level. No new plan or fits into the process. zoning code can be implemented without the local legislature’s approval. The city council also reviews The actual development and adoption of a com- and adopts zoning amendments, overlay zones, and mercial district master plan and administration of other ordinances establishing appearance review and a zoning ordinance are the responsibilities of the historic preservation commissions. local municipality and its planning commission. A Main Street organization generally participates in Municipal planning and economic development • the master planning process as an advocate for Municipal planners and economic development staff. commercial district stakeholders, typically through staff play critical roles throughout the master plan- a planning task force or advisory group that works ning process. They often work with members of the with the municipal planning commission. city council and local stakeholders in determining the master plan’s scope of work, selecting outside In addition to the planning commission, there may consultants, and preparing the budget for the plan- be other groups involved in the planning process ning process. In some instances, components of the and zoning ordinance administration; in many cases, master plan may be developed internally by planning these roles may be defined by state-enabling legis- staff in order to save financial resources. lation. These entities may be responsible for prepar- ing and adopting the zoning ordinance, determining Planning commission. Under most state-enabling • when plan and zoning amendments are needed, and laws, municipal planning commissions have two pri- issuing zoning variances and conditional use per- mary responsibilities: to prepare and adopt master mits. These other players are listed at right: MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 152 DESIGN

154 struction of new mass transit stations or the improve- ment of existing ones. As with infrastructure issues mentioned previously, road construction and enhance- ment projects are often planned by outside agencies, such as state and county transportation departments, which frequently triggers the need for a transporta- tion chapter in the commercial district master plan. Chapters on improvements Open space and parks. • to public spaces such as parks, plazas, and squares are frequently included in master plans. Depend- ing on your community, you may need to involve the local park district or the parks and recreation board of the municipality, township, or county. In some cases, a separate park district administra- tion may already have a master plan for its parks and recreation facilities. Relevant sections of that The plaza area where Tuesday Tunes concerts take place in plan, especially those that affect Main Street facili- Livermore, California, used to be a median and right-turn lane before the district’s streetscape project. ties, can be incorporated into the commercial district master plan, subject to any revisions that might be needed. Alternatively, this chapter could propose the Enhancing, conserving, Special features and issues. creation of new open space features or facilities. • and revitalizing waterfronts and other landscape, environmental, and historic resources are often City halls, police Municipal and government facilities. • significant issues addressed by separate chapters of a stations, libraries, post offices, and other government commercial district master plan. Main Street com- facilities are key anchors, and many Main Street com- munities often grapple with how to fully utilize and munities are concerned about retaining these facilities leverage such resources without compromising their in their commercial districts. Keeping such facilities in intrinsic value and integrity. Common components the business district, however, often revolves around ac- of these chapters include waterfront development commodating their expansion needs, especially if avail- studies that focus on physical improvements, such as able land is scarce and there is strong market demand walking paths, festivals, and public gathering spaces, for other land uses. For these reasons, many commercial as well as market analyses and pro formas for new district master plans incorporate a specific chapter that marinas, harbors, mixed-use developments, and the discusses how and where government offices and facili- adaptive use of historic waterfront warehouses. ties can be expanded so they will remain key anchors. of historic or landmark properties in a historic over- plans and zoning regulations; and to determine if new lay zone, permits or certificates of appropriateness developments meet district planning goals, the zoning are issued if changes to the properties meet certain code standards, and requirements established by the standards. Historic preservation commissions are also ordinance. The commission also conducts public hear- empowered to conduct public hearings for demoli- ings for variance and conditional use requests, overlay tion requests and hardship cases. Appeals of these zone adoptions, planned unit developments, and zon- cases are usually forwarded to the city council or, in ing amendments. Planning commission members are some communities, to the planning commission or usually appointed by the mayor or the municipal leg- the board of appeals. See Chapter 13, Historic Preser- islature and are assisted in their deliberations by staff vation Tools, for more on historic preservation com- planners or consultants. missions and design review. Zoning board of appeals. Consisting of five to seven • Zoning administrator or zoning examiner. Some members, the zoning board of appeals usually hears • communities employ a zoning administrator to man- appeals in cases where zoning permits or variance re- age various administrative aspects of zoning and quests are denied by the planning commission. A per- land-use regulations. The administrator may also son denied an appeal from this board may appeal the have limited powers to grant variances on behalf decision to the city council or other legislative body. of the zoning board of appeals. A zoning examiner can conduct hearings on zoning matters and make Appearance review and historic preservation com- • recommendations to the planning commission, the Generally, these commissions administer missions. board of appeals, or the local legislature. As in the overlay zones or separate design review and historic case of the administrator, an examiner’s review pow - preservation ordinances. New developments in these ers may be limited to certain projects or other land- zones are reviewed to determine if they meet certain use matters. established or codified design standards. In the case MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 153 DESIGN

155 Economic Plan Elements Implementation Plan Elements In most cases, a master plan’s implementation chapter Market analysis. Most commercial district master • plans include a retail market analysis to determine includes a set of recommendations and strategies outlin- opportunities for strengthening the area’s retail ing how and when the major planning goals should be base. The more comprehensive plans also include implemented. In other cases, these recommendations are incorporated within the individual plan elements. market analyses for residential and office develop- ment, especially if the community wants to find out Implementation activities, from revising the local zoning code to initiating streetscape improvements, take place after if the market can support new developments and additional land uses. These studies are critical to the master planning process has been completed and the municipal governing body has ratified and adopted the determine how the local economy can be fully di- final plan. versified. Main Street and smart growth principles The most common mechanisms for implementing com- emphasize that growth and development should be mercial district master plans include zoning codes, capital concentrated in existing districts rather than expand- improvement programs, and special development finance ing into greenfields or along the outskirts of the and incentive programs. Each state has its own planning- community. You can use your master plan to inten- sify usage of commercial district land by introducing enabling legislation that may allow local communities to use other types of implementation mechanisms if they meet new uses, reusing existing buildings, and encourag- particular revitalization and planning needs. While there are ing appropriate new development on Main Street. many ways a commercial district master plan can be imple- This has become the standard Catalytic projects. mented, the most common mechanisms are described below. • planning phrase to define specific economic develop- Zoning ordinances and overlay districts. ment projects that are expected to stimulate other In tradi- • development and investment activities. In many cases, tional commercial districts, local zoning ordinances regulate the types of uses permitted and the basic a catalytic project may be a new mixed-use project building standards for new construction, such as or the rehabilitation of a white elephant building. Your organization must make sure that a catalytic building setback, height limits, minimum lot cover - age, and even building materials. Because zoning deals project does not lead to the removal of important historic resouces to make way for new development. specifically with how buildings are constructed and used, it is a critical implementation tool. Communi- Like market analyses, pro Development pro formas. ties may also adopt special overlay districts that act • formas for potential development sites, vacant white as a secondary layer of land-use and building design elephants, and underutilized buildings have become regulations in addition to the base zoning code re- increasingly common in master plans. Pro formas quirements. Typical commercial zoning overlays may provide a high level of information and cost data for regulate signs and awnings, first-floor occupancies, a municipality or a Main Street program interested in building setbacks and height, and building materials. facilitating community-initiated development (CID) This overlay projects, especially those that may have been identi- Design and appearance review ordinance. • tool allows a local municipality to review new construc- fied as catalytic projects in other chapters. They are tion or changes to existing buildings, usually through also important in determining how public dollars such the establishment of a design review board or commis- as tax-increment finance revenues or other financial incentives can be used to improve the feasibility of sion. A set of design guidelines and standards is devel- oped as a component of the master plan or after the CID or other development deals. Refer to Chapter plan is adopted to guide the design review commission. 10 for more information on Main Street real estate. Images: Left, © Steve Shaluta; Right, © Gina Tominia. Implementation and economic plan elements help communities retain key anchors like courthouses in the district, strengthen the local economy, and encourage new mixed-use developments. MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 154 DESIGN

156 Arcata, California: Cap on Design and engineering. If a master plan proposes • Formula Restaurants a new streetscape, roads, infrastructure improve- In June 2002, Arcata, California, enacted an ordinance ments, new public facilities, amenities like parking that caps the number of formula restaurants to nine at garages, or waterfront enhancements, the final proj- a time. Proponents of the ordinance included Arcata ect design, engineering, and construction documents Main Street, the city’s planning commission, city attor- will need to be prepared and paid for before actual ney, and others who argued that the ordinance would implementation. Again, this process takes place after meet Arcata’s comprehensive plan goals of reducing the adoption of the master plan and is usually funded auto-dependent activity, protecting the community’s through the municipality’s capital improvement pro- character, encouraging sustainable development, and gram, general revenue fund, TIF revenues, or through fostering local investment in food establishments that outside sources such as state and federal grants. meet local needs. In addition to façade Design assistance programs. • Generally, historic Historic preservation ordinance. grant and loan programs, communities often provide • preservation ordinances include provisions to set no-fee design and architectural assistance as an incen- up a historic preservation commission with powers tive for business and property owners to undertake to designate local historic districts and landmarks façade and storefront rehabilitation projects. Many and to review changes to the exteriors of landmark Main Street programs already provide this service buildings and contributing resources within a his- as part of their participation in a Main Street coor - toric district. These ordinances also have a set of dinating program, whose staff may include profes- design guidelines used by the historic commission sional designers and architects. Both design assistance to ensure that building projects in historic districts and façade grant and loan programs are effective adhere to proper preservation methods and proce- tools for encouraging building improvements and dures. Unlike design review ordinances, a historic the preservation of important historic resources. preservation ordinance typically restricts or forbids demolition of historic buildings and resources. Land assembly. You can include recommendations • and proposals for new development, whether in an Most munici- Capital improvements program (CIP). infill setting or on a vacant site. In some cases, the as- • palities develop one-to-five-year plans for spending sembly and consolidation of several land parcels into general tax revenues and funds from other sources one developable site may be required. Municipali- of financing on capital improvements. Streetscape ties can assist developers in land assembly with TIF enhancements and other capital improvements funds or other sources of revenues when needed and recommended in a master plan are usually sched- appropriate. Municipalities decide when and how to uled for financing and implementation through the - use eminent domain procedures to acquire proper municipality’s capital improvement program. ties for land assembly and development purposes. Master plans may recommend Financing programs. • Levels of Master Planning that a financing program be developed to implement various planning goals and objectives. Common among Developing a commercial district master plan can be a them are: time-consuming and expensive endeavor. The more chap- ters you have, the longer the planning process will take and Façade grant or loan programs that encourage the ◉ the more expensive it will be. The groups responsible for rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings; developing the master plan must determine the commercial district’s specific planning needs and available funding. Business improvement districts (BID) that help fund ◉ commercial district management and marketing activities; Tax-increment financing (TIF), which underwrites ◉ capital and infrastructure improvements; and Impact fees levied on new development to ◉ help underwrite the construction of new park- ing garages or other physical improvements. In many cases, federal and state planning laws and other legislation govern how some financing programs work, including TIFs, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and statewide revolving loan funds and grant Historic preservation ordinances allow historic preservation commis- sions to designate local historic districts and landmark buildings. programs for economic development. MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 155 DESIGN

157 How Main Street Organizations Can the historic building stock, business development, and Implement Planning Goals design guidelines. Therefore, small-scale or limited- Main Street organizations are effective mechanisms element master plans typically consist of one to three for implementing the major revitalization and plan- chapters. Usually, these plans focus on physical design ning goals outlined in a commercial district master issues, such as streetscaping and parking, rather than plan. Your Main Street program can help lessen the market analyses and transportation and engineering municipality’s workload and financial burden by studies. Small-scale plans sometimes include a vision- sharing leadership in implementing various aspects ing component as well. Time is not usually of the of the master plan and assisting with fund raising. essence and the process for developing and adopting a Additionally, Main Street programs can undertake small-scale plan can take from six months to one year. various business and real estate development ac- tivities in order to implement the master plan’s eco- Full-scale, multi-element master plan. Multi-element • nomic development recommendations. commercial district master plans usually include more than three chapters. Communities with large commercial districts that are experiencing multiple planning and revitalization issues are most likely Not all communities need an expensive, multi-element to develop this type of plan. Some of the common commercial district master plan. Typically, rural Main elements found in these master plans include design Street communities with small downtowns don’t need guidelines, market analysis, development pro formas, a multi-element, multi-chapter master plan because transportation and parking, streetscape improve- the number of planning issues is limited. Larger com- ments, facilities planning, and open space. As you munities may need a more comprehensive master plan might imagine, these are the most expensive plans and with several chapters to address more complex issues. the planning process itself may last more than a year. Regardless of size, your community may decide it only But the resulting plan lets you tackle many issues at needs to focus on a specific issue. If that is the case, it may one time and produces a comprehensive multi-year be advantageous to conduct a small-scale strategic action plan for your municipality and Main Street planning process rather than a long, multi-element master program. One disadvantage is the lack of detailed, planning process. in-depth recommendations and information, which The good news is—you have options! Different levels are often characteristic of small-scale plans. Full-scale of planning activities are available to address immediate master plans often fail to provide nuanced analyses or long-term planning issues. These activities include: of multiple issues because the cost is prohibitive. Community visioning process/strategic planning. • Typically, commercial district visioning and strategic planning processes build consensus among stakehold- ers regarding short and long-term community plan- ning goals and revitalization strategies. You would embark on this type of planning process to deal with development pressures and threats to the commer - cial district or to respond to opportunities for new development and investment that necessitate proper planning. Sometimes, the visioning and strategic plan- ning process serves to rally the community and vari- ous stakeholders behind a compelling vision for the revitalization. The process for developing a vision and strategic plan is generally shorter and much less ex- pensive than a typical multi-element master plan and uses public workshops and charrettes to solicit maxi- mum public participation. The final plan document includes a vision statement and detailed descriptions of recommended revitalization strategies and action steps. Because this type of planning must often take place quickly to respond to a threat or opportunity, a realistic timeframe can range from two to six months. Your community can also Small-scale master plan. • address a small number of planning issues to advance specific revitalization efforts. These issues may include the need for new streetscaping and road improve- ments, public space enhancements, maintenance of © Linda Glisson 156 MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES DESIGN

158 Putting the Master Plan Together The process of developing a commercial district master plan is initiated and directed, in most instances, by the municipal planning commission, which is established by law to develop comprehensive plans and zoning ordi- nances, or by a combination of the planning commission and a citizen task force or advisory committee. The Main Street program should participate in a task force if one is formed or, at the very least, serve as a technical resource © Timothy Bishop provider and advisor to the planning commission and the Street program can help by providing building and busi- municipality. Alternatively, the Main Street program should ness inventory databases and supplying market analysis strongly advocate for the development of a master plan information. The retail market analysis, in particular, can if board leaders and stakeholders believe that long-term help the planning commission or task force understand the revitalization issues as well as immediate threats would potential for business development. It is during this process be more effectively addressed through a master planning that revitalization and planning issues will be identified. process. In some instances, the Main Street program can lead a district master planning process if the municipality 3) Developing future projections/scenarios. is initially reluctant to participate; however, the munici- pality must be an active, willing partner in developing This step predicts future scenarios for the commercial The plan- the plan if it is to be implemented successfully. district based on the conditions assessment. Critical ques- ning process generally includes the following steps. tions are answered at this stage and the answers ultimately frame the goals and objectives of the master plan. What 1) Visioning process and statement. should new development look like? Where will it occur? Does the community want to encourage new uses, such as A visioning process has become a largely accepted method upper-story housing? How should parking be addressed? of developing community consensus and participation These are some common questions a planning commis- and is a prerequisite for starting a commercial district sion or task force tries to answer during this stage of plan planning process. Additionally, whether the final result is development. Once solutions are proposed, alternative a strategic plan, or a small-scale or multi-element mas- scenarios may be devised to examine different strategies. ter plan, the vision statement is the central goal from which all subsequent plan recommendations follow. 4) Developing planning goals and strategies. A vision statement can be developed through a series of workshops and other activities that may include design The accepted planning solutions will then become the charrettes, visual preference surveys, focus groups, and master plan’s goals, which are general statements of what community surveys. The vision statement, once accepted the district should become; these goals should be clearly by all parties, signifies the community’s preferred scenario related to the overall vision. Now comes the real work— for revitalization and development of the Main Street devising objectives and strategies to accomplish the goals. district. It then serves as the starting point for investigat- If the goal is to maintain and encourage the rehabilitation ing and determining how that preferred scenario will be of historic commercial buildings, should the community achieved through each of the plan’s components. The create a façade grant fund or adopt a historic preserva- Main Street program can serve an important role in the tion ordinance? To influence the way new developments planning process by sponsoring or organizing the vision- are built, should design guidelines be developed or should ing process, in partnership with the municipality, and by the zoning ordinance be amended to include more design encouraging the strong participation of stakeholders. standards? These are some of the typical strategies em- ployed to accomplish planning goals. Once this step is 2) Assessing conditions. complete, a draft planning document can be produced. While some assessment of conditions may occur during the 5) Producing the final plan. visioning process in order to explore the district’s issues and opportunities, additional data collection and analysis Public sessions should be held to solicit comments and re- may be necessary to analyze trends and draw conclu- vise the draft before the report is ready for final production sions. Assessing current conditions is a critical step for and adoption by the task force, the planning commission, almost all small-scale and multi-element master plans. and the city or village council. As it is an official city docu- Typically, data and information gathering may include ment, elected officials and planning staff are obligated to land-use and building inventories; demographic analy- follow and implement the recommendations. By no means is sis; an assessment of the economic base, infrastructure, the adopted plan inalterable; it can be amended and should and environmental concerns; and an evaluation of traf- evolve with the community. However, changes to the plan fic patterns and transportation systems. Municipal staff should not undermine its underlying policies and vision. members usually handle these activities, but the Main 157 MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES DESIGN

159 Avoid “borrowing” plans from other communities. Making Your Master Plan Effective • It may be tempting to “piece together” a master plan by Commercial district master planning has come a long borrowing parts from other towns. But, will someone way since the days when most plans recommended a else’s entertainment district work in your district? Will “big fix” project to cure Main Street’s ailments. Today, a parking deck plan that’s needed in another downtown be necessary in yours? Obviously, the adage of not historic preservation, good building design, mixed-use reinventing the wheel does not apply here. Your development, appropriate enhancements, and investment commercial district master plan should be tailored to in the public realm have become predominant and sen- sible planning principles. As your community starts its meet your community’s unique needs, conditions, and planning process, there are several principles that should vision. be included in the development of the master plan. Engage the public in the planning process. Public par - • The commercial district plan’s relationship to the ticipation creates a sense of ownership over the plan- • community comprehensive plan. Many comprehensive ning process. Visioning sessions, design charrettes, and master plans include only a section or chapter on the other public forums and meetings that allow citizens downtown or neighborhood commercial district. Such to comment on the plan’s goals and strategies, or even sections are often called “sub-area plans” and may assist in developing it, are key elements of the process. include all or some of the chapters found in a stand- alone community master plan. Sub-area plans, which Use historic preservation as the prime economic • Traditional commercial district development policy. typically focus on a few planning issues such as land master plans are effective tools for emphasizing rede- use, transportation, or streetscape improvements, have one advantage in that they are developed in conjunc- velopment and historic preservation as the prime economic development policy. The planning process is tion with the comprehensive plan. One problem that often occurs with stand-alone downtown or neighbor - an ideal time to incorporate historic preservation as a planning policy. Too many plans fail to consider how hood business district master plans is that commercial vacant or underutilized commercial and industrial district planning goals may diverge from the larger buildings can be put to productive use. Numerous mills, community’s comprehensive plan. Therefore, you must factories, theatres, and warehouses have been converted consider how your commercial corridor’s planning policies relate to the community’s comprehensive plan. into apartments, senior housing, office and retail For example, does the comprehensive plan call complexes, hotels, and government offices. for additional commercial land uses outside the com- Intensify land use. Intensifying the use of land in mercial core or on the fringe of the community? • the commercial district should be another priority of This development may have a negative impact on your Main Street work. Essentially, underutilized or the long-term economic health of the downtown or vacant land should be considered for future develop- neighborhood business district and must be resolved. ment or for other uses that will benefit the district. In The people of Bainbridge Island, a Washington State Main Street community, took stock of recent changes, including CASE STUDY two large developments and population projections that anticipated 10,000 new residents over the next 30 years. This small town of two square miles decided it was time to Bainbridge Island, Washington manage progress and protect its past by launching a mas- ter planning process. Planning a Sustainable Future To find participants, the mayor’s office ran an ad in the local newspaper. In 2004, the city appointed 125 stakeholders to participate in a 13-month-long, citizen-driven planning pro- cess. The Winslow Tomorrow Community Congress was es- tablished to collaborate on a visioning process and to draft recommendations for the city council. “As a Main Street organization dedicated to the vitality of our downtown, this was the perfect opportunity to involve all of our stakeholders—businesses, residents, and property owners in planning for our future,” says Cris Beattie, execu- tive director of the Bainbridge Island Downtown Associa- tion. “As we decided what we wanted our town to become, the steps to achieve that vision became clearer.” The downtown association assisted in facilitating the vision- ing process, planning meetings, participating in charrettes, MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 158 DESIGN

160 Selling the Master Plan Elements It has become increasingly common for both local municipalities and Main Street programs to develop special marketing materials and initiatives to “sell” the major reinvestment and development opportunities proposed in a master plan. For example, a devel- oper recruitment package might highlight potential investment projects ranging from key historic commercial buildings to avail- able infill sites. Some communities have used packages, websites, and other ancillary marketing materials and brochures to recruit outside financial contributors and donors for special streetscape and public improvement projects. Image © Lisa Cashan creating pedestrian-oriented streets, see Chapter 18, quite a few Main Street communities, with the excep- Managing Traffic.) tion of dense urban neighborhoods, land is vastly underutilized, especially in blocks surrounding the Your community’s zoning Allow light industry. downtown core. If your district has parking, vacant, • ordinance could allow light manufacturing in the or underutilized lots within the core, you should be upper stories of commercial buildings. For example, a planning for infill development in order to identify the jeweler could use space above the shop for creating highest and best use for the land. Parking probably custom jewelry. can be accommodated in other parts of the district. When examining land- Plan rationally for parking. Choose pedestrian-oriented uses over auto-oriented • • use patterns, consider how a combination of on- uses. Whenever possible, new infill development should street, rear-yard, off-site, and shared parking could be be designed to strengthen the streetwall in order to implemented. If parking is adequately planned, it will promote pedestrian traffic and circulation. Specifically, improve circulation by making traffic patterns safer. new construction should always meet the sidewalk See Chapter 19, Parking on Main Street, for details. (zero setback), with no intervening setback from adjacent historic commercial buildings. Examine local Ensure good design. Zoning overlays, historic district zoning provisions to ensure that that they prohibit • designations, and design guidelines are necessary setbacks and provide for new construction that rein- components of a Main Street plan to encourage forces the district’s overall pedestrian character. Use proper rehabilitation of historic buildings, sensitive your zoning regulations to keep the streetwall intact by design, and appropriate new developments. prohibiting auto-oriented uses such as drive-throughs or gas stations in the commercial core. (For more on and promoting and communicating with the public about the process. The planning process also involved bringing in outside experts to educate participants and answer questions about technical topics. “Main Street is involved in planning for future residential growth and parking, increasing the livability of our down- town by recalling its historic connection with the water- front and harbor, developing alternative transportation modes, and connecting parks and pathways to maintain the small-town atmosphere,” says Beattie The final recommendations sought to make Winslow a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use town center with in- creased housing. These recommendations, which ran the gamut from incentives for Main Street retail and public art to new zoning codes and sustainable building standards, offered comprehensive and specific strategies to achieve the community’s vision. In the fall of 2005, the city council unanimously adopted the recommendations. The Puget Sound Regional Council recognized the project with a VISION 2020 award and the governor presented the city with an award for its efforts to create a livable community. MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES 159 DESIGN

161 RESOURCES Websites “Zoning Practices in Traditional Commercial Districts,” APA is a American Planning Association (APA): nonprofit public interest and research organization by Nick Kalogeresis, , November Main Street News that offers policy guides and other free and member- 2004. Describes zoning basics and explains how only content. appropriate zoning can promote Main Street-friendly real estate development, parking scenarios, and Online message board and community Cyburbia: preservation. for people involved in planning. Provides images of buildings and streetscapes and links to various Books resources like comprehensive plans. A Pattern Language: Towns Buildings, Construction , Municipal Code Corporation (MCC): Publishes codes by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray of ordinances, land use codes, and charters for local Silverstein (Oxford University Press, 1977). This governments. classic publication shows how the design of our built environment impacts human interaction. National Charrette Institute (NCI): This nonprofit organization explains the charrette process. , Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities by Patrick M. Condon (Island Press, 2007). This step-by-step guide shows how to productively Planetizen: A planning and development online convene community members in order to meet network and resource hub. planning goals. Smart Growth Network: Website offers news, events, The Death and Life of Great American Cities , by and current information on smart-growth topics Jane Jacobs (Vintage Books, 1961). In this landmark ranging from parks to New Urbanism to schools. book, Jacobs changed the way we look at urban planning and advocated for dense, mixed-use spaces that support inherently livable neighborhoods. Articles The Great Neighborhood Book: A Do-It-Yourself “Beyond Visioning: Developing a Comprehensive Guide to Placemaking , by Jay Walljasper and Project Downtown Plan,” by Nick Kalogeresis, Main Street for Public Spaces (New Society Publishers, 2007). , August 2000. Learn how to develop a plan News Strategies and case studies show how communities that benefits revitalization efforts. can be transformed, especially through civic involvement and initiating small changes. “Form-based Zoning: Bringing New Urbanism to Main Street News , Main Street,” by Nick Kalogeresis, The Charrette Handbook: The Essential Guide for March 2008. Shows the non-planner how form-based Accelerated, Collaborative Community Planning , zoning can help Main Street reach its goals. by Bill Lennertz and Aarin Lutzenhiser (American Planning Association, 2006). Step-by-step manual “Smart Growth: Temporary Development Controls,” for planning a charrette from A to Z. Main Street News, by Leslie Tucker, October 2002. Enact temporary development controls while Planners and Politics , by Roger Waldon (APA strengthening existing planning and zoning laws. Planners Press, 2007). Learn how to get things done Discusses development moratoria, interim protection in a politically charged environment and deal with provisions, and legal issues. issues ranging from how to react to a poor public decision to revisiting an earlier planning decision. Image, right © Donna Dow 160 MASTER PLANNING: ADVANCING THE FUTURE FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES DESIGN

162 DESIGN chapter 17 ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS By Nicholas P. Kalogeresis, AICP Don’t let interested developers walk away from projects in your commercial district because of outdated or unfavorable zoning requirements and land- use regulations. Many communities are discovering that their zoning ordinances forbid certain uses or stipulate parking requirements that make building reuse and other development proj- ects infeasible. Other communities find that their zoning regulations inadequately pro- tect historic commercial buildings or fail to promote good design of new development. That’s why it’s imperative that you examine local ordinances. In what ways can your municipality revise zoning ordinances to support Main Street? They can: Allow a variety of uses on upper floors; • Reduce parking requirements to make adaptive-use projects more feasible; • Institute new design overlay regulations to better manage the appearance of existing • buildings and new developments; and Adopt new zoning techniques to control the use of storefront spaces. • © Linda S. Glisson

163 Revising and adopting zoning regulations and moni- Besides land use, zoning regulations also control the basic look and feel of the district. Various requirements toring their effectiveness is not just the realm of city planners; these tasks have become part of the revital- regulate how much three-dimensional space a building can occupy on a particular zoned lot. You can control ization agenda for many Main Street organizations. shape and density of new buildings and other develop- As with master planning, you must review and amend ment through height, bulk, and site planning require- your own zoning ordinances; copying codes from other communities is not an option. Why? Different state- - ments. While height and bulk limits are fairly straightfor ward, site planning regulations usually govern building enabling legislation means that what is permitted in one setback, rear and side-lot requirements; minimum lot state may not be allowed in others. Also, zoning is a coverage; and, most common in suburban communi- revitalization tool that you can use to address your own ties and urban neighborhood districts, floor area ratios issues and challenges; taking another city’s codes won’t (FAR). Typically, Main Street-friendly zoning codes do necessarily meet your needs. Therefore, Main Street - not allow front or side-lot setbacks in order to encour programs and urban planners must work diligently to determine which of the allowable zoning techniques age a continuous building-to-building street wall. If your Main Street district is already built out, don’t will help create a vibrant business district. Several con- stitutional requirements govern zoning; these require- think you are off the zoning hook. You may not be es- pecially concerned with these requirements, but they do ments ensure that zoning legislation does not infringe come into play during infill or other new development on certain rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. All Main Street communities can benefit from reviewing projects. Existing site, bulk, and height requirements for their zoning ordinances and working with their local gov- new buildings can have a major impact on the commercial district’s overall design quality. In addition, zoning also ernments to draft new codes that encourage appropriate development. While zoning is a complex subject, the fol- regulates parking. The zoning ordinance usually specifies lowing section will explain basic zoning practices and tools. how much parking must be provided for each type of al- lowable land use in the business district. Because parking is one of the trickiest issues Main Street organizations face, Zoning Basics it will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter. Now that you know what zoning can do, let’s look What is zoning? Zoning regulates the types of land uses at what it can’t do. allowed within a defined area. What does it mean for you? Within the context of First, zoning regulations are not design guidelines; they • Main Street, zoning regulations should allow a range of only regulate the three-dimensional space a building uses like retailing, offices, and entertainment venues. can occupy on a lot, not its design and architectural style. That’s why many communities adopt design and historic preservation “overlay zones,” which require developers and building owners to meet specific design - standards. Design standards may focus on such ar It’s the Law! eas as storefront rehabilitation, window restoration, new construction, building material maintenance and Understanding the way zoning works requires under- use, and signage and awning design and placement. standing your state’s enabling legislation. All states have enabling laws that determine the kinds of zoning Secondly, zoning, in general, regulates land use and • powers—design overlays, performance-based zoning, where certain land uses are located within a given and planned unit developments, for example—that local communities can exercise. The legislation also outlines community. When it comes to locally unwanted land the roles of the municipal planning commission and uses (LULUs) such as adult-oriented businesses, check- the zoning board of appeals, the procedures for issu- cashing establishments, and liquor stores, the U.S. ing zoning variances and dealing with nonconforming Constitution provides a minimal level of protection uses, and the way a local zoning ordinance correlates that guarantees that such businesses have a reason- and conforms to the community’s comprehensive plan. able right and opportunity to locate in a community. These types of places cannot be banned outright in Another wrinkle to state enabling laws pertains to most circumstances. For many Main Street programs, home-rule states in which municipalities can basically self-govern and develop and enact zoning techniques regulating LULUs can be tricky. In some cases, espe- beyond those expressly authorized in the legislation. cially if adequate space is available elsewhere within This gives local communities the flexibility to develop a community, unwanted land uses can be relegated to and adopt zoning codes that can address revitaliza- other commercial or industrial areas outside the Main tion and development issues. In non-home-rule states, Street district. If adequate space is not available, com- communities can only enact forms of zoning explicitly munities can then implement zoning requirements that authorized by the enabling laws. Because zoning prac- - can disperse them within downtown or the neighbor tices vary in every state, be sure to learn your state’s hood district to minimize their presence and impact. home-rule status and study the enabling legislation be- fore considering revisions to your zoning regulations. ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 162 DESIGN

164 master plan is implemented. Some states, notably Oregon and Florida, require consistency between a town’s com- prehensive plan and its zoning and land-use regulations. Types of Zoning Most traditional Main Street commercial districts were built before modern zoning came into being. Back then, Main Street buildings were often constructed with the same materials, were of similar or varying height, and were built While less desirable businesses, like check-cashing establishments, right next to each other and next to the sidewalk to meet have a right to be in your district, there are limited land-use regula- tions for controlling their location. the needs of pedestrians. Furthermore, Main Streets accom- modated a multitude of land uses, from retail to industrial. Zoning ordinances do not take the place of a compre- The traditional downtown as a center of land-use • hensive plan. Rather, they are the primary tools for concentration began to change, however, when the automo- implementing local land-use elements of a master plan. bile was introduced in the early 20th century and when con- ventional zoning came into being in 1926, the year the If a Main Street community decides to develop a master U.S. Supreme Court legalized municipal zoning through the plan that includes a new set of land-use planning goals, landmark case, Euclid, Ohio versus Ambler Realty Com- zoning regulations would then be revised or rewritten by pany. This case determined that local governments had a the city’s staff planners, legal staff, or in consultation with valid interest in regulating land uses to protect the planning consultants. It is customary for most communities common welfare. to reexamine and revise their zoning codes after a major Modern conventional zoning, or Euclidean zoning as it planning process, although minor adjustments and revi- has come to be called, intended to separate dirty smoke- sions to zoning ordinances may take place over time as the stack industries from residential neighborhoods and down- Common Zoning Terminology Amendments are simply changes to the zoning ordinance. • Zoning amendments are often proposed by the planning Floor Area Ratio commission and then enacted by the legislative body. Floor area ratio (F.A.R.) is the relationship between a building’s total floor area and its site coverage. For example, a F.A.R. of 1.0 • Permitted uses are the allowed uses within a zoning area means that there is a one-to-one relationship between allowed or district as of right. In zoning, the term “as of right” floor area and site coverage. To illustrate, a one-story building can cover the full site (A), a two-story building can cover up to half the means that a property owner has the right to develop or site (B), and a four-story building can cover up to 1/4 the site (C). use the property according to the designated land use. A district zoned “single-family residential” dictates that the land can only be used for single-family homes. A district zoned “mixed-use business commercial” signifies that, while the primary land use is commercial, other uses such as upper-story housing, offices, and even light manufac- turing, may be permitted as well. measures the intensity of • Floor area ratio (F.A.R.) are allowable uses within a district, but • Conditional uses building coverage on a particular lot. It is determined they must be approved by the planning commission and by dividing the gross floor area of a building on a lot the village or city council. For example, a new develop- by the area of the lot. These ratios are useful when the ment would only be permitted if it meets traffic impact, value of land is significant enough to warrant a more noise, and appropriate design conditions. intensive use of property beyond two or three stories. grant an exception from zoning rules. In the • Variances Zero-lot line • means that a building rests directly on strictest sense, variances are only granted when there is a the lot line rather than being set back from the street. hardship to the property—where some aspect of the prop- Zero-lot-line zoning is vitally important, as buildings erty cannot be used for the purposes that are zoned. A need to be located at the front of their lots to encour- variance may also be allowed if it is deemed acceptable to age pedestrian circulation. the public good, if it is in accordance with the master plan, if the hardship is not self-imposed, and if the variance is • are building uses that exist prior Nonconforming uses the minimum necessary to satisfy the hardship. Variances to the passage of the zoning ordinance (or amended and conditional use differ in that the latter is a lawful use ordinance) and do not conform to its provisions. Zon- permitted by the zoning law, while a variance is a land ing ordinances can allow these uses to continue unless use prohibited by zoning law but granted for a particular they are destroyed or amortized and discontinued after reason. a certain period of time. 163 ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS DESIGN

165 towns, thus making communities cleaner and safer. Despite their good intentions, these modern single-use-based zoning ordinances have led to both sprawl and the separation of retail, office, civic, and residential land uses. And, as a consequence, it gave rise to the ubiquitous un-pedestrian- friendly roadways, which connect these separated land uses by automobile. Additionally, most recent single-use zoning codes require new developments to supply an excessive amount of off-street parking; large setbacks from the sidewalk; curb cuts to accommodate new driveways from © Kristi Trevarrow arterial roads; and most of all, the prevalence of single-use, New infill project in downtown Rochester, Michigan. single-story buildings. As a result, strip malls, gas stations, and other auto-oriented uses that place parking lots in time, a Main Street community should also ensure that - front of buildings, promote traffic congestion, and discour unwanted land uses, such as storage and drive-through age pedestrian circulation often line the roads leading to facilities, are not permitted in the core commercial area. and from commercial districts. With mixed-use zoning’s benefits come a few challenges. While various aspects of single-use zoning forms still Your municipality will need to accommodate parking for predominate in many Main Street communities, some each use in an environment with an already limited park- towns have adopted other zoning systems and techniques ing supply—a feat that will be even more challenging if that provide greater flexibility in addressing specific the district has excessive parking standards that are more land-use conditions and achieving certain revitalization suitable to strip mall parking lots. Another possible impact objectives. These zoning techniques not only allow a of mixed-use zoning is that certain building form require- diversity of land uses in a traditional district but also let ments, like height and lot requirements, may be too inflex- communities effectively shape and manage the architec- ible to allow variations in the design of new developments. tural design of existing historic commercial buildings as well as new development. The following sections discuss Performance-based Zoning some of the more common forms of zoning in use today. Developed in the 1980s, performance-based zoning dif- Mixed-use Zoning fers from single-use zoning in that it focuses less on land use and more on the characteristics of each use and how Since traditional commercial districts historically were it performs and impacts the immediate environment. In built as mixed-use centers, most downtown zoning codes a Main Street setting, typical land-use and building re- permit a mixture of land uses, including retail, service strictions would be replaced by performance standards businesses and office uses on the first floors; and office, that a developer must meet to get planning commis- residential, and even some forms of light industrial uses sion approval. Usually, the standards stipulate minimum on upper floors. Mixed-use zoning is in direct contrast or maximum standards for density, setbacks, building to Euclidean zoning, which dictates that only one land height, floor-area ratio, and lot coverage. Sophisticated use can exist in a particular zone. When revising zon- performance-based zoning may also include standards ing regulations, your Main Street program should al- for ground-floor windows, storefront entrances, aw- ways ensure that a maximum number of desired land nings and signs, and, of course, parking, although in uses are allowed in the commercial district, especially if most cases, parking standards will require fewer spaces. the local market can support them. All too often, com- Additionally, as long as the zoning standards are met, mercial district zoning codes prohibit certain uses, such a new use or a new development will be allowed. as upper-floor housing and light industry. At the same Communities that opt for performance-based zon- ing find that it offers significant advantages, including less administrative time for the planning commission Street Trees because variances, appeals, and zoning amendments aren’t necessary. Performance-based zoning is thus a useful tool for communities planning to develop or rede- velop properties. Several Main Street communities have added performance standards to their conventional zon- ing ordinances to manage new development and enhance their distinctive design character. Clovis, New Mexico, Zero Bulb Out for example, uses performance-based standards in its Setback “Urban Development District,” which comprises the Decorative commercial district. The standards ensure that new build- Paving ings are built to the sidewalk, conform to the district’s existing character, and allow a full range of land uses. Performance-based zoning can include standards for set- backs, parking, public space, and other district aspects. ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 164 DESIGN

166 A graphical representation of overlay zoning in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Incentive Zoning development meets certain performance standards, it may be awarded density bonuses. The drawback to incentive Commonly used in mid-size to large communities, incen- zoning is that it requires a market that can absorb the tive zoning awards bonuses to developers in exchange extra density of office, residential, or commercial uses. for public amenities or design modifications. Bonuses usually take the form of adding density to the develop- Overlay Zoning ment, usually as increased floor-area ratios or relaxation Overlay zones can be developed to deal with various local of side-lot requirements. In return, the developer might conditions and issues. Overlay zoning, as the name im- agree to contribute funds for mass transit facilities or plies, is a layer of regulations that is added to the existing make park improvements. Portland, Oregon, for example, base zoning requirements and often enacted separately offers density bonuses if a developer provides afford- from the zoning ordinance itself. Most overlay zones are able housing or daycare facilities in a new mixed-use set up to ensure that the designs of new developments development. Frequently, communities combine incen- are compatible with the surrounding architecture or to tives with performance-based zoning—for example, if a CASE STUDY Main Street Millville applied an arts overlay district to sup- port its vision of becoming an arts destination. A local ordi- nance defined an arts district overlay zone, which designat- Millville, New Jersey ed a downtown area that encourages artist live-work space Arts Overlay District by removing the red tape and extra permitting expenses so that arts-related businesses can be located on the ground floor with residential units above. Building on the community’s heritage in early American glassmaking and drawing from a large national audience at- tracted to a nearby arts and cultural center, Millville devel- oped several strategies to create a flourishing arts communi- ty. As a catalyst project, the city rehabbed three Main Street buildings to serve as a public arts center, which helped build the confidence of developers and investors. To attract new artists to the community, Pioneer Artists zero-percent loans of up to $5,000 (with a five-year payback period) were of- fered to artists who agreed to sell or create original works of art, live in the district during the life of the loan, participate in events, and be open to the public. ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 165 DESIGN

167 and incentive-based zoning. In essence, planned unit devel- protect the character of existing commercial buildings. opment is “contract zoning” in which a developer is grant- In most cases, developers of new buildings must meet ed additional density for a project or other concessions the design standards and requirements stipulated for the in exchange for providing certain community benefits. overlay zone district; typically, they must also get ap- Potential benefits may include open space amenities like proval from a design appearance review board as well plazas and lower costs for street construction and utility as the municipal planning commission. In mid-size to improvements for the municipality. PUDs are a special large communities, it is becoming common practice to type of “floating overlay district,” which generally does develop a comprehensive set of design guidelines, which not appear on the municipal zoning map until a developer are then ratified as the overlay zoning regulations. requests a designation, which is then approved by the A common form of overlay zoning is the historic municipality. Many suburban communities and large cit- preservation overlay, which is intended to protect and ies are increasingly using the PUD process when working preserve historic assets. Historic preservation overlay with developers to ensure that large projects will benefit - zones have two primary functions: to protect impor the commercial district both economically and physically. tant historic buildings from demolition and to use de- sign guidelines to manage design changes. Typically, historic preservation overlays are incorporated into Form-based Zoning the zoning ordinance itself and administered by a sepa- Form-based zoning is different from all other forms of rate historic preservation commission; in some com- zoning in that it places greater emphasis on appropriate munities, however, the planning commission or a joint building form, placement, design, and the relation of a landmark-planning commission fulfills that function. In building to its physical surroundings rather than on land other circumstances, a stand-alone historic preservation use. Another significant difference between form-based ordinance could govern and manage overlay zones. zoning and other zoning types is that graphics, photos, Other types of overlay zones can address signs, park- and schematics, rather than text, are used to illustrate ing, and physical features such as lake and riverfront how a building should be placed, designed, and built areas. In the Pacific Northwest, it is not uncommon to see within a certain district. In a sense, form-based codes are overlay zones that require all commercial buildings to in- detailed, in-depth design guidelines that carry the weight stall awnings, mainly to shield pedestrians from the rain! of a zoning ordinance. Many of today’s form-based zoning codes are based on Planned Unit Development (PUD) traditional neighborhood development (TND) principles Planned unit development is a form of zoning that permits that have long guided the design and construction of our traditional commercial districts. These principles include a developer to meet density and land-use goals without being bound by the existing zoning requirements. In some compact, pedestrian-oriented streets designed for slower respects, a PUD combines aspects of both performance traffic; zero setbacks; hidden parking; and attractive, human-scaled architecture. One prominent New Urbanist planner and architect, Andres Duany, and his firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company, have developed a model Smart Code based not only on TND principles but also on a transect planning system. According to Duany, a transect zone takes a geographical cross-section of a region and divides it into a sequence of specific physical environ- ments from rural to urban core. Each environment in turn has development and design qualities that are maintained and promoted through its own form-based standards. For example, in an urban core zone, buildings and develop- ment are expected to be dense, with diverse uses and open spaces consisting of plazas and squares. In a rural zone, open space and environmental areas are protected, and most forms of physical development are prohibited. Each zone would also have its own specific standards for building function and configuration as well as for parking. Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Seven states allow communities to put “transfer of development right” provisions in their zoning and de- velopment regulations; in a downtown setting, TDRs are primarily designed to protect historic buildings from development pressures. TDRs allow the unused density or air rights between a building’s actual height ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 166 DESIGN

168 Upstairs, Downstairs. This Kress building in Salisbury, North Car- ), was rehabilitated to offer the left olina ( community mixed-use space with residen- tial upper-floor lofts. Stipulations that limit the percentage of non-retail businesses locating in first-floor space enhance the pedestrian experience. Images: Left, © Linda Glisson; Right, © Josh Bloom. and the allowable height and density (assuming there is ment. The historic core might need a historic preservation a substantial difference between the two) to be bought overlay zone to protect it from development pressures as and transferred to another area in the commercial well as to manage design changes to historic commercial buildings within the zone. Underneath the overlay zones lies district. Few Main Street communities use this tool, - however, for reasons ranging from the lack of a mar the base zoning requirements that dictate the uses allowed ket to purchase the air rights or no suitable receiving in the entire district, as well as general building height and areas to the difficulty of administering the program. bulk limits. Although this tool was initially conceived to pre- serve historic resources, it is now more extensively Main Street Zoning Issues used to protect farmland, open spaces, and other en- vironmentally sensitive areas from development. Main Street programs face many common zoning issues, including regulating first-floor storefront uses, determin- Hybrid/Multiple Zoning Forms ing parking standards, encouraging upper-floor usage, and regulating religious uses. While the following sections will It is quite common for most zoning codes today to discuss these issues, remember that these examples must be combine different types of zoning—especially in mid-size looked at in the context of state enabling legislation and to large communities where extensive commercial districts whether your community can exercise home-rule authority. may require multiple forms of zoning to achieve a variety of revitalization, design, and land-use planning goals. For First-floor Uses example, a commercial district with underutilized or vacant land surrounding a strong core of historic build- It is safe to assume that a primary goal for most Main - ings might need PUD provisions, with a set of perfor Street programs is to fill as much ground-floor space as mance standards to guide the design of future develop- Hybrid forms of zoning can consist of base requirements and several overlay zones. ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 167 DESIGN

169 Taking a Stand there is high demand among retailers for storefront spaces, When a national video rental store announced plans and the number of buildings with suitable ground-floor to open next to a locally owned video store in Port locations is in relatively short supply. Zoning alone will not Townsend, Washington, a group of concerned citizens attract new businesses and it should never be a substitute rallied to fight the intrusion of a chain business in their for good business development practices. Also, restrict- community. As a result, the community passed a tem- ing office or non-retail usage of first floors could bring up porary ordinance to limit formula retail stores and res- legal and constitutional issues if office uses are also limited taurants to a single commercial zone along the main elsewhere in the district or in the community at large. road leading into the community. It was later adopted As your Main Street organization moves from the as a permanent ordinance, which bans formula busi- nesses from the historic downtown and stipulates that catalyst period into the growth and management phases, you such businesses may not exceed 3,000 square feet nor may look at modifying zoning regulations to encourage one occupy more than 50 linear feet of street frontage. particular use over another, such as putting retail uses on first floors only. possible with appropriate businesses. In many communi- Upper-story Uses ties, that goal is approaching reality as they successfully reduce their vacancy rates and see growing market demand As with first floors, communities can regulate upper- for businesses to occupy remaining storefront space. In story usage. It is good land-use policy to allow a variety order to reserve that space for retail uses, some towns have of uses on the upper floors of commercial buildings. modified their base zoning use requirements to exclude - Because many historic Main Streets served primar non-retail and non-service businesses from first floors and ily as commercial centers, housing was generally not a allow them only in upper stories or in zones outside the permissible use. As a result, many commercial districts commercial core. Other communities have enacted a “sliding still have zoning codes that prohibit upper-story hous- occupancy rule,” which stipulates the percentage—10 or 15 ing. But, communities evolve and lifestyles change; today, percent, for example—of total storefront ground space that residential units above storefronts are quite appealing. can be occupied at any one time by non-retail businesses. If this is the case in your community, your organization As simple as it may sound, restricting ground-floor usage should encourage zoning legislation that allows a broad to certain types of businesses can be difficult to implement range of uses, including residential, since revitalization and often quite controversial among property owners who relies on diversifying the business district’s functions. may balk at such restrictions, especially if the retail mar - One land use that is rarely included in Main Street ket is weak. First-floor, retail-only zoning works best when zoning regulations is light industry, which is now usually Libertyville, Illinois, has used special zoning provisions to regulate first-floor usage of downtown commercial build- CASE STUDY ings. The Village of Libertyville was one of the first Illinois Main Street communities to implement a zoning ordinance Libertyville, Illinois that restricted office and other non-retail uses to only 10 percent of the total storefront frontage in the downtown’s Mandating First-floor Retail C-1 zoning district. At any given time, only 10 percent of the total storefront space can be occupied by such uses as medical or law offices. Uses such as hair salons, cur- rency exchanges, and other personal service businesses are permitted in the C-1 zoning district because they are classified as service-retail establishments. The “10 percent rule,” as it has come to be known, was first enacted by the municipality in 1996, after an intense lobbying effort by MainStreet Libertyville, Inc., which was searching for a way to effectively regulate first-floor uses. At the time, the downtown was experiencing substan- tial reinvestment: some of its most significant buildings were being rehabilitated and new retailers were moving into an already limited supply of first-floor spaces. Both Main Street and Village leaders feared that there would not be enough first-floor spaces to accommodate the influx of new retailers in an increasingly strong down- town retail market. What ultimately sparked the lobby - ing effort was the reuse of one key historic commercial property along downtown’s prime retail street for a new real estate agency that occupied the entire first floor. ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 168 DESIGN

170 The municipality uses those proceeds to improve park- relegated to office and industrial parks. As previously ing lots and finance future parking facilities and garages. mentioned, light manufacturing often occupied the up- As previously stated, some downtown zoning codes per floors of many historic Main Street districts; but may have excessively high parking requirements, mainly today, due to changes in particular industries and the because they are based on codes for conventional, effects of single-use zoning, these uses are not always single-use zoning districts, such as shopping malls and considered appropriate. Some communities, however, strip commercial areas, which generally have more have begun to reassess the role light industry can play land available for parking. Because most Main Street in a traditional commercial district; not only are some districts already have adequate on- and off-street park- forms of industry appropriate uses, but they can often ing facilities, they would do better to lower parking complement other types of business in the district. requirements and instead look at the way the existing parking supply is actually being utilized. Parking stan- Parking dards for upper-story uses, whether for offices or hous- The parking standards in zoning ordinances vary from ing, can be problematic for some communities since off-street parking facilities will have to be secured and community to community and often depend on several shared among residents, office workers, and shoppers. factors, including the current supply of on- and off-street parking. Generally, in dense urban neighborhood districts Ideally, parking requirements should be based on a and in some suburban downtowns, retailers and some thorough parking management study that examines the way the current supply is being used. (See Chapter 22 for upper-floor office uses may be exempted from the ordi- more information about assessing your parking situa- nance’s parking requirements because of the existence of tion.) In simple terms, if there is a parking supply surplus on- and off-street parking facilities. Exemptions may also that more than adequately meets the needs of all land be given if uses are located in proximity to mass transit. Some Main Street communities exempt retail and other uses in specific areas of the commercial district, parking uses from parking standards if their square footage is less standards can be lowered. If the parking supply does not than a certain size, such as 1,500 or 2,000 square feet. meet current and future needs, then parking rates could be raised to require creation of new spaces to meet demand. However, new developments that house larger businesses are required to provide parking on the development site Developers would then be required to meet parking or demonstrate that they can secure parking elsewhere requirements by adding spaces in the development itself, in the district. In some communities, such as Rochester, finding them within existing facilities, or contributing Michigan, for example, retailers are required to contribute funds for new parking facilities. PUD and performance- to a parking fund in lieu of meeting parking standards. based zoning concepts work well with this system because are classified; currently, they are categorized as both a Despite the usefulness of the 10 percent rule, Main service-retail use and an office use. As “service-retail,” Street leaders and city planners have re-examined it they are allowed to lease first-floor space under current to determine how to best regulate the location of fi- zoning. However, banks could be classified as offices if nancial institutions in first floor spaces. In recent years, no teller or other customer service functions are a part several Chicago area suburban downtowns have been of their day-to-day operations. On the other hand, local faced with the proliferation of automated bank service planning staff has found it somewhat difficult to accu- operations—facilities without tellers and other bank rately measure when the 10 percent office occupancy personnel—in prime first-floor locations. level has been reached. Some Village officials are also In the years since the 10 percent rule was adopted, concerned that the 10 percent rule may be arbitrary and downtown Libertyville has become a vibrant commer- thus unconstitutionally limit the amount of office in the cial district with few vacancies on either the first floors entire C-1 district. or upper stories of its buildings. Overall, downtown One proposal to replace the 10 percent requirement with property owners have supported the rule although a new rule that mandates that only the front 35 feet of all some have voiced a strong preference for the location downtown commercial buildings must remain retail has of certain office uses on first floors because they pro- since been adopted by the Village Council. Office op- vide a more stable and lucrative source of rental income erations could then locate on first floors provided they than retail. To counteract that claim, Main Street Liber- occupy the rear portion of the building, with storefronts tyville has tracked first-floor lease rates since 1996 and reserved for retail stores. Planning officials and Main found that overall rents per square foot from retail busi- Street Libertyville leaders believe that this requirement nesses have doubled since the rule was enacted. may be more equitable, and thus more viable legally be- One such facility leased first-floor space in an impor- cause there is no “floating” percentage that has to be tant corner location in downtown Libertyville, prompt- measured. Furthermore, MainStreet Libertyville hopes ing Village officials to enact a moratorium on new office that the rule can further diversify downtown’s business use in the C-1 district until the 10 percent rule has been mix by allowing a wider range of first-floor uses while revised. Specifically, MainStreet Libertyville and the Vil- retaining a critical retail presence in storefronts. lage will look at the way banks and financial institutions ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS 169 DESIGN

171 ized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), which affirms that there must be compelling government interests advanced by any local regulation of religious institutions and that there must be no substantial burdens placed on the exercise of religious activities by individuals. This places a heavier burden on a municipality to justify why it is excluding religious institutions in one land-use district but allowing them in another. Indeed, planners, along with elected municipal officials, are concerned that the RLUIPA could overturn reasonable zoning regulations that are meant to treat all land uses equally and fairly. Despite these recent developments, it still is some- what safe to assume that local communities can regulate the location of religious institutions within a business district, just as it can with office or other commercial uses. Local planners and revitalization new developments would have to meet parking stan- leaders, however, will have to prove that such restric- - dards based on the total amount of parking as deter tions further a substantial community interest. mined by an ongoing parking management program. Evaluating Your Zoning Ordinance Religious Uses Developing effective, appropriate zoning ordinances for Regulating the location of churches and other reli- traditional commercial districts should be on every Main gious institutions in the commercial core is a concern Street program’s agenda, along with the all important for some Main Street communities. Because such in- - activities of encouraging design improvements and under stitutions often occupy historic religious buildings taking effective business development initiatives. Design that predate the community’s zoning ordinance, they and economic restructuring committees, in particular, are usually grandfathered in as an allowed use. Other should first review the zoning regulations, then team communities may zone them as conditional uses. up with city planners, legal staff, and elected officials to However, some Main Street districts, often in urban propose zoning modifications to assist with the research neighborhoods, have been struggling to determine how and development phases of writing new ordinances. to handle churches and congregations that occupy first- Not only do these efforts play a key role in en- floor storefronts, which could be generating property couraging revitalization, but they will become increas- and sales tax revenue. This can become a critical issue, ingly important as the commercial district experiences especially if there is already high market demand for significant reinvestment and development. Without ground-floor space by retail and other commercial uses. the right zoning codes in place, a Main Street district In these cases, cities may decide to change their zoning may never truly achieve the diversity of uses or types ordinances to limit religious institutions on first floors. of development suitable for the existing physical fab- As straightforward as this may seem, however, restrict- ric. You’ll need to review your zoning ordinance and ing the location of religious institutions can raise constitu- develop the best set of zoning tools to advance spe- tional issues relating to the First Amendment and the free cific revitalization goals, knowing that as those goals exercise of religion. Another complication is the passage change in the future, so must your zoning regulations. by Congress of the Religious Land Use and Institutional- © Brad Merhkens RESOURCES For more information on planning and zoning issues, please see Chapter 16, Master Planning. 170 ZONING AND OTHER LAND-USE REGULATORY TOOLS DESIGN

172 DESIGN chapter 18 MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET By John D. Edwards* In the 1960s and ’70s, the primary traffic issue for Main Street districts was how to reduce “congestion” and make traffic move faster, i.e., provide maximum mobility. In the late ’80s and ’90s, there was a realization that maybe some traffic congestion in the commercial district was good. Maybe the commercial district doesn’t have to be subser - vient to the automobile. The need to slow traffic to make the area more pedestrian friendly has caused many commercial districts to rethink operational techniques that cause high- volume and high-speed traffic. Converting a one-way main street into a two-way street is a common strategy for managing traffic. Many factors combine to make Main Street economically successful. One important aspect is the traffic pattern. One-way streets increase automobile traffic and are efficient at moving high volumes of traffic, but they are not pedestrian friendly nor easy to navigate. Circulation becomes more complicated as motorists may have to drive a few blocks before they can turn around and get back to where they want to go. In a big city like Chicago, for instance, one-way streets are necessary to help move large amounts of traffic. A major concern of organizations working to revitalize traditional commercial districts is to improve retail sales, and, more specifically, to boost the visibility and accessibility of their offerings. In this regard, making the circulation system more “customer friendly” is a prerequisite to increasing the retail segment of the commercial area and appealing to inves- tors and business owners who are interested in your Main Street district. Another perception that affects the success of a commercial district is “Does it feel excit- ing? Are there lots of people?” That indicates a certain degree of congestion. One-way cir - © Linda S. Glisson

173 * This chapter content was excerpted from “Converting One-way Streets to Two-way: Managing Traffic on Main Street,” by John D. Edwards, , June 2002. Main Street News Speed and culation is so efficient at moving traffic that the streets may Field of Vision feel empty! A commercial district needs to have a certain Faster speeds result in level of traffic congestion to appear busy. smaller fields of vision— How fast cars travel through your district is another and less visibility and issue. Any successful Main Street district will have con- awareness of business- siderable pedestrian traffic, and where pedestrians are es on Main Street. The present, operating speed limits should be 15 to 30 miles image above is what a per hour. One-way streets, especially one-way road pairs driver sees when travel- 10 to 15 blocks long, tend to encourage higher operat- ing at 30 mph; the im- ing speeds, usually in the range of 35 to 40 mph. age below shows what a driver sees when trav - eling at 15 mph. Why Convert to Two-way Streets? When should a community consider converting a street or network of streets from one-way to two-way traffic? © Beckett & Raeder Inc. The most important consideration is whether it will help the revitalization effort. If the area affected by the con- version is a retail district that is experiencing a come- eral communities, operating speeds were reduced back, then a conversion may be warranted. If, however, from 30 to 45 mph to 20 to 25 mph. Slowing traffic the area adjacent to the one-way street has primarily reduces noise, water and snow splash, and fumes— office, warehousing, or industrial uses, with high peak- all problems for people walking on the sidewalk. hour traffic, then a conversion may not be worth it. An even more important benefit is the increase in Perhaps the most important reason for changing the Main Street: When a pedestrian safety. In the booklet, traffic flow is to improve the economic well-being of Highway Runs Through It , published by the Washington the commercial district. A survey of 25 towns and cit- State Department of Transportation, speed is related to ies that have converted their Main Streets show that driver perception and the severity of injuries at various many have experienced significant reductions in va- speeds. For instance, at 40 mph, the driver’s focus is on cant floor space after the conversion. (See Table 1.) the roadway at a distance; at 30 mph, the driver begins All of the communities surveyed reported positive to see things at the road’s edges; and at 20 mph, the results after converting their one-way streets to two-way foreground comes into focus. At 15 mph, the motorist traffic, and many reported substantial private invest- sees pedestrians and features on adjacent buildings. The ments stimulated by conversions that were coupled with booklet also points out the chances of fatality if a pedes- streetscape projects. West Palm Beach, for example, re- trian is struck at various speeds: at 40 mph, the chance ported $300 million in private investment in areas where of death is 85 percent; at 30 mph, it is 45 percent, while city hall had invested $10 million in public funding. at 20 mph, the chance of a fatal injury is 15 percent. Changing the commercial district environment The level of traffic in your district is also a consid- so that it better serves pedestrians is another ma- eration. If traffic volumes exceed 15,000 vehicles per jor reason for converting one-way streets. In sev- Table 1: How One-way to Two-way Conversions Affect Main Streets Vacancy Rate Remarks Population Community Before | After Sheridan, Wyoming 14,000 25% | 1% Traffic increase 200% Positive impact on reducing drug use 85,000 West Palm Beach, Florida 80% | 0% 50,000 20% | 15% Manager reports positive results Lafayette, Indiana 12,000 30% | 2% Business is very supportive Washington, Missouri Even those who opposed conversion 6% | 1% Anniston, Alabama 26,400 now support it 61,700 75% | 60% North Little Rock, Arkansas , June 2002, page 3. Main Street News Source: “Converting One-way Streets to Two-way: Managing Traffic on Main Street,” by John D. Edwards, MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 172 DESIGN

174 Should You Convert to Two-way Streets? Context-sensitve Design What information do you need to decide on a street conversion and where do you get it? The types and level Main Street: When a Highway Publications like Runs Through It , illustrate “context-sensitive de- of analysis depend on a variety of factors, including: sign,” or CSD. Transportation agencies and engi- neers use CSD strategies to balance the needs The jurisdiction under which the street(s) operate; • of all groups affected by transportation projects, including customers, pedestrians, business own- Street widths; • ers, cyclists, residents, and others, while planning projects that fit in with the existing community Amount of daily and peak-hour traffic; • type or environment. For more information on context-sensitive design, read, "Working with a Adjacent building use; • Highway Department" on RevitalizingMainStreet. Pedestrian activity; • Level of congestion; • Possible economic impacts; and • day (vpd) on each of the one-way streets and if there are numerous cross streets with no suitable parallel or bypass How the facilities relate to the local and regional • routes, the conversion to two-way may increase conges- transportation network. tion to unacceptable levels and actually deter shoppers. A final consideration is street width, and its im- Street Jurisdiction pact on on-street parking and off-street parking access/ egress. If streets are narrow, there may be a significant Street jurisdiction refers to the legal authority under loss of parking. Streets less than 24 feet wide are not which the street operates. Is it federal, state, or local? good candidates for two-way operations; left-turn move- If it is a federal or state route, you will need approval ments will cause congestion (for more information on to make the conversion and the studies required may how left turn lanes affect your district, read "Working be fairly rigorous. If the street is under local jurisdic- With a Highway Department" on tion, the conversion will be under local control, and RevitalizingMainStreet). For off-street parking lots and the decision may depend only on traffic volumes and garages, the access design of the entrance/exit may require parking needs. See "Working with a Highway Depart- substantial reconstruction to accommodate a change to ment" on two-way operation. Another potential expense to con- sider is the cost of changing traffic signals and signs to Street Width and Lane Use accommodate the conversion. These changes can be expensive, especially if electrical wires are underground. Perhaps the most important consideration is street In Greensboro, North Carolina, for example, the esti- width. Two-way operation requires a minimum width mate to convert one street was $30,000 per intersection. of 24 feet. If there is parallel parking on both sides of Table 2: Street Width: Minimum Required Widths for Two-way Traffic Required Minimum Basic Lane Width Number of Lanes Width Parking Turning Traffic Parking Traffic 2 24� n/a 0 0 12� 2 0 12� 8� 32� parallel 1 2 parallel 2 0 11� 8� 38� 1 2 parallel 2 8� 11� 49� 2 0 15� 19� 49� angle 1 68� angle 2 0 15� 19� 2 70� 18� 2 angle 2 1 11-15� Source: “Converting One-way Streets to Two-way: Managing Traffic on Main Street,” by John D. Edwards, Main Street News, June 2002, page 3. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 173 DESIGN

175 Bringing Back the Two-way Street: the street, the required width may be 36 to 38 feet; and with angle parking on both sides, the width ex- Why communities are changing their ways pands to 64 to 68 feet. These widths do not provide any left-turn lanes, so if there is a heavy amount of While the circumstances motivating street conver- left-turn traffic, additional width may be required. sions and the logistical issues involved vary from place Table 2 gives minimum curb-to-curb widths for vari- to place, most of the communities contemplating the ous parking and traffic lane configurations. As you can conversion process cite easier access, traffic calming, see, angle parking increases minimum required widths and support for local businesses as reasons to make considerably due not only to the depth of the park- the transformation. ing aisle but also the maneuvering space required. Anniston, Alabama, Daily and Peak-hour Traffic converted its down- town streets from The amount of traffic, both daily and during peak hours, two-way to one-way must also be considered. For streets carrying more than back in 1972 as a 10,000 vehicles per day, make sure that most of the “temporary” measure traffic consists of local shoppers; otherwise severe com- during road construc- plaints will ensue. Peak-hour volumes of more than 500 tion. Those changes vehicles per lane can cause considerable delays due to remained in place the left turns generated by the conversion. (See "Work- until the late 1990s ing With a Highway Department" on www.MainStreet. when a new mayor, re- © Mark Bajek sponding to requests org/RevitalizingMainStreet for information on collecting from downtown busi- traffic data.) If you plan to convert streets with high- nesses, promised to bring two-way traffic back. traffic volumes, look for alternative routes with surplus capacity that can be used by drivers who aren’t planning The downtown organization, Spirit of Anniston, worked to stop at any of the businesses on the converted streets. closely with local newspapers and radio stations to educate the community about change. Radio “drive- Adjacent Building Use time” reminders during the weeks that followed the conversion kept confusion down. While some banks with drive-through windows were initially concerned Building use along the street is another important fac- that the switch to two-way traffic would be dangerous, tor. The basic reason for converting a street to two- no traffic accidents were reported during the first two way traffic is to make the circulation system easier months of the conversion. to understand and use. For people who work or live downtown, this may not be an important issue. For Anniston found that the conversion made access to shoppers, it’s a different story; two-way streets can stores more convenient and reduced traffic speeds. help them reach their destinations more quickly and The community became “pro-pedestrian” rather than “pro-car.” easily. Thus, streets lined predominantly with retail stores are usually the prime candidates for conversion. Lafayette, Indiana, Another use affected by two-way conversions is instigated the change a parking structure. Parking garages, decks, or lots because of major specifically designed for one-way operations may transportation infra- require redesign and reconstruction of their entrances structure projects. and exits to accommodate the new traffic flow. Relocation of rail lines and a new bridge across the Wabash Pedestrian Activity River made the previ- ous one-way pairs of Improving the pedestrian environment on adjacent streets unnecessary. sidewalks is one of the major reasons for converting © Belinda Kiger The traffic system had one-way streets to two-way operations. These conver - three major one-way sions can reduce traffic speeds, noise, rain splash, and pairs—two in one direction, one in the other. Down- vehicular-pedestrian conflicts. To obtain significant town business owners were concerned that the new benefits, however, there must be either existing or bridge would cause loss of visibility and access. anticipated pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks. If the The plan for converting the pairs raised concerns about buildings along the street do not generate significant loss of parking spaces and the cost of installing new foot traffic, the conversion will generate fewer pedes- traffic signal lights and signs. When the city did an ac- trian benefits. Areas in which pedestrian traffic volume tual traffic count, however, it found that the downtown is less than 200 to 300 people an hour will probably didn’t need that many traffic lights or stacking lanes. experience minimal benefits. Pedestrian studies that The director of development saw that the conversion include existing counts of activity on sidewalks can help made it easier to get around—especially for tourists. determine whether a conversion will benefit the district. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 1 74 DESIGN

176 Accommodating Customers in the Business District By Keith R. Tianen, AICP Several elements of a streetscape greatly influence the form and function of your district. If a wide, fast, auto- oriented main road dominates your streetscape, then the form and function of buildings will tend to reflect that in several ways: Buildings will be set back from the sidewalk to • avoid the fast, dirty, noisy traffic. © Linda S. Glisson • This “setback” space will accommodate either landscaping or parking lots. Levels of Congestion Buildings will contain uses oriented to motorists. • Typically, traffic engineers and transportation planners • Streets will be designed to accommodate motor- strive for vehicular delays of 30 seconds or less at inter - ists, so they will likely be wide enough to accom- sections. Most traditional commercial districts, however, modate higher vehicular speeds. The faster the must be willing to accept longer delays because pedes- traffic, the wider the streets need to be—and fast trians are present and drivers are turning or pulling into streets are inappropriate for Main Street. or out of parking spaces. The wait at intersections is less New construction plans will usually propose • important because conditions in the middle of a block one-story buildings instead of multi-story may exert more control over vehicular delay than traf- structures that can accommodate upper-floor fic signals. For commercial districts, especially retail residential units. areas, average waits of up to 60 seconds at intersections Buildings will tend to be separated by large emp- • are acceptable. Capacity and level of service analyses are ty spaces, from the street and from each other, essential studies for any proposed street conversion. and will contain mostly destination uses (where Levels of traffic congestion affect operating speeds customers patronize one business and then leave as well. From the standpoint of pedestrian safety, ve- the district). hicular speeds of more than 25 miles per hour for retail streets are undesirable. On-street parking will slow the Buildings with destination uses will have their • speed of traffic as well, making it desirable for the re- - own parking lots, called “exclusive-use park tail areas of Main Street districts. There are many ways ing,” rather than use public or shared parking to slow traffic speeds, which is called “traffic calming.” facilities. Therefore, more land will be occupied Strategies include speed bumps, corner bump outs, and by parking lots than by commercial buildings sharper corners that necessitate slower turning speeds, that would bring jobs and tax revenue to the among others. For more information, read “Traffic Calm- local economy. ing” on These elements reduce the likelihood of a vibrant, wel- coming Main Street district. An effective circulation system makes people in your business district feel safe Conversions and the Regional Transportation and comfortable, guides them to their destinations Network easily, encourages them to visit several destinations, and entices them to come back. To accomplish these One-way to two-way conversions may depend on the way goals, you must remove customer barriers as well as the proposed streets fit within the regional roadway net- address customer conveniences. work. When considering a conversion, look at the network © Linda S. Glisson and see how a change will affect traffic operations regional- ly. For instance, if a freeway interchange system is designed to operate with the one-way system in the commercial district, it may not be possible to make a change. On the other hand, if there are parallel routes to which “through” traffic can be diverted, a conversion may be feasible. In any event, studies should be conducted to determine how much of the traffic flow is “through” and how much is “local.” For supporting information, read “ By-Passes” online at Truck traffic is another consideration. Is there a high volume of truck traffic on the streets to be converted? If so, find out if truck operations can be diverted to a parallel route to reduce congestion on the proposed two-way street. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 175 DESIGN

177 Customer Conveniences Streetscaping and transportation projects can profoundly affect the form and function of your district. They can en- hance customer conveniences by slowing traffic and reduc- ing the width and the number of lanes so pedestrians can cross safely. You can make customer conveniences a priority through good street design and appropriate traffic analysis. Some customer conveniences include: Effective parking. (See Chapter 19, Parking on • Main Street). © Linda S. Glisson (continued from page 175) Shortening Configuring streets to favor pedestrians. • street crossing distances can be accomplished by re- Customer Barriers ducing the number of traffic lanes, creating narrow traf- fic lanes, constructing curb extensions or “bump-outs,” Various elements that have no place on Main Street show having small (i.e., tight) corner turning radii, developing up in countless districts. Many out-dated zoning ordi- on-street parking, and diverting commuter traffic to al- nances permit auto-oriented uses inappropriate for Main ternate routes. Street, like bank drive-throughs. Elements like drive- through lanes are “space eaters”—land uses that consume Leveraging shade from trees and installing benches, • valuable space on prime land; allow inconvenient, unsafe public transit shelters, and other amenities. distances between buildings; and create “blankness” be- tween entrances—which pedestrians tend to avoid. Placing buildings to encourage people to walk around • Unused and underutilized spaces in the heart of your dis- Zoning ordinances will deter- and explore the district. trict come with economic costs. Economic costs can be mine building regulations, such as how buildings can be easily quantified for excessive parking lots and vacant situated on lots; however, building placement rules are lots, as described in Chapter 19, Parking on Main Street. significantly affected by the prevailing vehicular speed The economic costs for excessive street width in a tradi- and width of the street. Key regulations include build- tional business district are more complex to assess, but ing lot coverage (preferably up to 100 percent), build- the negative impacts are greater and more difficult to ing setback (preferably a maximum zero-foot front-yard remedy after the fact. Unnecessary space eaters that are setback from the sidewalk), building height (multiple floors, at least two or three, even more at corners and in a traditional business district include: other prominent sites), and off-street parking require- ments (preferably none for the business district core but Mid-block driveways and drive-through lanes. If a • a high ratio of public, or shared, parking). drive-through lane in the business district is necessary, the site plan should be designed so the driveway is on Permitting mixed uses within buildings. Allowing mixed a rear or side street. • retail, office, and residential uses, especially within the same building, contributes to a vibrant Main Street and These create “holes” in Parking lots and vacant lots. • lets people conveniently meet a variety of needs. the streetwall and discourage pedestrian activity. These Zoning requirements for building setbacks. • Cost-Effective Streetscape Improvements regulations unnecessarily separate buildings from each other and from the street. Many communities that want to tackle streetscape enhance- ments and transportation improvements delve immediately Your district’s street design and zoning ordinance into sidewalk reconstruction, which is costly and disruptive should encourage motorists to get out of their vehicles and has less impact on the economic health of the district and walk around! If people do not find it safe and con- than reconfiguring the street. If your community needs to venient to visit several destinations, the benefits of choose between sidewalk improvements and road reconfig- customer sharing and economic restructuring efforts uration, the latter will have a greater impact on your district will be wasted. and give your community more bang for its buck. Images from left to right: © Andrea L. Dono; Kennedy Smith; Linda S. Glisson; Frazier Associates, Andrea L. Dono. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 176 DESIGN

178 Imagine that you want to transform your downtown’s RESOURCES five traffic lanes with two parallel parking lanes on each - side into three traffic lanes with two diagonal park ing lanes. This kind of street reconfiguration/lane re- Websites duction project brings many benefits to the business district, including: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): AASHTO is a Traffic calming. Slowing vehicular speeds will make nonprofit association representing all U.S. states and all • streets safer. It will also allow drivers to see Main modes of transportation. Its website is a good source of Street businesses, which probably went unnoticed daily industry news updates. by 90 percent of motorists during peak-hour traffic. American Planning Association (APA): APA is a nonprofit public interest and research organization You can enhance customer con- Improved parking. • committed to urban, suburban, regional, and rural veniences by creating on-street “prime” parking. You planning. It produces trainings and conferences, offers can create more parking by turning parallel spaces certification, sells publications, and offers various into diagonal spaces. Also, because traffic is slower, policy guides and other free information in addition to motorists can more easily and safely pull into the di- member-only content. agonal spaces. American Public Transit Association (APTA): APTA By providing more on-street Upgraded land use. • is dedicated to advancing public transportation. Its parking, the municipality doesn’t have to tear down website offers a glossary, industry news, image library, buildings to create tax-exempt municipal parking bookstore, and a standards program. lots. Prime land parcels in the district can be used for their highest and best taxable use. This organization Congress for New Urbanism (CNU): promotes New Urbanism and walkable, neighborhood- Stabilized or increased land value and tax revenue. • based development as an alternative to sprawl. The A tax increment financing (TIF) district can raise website has an image gallery, case studies, articles, money to fund important Main Street incentive pro- reports, and publications. grams or services. Context Sensitive This website was developed as a resource for state and local transporta- Street reconfiguration projects can be simple or elabo- tion agencies and practitioners, but Main Street rate. They can include a range of enhancements such as practitioners will find it useful, too. It provides an on-street parking, corner bump-outs, and curb exten- overview of CSS topics that range from bike lanes sions. They can relocate storm sewer lines; replace dam- and facilities to sidewalks. Each topic is supported aged curbs; and add new pavement, new trees, and new with images, examples, additional resources, lighting. Whether minimal or elaborate, the design will and case studies that show how flexibility was be approved and implemented by the agency respon- achieved through design and community input. sible for the street. Then that agency, possibly working with your organization, will explore a range of financing options through one or more of the following: tax incre- Federal Highway Administration: This website has ment financing, special assessment, municipal contribu- Manual highway regulations, a link to the online tion, state contribution (particularly when the main road (MUTCD), on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is a state road), or grant (potentially with locally matched SAFETEA-LU and TEA-21 information, and more. funds through fund-raising efforts, if required). Now, compare this project with a sidewalk-only improve- Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE): An ment project. The expensive “sidewalk-only” project would association for transportation professionals, ITE also not produce the benefits described above. Giving side- develops standards. While some of its online information walks a facelift can have valuable image and safety bene- is only for members, its robust traffic-calming website fits and provide an opportunity to accommodate Ameri- has free information, such as the transportation yellow can with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. When there pages, that is not password protected. is an option, however, the substantial community bene- fits make reconfiguring the street a powerfully favorable New Urbanism: This informational website promotes cost-effective project. walkable urbanism, transit-oriented development, public transit, and sustainability. It has a free e-newsletter, international case studies and examples, and content and statistics that support sustainable development and the fight against sprawl. National Parking Association: This membership org- anization produces conferences, e-newsletters, Parking magazine, and products and services directories. It also offers legislative updates. A planning and development online network Planetizen: and resource hub. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 177 DESIGN

179 RESOURCES, continued The Parking Handbook for Small Communities , Project for Public Spaces (PPS): PPS is a nonprofit association dedicated to placemaking. Transportation is by John D. Edwards and the Institute of Traffic one of its focus areas so its website presents concepts Engineers (The National Main Street Center, 1994). that support the use of transportation systems to This handbook will help Main Street practitioners contribute to a pedestrian-oriented sense of place. It and other non-engineers who need to understand also offers tips and case studies. the parking systems of business districts and work to improve them. The book explores in detail gathering Smart Growth: The Sustainable Communities and analyzing data, increasing the effectiveness of Network maintains the online Smart Growth Network, existing parking and promoting it, the elements of which offers a database with articles and various developing new facilities, and more. resources and case studies on such topics as green parking lots, local parking issues, managing storm , by Todd Litman Parking Management Best Practices water run off, and the benefits of on-street parking. (APA Planners Press, 2006). This book is written for planners who want to develop more flexible Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University: parking standards for their communities, increase Since 1982, TTI has published its Annual Mobility the efficiency of parking management systems, and Report, a nationally known study of mobility and traffic reduce parking demand. It explores shared parking, congestion on freeways and major streets in 85 cities. parking maximums, pricing parking costs, and more. and report_2007.pdf Parking Management Made Easy: A Guide to Taming , by the Transportation and the Downtown Parking Beast The TRB Transportation Research Board (TRB): Growth Management Program (2001). This free online promotes innovation and progress in transportation publication can help communities identify their parking through research. study area, assess their parking situation, count parking Transit Oriented Development (TOD): This website spaces, and take an accurate inventory. Discusses how makes the case for TOD and lists benefits and to manage parking without building new facilities. components of TOD. parkingguide.pdf The DOT U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT): , Mary S. Smith, et al. (Urban Land Shared Parking website provides links to state DOTs, industry reports, Institute, 2005). Case studies and management help accessibility policy, grant information, and more. on implementing shared parking. , by the National Parking The Dimensions of Parking Walkable Communities: The website of a prominent Association and Urban Land Institute (Urban Land transportation expert, Walkable Communities provides Institute, 2000). Best practices for planning, designing, information to make communities more pedestrian friendly. It has a moderated listserve; pedestrian and financing, building, and operating a parking facility. bicycle photo library; and a helpful resource section that Also includes information on Americans with includes items such as charrette checklists, elements of Disabilities Act compliance and handling parking at good road design, and steps for building a walkable transit hubs. community. , by Donald C. Shoup The High Cost of Free Parking Publications (APA Planners Press, 2005). The author argues that ample off-street parking provided for every new (and , Rutgers Flexible Design of New Jersey’s Main Streets existing) building contributes to an auto-dependent University and New Jersey Department of Transportation, society and sprawl. He proposes different solutions 1998. This report offers an example of how context- for municipalities to regulate parking. sensitive design is achieved in New Jersey. http:// Articles design.pdf “Planning and Developing New Parking Facilities,” by Traffic Calming , by Cynthia Hoyle (American Planning , January 1995. Main Street News John D. Edwards, Association, 1995). Includes basic traffic-calming Basics of parking facility site selection and evaluation; principles and techniques and examines their effects on facility size and type; fundamentals of parking design; traffic volume and speed in neighborhoods. and parking facility layout. Streets and Sidewalks, People and Cars: The “15 Reasons Why Downtowns Don't Need More Citizens' Guide to Traffic Calming , by Dan Burden Main Street News, Parking,” by Donovan Rypkema, (Local Government Commission Center for Livable May 1999. Myths about parking in traditional shopping Communities, 2000). Non-technical guide to traffic- districts. calming strategies and ways to implement a traffic- calming process. MANAGING TRAFFIC ON MAIN STREET 178 DESIGN

180 DESIGN chapter 19 PARKING ON MAIN STREET By Keith R. Tianen, AICP Did you ever play the Park & Shop Game? In Milton Bradley’s 1960 edition, the goal was to “ your car from your home to the nearest Park & Shop parking lot, park your car, then move your pedestrian marker to all the stops on your shopping list, return to your car, and move your car back to the starting point.” One-stop shopping and make it snappy! When a business district has sufficient den- sity, clustered shops, shared parking, and safe streets to cross, one-stop shopping works! It doesn’t work, however, when building density erodes, parking lots replace buildings, and shops are located farther apart. Instead we have a new game called Destination-Shop where you park once and shop once, then return to your car because it’s too far to walk to the next store on your list. Pretty boring, and let’s face it, once you get back in your car, you’re probably headed home. Parking, nowadays for Main Street programs, is often known as the “P-word”: plagued with misinformation and exaggerated importance. Parking policies are often based on the opinions—and behavior—of everyone except customers. Does your business district actually have a parking problem? Do the customers think there’s a problem? How do you know? Often, when customers are asked to think about the business district as a whole, then rate and prioritize a dozen features that need improvement, parking is not even near the top. Typically, their top priorities are things like “variety of businesses” and “selection of mer - chandise,” as in the Park & Shop board game. We can learn much from this game: the main purpose isn’t to park, but rather to get all the items on your list before you get back to your car. © Linda S. Glisson

181 that place a high priority on widening streets to accom- Parking Problems: Perceived and Real modate more automobiles, many Main Street communi- What kinds of parking problems are there? There’s a ties have turned on-street parking into traffic lanes. Also, supply management problem, or even an municipalities frequently provide additional parking problem, a parking entirely misidentified problem. One thing is likely, if a through off-street parking facilities rather than on-street spaces. Recently, however, many communities have begun de- business district is struggling, then there’s a parking mand little to bring back on-street parking to enhance customer demand. It’s always better problem—but it’s too for parking demand to exceed parking supply, because that convenience, pedestrian safety, and property maintenance means your district’s business mix and merchandise selec- (curb parking helps protect buildings from road splash and ice-melt residues). tion are working, and customer needs are being satisfied. perceived When the problem is a parking shortage, then you know it’s time to ask local stakeholders: “Is the Understanding Parking Supply parking-tail wagging the district-dog?” The answer to this most important question can be revealed by a survey of Parking supply is defined as the number of parking business district improvement priorities, which would spaces available daily for business district users. In include parking among other important district features small towns ranging in population from about 3,000 to that may need improvement. Such a survey (discussed on 18,000, available parking ranges from 50 to 100 spaces page 182) will tell your Main Street organization where per 1,000 people in the community. In larger communi- parking, as a priority, fits into the total picture. ties, the range is about 40 to 60 spaces per 1,000 people. A survey will also reveal different prio rities among Another way to look at the available parking supply is different groups: business owners, property owners, and to compare the number of parking spaces to commer - customers. Many Main Street stakeholders are quick to cial floor space, which is how developers and builders assume that customers’ top concern is parking; however, calculate it. While regional shopping malls provide from when asked, that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, in 5.0 to 7.0 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor surveys about traditional business districts, merchants and area (a ratio that typically represents the first or second property owners typically rate parking conditions as being busiest shopping day of the year), regional mall tenants worse than shoppers do. usually have higher gross sales (and higher rents plus As parking consultant John D. Edwards states in The other overhead costs) than business district tenants. Parking Handbook for Small Communities (page xii), when A few successful older downtowns in suburban tackling your parking “problem,” you need to adhere to a Detroit, including Birmingham, Wyandotte, Royal Oak, few basic concepts: and Ann Arbor, provide parking ranging from 2.0 to 3.0 spaces per 1,000 square feet of commercial gross floor You must know the existing supply of and demand for • area (GFA). Jacobson’s, a Detroit area department store, parking, and you must be able to accurately predict stipulated a parking cap of 2.5 spaces per 1,000 square future parking demand. feet in the site plans of its new stores. John D. Edwards finds that many of his downtown parking occupancy You must manipulate the future demand for parking to • surveys show a peak demand averaging 2.5 spaces per fit the structure, design, and performance of the district. 1,000 square feet. Struggling or declining older business districts invariably exhibit excessive parking ratios (i.e., You need to employ common sense and efficiency in • more than 4 spaces per 1,000 GFA), evidenced by a devising the solutions to your parking problems. While evaluating and predicting demand and constructing new parking can seem technical, nine out of 10 appro- priate solutions are sensible, practical ideas, backed with facts. In addition, you should be armed with detailed knowl- edge of your district’s land uses, including each building’s gross floor area and use, as well as knowledge of custom- ers’ and stakeholders’ attitudes about how parking system improvements rank among all aspects of the district that need improvement. Sometimes a solution will involve changes to the zoning ordinance and street design. In larger business districts, parking solutions may involve addressing a regional issue such as public transportation. Before World War II, downtowns and neighborhood business districts were served primarily by public transit, © Andrea L. Dono and curb parking adequately met demand. Today, because A parking study can determine if your district has a parking state and county highway departments have created policies problem, and, if so, which kind. PARKING ON MAIN STREET 180 DESIGN

182 Determine parking demand and behavior. Occupancy • and turnover studies will reveal how parking is actu- ally being used, and if there is in fact a parking supply shortage, a parking demand shortage, or a parking management problem, and show where problems exist. Making an educated Project future parking demand. • estimate of future parking demand will determine if new facilities are necessary. Create new multi-purpose tools for your Main Street • program, such as an accurate base map of land uses, building inventory, parking, and street circulation. Your research will extend beyond parking and provide information for market analysis and business recruit- ment. © Andrea L. Dono Suburban strip mall parking lots have set the standard and led to the Survey people’s attitudes about other issues, not just • creation of too much parking in many traditional business districts. Discover what business and property owners, parking. visitors, and customers in your market area think about substantial number of empty parking spaces during peak your business district, especially their priorities for the business hours. The prognosis: some districts have too district. These survey results will also serve the market- much space devoted to parking lots and not enough to ing and business recruitment objectives of the economic commercial buildings. Different commercial settings have restructuring committee. different parking supply ratios: regional shopping malls provide 5.0 to 7.0 spaces per 1,000 GFA, commercial strips Identify weak demand areas. A good parking study is • provide 4.0 to 5.0 spaces per 1,000 GFA, and older a good redevelopment study: where future parking business districts supply 2.0 to 3.0 spaces per 1,000 GFA. demand is low, new infill can be constructed on under- Using a mall parking ratio for your community will give utilized land and vacant lots. You can find out how you more parking than is necessary, which will detract much new floor space the parking supply can handle from the pedestrian experience. Unfortunately, this is what and what types of new businesses would best fill the happens in many downtowns and neighborhood business new space. districts. Suburban commercial center parking standards have become the norm because many cities adopted them Methodology of a Parking Study after they were published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. First, let’s discuss how to properly study and improve How people use the district should provide the frame- your parking problem or issue. A general methodology work for increasing the use of its businesses, services, and for a formal parking study is summarized below. Some of parking facilities. People do not go to Main Street just to the steps may be optional, depending on your goals and park; they go to shop, eat, work, live, or meet friends. Park- available data. An informal, or abbreviated, parking study ing does not lead the business district improvement pro- would follow some of these steps and still reveal helpful cess; it supports and enhances improvements. As John D. insights. A parking study can be led by your organization Edwards has said, “parking is first and foremost infrastruc- or the municipality, or by both entities working together. ture, not economic development.” First, determine your study area, which Mapping. • Secrets Unveiled by a Parking Study should include all of the zoning districts for the Main Street area (some downtowns or neighborhoods have By properly studying actual parking supply and demand, more than one zoning district), and make a rough your community will be able to make reasonable projec- estimate of the amount of public and private parking tions and develop improvement strategies. A parking study spaces. Next, using a scaled map of buildings, property can help you: lines, and parking spaces, show various aspects of parking supply and demand (e.g., occupancy or A Resolve local issues about supply and demand. turnover) graphically by block. • - study will eliminate, or at least neutralize, the misinfor A study map should depict land uses, buildings, mation about parking. In its place, facts can be used to streets, and alleys. You can get maps from the munici- build new strategies. A thorough parking study will pality. The parking inventory should be mapped and reveal the actual parking demand for each block of tabulated into various geographical and functional your district and will quantify it in relation to building categories: “core” and “fringe” areas of the business floor space. district, blocks, parking facilities, individual parking 181 PARKING ON MAIN STREET DESIGN

183 spaces, on-street and off-street parking spaces, and a controversial community issue, your municipality private and public spaces. Parking regulations and should set aside funds to conduct a comprehensive restrictions should be noted for each space, as well, such survey, in addition to collecting occupancy and turn- as time limits; free, fee, or metered spaces; and spaces over data. Understanding your visitors and customers reserved for handicap use, loading zones, etc. is vital, but if a comprehensive survey is beyond your budget, then either look for another way to get their Inventory all parking spaces (public Data collection. input or skip surveying business or property owners. • and private) and building floor space (use, size, loca- You could add questions about parking in your mar - tion), and count the number of employees and restaurant ket analysis research, or as one downtown organiza- seats in each building. Also, collect relevant municipal tion did, “piggy-back” questions into a survey already planning documents that affect parking such as the being prepared by the local chamber of commerce. community master plan; the business district’s plan; the A survey of stakeholders and parkers will offer zoning ordinance; and municipal policies, regulations, the following: and practices for parking enforcement. Finally, gather Parkers’ walking distance and destination from traffic counts, which are tracked by the police depart- ◉ their cars. ment, as well as the county or state highway department. You may find, perhaps, that shoppers in the core retail area walk an average of two blocks Survey of parking behavior. A parking demand study to their destination, while employees walk a shorter • is conducted by noting whether each space is empty or distance to their jobs. Such a finding shows that occupied, and if occupied, recording the license plate the nearest parking spots are being monopolized for each occupied parking space. Ideally, the entire by employees, a situation that hurts the business study area should be canvassed on at least two or three district. This finding can be tested by comparing weekdays (avoid Monday and Friday) hourly from turnover rates among parking facilities: if core area about 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. A typical study is con- turnover rates are low in on-street spaces and/or the ducted while school is in session and not during the nearest lot spaces, then the turnover survey cor - holiday season, summer, or during a special event when roborates the comprehensive survey, and vice versa. normal parking patterns are disrupted. If your orga- Survey of attitudes about the business district. nization is interested in parking usage during specific ◉ Surveys can collect attitudinal responses concerning times or seasons, like weekends, summer, or evenings, business district priorities from business and property then plan to study those times as well. The intent of the owners and customers. People are asked to prioritize outline below is more conceptual than mechanical. For the importance of various aspects of the commercial more information on the specific aspects of producing district that need improvement, from merchandise to a parking study, refer to The Parking Handbook for traffic flow. You can ask specific parking questions listed in the Resources section. Small Communities about public parking supply, shortening meter time Most information should be tabulated on spread- limits, increasing parking meter rates, designating sheets for each parking facility, each block (containing remote long-term parking for employees, as well as several facilities), each area (all the blocks that make up other topics such as what types of new businesses the core retail area), and the entire study area as a whole. are needed. Keep the responses of business own- Current parking demand is expressed through occupancy ers, property owners, and customers separate. and turnover. This is the heart of the Analysis of parking behavior. tell the percentage of spaces occupied Occupancy rates • ◉ parking study, as it analyzes parking occupancy rates, throughout the day and the peak occupancy periods. parking turnover rates, attitudes about the business For example, Block #3 had an average occupancy rate district, and walking distances. Conclusions drawn of 68 percent from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a peak oc- from these survey analyses will drive the parking study cupancy of 80 percent between noon and 1:00 p.m. recommendations. Include the findings on your maps Turnover rates tell how long each vehicle remained and in reports. ◉ in a parking space. For example, curb spaces on Block #2 had a turnover rate of 6.0 times per day Analysis of attitudes about the business district • and the average duration was 1.2 hours. Because This is, likely, the most fun part of the and parking. every parking space should be accounted for hourly parking study because it compares attitudes and priorities of business owners, property owners, and during the 11-hour survey period, the turnover survey response rate should be 100 percent. customers. These findings will clarify many impor - tant issues that may be plaguing your revitaliza- Additional information that will help gauge parking tion efforts. What if business and property owners’ attitudes conflict with those of customers? If the demand includes the number and location of employees owners respect your study methodology, they will and restaurant seating as well as residential units. accept the customers’ views, simply because they - A comprehensive survey is a substantial under taking and can be fairly expensive. But if parking is respect the axiom, “the customer is always right.” PARKING ON MAIN STREET 182 DESIGN

184 private companies that manage parking facilities, and others. If your city isn’t the lead on your community’s parking analysis project, then the most important member of your management team will be the local government, as the city council must approve changes to the management system, zoning ordinance, and bud- get (which could include parking enforcement officers hired through the police department, for example). Role of the Main Street Organization © Linda S. Glisson Vast parking lots in the downtown are a poor use of land when they could be providing housing or commercial space. When the ink is dry on your parking study, the manage- ment strategy may include several supporting roles for your organization; preferably, leading roles will be performed by Anticipated future development. Using the occu- • others, as noted above. There are some exceptions, but pancy and turnover surveys, as well as the building typically a Main Street organization has no control or floor space inventory, you can construct a five-year authority to change the parking system, which is usually model for future development and parking demand managed by the municipality or private companies. Your that details use, location, and amount of floor space. organization is most useful in advocating for the best Conversations with your city’s planning agency and parking system that supports the Main Street district, people who understand local real estate dynamics analyzing the parking system, advising the municipality, will be helpful. Apply the parking demand model to and improving public perception about parking. (To learn future development projections to determine future about promoting parking in your community, see Chapter parking supply by block, area, and total study area. 21, Promotion: Building Excitement.) You can also depict future parking needs on the base map; identify areas where future park- ing supply is projected as deficient or excessive. In Local Parking Policies and Parking Design Options blocks where future parking supply is inadequate, it might be “borrowed” from adjacent blocks with Effective parking policies and designs will maximize the ef- a parking surplus or more parking could be added. ficiency of your parking systems as well as improve custom- The blocks where future parking supply exceeds er convenience. Some of these concepts are discussed below. demand indicate the areas that should be consid- ered for new buildings, adaptive-use projects, and Shared Parking versus Exclusive Parking enhanced business assistance and recruitment. Shared, or public, parking is available to everyone at most Land usage should be com- Analysis of land use. • times, while exclusive, or private, parking is not—which pared to current and future goals. Your map will makes shared parking more convenient for customers. A depict land uses within the parking study area for parking study’s occupancy survey will show that public lots retail, office/service, residential, recreation, park- have higher, more efficient occupancy rates than private ing, and vacant lots. Now is the time to match the lots. It’s easy to see why. Public parking serves mixed uses district or community-wide master plan, which sum- (i.e., retail, office, service, entertainment, dwellings) and marizes land-use goals for the parking area, with the will have several peak hours spread over the course of the occupancy and turnover data and land uses. Retail day: when office workers leave at 5 p.m., for example, and vacant/underutilized land are two of the most those parking spaces are then filled by apartment dwellers important uses that should be analyzed: identify returning from work, as well as people headed out to strong land uses that deserve support; and weak land dinner. This is partly why curb parking is so desirable: it’s uses that need special intervention, such as through shared parking, and being in the public right-of-way, it changes to the zoning ordinance or infill construction. does not occupy taxable land. On the other hand, after quitting time, a private parking lot that exclusively serves Develop parking recommendations Recommendations. • an office building will remain empty until the start of the for facility utilization, time limits, regulations, enforce- following workday. ment, fines, and zoning ordinances; land usage; changes Some pointers: to master plans, if necessary; and identification of potential development sites. Provide the maximum amount of shared parking • possible—at least 50 percent of total parking. Management strategy for implementing recommenda- • tions. Who does what? Identify various organizational Prohibit mid-block driveways, because they reduce stakeholders to implement the study’s recommenda- • opportunities for curb parking, increase the distance tions, including the municipality, downtown develop- between storefronts, and cause safety hazards for ment authority, police department, Main Street organi- pedestrians and vehicles. zation, chamber of commerce, merchants organization, PARKING ON MAIN STREET 183 DESIGN

185 The Mall Double Standard parking supply is greater than with parallel parking; Why is it that customers in traditional commercial districts bike lanes are better accommodated; maneuvering is insist on parking spaces that are near businesses (i.e., within easier than parallel parking; and less time is spent in 100 feet), but will happily park in a shopping mall’s vast lot the travel lane, with less delay than parallel parking. and walk a much greater distance to the entrance? One disadvantage is that back-in diagonal parking This is the so-called “double standard” that customers are takes up more space than parallel parking. widely reported to have. They seem willing to walk relative- ly greater distances across a mall parking lot than on Main Check the local zoning ordinance for appropriate Street, because they know that once inside, they will have a off-street parking requirements. If your ordinance requires greater variety of stores and greater selection of merchan- minimum off-street parking for commercial uses in your dise. So, in a way, this double-standard behavior is justified: business district, and your district seems to have ample the greater the retail variety or deeper the business mix, the shared parking, chances are the zoning requirement farther the customer is willing to walk from a parking space minimum is excessive. Ideally, if there is enough public to the mall or store entrance. parking and it’s reasonably well distributed, then there is This dynamic presents a challenge for you to improve the no need for the zoning ordinance to require that commer - retail environment and maximize customer conveniences. cial uses supply private off-street parking at all. An How? Provide angle curb parking in front of stores; make exemption from the zoning ordinance’s off-street parking sure that there is a high proportion of retail uses as opposed requirement will greatly enhance Main Street’s ability to to non-retail uses fronting main street; institutionalize a zero attract new businesses to the district, as it eliminates a setback of buildings to the sidewalk; and create easy, safe substantial development cost and a layer of bureaucracy. pathways for customers to walk among destinations. To find out if your district has enough shared parking to Similarly, minimize customer obstacles, which can include exempt a minimum off-street parking requirement, excessively wide streets; excessively fast vehicular traffic; conduct the parking study described earlier, which will and excessive main street frontage that is non-retail, such as reveal how much parking is being generated per gross ground-floor offices, parking lots, driveways, etc. floor area. If you’re not sure, and you don’t have hard data from a parking study yet (but you plan to conduct Shared parking does not require public ownership— one), consider, in the meantime, asking your elected • private owners can coordinate efforts through public maxi- requirement to a minimum officials to change the easements, removal of lots from tax rolls, and the mum. re-design of several smaller lots into one larger one. Municipalities are often willing to remove lots from Short-term Parking, Long-term Parking, and the tax rolls if the owner agrees to re-design them for Parking Meters more efficient public use. Short-term parking is often a maximum of two hours and If there is an ample supply and proportion of public • is located close to businesses’ front doors. It’s meant for parking, there should be no need for the zoning parking is customers and should be enforced. Long-term ordinance to require commercial uses to supply private, more remote and intended for employees, residents, and off-street parking. customers on longer shopping trips. Parking lots located farther away from stores and other businesses are less Zoning for On-street and Off-street Parking convenient. Parking lots should be from side accessed streets or the rear of blocks, not from the front. They need On-street, curb parking in front of businesses provides op- to be clearly designated with signs and colored pavement portunities for more people to park conveniently; this type striping. They also need adequate lighting; otherwise of parking is “golden” and especially valued by retailers, security-conscious employees will park in short-term providing that it turns over rapidly and customers use it. At zones, especially during winter months when the sun sets least 25 percent of total parking should be curb parking. earlier. Enforcement of parking regulations is part of the parking management system, usually operated by the diagonal parking for primary streets where Consider • municipality or DDA, and promoted through off-premise speeds are slow, and on side streets, as well, especially directional signs and in marketing materials by the Main if the street seems to have excessive travel lanes. (See Street organization. Chapter 18, Managing Traffic, which discusses this , primarily, is to pro- The purpose of parking meters issue and traffic studies.) A retail-oriented traditional , not to provide revenue. Meters mote customer turnover business district cannot have too much diagonal curb are also used to distribute limited on-street parking time parking. Simply, it’s the best kind of parking to have. equitably; to provide spaces for short-term shoppers and Period. business clients; and to maximize the economic viability of the district by creating convenient parking. Conditions When considering diagonal parking, look at back-in • are ripe for meters when parking turnover is necessary; diagonal parking . Among its many advantages: loading the shopping district is a unique destination that attracts is from the sidewalk/curb, not next to the traffic lane; many people; and the district is not surrounded by other sight lines are better when exiting the space; the shopping districts with free parking. PARKING ON MAIN STREET 184 DESIGN

186 Parking Facilities ECONOMIC COST OF EXCESSIVE PARKING AND VACANT LOTS The process of developing parking facilities, including sig- nage, is beyond the scope of this chapter. There are many Opportunity for Per Parking Space Per 1,000 resources for learning more about these subjects (see the New Building Square Feet (10’ x 20’ + circulation) Resources section). Your organization’s role, typically, is to understand and influence municipal policy, not to develop, 1000 SF 350 SF Area build, or manage new parking facilities. The emphasis of this chapter is to help you understand your “business dis- New Building $125 / SF $125 / SF trict-dog” and its “parking-tail” and not get them confused. Construction A parking study will determine if a new parking facility Market Value $43,750 $125,000 is needed to accommodate current or future demand or if improving parking management strategies is all that is Taxable Value necessary. The study’s findings can help a community avoid $21,875 $62,500 (50%) the costly mistake of planning expensive parking improve- ments or new garages that few people will use. Once your Tax Millage .022532 .022532 organization and municipality have a firm grasp on the realities of current and future parking dynamics, then $493 Tax Revenue $1,408 sound and beneficial implementation should follow the reality-based parking dynamics like a cart follows a horse. Economic Cost of 5 Percent Underutilized Land The Economic Cost of Excessive Parking and Using the example above, if we apply this same principle Underutilized Land of assessing economic opportunity costs to an underused, small portion of a hypothetical DDA district, the follow- Although excessive parking, as exhibited by too many ing analysis reveals that if only 5 percent of the district continuously empty parking spaces and underutilized (its most underutilized land) suddenly sprouted produc- parking lots during business hours, may go unnoticed by tive buildings, the DDA’s annual capture of tax incre- the majority of visitors to the Main Street district, this ment financing revenues, from city sources only, would condition is a neon sign warning of a problem. Invariably, increase by about $560,000. And for 5 percent of the one of the most visible symptoms of a declining business smaller core area, the result would be an increased an- too much district is parking. It indicates that the district’s nual revenue capture of about $90,000 (see the chart land is not being used efficiently and, more importantly, below). A taxable, productive building would make other is not valued as much as it could be, or as much as its financial contributions as well, such as revenue to other more successful competition. Is there a way to quantify property tax jurisdictions and new sales tax revenue. such an important economic cost to the district? Yes. During community development meetings, you’ll hear the statement: “we cannot possibly have too much park- That could not be further from the truth. Underused ing.” ECONOMIC COST OF 5% land means missed opportunities for productive sources of UNDERUTILIZED LAND business, customers, jobs, and tax revenue. To illustrate the economic cost of underutilized land, the following table Opportunity for DDA DIstrict DDA Core Area New Building calculates the annual cost, or “missed opportunity” of a building’s market value and tax revenue, about $500 per parking space and $1,400 per thousand square feet. 7,950,216 SF 1,279,666 SF Total Block Area 5% of Block Area 397,511 SF 63,983 SF New Building $125 / SF $125 / SF Construction Market Value $49,688,875 $7,997,875 Taxable Value $24,844,875 $3,998,937 (50%) Tax Millage .022532 .022532 Annual City Tax $559,795 $90,104 Revenue © Georgia Power Company PARKING ON MAIN STREET 185 DESIGN

187 The Future of Parking parking facilities up to developers. Maximum parking re- quirements are in place, or being considered, in Portland, Cities throughout the nation have been rethinking re- Oregon, and Raleigh, North Carolina, among other cities. gional parking policies as they affect all types of shopping In Cambridge, Massachusetts, “Transportation Demand environments and parking facilities, including suburban Management” goes further than parking maximums by strip centers and malls. This field is constantly changing, establishing more efficient municipal land-use policies for but some of the ideas being tested will ultimately give parking in new developments. These policies allow, or some- your community new options in the future. For example, times force, developers to reduce the amount of parking otherwise allowed in existing developments. In Cambridge, in the absence of thorough parking studies, community planners have been making the minimum parking re- this new policy makes developers reduce auto uses by specific percentages, which also provides more community support for quirement the maximum requirement. Some have simply abolished parking minimums and leave the creation of developers’ proposals, especially from anti-growth forces. Milford, Michigan: What a Comprehensive Parking Study Looks Like CASE STUDY Parking supply ratios. These ratios ranged from 2.0 to 3.0 The Village of Milford (population 7,000) is a high-growth, • spaces per 1,000 GFA, significantly less than the parking affluent Michigan suburb north of Detroit. Its attractive tra- supply of 4.9 spaces per 1,000 GFA. Office uses gener- - ditional downtown has a parking inventory of 1,400 park ated somewhat lower parking demand than retail uses. ing spaces, of which 35 percent are public and 20 percent are curb spaces. Its building inventory consists of 283,000 Projected future parking needs. Although the study • square feet of building floor space. The total parking study area, as a whole, had surplus parking, it was not even- area has 4.9 parking spaces per 1,000 GFA, and the core re- ly distributed. Only two of 17 blocks were projected to tail area has 3.9 parking spaces per 1,000 GFA. have more demand than supply during each block’s peak hour; the remaining 15 blocks were projected to continue The Village conducted a parking study to assess and improve peak parking surpluses, ranging from four to 90 spac- its parking system, ensure that the availability of parking will es. Total study area peak-hour projection showed a sur- meet future demand, and determine if the community need- plus of 300 spaces, or about 25 percent of total avail- ed to build another parking structure to meet demand. able spaces. Most of the potential sites recommended to The comprehensive study looked at the following areas: meet projected parking demand are existing private and public parking lots that can be better utilized. Land use. Inefficient land uses were identified, including • a bank drive-through; several underutilized private park - Results. Milford did not need a new parking structure be- ing lots; and long-term parking near shops, in spaces that cause changes in the parking management system could should be reserved for short-term parking. easily accommodate future parking needs. The Village has improved its parking management system through new time Attitudes. Customers’/parkers’ top concern was retail va- • limits, more enforcement, better signage, and the conversion riety. In a survey they ranked parking concerns near the of private lots to shared parking. It has planned redevelop- bottom of 12 downtown features; business and property ment strategies to reverse inefficient land use by: owners’ top concerns were parking and traffic flow. • expanding public parking in the bank drive-through Occupancy rates. Occupancy rates varied widely. The • space and in several underutilized private lots; peak for the entire study area was 44 percent at 1 p.m. Core area peak occupancy was 76 percent at 1 p.m. All • constructing new buildings at select underutilized 17 blocks had a parking surplus at their various peak sites; and times. Some public parking facilities, although within a block or two of core retail shops, had low occupancy • redeveloping an underused, large, older building to rates, primarily due to long-term employee parking in the include upper-floor uses. first rows of closer public parking lots, which had high Zoning ordinance changes that require retail uses on the occupancy rates. ground floors of core area buildings have contributed to Turnover rates. Core area curb spaces turned over six • a stronger retail environment and led to an aggressive re- times a day and averaged 1.3 hours. All spaces in the core tail recruitment program. Various management roles area turned over 2.5 times a day and averaged 2.7 hours. have been identified for the Village, its parking author- Turnover rates were low in the front rows of the nearest ity, its Downtown Development Authority, and the Milford and largest public lots, indicating long-term employee Business Association. parking in high-turnover spaces that should be reserved for customers. The Village was not enforcing the district’s The study also revealed that a large public lot had unusu- two-hour parking limits. ally low occupancy because raised railroad tracks separated it from the core area and created a significant user obstacle. Walking distance from parked car to destination. • Stakeholders decided to increase the usage of this lot by cre- All parkers on average walked less than one block. In ating a community amphitheater in this space and providing the core area. Employees walked shorter distances safe access across the railroad tracks. than customers. Please refer to the full list at the end of Chapter 18, Managing Traffic on Main Street. RESOURCES PARKING ON MAIN STREET 186 DESIGN

188 DESIGN chapter 20 CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTS By Darlene Rios Drapkin Maybe you’ve been dismayed by graffiti or an unkempt storefront. Perhaps, instead of seeing roll-down grates or poorly maintained buildings as eyesores, you’ve learned to accept such visual nuisances as part of a commercial district’s gritty charm. However, for newcomers to your district, first impressions are everything. When they see negative cues such as litter and panhandling, newcomers probably will deem your distrcit unsafe and shop elsewhere. Graffiti and trash generally discourage people from visiting an area because those ele- ments detract from their sense of security. Business owners also factor in perceptions of safety when choosing their locations. Vacant buildings, loiterers, and bad press all contribute to perceptions that a district or downtown is unsafe. They also give the impression that the community does not care about the neighborhood, which in turn may attract crime. There is a connection between economic development, the public environment, and the perception of safety. Your Main Street program is poised to make sure stakeholders under - stand that connection. Main Streets of all sizes, sophistication levels, and regions must deal with clean and safe issues whether they are actual problems or just image misconceptions remaining from years of disinvestment. Whether real or perceived, if clean and safe issues are left unchecked, they will affect the economic stability of any community, rural or urban. © Donovan D. Rypkema © Donovan Rypkema

189 Crime: A Perceived or Real Problem? Many downtowns and neighborhood business districts have suffered years of disinvestment. During that time, area residents and workers have grown to believe that either “there is nothing to see or do there,” or worse, that “it is dangerous there.” This negative reputation can be a hurdle for your revitalization program, but one that will be addressed through the comprehensive nature of the Main Street approach. But how do you know if you are revers- ing negative perceptions for a district that doesn’t actually have high crime rates or if you have a real crime problem? First, you must understand the actual crime problems in your district. You’ll want to look at reported crime and po- lice statistics to determine your crime issues. Compare these crime statistics with those of nearby areas and see how your district measures up to other business districts and © Linda S. Glisson neighborhoods. Look for patterns or changes in reported crime. It could be that your district’s crime rate is lower or strumental in determining police assignments. Many times, the same as competing commercial areas. In that case, your - victims don’t file police reports. Make sure people under primary job is promoting the safety of your district, produc- stand that no matter how petty a crime seems, reporting ing events that help reacquaint people with the community, it will help build the case that your district has real needs and finding creative ways to make visitors feel comfortable and can justify increasing police presence or implement- when they are there. On the other hand, if you do have a ing another appropriate solution to improve security. significantly high crime rate, you’ll want to launch safety initiatives and partnerships aimed at reducing crimes— and get the word out right away about crime-reduction Safety and Cleanliness—The Fifth Point? programs and lower crime statistics once you see results. Many Main Street programs start by surveying business When the Fruitvale Main Street program was initiated owners, residents, and visitors to determine their clean and in Oakland, California, in 1996, implementing the Main safe concerns and learn about changes that would make Street approach seemed like an appropriate fit for the them feel safer. By learning the public’s concerns, the Main neighborhood business district. Years of disinvestment had Street program can seek solutions to all safety issues. created a tired-looking district that made a negative im- Next, conduct a visual assessment of the district to pression on residents and visitors alike. The comprehensive, identify specific problem areas. Assemble a team of volun- community-driven nature of the four-point approach of- teers, preferably including police officers and other city fered a solid framework that residents and other communi- representatives, and walk through the district once at night ty stakeholders could use to turn those impressions around. and once during the day. Look for areas with litter, poor What seemed like an appropriate fit, however, proved lighting, ineffective signage, crevices between buildings, and to be a challenge in the early stages of implementation. other problems. Document your survey and on-site assess- Merchants and residents initially resisted the program—or ment findings with pictures, statistics, public comments, and at least showed little interest—because they were pre- other information so you can set a baseline and measure occupied with issues related to safety and cleanliness: results after you start your clean and safe initiatives. litter, disorganized trash collections, increased crime, and It is extremely important to persuade the community dirty sidewalks. It was evident that business and prop- to report all kinds of crimes because these statistics are in- Fixing Broken Windows broken windows before they turn into larger problems. In a 1982 article entitled “Broken Win- Atlantic Monthly They found that if disorder goes unchecked, a vicious cycle dows,” James Q. Wilson and George Kelling argued that begins and once-stable neighborhoods can quickly turn disorder in a community, if left uncorrected, undercuts into hotbeds of criminal activity. As people notice increas- residents’ efforts to maintain their homes and neigh- ing social disorder and physical decline of the environment, borhoods and control unruly behavior. “If a window in a they begin to fear crime and stay inside more. Civic involve- building is broken and left unrepaired,” they wrote, “all the ment decreases, threatening behavior gets ignored, and rest of the windows will soon be broken... One unrepaired merchants quit picking up trash in front of their stores. The window is a signal that no one cares, so breaking more authors explain that when law-abiding eyes stop watch- windows costs nothing... Untended property becomes ing the streets, the social order breaks down and criminals fair game for people out for fun or plunder.” move in. The authors point out that ignoring clean and safe The authors point out that communities and police need issues has dire economic consequences because “shoppers to pay attention and address “small problems” such as will shun an area they perceive as being ‘out of control.’” CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTS 188 DESIGN

190 erty owners would be more willing to buy into all four educate district stakeholders. More importantly, make points if the executive director could demonstrate that she attitudinal change a key component of your educational recognized and could address their immediate concerns efforts and convince merchants and property owners that they need to be part of the solution. Fruitvale Main about clean and safe problems in the business district. In Fruitvale, it became necessary to create a separate, fifth Street launched a public outreach initiative to spread the word about the importance of a clean district by committee focused solely on those issues. It is imperative using a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” city grant to create to engage constituents by addressing their most basic and a mascot known as the “Trash Monster,” or “Cochi- immediate concerns. Invariably, their most immediate non” in Spanish, who appeared at community events. concerns will involve inconsistent city services, which can be resolved more easily with louder, organized voices. Work with other existing programs addressing safety In order to prioritize clean and safe issues, some • Have your committees piggyback on and cleanliness. communities create a task force rather than establishing a their work. Try to integrate, not duplicate, your respec- fifth committee the way Fruitvale did. Establishing a new tive efforts. committee might very well drain or dilute valuable resources—people and time—from the other four working Empower business owners. Encourage merchants to committees. So when should you consider a separate • talk amongst themselves, so that word gets out about committee to tackle clean and safe issues? problems and who has contacted the police to help. If your community has significant crime issues, and Remind business owners that it is important to report your committees will have work to do beyond reversing all crime to create an ongoing record that builds a public impressions of the district, a separate committee case for increased patrols. The authorities can’t ad- may be necessary. Otherwise, adding clean-up events and dress problems if they don’t know about them. other projects to committee work plans may be all that is needed. Your organization should decide if it needs to deal with singular, isolated issues as they arise or establish a Design as a Safety Tool task force or fifth committee. Whatever your decision, keep in mind that by quickly Imagine two different business districts. District A features making visible, tangible improvements, especially by tree-lined streets, planters, storefronts with abundant addressing the safety and cleanliness issues that are of outdoor lighting, and attractive display windows with clear greatest urgency in your community, you can get the views inside the shops. Some businesses even “spill” onto public’s support for other program efforts. Regardless of the street with sidewalk seating and attractive, colorful how you organize your clean and safe volunteers, use product displays. these tips to get them started: Now picture District B. Overgrown shrubs and land- scaping spill onto the sidewalk, making accessibility diffi- Clarify which responsibilities belong to the munici- • cult; streetlights are dim or burned out; many storefronts pality. If the municipality is not dealing with clean are dark; and windows are cluttered with faded flyers. In and safe issues, your organization should persistently which district would you feel safer at 3 p.m.? How about contact city agencies until your issue becomes a at 10 p.m.? priority and you see results. Also, never underestimate The obvious answer is District A. Note, however, neither the power of resident complaints—encourage commu- of the descriptions of these districts included words we nity members to join your organization in communi- typically associate with safety such as alarms, fences, cating concerns to the municipality. guards, etc. What makes District A feel safer are design elements, space planning, and space usage—things that are Clarify which responsibilities belong to business • often more cost-effective than artificial barriers like grates and property owners. Have your design commit- and fences and much more aesthetically pleasing and less tee sponsor a crime-prevention training session to threatening to the public. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or CPTED (pronounced “sep-ted”), affirms that it’s possible to reduce opportunities for crime and disorderly behavior by changing the physical environment. Good design increases perceptions of safety and creates an environment that en- courages positive social interaction. CPTED emphasizes the physical environment, productive use of space, and behav- ior of people. Successful CPTED can be achieved through several inter-related strategies that are discussed below. Natural Surveillance In this instance, the term “surveillance” has more to do with being seen than being watched. You want customers to © Andrea L. Dono CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTSS 189 DESIGN

191 Clean and Safe Jargon “Target hardening” refers to methods that make targets in com- mercial corridors less open to attack, more resistant to theft, or more difficult to damage, thus providing a deterrent to crime. It is vitally important that the measures not only strengthen the physical security of the site but also send a clear signal that it is a well-defended area. Some examples include shat- ter- or graffiti-resistant film on windows, adequate external lighting, and other Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) concepts in this chapter. Using design to de- fine spaces, determine how they are used, and creating ways © Brian Rounsavill to support those uses are the guiding principles behind the concept known as CPTED. The high-transparency of storefront windows in downtown Newtown, Pennsylvania, make the community less open to attack. feel that they are safe because businesses are well lit, easily landscaping can be used to keep people out of restricted accessible, and clearly visible. You want unwelcomed users areas. The strategic design of streets, sidewalks, building to feel uncomfortable for the very same reasons—criminals entrances, landscaping, and neighborhood gateways physi- don’t like being seen or watched. These objectives can be cally guides people through a space, helps deny access to achieved through design strategies that put people and ac- crime targets, and creates a perception of risk for offenders. tivities out in the open and make the business clearly visible. Natural access management checklist Think of the mantra “see and be seen” when determining the design of a space in order to maximize the visibility of Checkout areas/registers are located at the main √ people, parking areas, and building entrances and exits. doors of each business. Natural surveillance checklist Public and private areas are clearly marked. √ Interior shelving and displays are not so tall that Effective signage is posted throughout the district. √ √ they inhibit visibility. Roofs are not easily accessible. √ Doors and windows look out onto streets and parking √ areas and are free of clutter. Territorial Reinforcement Building exteriors and interiors, walkways, and √ Inviting landscaping, signage, art, color, and sound de- other common spaces are well lit. fine ownership of a space. Think of your favorite side- Shop windows are illuminated after dark. walk café. The sights, sounds, and aromas speak volumes √ about who owns the space (literally and figuratively) The commercial district has pedestrian-friendly √ but also send a clear message about the intended us- sidewalks and streets. ers as well. A well-maintained space that appears to be Loading areas do not create hiding places. “owned” will tend to encourage acceptable behavior √ - while discouraging criminal or disruptive users. Its ter There is clear visibility from the store to the street, √ ritoriality suggests that people have the desire to care sidewalk, parking areas, and passing vehicles. for and protect spaces for which they are responsible. All entrances are monitored electronically or √ through visual surveillance. Territorial reinforcement checklist Natural Access Management Art, signage, landscaping, fencing, and pavement √ treatments denote pride and ownership. The proper design and use of elements such as sidewalks, Exterior features define the space over which you √ pavement, lighting, signage, and landscaping can be used to have jurisdiction or control. direct people to entrances and exits while fences, walls, and Awnings or signs are placed at the front and rear √ entrances of businesses. Who serves on a clean and safe committee or task force? Physical Maintenance • Waste contractors • Merchants The maintenance of buildings, landscaping, and public • Police Residents • spaces also conveys a message of ownership. Peeling paint, dilapidated signs, burned-out lights, litter, and graffiti say City staff • • Property owners that people don’t care. Neglect significantly influences the Community agencies • public’s perceptions of safety. Public works (streets and highways) • CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTS 190 DESIGN

192 Physical maintenance checklist Vandalized, worn, or damaged features are repaired √ or replaced. Programs and procedures are in place for regular √ landscaping, lighting, open space, and building maintenance. Clean-up days organize merchants and residents to √ remove trash and litter. An inventory tracks vacant or abandoned buildings √ (so that your program can encourage property own- © Craig Terry ers to lease or sell the space). Façade improvement programs are a surefire method to Putting CPTED to Work in Your District instigate visible, tangible examples of positive change in commercial districts and are integral to CPTED strategies. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Façade improvements can also be a catalyst for volunteer (CPTED) principles seek to reduce crime and the per- ception of crime or danger by emphasizing good design involvement in the Main Street program and stimulate in elements related to the physical environment of your other streetscape improvements. These programs produce a district—storefronts, sidewalks, public spaces, etc. Here domino effect for change, and are normally administered are some specific suggestions on how to put CPTED to by municipalities or Main Street programs as loans or, work in your district: preferably, matching grants. They can provide tremendous incentives for property owners and merchants to improve their buildings and signs. A drawback for some participants Windows. Keep ground-floor windows clean and • free of clutter. Remove faded and outdated posters is the bureaucratic process attached to participating in the and flyers. Keep drapes and blinds open. In general, program, including paperwork, the design review board, make sure the space from about a person’s knees and requirements for multiple contractor bids or the hiring and higher is clear so people can see in and out of of architects. Many buildings don’t need major structural the business. Cluttered windows make it easy for changes; fresh paint and better signs can have a huge criminals to stay out of sight. Sometimes businesses impact on their appearance. have bars covering their windows, which creates an In the absence of a façade improvement program or unappealing prison-like appearance. Consider offer- access to a coordinating Main Street program architect, ing incentives such as free insurance for one year to your organization can still encourage property and busi- merchants who remove the bars. Implement design guidelines that limit the percentage of covered win- ness owners to improve their buildings. By using design dow space to 15 percent. software, you can visually demonstrate the difference a new paint job, attractive landscaping, or a new sign can have on Use landscaping, such as shrubs, Landscaping. • a building as well as on the image of the business and the planters, and trees, instead of fences, to guide peo- entire district. Computer-savvy volunteers or college archi- ple to entrances and exits. Trees should be canopied tecture or design students can make simple alterations to so people can walk under them comfortably. Don’t digital photographs of buildings, which you can show busi- allow shrubs to become overgrown; they should be ness and property owners to inspire them to make simple pruned to knee height. Neglected landscaping not changes. Business owners often insist they can’t afford to only indicates a lack of concern and/or ownership; it improve their storefronts; but, really, they can’t afford not also creates hiding spaces. to! Tattered storefronts attract crime instead of customers. Fencing. In situations where fencing is necessary, Clean-up events can be great ways to get more people • avoid solid fencing—remove every other board if involved in the community. The AdamsMorgan MainStreet necessary so passers-by can see what is going on Group in Washington, D.C., holds an annual Summer behind the fence. Wrought iron or picket fences are Spruce Up with community volunteer teams that clean more aesthetically pleasing than chain link fences. target sections of the district. Lighting. Ornamental and pedestrian-scale light- • Order Maintenance ing on buildings helps illuminate heads and shoul- ders and move people out of the shadows. Reflec- Maintaining order deals with expectations about accept- tive light makes people feel safe. Burned-out bulbs able and unacceptable behaviors and the consequences should be replaced immediately. And don’t forget to light parking lots as well! associated with them. Clearly communicating rules of conduct and providing some type of continuous supervi- Old, peeling paint should be removed as Colors. • sion or surveillance, whether real or implied, encourages quickly as possible. When repainting building exteri- the activities you want and discourages those you don’t. ors, choose colors that are lighter and brighter with good reflectivity. CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTSS 191 DESIGN

193 local stakeholders once they view the Main Street program as a “rat.” Downtown Tamaqua, Inc., (Pennsylvania) stirred up some friendly competition among business owners with its “clean carrot.” It instituted a program that encouraged business owners to clean their sidewalks and window dis- - plays and improve the overall “front door/street” appear ance of their buildings. The committee presents the winning business owner with the “Golden Broom Award,” complete with a gold spray-painted broom and a certificate. The © El Cajon CDC award has become quite competitive, and many business owners regularly sweep their sidewalks, clean their store This calls attention to and reduces minor infractions or windows, and consistently create great window displays. problems. Remember the sidebar about broken windows? Order maintenance checklist Working with Enforcement Agencies Graffiti-resistant materials and/or control measures √ are in place in areas subject to frequent tagging. Many problems cannot be solved without active engage- ment by city authorities. Invite the police and other city People report all crimes, no matter how small. √ authorities to attend your meetings and serve on a commit- Business owners adopt uniform operating hours. √ tee or task force. Encourage them to be partners in the district’s revitalization and educate them about their role in Organized patrols help monitor activities. √ the economic development process. As part of your image- There is an appropriate response system that pro- √ enhancement campaign, publicize this partnership and vides access to the authorities or other assistance in crime-fighting strategy and contact local reporters to case of emergency. encourage them to cover positive changes that result from this initiative. A system, such as online groups or e-mail or phone √ Community policing partnerships are often a great way call alerts, lets people notify each other about to get local stakeholders actively involved and committed suspicious activity or other problems. to reducing crime. In the 1990s, the United South Broad- way Corp., a CDC in Albuquerque, New Mexico, launched Mount Pleasant Main Street keeps its Washington, D.C., “Peace in the Streets” to take back the neighborhood from neighborhood graffiti free through a rapid-response clean- gangs and drug-related violence through marches and up program. The organization has found that removing rallies. They empowered concerned citizens with crime- graffiti is in itself a deterrent because graffiti “artists” or fighting resources and, with the help of local police, closed “taggers” eventually learn that whatever they mark will be more than 100 drug dens, winning national recognition for cleaned by the next day. their success. Don’t assume that your local police department or city Carrots versus Sticks understands CPTED or knows that landscaping encompass- es more than beautification. Part of Main Street’s job might Encourage positive behavior through incentives, like façade include working with the police department to find new improvement programs, as well as educating your mer - solutions to crime prevention in the district. It is important chants so they understand how they can use CPTED strate- to have dedicated officers who work your commercial dis- gies to their advantage. It behooves them to maintain and trict’s beat and come to neighborhood meetings so they can improve their storefronts if they want to succeed and fend develop a presence, understanding, and relationship with off undesirable activities. There will always be someone your community. Develop constructive relationships with who isn’t interested in “doing the right thing” no matter police and public works agencies. Many times, it’s merely how strong your efforts. Focus on the lower hanging fruit a case of discussing baseline services and making sure they first—the business and property owners who are eager to are provided. Be sure to commend them for what they are make changes; the naysayers may come around with time. doing before delving into the issues they need to solve! Use your city’s code enforcement as a last resort. Give Early in its existence, the Barracks Row Main Street your merchants and property owners every opportunity to program in Washington, D.C., convened monthly meetings enhance their businesses and/or buildings to improve their with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to safety—and profitability. Eventually you will need to facilitate relationship development and stakeholder educa- approach owners who aren’t being cooperative. At that tion. Once the district’s BID was up and running, it took time—by the second or third year of your efforts—investi- over holding Quarterly Safety Meetings that included the gate city regulations, such as blight ordinances, and see MPD, Capitol Police, Amtrak, and local business leaders which tools would work to your advantage. Try working and focused on recent crime trends and problem-solving with “offenders” first to get them to meet code compliance - tactics. The organization’s newsletter included the neighbor instead of reporting them. It is hard to gain the trust of hood beat cop’s photo and work cell phone number so CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTS 192 DESIGN

194 problem. Educate the public not to give food or money to people could call with immediate crime problems. The panhandlers but instead to make a donation to a social Main Street program also compiled a list of all business service agency that addresses homelessness. Business and owners’ contact information so they could warn each other property owners should agree not to permit anyone to about suspicious events or a problem patron right away. camp or loiter on their grounds and to remove shopping The police department found this list a useful way to get in carts, bedding, or personal belongings from their property. touch with business owners easily. Other preventive actions include: Downtown Chambersburg in Pennsylvania uses part- time police officers to monitor the business district during Restrict access to overhangs, alcoves, or other pro- specific times of the day to serve as a crime deterrent as well • tected areas. as project a good image. These officers work the downtown beat specifically and check to make sure even little things, Lock or remove handles from water spigots to such as ensuring that business doors are locked after hours, • discourage unauthorized use. are in order. Lock garbage receptacles. Merchant Block Captains • Lock or turn off exterior power outlets. Merchant watch programs are another effective tool for • uniting your businesses so they work together to prevent Lock gates after hours. crime. If a merchant sees someone suspicious entering the • store, (s)he calls a neighboring business, and uses a previ- Install exterior lighting and utilize motion-activated ously agreed-upon code phrase—such as “your order will • fixtures after hours. be ready at noon” —thereby alerting that owner to check in on him(her) or to alert the authorities. This system works Trim shrubs and other foliage to eliminate hiding especially well for business owners who often work alone. • places. Merchant Block Captains can be designated for every 10 to 15 neighboring businesses. Frequently, they just gather and keep contact information up to date and put together a Multifaceted Approach phone tree so that if something happens, all business people can be contacted quickly and put on alert. All participants Your clean and safe volunteers won’t be working on the phone tree should have a copy of the list and agree alone on these initiatives. Your promotion commit- to call a designated person. The person at the end of the list tee will help people see how much safer and cleaner then calls the block captain to confirm that everyone on the the district has become. Your organization committee list has been alerted. Some police departments have block will be tout the program’s commitment to improving captain programs and can distribute literature to partici- the area. Economic restructuring volunteers will help pants or hold orientation workshops. fill abandoned buildings and strengthen businesses to make the district vibrant. Notice, too, that strategies Dealing with Vagrancy for deterring crime do double-duty, such as illuminat- ing business windows at night for safety reason as well Homelessness is a complex social problem. There are no as to attract shoppers’ attention after the store closes. easy solutions. The causes of homelessness are varied and In some situations, CPTED strategies alone won’t are frequently outside the control of government agencies. be enough to deter crime. When used in combination Police have a role in dealing with aggressive panhandlers, with traditional measures such as policing, alarms, and including the homeless, when their activities are unlaw- security cameras, however, CPTED can reduce the op- ful or otherwise impact the safety of the community. portunities for crime, enhance the way your district If transient issues affect your Main Street, work with looks, improve public perceptions, and contribute the community to create a uniform policy to deal with the to an overall improvement in the quality of life. Downtown Ambassador Programs Spokane (Washington) Partnership creat- Business district ambassador programs ed a Security Ambassadors program and can effectively restore the confidence of placed trained security and hospitality patrons and visitors to the area and make representatives throughout the business them feel comfortable there. Just knowing district. Ambassadors wear uniforms so someone is out on the street, keeping an they can be spotted easily to give direc- eye on things and responding to issues on tions, resolve street disturbances, serve the spot can boost a district’s image and as employee/customer escorts, and han- make people feel safer. Like many busi- dle medical emergencies. ness improvement districts, the Downtown © Bill McLeod 193 CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTSS DESIGN

195 CASE STUDY Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Partners in Crime © Kelly Metzler tions like assaults, fire, and unruly crowds) and managing The Neighbors in the Strip (NITS) has been working on com- crises (sharing information such as tips for working with munity-based economic development for the Strip district the media and the 10 mistakes to avoid when handling a in Pittsburgh since 1999. In 2000, after a series of violent crisis) as well as compiling pertinent contact information incidents, NITS began a “Partners in Crime” initiative that when seeking help in dangerous situations. created a comprehensive partnership involving key repre- sentatives from numerous city agencies and groups. NITS When another series of crime incidents occurred in 2006, quickly convened partners, including business owners, resi- the partners launched into action by increasing daytime dents, representatives from the fire and police departments, police bike patrols, creating a taskforce focused on enter- elected officials, the district attorney, the liquor control tainment-oriented businesses, conducting a traffic study, board, Nuisance Bar Taskforce, the Urban Redevelopment developing a traffic-calming plan to increase pedestrian Agency, and others. They identified crime reduction and safety, and creating a public relations campaign to pres- quality-of-life improvement goals and created a Safety and ent an accurate portrayal of the Strip. Security Plan that detailed the myriad issues that needed to be addressed with action items, timelines, task managers, This anti-crime partnership has brought together Pitts- and funding sources. A sample of the issues they vowed burgh stakeholders, key agency representatives, and of- to resolve included improving street lighting, painting cross ficials to improve public outreach and communication walks, improving communication between businesses and so the partners can tackle clean and safe issues and re- police, closing problematic after-hours clubs, holding town spond quickly to incidents when they occur. In the first meetings to educate and empower community members, six years of the initiative, the district has seen a 33 per- cleaning streets and sidewalks, and launching an auto theft cent reduction in Part One Crime (i.e., homicide, theft, awareness program. robbery, etc.); a 30.5 percent reduction in Part Two Crime (i.e., vandalism, drunk driving, prostitution, etc.); and the They put together an Emergency Resource Team that in- closing of five nuisance bars. As the district has become - cluded NITS representatives as well as others from their ex more vibrant and safe, 58 new businesses have opened, tensive partnership list to offer the public advice, help plan creating more than 1,000 jobs, and a variety of excit- for emergencies, and provide training programs to prepare ing new rehabilitation and development projects have residents and business owners in the Strip to deal with safe- been completed. ty issues and crime. They developed two resource guides for dealing with emergency situations (how to react to situa- Helps communities Responsible Hospitality Institute: RESOURCES with social and entertainment establishments stay safe and vibrant through cooperation with Websites police, fire departments, and alcohol regulators, Access case studies, trends, voluntary agreements, Features specific tips for using CPTED CPTED Watch: ordinances, policies, and model practices online. principles to keep specific areas of communities safe, such as parking garages, offices, and businesses. Article Provides research, strategies, Keep America Beautiful: “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design,” and other information to help keep your community , October 1992. Main Street News by Sherry Plaster, clean. Visit this website to find model ordinances, Discusses anti-crime efforts of the city of Sarasota. facts and figures, the Litter Index assessment tool, community survey strategies, and more. Book McGruff the National Crime Prevention Council: Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and crime-fighting dog is not just for kids. This website Reducing Crime In Our Communities , by George L. offers tips and information for starting neighborhood Kelling and Catherine M. Coles (Free Press, 1998). watch programs, CPTED and other crime-prevention Explores concepts such as community policing and trainings, and publications. the aggressive protection of public spaces. CLEAN AND SAFE MAIN STREET DISTRICTS 194 DESIGN

196 PROMOTION chapter 21 PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT By Joshua Bloom Promotion influences attitudes toward the commercial district and can alter consumer habits. Using a variety of tools, your Main Street program can reinforce positive impressions, or replace negative perceptions, while shifting consumer behavior so Main Street becomes a business and shopping destination of choice. Perceptions and habits may be deeply ingrained among consumers who are unfamiliar with your commercial district or who have grown accustomed to overlooking it, so promo- tion requires constantly positioning the district in the best light and repeatedly creating op- portunities and incentives to visit. Changing consumer attitudes and habits happens through work in three areas: change negative impressions and reinforce positive percep- Image development activities • tions to promote the district as a cohesive unit. This can be accomplished through media campaigns, image-building events, or products (e.g. custom shopping bags, coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc.). Special events bring potential customers and excitement to your district. Their function • is to make a long-term impact on Main Street and its businesses, rather than generating same-day increased sales, because they expose new people to the district’s range of goods and services. © Dave Parsh

197 should attract custom- Retail and business activities the same logo, colors, words, style, and feel throughout • ers and “ring registers,” thus making an immediate print materials, websites, media releases, and events. impact on businesses. Retail promotions include The promotion committee’s activities—special events, everything from events to coupons to advertising. retail promotions, and image-building activities—taken together, constitute its annual action plan. For each activity, Because promotion requires an understanding of the the committee should establish measurable goals for market from both the consumer and the business owner’s reaching the target market. (Measuring outcomes will be vantage points, the promotion committee will find itself discussed further in the “Evaluating” section on pages 207 frequently working with the economic restructuring com- and 208.) mittee. Collaboration is particularly important in defining In a branded world, Main Street has an identity crisis. the commercial district’s niche in the regional market- Because consumer-product advertising emphasizes brands, place: who and where are the district’s competitors; what it seems a logical extension for your commercial district to are the district’s strengths—including businesses, build- have a brand, too. But there’s a difference between a ings, and heritage—and liabilities, both real and perceived. product and a place: a product has a brand; a place has an By gathering current market and consumer informa- identity. Identity (or image) development may offer an tion, you will be able to develop new image, retail/busi- opportunity to create a snappy tag line but, generally ness, and special event activities that alter people’s percep- speaking, it’s a chance to shape a message for the commer - tions and behaviors. An annual, successful promotion cial district. Rather than being thought of as “old” or calendar is a crucial part of any Main Street program’s “obsolete,” for example, Main Street is reframed as “his- goal to get more people to use the district’s resources toric,” “nostalgic,” “vintage,” or “authentic.” and assets. Main Street programs are generally advised Even the most distressed districts have positive attri- to balance their calendars and not to exceed their human butes to highlight: historic events, historic buildings, historic and financial resources. Producing two or three special businesses, local ownership, personal relationships, and events, three to six business promotions, and one image- convenience are just a few. Identity should be grounded in development project annually is a good rule of thumb. the district’s authentic attributes so it is both positive Because promotional events and activities can be and truthful. implemented more quickly than some other kinds of initiatives, such as capital projects, they can demonstrate progress to the public. Just as the promotion commit- tee may need to create new, appropriately scaled events NAME THAT BRAND designed specifically for a target market, it may also need Can you name the company to eliminate promotions that no longer serve a strategic associated with the slogans below? purpose or spin them off to other community groups. Invent. Always. Competitive Advantage Live richly. The first step in developing promotional activities is to Get the feeling. get a better understanding of your district’s competitive Think different. advantages compared with nearby shopping alterna- tives. Malls and big-box stores enjoy the advantages It’s the real thing. of selection, price, national advertising, and consistent Yeah, we’ve got that. product and shopper experiences. A traditional busi- You can do it. We can help. ness district’s competitive advantages vary from place to place: they may include convenience, unique and/ What can brown do for you? or historic environments, unusual products or ex- What happens here, stays here. periences, and/or personalized customer service. HP/Hewlett Packard; Wal-Mart and (extra credit) Coca The economic restructuring committee’s market Cola; Citibank; Toyota; Apple; Coca Cola; Staples; The Home Depot; UPS; Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority research will help the promotion committee define the district’s position in the regional marketplace. That research typically includes an analysis of retail spend- ing and sales leakages, customer surveys, and focus You’ve most likely done some of the groundwork groups. Using this information, the promotion com- needed to articulate your district’s identity. For example, mittee should write a “market position statement” that when you were launching your organization or establish- articulates the commercial district’s economic strengths - ing your work plan, you may have discussed the commer in relation to its target demographic audiences. See cial district’s strengths and weaknesses. If your economic page 197 for two sample position statements. This restructuring committee has completed its business market definition will help the promotion committee inventory, it may be able to define business strengths and and individual businesses employ the best advertising clusters not immediately apparent to the casual observer. and marketing channels. Consistency requires use of PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 196 PROMOTION

198 Sample Position Statements Downtown Abingdon specializes in rejuvenating the mind, Downtown Blackstone specializes in providing home décor body and spirit; offering pensive arts, refined entertainment, and personal adornment products and services with traditional rural exercise, and elegant relaxation within a revitalized atmosphere; time-honored value; and trusted, personal, and historic setting. Downtown Abingdon caters to sophisticated friendly customer service for discerning shoppers within the (“outdoorsy”) women and their families throughout Blackstone, Crewe, and Kenbridge region and discriminating } { { } Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, and Northwest day trippers from western Nottoway county and Chesterfield. North Carolina. downtown photogra- Consumers themselves can be your best source of images and words. Again, the economic restructuring phy exhibit, as well as committee can be your research arm. Consumer surveys images that captured should include questions about users’ perceptions of the the new slogan. The district: ask respondents to rank their perceptions and tagline and the photos (graphically framed experiences with selection, prices, parking, merchant by a vintage postcard friendliness, safety, and the like. Positive answers to these survey questions can provide starting points for crafting border), are used in all of Geneva’s retail an appealing image, while negative scores will point out and event advertising. characteristics that need to be improved and reframed. Focus groups are the perfect tool for drawing out When the Pigtown words and images. A structured, facilitated conversa- Main Street Program tion with consumers will often yield evocative words in Baltimore began, it decided to reclaim and images that resonate with your audience. By ask- a name the city had ing participants to describe how the district compares thrown out during an with other places they know, you will gain insights into your Main Street’s identity. (For more informa- earlier effort at urban renewal. In the past, the neigh- borhood’s streets were used for herding swine from the tion on focus groups and how to conduct them, see the March 2006 issue of Main Street News .) train station to the nearby stockyards. The Main Street You may also decide to hire a marketing profes- program decided to use the name “Pigtown,” instead of its sional to help package the words and visuals you’ve new name, “Washington Village,” because it saw historic gathered into a cohesive message. Once you’ve decided value and market differentiation in the former. Leveraging its quirky history raised the neighborhood’s profile and on an identity, it should be incorporated into all of the promotion committee’s activities. And, while identities generated interest among new consumers and visitors. The Downtown Walla Walla Foundation (Washing- can change over time as consumer trends change (just ton) promotes its image as a wine country destination by look back at the “Name that Brand” sidebar), or as the displaying empty wine barrels downtown. Local wineries commercial district itself changes, they should remain donate the wine barrels, which are distributed to lo- consistent for the period during which they are used. cal artists who transform them into art to help support Many communities have developed effective and creative identities. Geneva, Illinois, a suburb about 40 the burgeoning wine industry. The barrels are displayed miles west of downtown Chicago, for example, articulated around town in areas that attract both local and visitor an identity that draws on its traditional “Midwestern traffic and then are sold through the Barrel Art Auction, with proceeds funding the Main Street endowment fund. downtown” look and its picturesque setting along a river. Working with a marketing firm, the local chamber ran a Image building can be incorporated into events, photo contest to capture the city’s new tagline, “A picture as well. Pigtown celebrates its heritage with a run- postcard.” The contest resulted in media exposure and a ning of the pigs during its annual neighborhood fes- Who Are We and How Do We Find Our Identity? Business inventory. Look for strengths, • niches, clusters, and unique advantages. Consumer surveys. Gather quantitative infor- • mation about perceptions and experiences. Allow consumers to Focus groups. • provide language and imagery. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and don’t be afraid to have fun! PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 197 PROMOTION

199 should be embraced and adopted by every stakeholder. In promotion, the image is for the district, not the revitaliza- tion program. And the best way to foster consensus among - diverse revitalization participants is to invite them to par ticipate in the image-development process from the outset. Using an inclusive process will help the program find an image that business owners believe in and will enhance by reflecting it in their own businesses. When the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) led a community process to cre- ate an image for a “nameless” section of downtown, which ultimately became known as the “West Edge,” an outside marketing firm conducted focus groups and surveyed area business owners to gauge their feedback and opinions about the neighborhood’s brand. DSA learned that people valued the area’s independent spirit and agreed that “West tival. When the Center City District of Philadelphia Edge” embodied that quality, reflected the cultural cutting- was faced with an office-oriented downtown that was edge experiences people would have in the neighborhood, deserted after five o’clock, it launched its “Make a and communicated its physical location. Business owners Night of It” initiative, which promoted the idea that embraced the image wholeheartedly—even opening busi- the real nightlife was downtown, not in the suburbs. nesses that used the West Edge name—West Edge Dental, As consumers are bombarded by messages about for example. A neighbor - things they should do—recycle, eat right, exercise more hood deli even created —guilt-laden appeals like “Shop downtown—It’s the a special “West Edge” right thing to do” may have the opposite effect. Con- sandwich. On the day sumers are more likely to respond when you create the brand was launched, an image that captures their imagination, that makes DSA held a lunch-time visiting Main Street something they want to do. concert at a popular Commercial district image campaigns (like Walla community gathering Walla’s wine barrels or Geneva’s postcards) grow out spot, hung a banner of something indigenous and authentic, whether it’s a with the new name building, local culture, historic event, or even something above the stage, invited as intangible as the weather, captured in the ethereal the mayor to read a slogan of Grants Pass, Oregon: “It’s the climate.” proclamation, and Image affects all aspects of a revitalization program handed out a new West and therefore should involve all players. In developing Edge pocket guide/ the characteristics and themes of the commercial dis- business directory as trict’s identity, invite partner organizations, including well as other items city staff and elected officials, chamber of commerce, with the new logo. business owners and developers, tourism officials, and others, to be part of the process. Consider establish- Media ing an ad hoc committee to provide assistance or feed- back during the image-development process. After us- Chapter 7, Promoting the Main Street Program, discussed ing market data, your committee and, in some cases, using the media and communications tools to promote the a marketing professional to develop several concepts, Main Street organization—its purpose and its work. You return to your focus groups to test your draft images. will use the same tools and the media in a similar way to Ultimately, the Main Street program and its partner promote the commercial district and your marketing and organizations must all work with the same campaign, special event activities. The following types of communica- but objective input from consumers can help you and tions fall to the promotion committee: your partners reach consensus about a creative project. Image and identity affect advertising campaigns and Special event publicity and advertising—both before events, of course. But they also influence other revital- • and after the event; ization projects as well: a commercial district with a bohemian image will have a different design sensibil- Retail event publicity and advertising; ity than an authentically Colonial downtown. Imagine, • for example, how out-of-character a psychedelic sign Ribbon-cuttings for new business openings, façade from the funky Haight-Ashbury district in San Fran- • rehabilitations, or public improvements; and cisco would look in staid, downtown Concord, Mas- sachusetts, where Paul Revere made his famous ride. Press releases about positive new developments (or While your Main Street program may develop the • responses to negative events). unifying image, the identity and resulting campaign PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 198 PROMOTION

200 CASE STUDY Communicating with the media about promotions, Allston Village, Massachusetts image-building initiatives, and pre- and post-event details, and sending them interesting, newsworthy stories about Solving an Identity Crisis the revitalization effort will acquaint people with your district and keep it in the forefront of their minds. Allston Village, a Boston–area neighborhood hemmed Sending press releases and fostering relationships by three large universities, had an identity conundrum. with reporters, editors, and producers of local media will It was a virtual melting pot of international people, res- keep them informed about what is happening on Main taurants, and grocery stores—Brazilian, Indian, Irish, Ital- Street. Work with your local radio station on broadcasting ian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and others. And it was public service announcements (PSAs) about Main Street home to that special cluster of businesses every college projects or upcoming events. Radio stations typically student patronizes: stores selling used CDs and vinyl re- can’t broadcast all the PSAs they receive, but developing cords, unfinished furniture, mattresses, and other inex - pensive home furnishings. a close working relationship with the station can help. Depending on the size of your media market, be selec- But what was Allston’s identity? tive in sending press releases to local television stations. The Main Street program did three clever things. Television requires good visuals, preferably with ac- tion scenes; Main Street festivals, parades, and even the First, it renamed the district. Yes, renamed it: Rather than ceremonial removal of an old façade cover-up offer great “Allston” (which many post-college Bostonians viewed video opportunities. The Main Street program in Canon as a boisterous place), the Main Street program chris- City, Colorado, for example garnered a lot of press cover - tened it “Allston Village,” and with the addition of one age, including television, for its Façade Squad’s Strip Show word, created a new image. It put the name on bumper stickers, on websites, in ads, and in all their press and event, which invited people to witness the removal of public relations references. More than 10 years later, the façade coverings from two historic downtown buildings. name has taken hold. Regardless of how you decide to promote your events and your district, make sure that publicity and market- Next, rather than trying to tease out a theme or a thread ing activities are part of your work plan and are con- among the district’s eclectic offerings, the Main Street nected to your image-development initiatives and events. program embraced Allston’s greatest strength: its di- versity of languages and products. The international di- versity is subtly hinted by the word “village.” An added The Chicken or the Egg? tagline captured that diversity more literally: “It’s all in Allston.” Some Main Street programs (especially their economic restructuring committees) find themselves caught in a The Main Street program expanded the tagline in a mul- cycle that seems to have no clear starting point: they titude of ways. First came the banners, which say “Wel- want to recruit businesses, but find themselves hampered come” in each of the languages spoken in Allston Village. by limited foot traffic—that is, they don’t have enough Next came a series of print ads elaborating on the tag customers to support additional businesses. But the line’s claim: customers won’t come (seemingly) because there isn’t “Think globally; Eat locally—It’s all in Allston.” • a broad enough (or enticing enough) set of offerings. This tagline celebrates the district’s international For most places, in most circumstances, the custom- restaurants. ers arrive first and the businesses follow. Sometimes the • “Faux or pho. It’s all in Allston.” Faux refers to faux- customers arrive because new housing has been built in or finish furniture and faux furs, while “pho” is a Viet- around the commercial district, or a new office building namese soup. has brought additional workers. Special events and retail activities create reasons for customers to come to the dis- “Fish or Phish. It’s all in Allston.” Fish refers to the • trict and, in that way, these promotions build foot traffic. many forms of fish that can be purchased in All- ston: fresh fish for cooking, dried fish for Portu- guese stews, smoked and salted Russian fish—or Events live fish (as pets). Phish refers to a band, popular in the 1980s and 90s. Events communicate the concept that the commercial district is more than a collection of businesses: it is a center of civic life. The two concepts reinforce one another to strengthen the economy of the district and the community as a whole. The best events are born at the intersection of authen- ticity and creativity. The “Mystery Festival” in Ventura, California, was inspired by Perry Mason author and Ventura native son, Erle Stanley Gardner. East Boston, - where the local lobster industry is hidden behind refriger ated warehouses on the waterfront, hosted Lobsterfest, PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 199 PROMOTION

201 These include the following five characteristics: Music. All festival-type events should include music to • not only provide entertainment but also to unify large outdoor spaces. In some cases, food may be a central organiz- Food. • ing element of the event (at a Little Italy festival, for example). Even if it’s not, you’ll want to have food available so people will stay at the event longer. The annual Evel Knievel Days festival in Butte, Montana, attracts an international audience. Like Overlapping activities. • with its requisite lobster-eating contest. MainStreet a three-ring circus or a Dis- Uptown Butte, Inc., in Montana celebrates its hometown ney theme park, overlap- hero, Evel Knievel, the last weekend of July with a grand ping activities add excite- festival that attracts people from all around the world. ment, keep the energy high, Fireworks, music, food, stunts, hotrod shows, and more and, of course, provide a fill three exciting days. good experience so people Festivals and events are fun—at least for those attend- don’t get bored and leave. ing them. For those producing the events, they can be exhausting. But what’s their purpose? They help change Something for all ages. • attitudes, public perception, and habits. Because of one You should have activi- event, some individuals who might not otherwise visit ties for people of all ages, the commercial district, come once. They see things that of course, but typically, fes- might inspire them to return, and they leave the event tivals attract families with having had fun. In that way, the event might successfully children. Be sure to plan a disrupt their pattern of only patronizing your competing number of activities geared businesses. Perhaps the next weekend they need to buy toward kids of different age groups. a gift, try out a new restaurant, or want something fun to do, and decide to check out your Main Street first. Something for free. Everyone wins when you • Festivals such as street fairs and holiday parades, ap- provide a small memento of the event. Giving peal to a wide range of people. However, they don’t need people a little something to take home assures to appeal to everyone. It is appropriate and strategic to they will remember the great time they had. create a series of events aimed at different demographic segments of your target audiences. Events aimed at kids Small Events are different from events aimed at seniors. Events aimed at locals may not appeal to tourists. While a Domini- Not all events are blockbusters, nor do they need to be can Day or a Malcolm X festival will appeal primarily aimed at “everyone.” Some events are tiny: a jazz band to Dominicans or African Americans, respectively, all “jamming” on a corner during rush hour, lunchtime events should be open and welcoming to everyone. concerts in a park, or a trick-or-treat promotion can Festivals—regardless of their theme—should follow be organized as small, simple events. Small activities lessons taught by the entertainment and amusement-park are easier to produce and can more readily be aimed at industries. Theme parks, carnivals, and other festival-like distinct market segments: in the preceding examples, environments have learned the importance of providing respectively, commuters, workers, and families. multiple activities and sensory experiences to keep visitors If an event can be repeated frequently, it has a greater engaged. chance of not just disrupting a pattern of Main Street- avoidance, but creating a new pattern that makes your district a destination. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, started a walking club, “The RiverWalkers,” whose members logged miles walking in and around downtown and attended educational seminars on health and fitness. Farmers markets are common—and perfect—examples of weekly events, and communities have created many variations on the market theme: some are for local grow- ers only; some feature prepared foods; some include craft- ers or other retailers. In many towns and cities, the farm- ers market becomes a community-building place where neighbors run into neighbors. The farmers market hosted by Washington State’s Puyallup Main Street Association is itself a destination and builds foot traffic on market days, © DR Smith PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 200 PROMOTION

202 All images © Linda S. Glisson Farmers markets offer the community a gathering place as well as entertainment. Providing practical suggestions for ways in which any • which benefits nearby businesses. Families and tourists retail or service business can take part in a promotion alike descend upon Pioneer Pavilion, a picturesque park, or event; to enjoy foods that are in season and the community- gathering spot. The market has seen a 30 percent growth, Making sure that the physical setup of the event (booths, • barricades) does not interfere with business operations peaking at 125 vendors at the top of the season and or block entrances; generating more than $1,000,000 in gross sales annually. Live music, food demonstrations, attractions or activities Surveying and listening to business owners after each for kids, and cultural or educational components can turn • event, and on an annual basis, to gauge which activi- weekly markets into exciting entertainment venues. Some ties benefit the business community the most (see pages communities create retail tie-ins to connect the market to 207 and 208); and the commercial district’s retailers (see pages 203–206). While events may have multiple benefits, they should Minimizing the number of events that require have a primary purpose that is distinct from image devel- • street closures. opment or retail promotions. Events provide a reason to visit the district, and they offer a positive experience. They may not contribute to retail sales on the day of the event Developing a Promotion Calendar itself, but they strengthen the economy of the commercial district over time. Putting together an annual promotion calendar is the best Despite your hard work and good intentions, some way to plan and coordinate an effective promotional pro- business owners may not favor or benefit from certain gram. The Main Street program’s promotion committee, with kinds of promotional activities. You can mitigate potential input from the economic restructuring committee and from negative reactions by: other community groups, such as the merchants association or chamber of commerce, is responsible for the calendar. It Providing a calendar of all promotional activities 12 to • should be developed in advance to give the organization 18 months in advance; adequate time to thoroughly plan events and programs. Insuring Events • Most general liability policies are written in a way If you put on events, you need specific insurance to protect that covers a volunteer who hurts someone else your organization. Don’t assume that certain programs or projects of your Main Street organization are included in but not volunteers who injure themselves. To en- your city’s insurance policies. Shop around for the best sure that you have complete coverage for your vol- quote and best coverage options. Ask your insurance unteers, ask for a volunteer accident policy so you agent about steps you can take to reduce risk (such as us- are covered for excess medical expense, accidental ing trained alcohol servers and forgoing the moon bounce death, and accidental dismemberment if volun- for safer entertainment options) and possibly lower your teers hurt themselves. This policy generally will not premiums. Also ask about the following extra policies: cover pain and suffering or loss of wages. Special event liability coverage defends third-party • Does your event include wine tastings or alcohol • property damage and bodily injury claims arising sales? Add liquor liability coverage to your policy out of specifically scheduled events sponsored by or because it is generally excluded on general liability hosted by the organization. Find out about “rain in- policies. This coverage defends claims attributed to surance” and see what the weather conditions must the serving of alcoholic beverages, such as over- be in order for you to collect on a claim and what is serving and serving minors. covered (deposits, pre-event expenditures, revenues that might have been generated, etc.). PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 201 PROMOTION

203 your target audience. The promotion committee can also look at established events in the community and think of ways to make them bigger and/or better. Lay out an 18-month program, based on the • Sched- events that have been roughly formulated. ule events as accurately as possible for 12 months; use the 18-month calendar to assign approximate dates for future activities and to facilitate plan- ning. Take the time to plan and be creative. Effec- tive promotional programs require extensive devel- opment and coordination over a reasonable time frame if they are to be implemented successfully. There are seven basic steps involved in preparing and implementing a promotion calendar: Consider the timing of other local and regional • events and adjust the tentative calendar to avoid Anticipate sales cycles and plan events to take ad- Check with the chamber potential schedule conflicts. • vantage of established shopping habits. Consumers of commerce, local schools, civic clubs, arts leagues, tend to shop for goods and services at fairly predict- and religious institutions to find out their agendas. able times. In most communities, retail activity typi- The state tourism office may have information on cally follows the cycles of the garment industry, with regional activities. Think about such events as: sales peaking when a new season’s clothing lines are introduced. In some cases, your district’s sales People may be more apt to shop just after Pay day. ◉ cycles may be different, especially in communities they receive their pay checks. Ask local industries, with significant tourism. Check with your merchants city and county government offices, and other major to find out their strongest and weakest months. employers when their pay days are. After gathering sales figures for a year, plot them on a graph. Identify times when sales drop, when Avoid scheduling Local or national sports events. ◉ they increase, and when they plateau. The periods promotional activities that conflict with major local, just before significant increases in sales activity of- regional, or national sports events. fer good opportunities for full-price retail marketing; as sales start to dip (e.g., after Christmas), the time School events. Check with the local board of educa- ◉ is right for discount retail promotions. For special tion to see when standardized tests are given and get events, target periods when there appear to be no the dates for important events like homecoming or major fluctuations in sales; such activities can help the prom. maintain consumer interest in the district. Image- building activities are good for slower times of the Festivals and major events in town or in nearby ◉ year or as a lead into busier times, especially when communities. Arts and crafts shows, for example, you need to change public perception of the district. could provide stiff competition for your promotional activities. Review last year’s calendar and analyze the effec- • Does the event still meet your tiveness of each event. Just as you should look at local and regional events marketing goals? Is it fresh and exciting, or has it to avoid conflict, those dates can also offer opportuni- become stale and mediocre? Eliminate the activity if it ties. For example, the local high school prom could be no longer seems appropriate. Follow the same process an ideal occasion for special joint promotions with for every promotion on the calendar. Keep only those your apparel shops, florists, restaurants, salons, and events that continue to meet the program’s goals. other businesses. With- Plan activities that fit overall promotional goals. For each Make preliminary committee assignments. • • out assigning dates, develop basic ideas for activities promotional activity, appoint a chairperson to head the that are meaningful and appropriate for your primary task force that will plan, oversee, and implement the customer groups. After developing some basic concepts event. Try to find chairpeople who are good organizers. for several promotional activities, think about the While other members can provide technical skills and form each should take—a retail promotion, a special creative ideas, a leader with organizational ability is event, an image-building activity, or a combination of usually the key to a successful promotion task force. these promotional types. If your committee feels the need to develop new events, looking at community Prepare a master Finalize the calendar of events. • heritage, assets, and culture—the same things you calendar of promotional activities for the coming year probably used when deciding on an image—can help and circulate it to businesses, local media, schools, you determine which new events will resonate with and civic groups. Also, send descriptions of one or PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 202 PROMOTION

204 two major events to statewide media and tourism New events are unlikely to generate surplus revenue organizations that can help publicize the activities. because they usually require a large investment and lack name recognition at the outset. Vendors and spon- sors will be reluctant to make substantial commitments A single event doesn’t change a pattern, but a se- ries of events is a start. Over the course of a year or so, without a demonstrated track record. And if the event a regular calendar of events will give people numer - depends on ticket sales, those purchases may be slow to take off until the event has developed a loyal following. ous opportunities to come back to Main Street. If you evaluate an event’s success on whether it made money, you may be judging it by the wrong criteria. (See Special Events and Fund Raising “Evaluating Promotion Activities,” page 207.) Large- scale events require an enormous amount of work and Sometimes events get confused or co-mingled with fund a substantial cash outlay for everything from portable raising. Some programs put on events that generate a sig- toilets to bandstands. Events are also subject to large risk nificant revenue surplus and provide a major portion of the factors, most notably the weather. There are less risky revitalization organization’s operating budget. For example, and more resource-efficient ways to raise money for El Reno Main Street, a Great American Main Street Award your revitalization program, if that is the primary goal. (GAMSA) winning program in Oklahoma, hosts five special events that attract 38,000 visitors and provide 17 percent Retail/Business Activities of its annual revenue. One event, the Fried Onion Burger Festival, lures 25,000 attendees downtown to salivate over Retail and business activities focus consumers’ attention a 750-pound burger as well as to shop—merchants have on the commercial aspects of the business district. Un- reported a 400 percent increase in sales during the event. like special events, retail/business activities are designed Some organizations produce one or two annual to drive sales at Main Street businesses and make new, events to fund the bulk of their operating expenses. An- or strengthen, connections to customers. There are three other GAMSA winner, Lynch’s Landing, in Lynchburg, general varieties of business promotional activities: Virginia, brought in $800,000 in revenue in 2005 by producing exciting events that attracted thousands of Cluster promotions for businesses within the people downtown throughout the year. Lynch’s Land- • same category; ing lowers production costs by tapping the city’s spe- cial events grants program and in-kind donations. Cross promotions, which make new customer • connections among a variety of business types; and Market-segment promotions, which focus on • attracting a particular consumer group. CASE STUDY In a cluster promotion, the Main Street program might publish a restaurant guide listing all of the district’s dining Goffstown, New Hampshire establishments. Or it might organize a home show among The Giant Pumpkin Festival furniture retailers and interior designers, highlighting new decorating trends through in-store displays and demon- strations. A bridal show could group together florists, restaurants that offer catering services, stationers, and, of course, bridal shops. Jamaica Plain, a Boston neighbor - hood, organizes “First Thursdays,” where shopping is an In New England, growing giant pumpkins is an or- ganized and intense competition. Goffstown, New intended byproduct of an arts-oriented event: sidewalk Hampshire, has managed to elevate the challenge performers and in-store (as well as in-restaurant and from a mere exercise on a scale to something of a in-real-estate office, etc.) art displays create a party-like multi-channel fall sensation. There is the pumpkin experience on the sidewalks. First Thursdays create foot cook-off, the pumpkin parade, the pumpkin prince traffic and a happy, interactive, neighborly experience. and princess, the costume contest—for dogs(!), and, Cross promotions are well suited for districts that lack of course, the Pumpkin Regatta (pictured above). a distinct focus in their business inventory. Their goal is Participants in the Regatta use power tools to carve to increase retail impact by encouraging the customers of out giant pumpkins and make watercraft out of them. one or two businesses to shop in the commercial district The pumpkin boats are then mounted with small as a whole. Cross promotions need not be “events” at all. outboard motors and set to float in the Piscataquog For example, a customer at the bicycle shop receives a River. The orbed craft—often festooned with flags coupon for an extra scoop at the ice cream shop across and ribbons, and sometimes with super-soaker water the street. In turn, the ice cream shop gives its customers guns—then engage in what is often a contact sport, a coupon for a bicycle safety inspection, or a free map of as they race to the finish line. scenic bike rides in the region. The hair salon offers baked PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 203 PROMOTION

205 treats from the local bakery; the service station offers to pay for lunch at a local restaurant while the customer’s car is being serviced. The Main Street program can help facilitate these connections among individual businesses. Cross promotions can also take a more formal, “event- style” approach: a health fair could feature demonstra- tions or seminars and connect the drug store, the yoga studio, the health food shop, and restaurants offering healthy menu choices. Cross promotions tend to focus on existing customers by broadening their impact across a greater number of businesses—a more efficient proposi- tion than attracting an entirely new set of customers. Market segment promotions target a specific group of customers, like a men’s holiday-shopping night, early-bird dinner specials for seniors, or an after-work happy hour for district workers. In Wisconsin, the Plat- teville Main Street Promotion Committee found a way Outdoor signage guides participants on the Joy of Cookies tour in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. to better reach the 2,700 students at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, which is in walking distance of the Certain holidays are perfectly suited for business promo- downtown. After meeting with university representatives tions. The flagship holiday for retail promotions is Christ- from the housing and student affairs office, the commit- mas, and its calendar neighbors, Chanukah and Kwanzaa. tee determined that connecting with the 95 Residence To take advantage of the holiday season, during the last Hall Assistants (RAs) would help downtown business weekend of November, the Joy of Cookies Tour hits the in- owners use word-of-mouth marketing. The Promo- dependently owned businesses in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville tion Committee worked with the university to add a neighborhood. Businesses showcase holiday gifts and offer “Meet and Greet” event during orientation week; the discounts and giveaways. People can shop, sample cook- university agreed to host a pizza party for the RAs and ies, and collect recipe cards. The annual promotion prom- downtown business owners at a local pizzeria where the ises shoppers that they will find unique, handmade, and - merchants could introduce themselves and their offer eclectic gifts as well as an “un-mall” holiday experience. ings and contribute to giveaway gift bags. The Meet and Many communities organize winter open-house events Greets familiarize students with the downtown and also that generally tie in retail and business promotions dur - provide an excellent volunteer recruitment opportunity. Somerville had the good fortune of being the place where Fluff was born. But how does a festival celebrate such a product? In a multitude of ways: there was the Fluff baking contest, the Fluff tug-of-war (over a vat of Fluff in the middle), the Flufferettes (think “Rockettes,” CASE STUDY but dressed as Fluff), the Fluff science fair, Fluff art, and other activities. The planners also accommodated the needs of district businesses that were otherwise left out Somerville, Massachusetts of the day-time, family-oriented event. They encouraged a Somerville bar owner to create a special Fluff-inspired “What the Fluff?” beverage, which became the “Fluffachino”—an adult li- bation of espresso, Frangelico, and, of course, Fluff. USMS photographed the bartender with his drink, post- ed it to the website, and managed to get it printed in the local paper. People started ordering the drink in the weeks leading up to the event—and the bar owner im- mediately became a staunch supporter and member of the Main Street program. The national media picked up the story, and the event Fluff—the marshmallow sandwich spread—was invented in became an instant legend. One click on the USMS web- Somerville, Massachusetts, in 1917. What, you didn’t know? site ( and you can find links Everyone in Somerville knows. At least now they do. to dozens of videos and media stories, including a feature on the Food Network. The site also has a gal- In 2006, Union Square Main Streets (USMS) celebrated the lery of zany images to get people excited about next product that altered human history with the first “What year’s event. the Fluff?” festival. Image © Sadie Ide PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 204 PROMOTION

206 ing an evening where stores remain open and offer warm your organization should help businesses sell as much drinks and treats. Augusta, Kansas, drops “snow” in the of their merchandise or services at full price as pos- form of ping pong balls from the top of a fire truck ladder: sible. Sales events are useful at specific times of year the balls are imprinted with prizes or discounts at down- when merchants need to clear out stock to make way town retailers. From Valentine’s Day to Father’s Day, every for a new season: after Christmas or during the dog holiday offers an opportunity to organize promotions. days of summer, for example. Ask your business own- Although not a holiday, the back-to-school season is a ers about their needs and ideas: in tourist communi- great time to showcase Main Street businesses. The Belair- ties, for example, summer may be the busiest time of Edison Main Street program in Baltimore uses this time to year—and it’s the early fall when merchants need to showcase its hair salon and personal care business niche. move stale items before the season comes to a close. The annual Bel-Hair Back-to-School Festival puts on a Sidewalk sales, once the bread-and-butter retail pro- hairstyle fashion show and gives away school supplies to motion, are no longer viable in commercial districts where local schools. retail businesses (those that sell something that can be A marketing activity or event can bridge more than put in a bag) are sparse or scattered. Similarly, frequent one type of promotion. Below are a few examples of discount events of any kind tend both to cheapen the im- promotions that effectively combine special events and age of the district and give the impression that businesses retail activities. are trying to compete on price—a game they cannot Retail incentives can be used to link special events afford to play when the opponent is a big-box store. and festivals to businesses: a street festival where ven- dors are selling cheap food to eat on the go is not the Cooperative Advertising time when a family is likely to sit down for a fine-dining experience. However, it is an opportunity to hand the Business owners who parents a coupon, giving them an incentive to dine on might not take the ini- Main Street another time. Farmers markets present an tiative to advertise (in ideal setting for flower-arranging demonstrations by a print or on the radio), local florist or cooking demonstrations by local restau- or might not be able to rants, even though neither is likely to make sales at the afford it on their own, market. Farmers could also be asked to insert coupons may be more likely to in customers’ produce bags. One Union Square Farm- participate in a group ers Market featured vendors devoted to canine health for advertising program. the special event “Paws at the Market.” District doggie- Group ads can ef- related businesses like FiDough, the neighborhood’s pet fectively showcase bakery and grooming salon, set up booths alongside particular clusters of area animal rescue leagues and dog training clubs, to businesses or compel- meet the special interests of the market’s customers. ling characteristics Belleville (Illinois) Main Street hosted a “who done of a business niche. it” set in downtown businesses. Those participating in Cooperative ar - the murder mystery first visited the crime scene, staged rangements typically at the Main Street office, where they viewed the “victim” collect participation and the evidence left behind by the criminal. Participants fees from busi- were given a list of participating stores where they could nesses for a single interview witnesses and suspects to get information to display ad that may include a collection solve the mystery. Qualifying entry forms had to have the of images or business cards or for an ad with one im- correct solution and show that the participant interviewed age or theme that simply lists participating businesses. a minimum number of the characters within the designated Retail advertising is one area where charitable non- time period. The first person to solve the mystery got a profits (those operating under a 501(c)3 designation) must cash reward. The event also included a random draw- be careful. The IRS may consider ads that list individual ing for gifts. (Note that while this is an in-store promo- businesses (depending on the type of district where you tion, participants might not make purchases while they are working) as being inconsistent with a “charitable” are playing the game, but they will be exposed to the purpose. With this in mind, some communities rely on variety of goods and services available in the district.) the chamber or merchants association (if one exists) to organize group ads. Alternatively, an individual merchant Sales and Discounts could take on the responsibility for organizing the ad campaign and collecting checks from participants. Some Historically, Main Street programs equated retail promo- Main Street programs are organized as 501(c)6 (or other tions with discounts—sidewalk sales, “midnight madness” 501(c) entities) and are not subject to this limitation. And sales, percent-off coupons, and the like. Sale activities some 501(c)3 organizations are exempt, as well—partic- have a limited, strategic place in the promotion menu. ularly those districts where business owners are members Everybody loves a bargain, except the retailers. of a disadvantaged class (e.g., minorities or women), as As a facilitator of Main Street business development, defined by the IRS. Check with an attorney experienced in PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 205 PROMOTION

207 message will become more compelling as consumers increasingly look for ways to reduce energy-consumptive shopping trips and support local economic development. Consumers are rarely motivated by guilt, however, at least, not for long. And in some communities, the downtown or neighborhood shopping district doesn’t have enough businesses to sell all the staples consumers need. Rather, the challenge is to make the commercial district’s “localness” one of its coolest qualities. Philadelphia created a campaign featuring pictures Advertisement featuring late shopping nights in the of local owners in their businesses, with the tagline, “My Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh. city IS my business”; each picture was accompanied by a line or two describing the owner’s personal connection nonprofit regulations to find out whether these limitations to her business, her customers, and her city. Cambridge, apply to your particular circumstances. (The differences Massachusetts, which has seen a surge in chain-business among these designations are described in Chapter 8, Effec- openings, created a “Local First” program, which identified tive Advocacy for Main Street Programs, pages 66 and 67.) independently owned businesses unique to the community. Businesses displayed a sticker in their window, almost as Store Hours an honor badge. Taking an “incentive” approach to shopping locally, Since the beginning of time, it seems, Main Street shopper loyalty cards have long been popular. Individual districts have tried to corral their merchants into setting businesses (like coffee shops) use them frequently: buy unified business hours. Like herding cats, the task ends 10 cups of coffee and your next one is free. Communi- up being harder than it first appears, and it tends to ties have often struggled, however, to create a loyalty annoy the cats. Modifying the goal—e.g., promoting a card that works throughout the district. The 10-coffee group of businesses that are open late, asking business concept won’t work for all businesses. Buy 10 wedding owners to consider extending their normal business gowns, and your next one is free? Even discounts (e.g., hours, or establishing one late-evening shopping night 10 percent off) don’t work equally well for all busi- per week—will make success easier to achieve. The issue - nesses, especially those, such as grocery stores, that oper straddles the work of the promotion committee and the ate on very tight margins. However, “shop local” events economic restructuring committee. Convenient hours are can be successful incentives. The Main Street program important to promote, as Port Townsend, Washington, in El Reno, Oklahoma, has an annual “Spend Christmas did by producing a series of ads highlighting extended at Home—Shop Downtown” promotion that encour - shopping hours and noting the participating businesses. ages customers to shop downtown during the season Frederick, Maryland, uses the arts to draw traffic one and collect tickets to win $4,000 in Main Street Bucks. evening each month. The Downtown Frederick Partnership Credit card technology has recently provided a found that its monthly First Saturday Gallery Walk events, “shop-local” solution for Main Street: several cities - which showcase the community’s strong arts and enter and companies have developed customized solutions tainment district, have inspired more than three-quarters where one magnetic-strip card can be tailored to each of downtown businesses to stay open late. The executive business’s preference. Some of these cards have also director reported that the event has been wildly popular and been combined with a credit card payment feature. that the sales receipts of many stores rival, and sometimes exceed, their best holiday sales totals. Their successes have Helping Retailers Market Themselves helped the organization convince merchants to stay open un- til 9 p.m. on Friday nights from May to December as well. Taking a cue from larger stores that study and track their customers, independent businesses should employ some of “Shop Local” Programs the same techniques. For the business, having better infor - mation and more frequent customer contact builds on the “Shop local” programs have always been popular among premise that it’s easier to get a current customer to come revitalization programs, and there’s reason to believe their © Megan Henning (Left) Downtown Athens (Georgia) Gift Certificates feature a downtown watercolor picture by a local artist. (Right) Hudson, Ohio, offers shoppers magnetic strip gift cards. PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 206 PROMOTION

208 Quantifies income generated either by promotions or • back more frequently than it is to attract new shoppers contributing activities; or clients. For customers, regular contact from businesses they patronize as long as it respects their privacy prefer - Determines the cost-benefit ratio of the amount of • ences can result in a better, more personalized experience money and/or volunteer hours necessary to implement through individualized communication and service. the promotion versus the income, good will, recogni- Businesses might invite customers to attend special tion, etc., that it generates. (The goal of every promo- seasonal events or merchandise previews, or they may tion may not be to generate revenue—particularly call a customer when a particular item of interest comes image campaigns); in. Many small businesses are using customer contact management software or web-based services. E-mail Quantifies a promotion’s impact on district sales • marketing allows merchants to tailor their messages to (especially business promotions); specific customer interests: they can highlight a one-of-a- kind product or a product category of interest to the Measures the experience and satisfaction of partici- • customer, promote in-store demonstrations or work- pants or attendees; and shops, and provide gift ideas at holidays. While websites serve as destinations in themselves for Quantifies media exposure of the district. • large web-based business enterprises like, they serve a slightly different purpose for Main Street Gathering information from attendees will help businesses: websites and e-mail marketing provide an - you determine if they had a good experience; gather effective and cost-efficient way for businesses to expand a ing information from businesses will tell you whether customer relationship that started with an in-store visit. the event or promotional activity benefited them. Websites also help new customers find the business. Even if a customer lives elsewhere, the relationship can Ways of Measuring continue beyond infrequent visits—especially if the website offers e-Commerce features. Attendance. For special events, the number of at- • tendees represents a principal benchmark. Tabulating Evaluating Promotional Activities participants can be as easy as counting ticket stubs or counting people as they come through the door or You probably already track data related to business front gate. If the event takes place outdoors, in a large development, such as business openings and closings. area, there are a number of techniques for estimating Similarly, you should track the results of your promotion crowds. Typically, you count the number of people in and marketing work. several representative sample areas and extrapolate Earlier in the chapter we discussed marketing plans for the full area of the event. Note that the density of and the need to determine measurable goals for each attendance typically changes as the event progresses. promotional activity as it relates to reaching your You will need to count at different times, and you will target markets. Developing specific goals will make need to know how long people stayed at the event. you more effective when planning and more objective when evaluating. You can use your goals to help track Surveys. Traffic counts can tell you how many people • your promotion and marketing programs. Here are came to your event, but surveys can tell you if you the primary benefits of evaluating your promotions: are reaching your target audience and even reveal how attendees learned about the event. Short attendee Demonstrates the event’s reach to current and future surveys and post-event focus groups help measure • advertisers and funders; the relative quality of attendees’ experiences during an event in order to identify improvements from year Demonstrates your ability to reach targeted groups; to year. This kind of information is best gathered • through a survey distributed randomly to attendees. Allows you to compare events and programs from Conduct a survey at each event to determine • year to year; where people came from, how long they stayed, and how much they spent (e.g., on food, entertainment, and retail purchases). You’ll be able to illustrate on a map the event’s geographic draw and quantify the economic impact for your district. Ask people to rate the quality of their experience according to several cri- teria. Depending on your planning needs, you may also wish to ask how many people were in their party and other questions to help in assessing your promo- be never tion. (Note that a survey at an event should used for gathering baseline data about typical Main Street shoppers.) This coupon entices shoppers to return—and the redemptions help track success. PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 207 PROMOTION

209 Ask merchants to rate the sales impact (e.g., positive, ◉ neutral, or negative) for all events, comparatively. This information will help you determine which events are most productive from the retailers’ perspectives. Ask business owners which promotional activities they ◉ would like to see repeated in the future and which events they would like to see dropped (and why). Ask open-ended questions to solicit specific suggestions ◉ on ways to change existing promo-tional activities. © Timothy BIshop Main Street volunteers in Ellensburg, Washington, As part of your analysis, ask merchants which hours ◉ get ready to survey event participatnts. they were open during each event—and use a chart to illustrate the percentage of businesses open during key The Union Square Main Street program tracks events. (If the hours don’t coincide, then the event regular attendance at the weekly farmers market men- won’t have much impact on merchants one way or tioned earlier in this chapter and conducts surveys to the other.) gather customer demographic information as well as how much shoppers spend at the market and at area Sales. The best way to gauge the success of a retail • businesses. Union Square learned that the farmers - promotion is to measure its effect on sales. While mer market for each season (June through October) has a chants aren’t likely to tell you their actual sales, they will roughly $500,000 economic impact, with half going to probably tell you the percentage difference from typical the farm vendors and half going to area businesses. sales for the same day or period of time. If the retail Your program should also gather feedback from activity includes a coupon or other tracking mechanism, local businesses owners throughout the year so you merchants will probably be willing to tell you how many can reiterate the purpose of each event as well as coupons were redeemed. It can be beneficial to select 10 gather input. Two good ways to collect informa- to 20 businesses to help you consistently track data from tion are to distribute short, post-event surveys and to year to year. Businesses can be given an identifier number host an annual meeting with all business owners. to preserve their anonymity. After each event, immediately send businesses owners a short survey that includes: If you’ve done your communications job Media value. • right, the media will likely cover the promotional activity A thank you for their participation/support; in ways that might include news or feature stories, ◉ photographs, live television coverage, and the like. (This Directions on how and when to return the survey; is in addition to any paid advertising you may have ◉ placed.) Clip newspaper articles, print out online blog or A brief description of the event’s purpose so they media coverage, and record any other media mentions. ◉ understand what its goals were and can use them to You can quantify the value of this news coverage by guide their responses; and calculating what it would cost to buy the same amount of space or air time for advertising. Three to five questions written specifically to gauge ◉ For more details on creating surveys, read “Surveys” on their level of participation and satisfaction with the event. For example, after retail sales/business-generating Funding Promotional Activities events, ask business owners about the type of busi- ness, whether in-store traffic was more or less com- For promotional activities such as cooperative advertis- pared with the previous year, whether sales increased, ing, the funding sources are typically straightforward: whether they thought the event was good for their businesses that participate in the advertising campaign business—and for the entire district. Merchant surveys ante up a share of the advertising costs. Other promo- can be disseminated as a one-page flyer or distributed tional activities require more diverse funding structures. and tabulated using simple web-based survey tools. Once a year, all business owners should take a - Both local businesses and national cor Sponsorships. survey or attend a meeting to report on the year’s full • porations are potential supporters of promotional set of promotional activities, comparing all of them side- programs—especially special events. Corporate sponsors by-side; review the year’s promotional calendar; discuss typically require a value for their sponsorship dollars feedback; and revise next year’s promotional strategy. If that is roughly equivalent to advertising costs for reach- done correctly, soliciting business owners’ feedback can ing the same audience. They are interested in sponsorship generate a lot of good information and support: PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 208 PROMOTION

210 opportunities when the venue offers access to their target customer segments. Local service businesses might find value in sponsoring an event or another aspect of your program if they see the opportunity as a good match for them and if the sponsorship is visible. Goodwill and good public relations can be strong selling points for getting the support of business owners who understand the value of public percep- tion. Consider naming rights, logo placement, website links, putting the business name on event materials, and asking a representative to speak at the event or set up a booth as part of a valuable sponsorship pack- age. The Main Street program in Libertyville, Illinois, Promotions can help the public deal with inconveniences devised a menu of sponsorship opportunities that are presented by streetscape projects. packaged in a well-designed brochure and sold once amples of such issues include road or streetscape a year for all activities. Sponsors like the package construction projects, parking violations or short- because they are only asked once, and the program ages, and trash and litter, to name a few. To provide knows in advance sources of funds for each event. an example of how creative solutions can help deal with prickly issues, this section will explore the use Gate/ticket receipts are appropriate for Ticket sales. • of promotions during streetscape construction. controlled-access events. More than likely, at some point during your district’s revitalization, major streetscape improvements will be For special events, the Main Street program Vendors. • necessary to provide updated infrastructure, traffic-calming may be deputized by the municipality to sell permits elements, new sidewalks, and lights to improve circulation to outside vendors, and those receipts (which come in and make the district more attractive to customers, busi- before the event and are typically nonrefundable) can nesses, and investors. (See Chapter 15, Public Improve- ease cash flow in addition to creating a profit center. ments, to learn more about streetscape improvements.) Public improvement construction can last for several Food and beverage concessions. You may decide to • months, or even longer when the project is phased over a undertake “do-it-yourself” concessions, rather than couple of years. The potential benefits of these improve- licensing them to vendors. Before doing so, determine ments are great, but even temporary disruptions can be if this is the best use of your available volunteer devastating to local businesses. It is critical that your resources. Alternatively, you may choose to bring in a organization work closely with the city, county, or state charitable organization (e.g., the Rotary Club) to run department managing the project and that each committee concessions. In either case, check with your local health be involved in helping the district weather the construc- officials before getting involved in food vending. tion. A subcommittee or task force can help coordinate all construction mitigation activities. An example of this Selling customized merchandise (such Merchandising. • is the Street Reconstruction Task Force created by the as T-shirts or Christmas ornaments) has proved profit- Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership to better manage able for some Main Street programs. and coordinate construction mitigation, business as- sistance, marketing activities, and protection of historic Buying ad space for an event or retail Advertising. • resources in the Wisconsin community’s business district. promotion can be costly; on the other hand, it can also Local business owners should be advised as soon as be a revenue source if you are able to set up bundled possible about plans to initiate public improvement con- packages that provide advertising value to participating struction so they can have a year or more to save money businesses while retaining a portion of the revenues for and plan a strategy to stay in business even if sales slow. program operations. Marginal or poorly run businesses will have a harder time surviving disruptive construction than business owners In-kind donations. Some cities participate financially in • who are prepared. Your Main Street organization can be Main Street promotions seen to have a public benefit. an integral business assistance resource by offering business Many local governments provide valuable in-kind improvement seminars that teach owners how to strength- services, such as extra police and public works staffing, en their operations before construction starts and how to and many local businesses donate items or even services prepare for slower business during those months. The more to help your promotions succeed and to reduce costs. advance notice you can provide, the smoother it will go. Half of the battle in mitigating the impact on busi- Dealing with Prickly Issues nesses is communication; both patrons and merchants should know what to expect, and when to expect it, Promotion can present opportunities to address block by block. Your organization can be an excellent thorny issues in positive or light-hearted ways. Ex- liaison to keep open the lines of communication between PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 209 PROMOTION

211 the public and private sectors. Construction firms must give business owners advanced notice of when their side- walks will be closed and their entrances blocked so they can make arrangements to provide alternate entrances. Some Main Street programs like Lee’s Summit and Downtown Washington in Missouri created websites specifically to give the public frequent updates and even webcam glimpses of the project’s progress. Barracks Row Main Street in Washington, D.C., hosted bi-monthly “Construction Coffee Update” meetings with local business owners and city officials to provide updates and answer questions. Barracks Row also submitted articles to local newspapers about the progress being made block by block and distributed quarterly updates on the construction to stakeholders. Construction websites and blogs, the Main Street website, print and electronic newsletters, public meetings, and newspaper articles should not only provide updates, but should also inform the public that the Main Street organization is the hub for construction-related informa- tion. Use these communication channels to show how the project is being funded; display the final plans, sketches © Jane Seebold and timelines; explain where to get more information; discuss how many phases will be needed to complete Events can show the public that Main Street is still open despite construction. the project; and provide other important information. The other half of the battle is keeping the commercial district open for business during construction. Your de- walks, and open businesses, and stress the fact that the sign committee can produce community is being transformed for the better. Main Street temporary signs to direct Richmond-Wayne County, Inc., in Indiana, created several pedestrians to open sidewalks slogans like “Business Improvement Zone” and “We are and businesses and work turning upside down for you” to complement images of with the construction project buoyant Main Street volunteers wearing hardhats and manager to make sure tempo- bouncing with enthusiasm over the project. Many Main rary traffic signs clearly direct Street organizations create “Buy a Brick” fund-raising drivers to available parking promotions to encourage enthusiasm and involve stake- and open businesses. The holders in the project. committee can also create Promotions play a huge role in both setting the tone street signs that include items and reminding customers that businesses are open. Promo- like your logo, a construc- tions ranging from sales to contests attract people to Main tion image campaign tagline, Street despite the dust. If your district has a weekly event, “after” renderings, a con- such as a farmers market, try to keep it operating, even if struction update website you need to find another downtown location and coordi- address, and a list of the nate parking for it. Getting people to continue patronizing businesses on each block the area is essential. during the construction. Special events that make people want to be a part of - The Main Street or the chaos, rather than avoid it, should be planned through- ganization also needs to play a strong role in setting an out the streetscape project. Barracks Row scheduled pro- optimistic tone for the improvements. Promoting the motions ranging from retail events such as a Halloween important benefits that the construction will bring to the Trick-or-Treat in district shops to a neighborhood clean-up businesses and the community’s quality of life will help day attended by the mayor who helped plant cherry trees. build public support. Construction image campaigns Discounts provide an obvious incentive for customers can also shape the public’s perception about what the to wrestle with the inconvenience, but relying on dis- changes will mean to them and remind people that busi- count sales aren’t necessarily good for the bottom line. nesses are still open. Use special flyers, posters, and ad- Another approach is to turn the inconvenience on vertisements to send the message that the construction its head, in a survival-against-the-odds way. Mainstreet may be inconvenient but the end result will be worth it. Steamboat Springs (Colorado) hosted a construction kick- Counter any negative publicity, such as speculations off party with music, food, and downtown activities to that the district will be impassable or that businesses will be celebrate the start of its 10-block project. Before the event, closed, with the facts and give the situation a positive spin. it hosted a hard-hat decorating contest as a fund raiser for Reiterate that there is still plenty of parking, intact side- the Steamboat Art Museum. The entry fee was $10. The PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 210 PROMOTION

212 Parking Doesn’t Have to be a Prickly Issue! When people complain about parking, it may be because there’s a parking shortage. But it may equally be because they don’t like having to feed a parking meter or because they believe enforcement is too stringent. Main Street communities have handled these complaints in creative and lighthearted ways. • Rocky Mount, Virginia, issues “courtesy” parking tickets (pictured right). • Ellensburg Downtown As- sociation in Washington Mainstreet Steamboat Springs hosted a streetscape con- places envelopes on the struction kick-off party, complete with decorated hard hats. cars of downtown business employees who park in the all-day parking lot. The en- hats were donated by three of the participating construc- velope contains a thank- tion companies and displayed at the museum for two you letter acknowledging weeks before the event so people could judge the best ones. that the “parker” is doing Another art-related event invited people to paint 4-x-8-foot his or her part by leaving sheets of plywood that were attached to the pedestrian tun- two-hour parking spaces nels next to the construction site. Both the wood and the for customers as well as a paint were donated by a construction company and a local few coupons from down- paint company. As part of the image campaign, lamppost town merchants. banners featuring the slogan “Downtown Renaissance... When Main Street Rogers in Arkansas learned that • We’re Diggin’ It” were hung to remind people that Steam- employees parking in prime customer spaces was boat Springs is becoming an arts and entertainment district. one of the primary reasons for its parking problem, During the first phase of a four-phase streetscape it started a positive reinforcement program that re- project kicked off by Main Street Ripley in West Virginia, wards employees for parking in designated areas. the promotion committee launched its “Diggin’ For The parking committee established employee-desig- Dollars” campaign. Main Street Ripley gave each retail nated spots in non-prime parking areas throughout establishment on Court Street a bucket of sand. Using $400 the downtown. Using money raised by Main Street from its budget, the committee made $1, $5, and $10 Rogers, a local neighborhood group, and downtown coupons to bury in the buckets. After making a purchase, businesses, the program began to hold a monthly customers were invited to dig for a treasure. The whole drawing. If the employee has parked in a designated retail community jumped on board to show their support spot on the day of the drawing, he or she is awarded for the Court Street merchants. Businesses throughout $50 or $150 in December. downtown added coupons to the buckets of neighboring • Ardmore, Oklahoma, launched a Practically Perfect businesses, adding a cross-marketing aspect to the retail Parking Program that playfully promotes employees promotion. The executive director noted that merchants parking in non-prime spaces. It featured a monthly reported an increase in their sales during construction parking poem and article in its newsletter, as well as because they kept filling up the buckets. a drawing for registered downtown employees for Regardless of which types of events or image campaign gifts donated by local merchants. projects you plan, include funding for each project in your annual budget. To encourage people to shop downtown, MainStreet • Port Huron in Michigan worked with the city to glue parking tokens, which are good for two hours, into Conclusion its newsletter. During the holiday shopping season, the group sells rolls of tokens for the discounted Although your promotion committee volunteers may enjoy price of two for the price of one. working on projects, producing festivals and other special © Andrea L. Dono events, developing image-building initiatives, and business promotions are about more than having fun—they must be strategic elements of your comprehensive Main Street approach. Your promotional activities have the power to change the minds and habits of visitors and customers and make them think of your district as the place to do busi- ness or seek entertainment. Keep your Main Street position statement and target audience in mind and develop your promotion work plans to meet your organization’s goals. PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 211 PROMOTION

213 RESOURCES Website Books Downtown Idea Exchange, Downtown Promo- Marketing an Image (National Trust Main Street These monthly newsletters pro- tion Reporter: Center, 2004). Learn how to identify and lever- vide the details behind organizing, funding, age your community’s assets; develop a graphical and producing various events and promotions. look for your district and organization; and develop exciting promotions. Articles Main Street Committee Handbook: Promotion (National Main Street Center, 1996). This handbook, “Becoming West Edge: Branding Gives a Nameless developed specifically for your promotion commit- Neighborhood an Identity,” by Kyle Vixie , Main Street tee members, explains roles and responsibilities and , September 2005. This branding process looks News typical tasks and work plan projects. at the power of getting community support. , by Priscilla Sal- How to Conduct Your Own Survey “Building the Buzz: Pittsburgh’s Design Zone Grabs ant and Don A. Dillman (Wiley, 1994). Discusses a Marketing Niche and Runs with it,” by Andrea how to choose the best survey tool to meet your , January 2005. Local L. Dono, Main Street News needs as well as how to develop the survey and stakeholders led a grassroots effort to build the compile results. community’s brand through business recruitment and promotions. Farm-fresh Ideas for Producers, Managers & Communities, by Vance Corum, Marcie Rosenzweig, Main Street News, “Focus Groups,” by Josh Bloom, Eric Gibson (New World Publishing, 2005). From re- March 2006. Survey customers in depth through cord keeping and product selection to insurance and focus groups. special events—this book teaches you how to run a farmers market. , April Main Street News “Surveys,” by Josh Bloom, 2005. Learn how to develop effective surveys. How to Be Successful in Sponsorship Sales , by Sylvia Allen and C. Scott Amann (Allen Consulting, “From Planning to Promotion: Surviving 1998). Explains how to tap local, regional, and nation- Main Streetscape Construction,” by Bill McLeod, al sponsors and discusses levels of sponsorships. , January 2007. Barracks Row shares Street News its strategy and lessons learned from mitigating What Mother Never Told You About Retail: A Small construction disruptions. , by T.J. Reid (2003). The author Store Survival Guide has survived the ups and downs of running a small “How Special Events Benefit Local Businesses,” by fashion boutique and shares her strategy for success Main Street News Luke VanBelleghem, , June 2007. for small business owners to build excitement and at- Learn about ways Main Street programs are making tract a customer base. events more beneficial to retailers as well as ways they measure the economic impact of events. “Strengthening the Commercial District: 10 Tips for Terrific Retail Promotions,” by Sheri Stuart, Main Street News , December 2002. Provides tips and Main Street promotion examples for improving your retail activities and adding new events to your work plan. Image, far right © Lucas Adams PROMOTION: BUILDING EXCITEMENT 212 PROMOTION

214 PROMOTION chapter 22 HERITAGE TOURISM: Capitalizing on Not Being AnyPlace, USA By Amy Jordan Webb Tourism is big business. According to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), in 2005, domestic travel- ers in the United States spent more than $650 billion, generating approximately 8 million jobs, $171.4 billion in payroll income, and $104.9 billion in tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments. In addition to new jobs, new businesses, and higher property values, well-managed tourism improves the quality of life and builds community pride. This is par - ticularly true for the heritage segment of the tourism market. The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past. Heritage tourism includes historic, cultural, and natural resources.” Heritage travel- ers can include daytrippers, event-goers who journey 50 miles or more from their homes, and overnight travelers. As the economic impact of tourism increases dramatically when visitors spend the night, successful destinations try to build an overnight tourism market. Heritage tourism is an economic development tool that can be used by Main Street com- munities, heritage regions, scenic byways, heritage areas, states, and cities. It provides an op- portunity to stimulate the local economy while helping to build community pride, preserve irreplaceable historic and cultural assets, and improve the quality of life for visitors and resi- dents alike. While heritage tourism itself is nothing new, changes in American travel habits are opening up new opportunities for some communities to cash in on the benefits of this type of travel. The “Great American Time Squeeze,” created by an increasing number of dual-income families, increasing work hours, and decreasing vacation time, is changing vacation habits. 213

215 tage tourism. According to a 1998 report on the Boomer Trends in Heritage Tourism travel market by the National Tour Association: “Because Boomers are more experienced travelers, they will expect Americans are taking shorter, more frequent trips and more weekend excursions to destinations closer to home. For more from their experiences; and terms such as cultural tourism, heritage tourism, sports tourism, active tourism, smaller, historic communities located within driving adventure travel, and ecotourism will be commonly used distance of a major metropolitan area, this can mean new within the next decade.” Indeed, over the past 10 years, opportunities for heritage tourism. this prediction has become a reality. Boomers currently Hectic lifestyles have boosted demand for packages and generate more travel than any other age group, and gener itineraries that lessen the time required for trip planning. - ally speaking, they fit the profile of heritage travelers. Travelers are also increasingly turning to the Internet both Heritage travelers show a growing interest in experienc- - to get travel information and to book travel (especially air fare and lodging). More than half (55 percent) of heritage ing diverse aspects of America’s history. As noted historian travelers plan their trips a month or less before traveling, David McCullough wrote, “For a long time the spotlight has and the Internet offers immediate access to travel informa- been on only a relatively few people—white, male descen- tion.With shorter planning time, the use of the Internet for dants of Western Europeans. Now the lights on the stage marketing is becoming more important. As busy lifestyles are coming up, revealing for the first time all of the others who have been on the stage all the time.” Telling the story limit the amount of time travelers have to plan trips, visi- tors are leaving many decisions until after they arrive. of everyday life for the different ethnic groups who make As the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) up America offers new opportunities for heritage tourism. grow older and have more discretionary time and money to As national franchises and chains add to the homogeneity of communities across America, heritage travel, they are seeking travel experiences such as heri- CASE STUDY Natchitoches, Louisiana Making Tourism a Community-wide Effort Day. Weekly firework displays, downtown decorations, Tourism is one of the top three industries in Natchitoch- vendors along the river, carriage rides, a tour of homes, es, Louisiana, and the entire town takes it very serious- mini-festivals, and a variety of other events make Natchi- ly. Natchitoches has received many accolades, including toches an exciting and lively destination. being named one of the National Trust’s Dozen Distinc- tive Destinations, winning a Great American Main Street According to Hornsby, various organizations and agencies Award, and being selected as a Preserve America com- work together in partnership to make events a success. munity. Various magazines have named it one of the top No one agency solely produces events—various groups places to retire. The city, the Main Street program, local take turns producing educational lectures and demonstra- businesses, Northwestern State University, the chamber of tions, festivals, and more. If an organization is holding an commerce, the convention and visitor’s bureau, and heri- event, the Main Street program might help with logistical tage and cultural groups work together to make every visi- support, such as handling street closures. Hornsby says tor to Natchitoches feel welcome and leave with an idea of that they want to engage people more than just one day what makes this place special. a week. She says that regardless of whether visitors arrive “Tourism sustains us all year,” says Courtney Hornsby, on a Monday or a Friday, they will get a solid message of the executive director of Natchitoches Main Street. One what Natchitoches is about, from cuisine to Creole culture look at the community’s official website www.natchitoches. to the history that comes with being the first European shows that there is a lot going on here. net settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory. There seems to be something happening every day of the The city employs a full-time beautification director who week and at least one major festival each month celebrates is responsible for making sure that the downtown and its local music, food, crafts, and other elements of local cul- gateway are visually appealing all year round—during the ture—all culminating during the holiday season. The fall, for example, pumpkins and mums are set out in the annual Christmas festival has been a December tradition district. “City leadership sees this as an investment, not an since 1927, but in the 1990s, Natchitoches decided to turn expense,” says Hornsby. “We want people to come back the Festival of Lights into a six-week event that starts and next time to stay longer.” around Thanksgiving and ends a week after New Year’s HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA 214 PROMOTION

216 Common preferences and characteristics show more travelers are seeking to escape “Anyplace, USA,” by going to communities that offer unique attractions and experi- good news for Main Street communities. Heritage trav- ences. Main Street communities throughout America offer elers tend to stay longer and spend more money than this type of one-of-a-kind destination, and thus have great other kinds of tourists, and there is a large and grow- ing number of heritage travelers in America. Heritage potential appeal for heritage travelers. travel increased 13 percent between 1996 and 2002, more than twice the growth of travel overall (5.6 per - Are Heritage Travelers Different? cent). According to a 2003 national study by the Travel Industry Association of America, 81 percent of adult One of the most appealing characteristics of heritage American travelers could be considered “heritage travel- travelers for Main Street communities is that they are ers,” meaning they visited at least one historic or cul- more likely to shop than other travelers. Close to half (44 tural attraction during a trip taken in the past year. percent) of heritage travelers include shopping as part of Heritage travelers take frequent trips, with 25 percent their travel plans. Shopping is the most popular vacation taking three or more trips a year. With a growing inter - activity for U.S. travelers, with 33 percent of all travel- est in more frequent, shorter vacations to places closer 1 A ers including shopping as part of their travel plans. to home, successful destinations must offer a variety of TIA study of travelers who shop indicates that they are changing experiences to bring visitors back. Heritage - looking for stores they do not have at home (73 per travelers tend to stay an average of 5.2 nights compared cent), items they cannot get at home (67 percent), items with 3.4 nights away from home and spend an aver - that represent the destination they are visiting (53 per - age of $623 per trip as opposed to $457 per trip for all cent), and a unique shopping atmosphere (52 percent). other U.S. travelers. They are also more likely to stay in a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast. Heritage trav- 1. Source: Travel Industry Association of America, 2002 elers tend to be older and better educated than other travelers, and they like to take part in many different Image: © Natchitoches Main Street kinds of activities while they are traveling (with visit- The downtown is designed to be walkable and ADA ac- ing state and national parks ranking high on the list). cessible; utilities have been put underground; and new in- vestment in hotels, museums, and the convention center show that hospitality and culture are tightly linked. Opportunities for Main Street Natchitoches received the Preserve America Presiden- tial Award in May 2007, which has brought more atten- Heritage travelers bring outside money into your com- tion to the historic district. The Main Street program munity, and these dollars will have a trickle-down effect and the Cane River National Heritage Area received a that can benefit many different businesses and institu- Preserve America grant of $150,000 to support their tions. The additional spending by heritage travelers Natchitoches-Cane River Region Heritage Tourism plans. might mean that your Main Street community will be They decided to use the funds to implement a down- able to sustain certain businesses or services that resi- town wayfinding and interpretive signage program that dents want, but can’t support on local spending alone. includes kiosks, trailblazer signs, historic markers, site- These might include a fine-dining restaurant, a book- specific signs, a guidebook, and more. This program will store, or perhaps an old-fashioned soda fountain. meet a need to develop highly visible, quality signs to Diversifying your downtown or neighborhood com- bridge the gap from the interstate, which is a four-mile mercial district’s economy by appealing to local as well drive from downtown, and from the plantations “down as out-of-town customers protects your businesses river.” The new system will prevent potential visitors from against fluctuations in the local economy. If your com- getting lost when traveling to Natchitoches as well as help mercial district depends heavily on a major business that them understand the significance of everything that they are seeing. suddenly closes, local customers may have less dispos- able income to spend at Main Street businesses—but The Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District out-of-town customers may not be affected. Conversely, alone has seen more than $47 million in private invest- if the price of gas suddenly spikes and fewer visitors ment and $1 million in public investment for historic pres- drive to your community, you still have a strong base ervation and infrastructure improvements from 1999 to of local customers to keep local businesses thriving. 2007, with almost 80 new business openings during that Tourism can bring both economic as well as quality- period. A vibrant economy means higher sales tax rev - enues, which allow the city to provide more services. of-life benefits to communities. One challenge is ensur - ing that tourism does not destroy the very heritage that Heritage tourism has brought jobs, tax revenues, and attracts visitors in the first place. Furthermore, tourism stewards of local culture to Natchitoches. It has also en- is a competitive, sophisticated, fast-changing industry hanced everyday life for local residents. Many events are that presents its own challenges. It is generally a clean free, and a lot of programming is designed to appeal to industry—no smokestacks or dangerous chemicals— local residents, not just travelers. This makes access to the but it can put demands on the infrastructure of a com- community’s heritage resources easier as well as promot- munity, including roads, airport, and water supplies, as ing a better understanding of what people have in their own backyards. well as public services like police and fire protection. HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA 215 PROMOTION

217 commercial district. The city considers a business with more Events are a great way to turn your Main Street com- munity into a heritage tourism destination. The Holiday than 15 locations a formula business. The zoning ordinance prohibits more than 10 fast-food establishments in the Lighting Festival, held annually in Denton, Texas, on the commercial district, and new formula eateries must obtain a Thursday after Thanksgiving, attracts more than 8,000 special use permit, may not locate on a corner, and must people from the community and surrounding area. A true partnership, the Denton Holiday Festival Associa- meet design standards. Often when communities adopt these ordinances, design tion works with volunteers from Denton Main Street, requirements alone can be strong deterrents to national busi- Denton County Historical Commission, Denton Con- nesses that feel their brand relies on looking and operating vention and Visitors Bureau, local businesses, the city, - like their other locations. and Denton County museums to bring musical perfor In addition to having historic and cultural assets, suc- mances to the county courthouse’s lawn and interior cessful, sustainable heritage tourism programs also require spaces and to plan special events that take place inside both human and financial resources to develop and maintain the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum. Area business programs. Because heritage tourism brings together many owners decorate their storefronts and compete for the Best Hot Apple Cider in the Wassail Fest. A shuttle pro- diverse partners, strong leadership is a critical ingredient. Similarly, it can be a challenge for a small Main vides transportation to the Bayless-Selby House Museum Street community to launch a comprehensive heritage located off the square. The festival began in 1981 as the tourism program on its own. Especially in rural areas, Victorian Celebration—an event that attracted a few hundred onlookers and focused on decorating the court- a regional approach is vital both to provide a critical house for the holidays. Today, the festival includes events mass of things to see and do within an area and to pool throughout the weekend for an ever-growing audience. resources for tourism marketing efforts, which can be costly. Main Street communities can either join forces with an existing regional effort such as a heritage area Can Your Main Street be a Heritage Destination? or scenic byway; or if no regional entity exists, they can reach out to other heritage communities and attrac- Not every community can have a successful heritage tions to create a new regional heritage tourism effort. tourism program. Your district needs to have retained Location is also a consideration. A key ques- many of its historic buildings, as well as the cultural tion is whether the destination is worth the drive. In traditions that shaped the community. Once irreplace- other words, how far off the beaten track is your Main able historic resources have been lost, there is no way Street community? The farther travelers have to go out to get them back. Viewing a parking lot with a sign of their way to visit your community, the more com- that states “On this site once stood...” is less compel- pelling your heritage attractions need to be. ling than visiting a preserved historic building. The heritage tourism assets in your Main Street com- Developing a Successful Heritage Tourism Strategy munity also include local businesses. Coronado, California, for example, passed a Formula Business Ordinance to The National Trust for Historic Preservation first became regulate the number, location, and operation of formula involved in heritage tourism development in 1989 through businesses, including fast-food restaurants, to maintain the an intensive three-year heritage tourism initiative. This city’s unique village character and the vitality of the Helena, Arkansas CASE STUDY Putting Your Community on the Map A small festival that celebrates local heritage can really take off if produced well. Arkansas’s King Biscuit Blues Festival, renamed the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, began in 1986 as a one-day musical tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson who founded “King Biscuit Time,” a live Blues radio program. The event began when a local group of Blues fans teamed up with the Main Street program in Helena, a town 70 miles southwest of Mem- phis, to produce a festival that celebrates the community’s heritage and brought festival-goers downtown to discover its unique local goods and services. Today, this annual event spans an entire weekend in October and attracts more than 100,000 people from as far away as Japan. The festival brings more business to merchants in Helena than the Christmas holiday season and has helped promote the com- munity as a major tourist destination in Arkansas. Image: © Alex Drew McGee 216 HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA PROMOTION

218 Awards and Recognition Seeking awards and designations for your Main Street community is a good way to demonstrate the quality and authenticity of the experience your town has to offer—and confirms that you are do- ing it well. Several Main Street communities, including Silver City, - New Mexico; Guthrie, Oklahoma; Prescott, Arizona; and Goliad, Tex as, have made True West Magazine’s list of Top Ten True Western Towns of the Year. The magazine gives this recognition to towns that have made an important contribution to preserving their heri- tage and cites historic preservation and heritage festivals as part of the reason why they earned this award. Make good use of human and pilot initiative worked with 16 regions in four states and Plan and organize. 2. resulted in the creation of five guiding principles and four financial resources. Set priorities and measurable goals. basic steps for developing or expanding existing heritage tourism programs. These principles and steps have stood Prepare, protect, and manage. 3. the test of time and continue to serve as the hallmark Look to the future. for successful, sustainable heritage tourism programs. Be sure that the choices you make now will improve your community for the long term. Five Principles for Successful and Sustainable 4. Develop a multi-year, multi- Market for success. Heritage Tourism tiered marketing plan that targets your market. Look for local, regional, state, or national partners. Collaborate. Heritage tourism requires effective 1. partnerships. Much more can be accomplished by working with others than by working alone. Potential Heritage Tourism Partners Find the fit between the community and tourism. 2. Collaboration is the first guiding principle for successful Heritage tourism should make a community a better heritage tourism efforts for a good reason. Heritage a better place to visit. Respect the place to live and tourism brings together a diverse array of interests, community’s capacity so everyone benefits. including preservation, tourism, the arts, museums, historical societies, and economic development. Get in 3. Make sites and programs come alive. Look for ways touch with representatives from each of these areas and to make visitor experiences exciting, engaging, and ask them to be part of this effort. interactive. If your community is part of an existing heritage tourism region such as a heritage area or scenic byway, 4. Focus on quality and authenticity. Today’s heritage there may already be a larger partnership entity with traveler is more sophisticated and will expect a high- which your Main Street program can work. If this is not quality and authentic experience. the case and you decide to create a new regional heritage tourism entity, take a look at the tourism or economic 5. Preserve and protect irreplaceable resources. Many development regions in which you are located. Con- of your community’s cultural, historic, and natural sider these regional assets and attractions to see if there resources cannot be replaced if they are lost. Take is a logical way to create a region based on geographic good care of them. features or thematic connections. One of the challenges in creating a new regional effort is that political and Four Steps For Heritage Tourism Development funding mechanisms are often set up to function at the community, county, or state level. Travelers, on the other The following four steps for heritage tourism development hand, are much more interested in thematic or geographic outlined can help you start a new program or take an connections than they are in county or state lines. existing program to the next level. As new attractions and Local business owners can be great at collaborating on visitor services are developed, and as destinations expand tourism promotion ideas. For example, the manager of a their marketing reach, these steps are repeated at each recreation park on the lake near downtown in Gilmer, phase of development: Texas, approached the nearby Main Street program to develop a brochure highlighting local attractions and Evaluate what your community 1. Assess the potential. businesses. Several partners came together to create has to offer in the following areas: attractions, visitor full-color maps of the downtown with a business direc- services, organizational capabilities, ability to protect tory, a calendar of events, and recreational information. resources, and marketing. 217 HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA PROMOTION

219 If your Main Street community answers to these questions, heritage tourism YES may be right for you: 1. Are your local businesses looking for new ways to increase sales revenues? 2. Does your community offer unique historic or cultural attractions? 3. Do you have an interesting variety of restaurants to appeal to travelers? 4. Is your community an enjoyable place to spend a day or weekend? 5. Is your community part of a regional heritage area or scenic byway? Can you meet the basic needs of visitors for an 6. information center and/or public restrooms? Are there organizations in your community or 7. region that can help coordinate a heritage tourism effort? 8. Is your community within a few hours drive of a major urban center? The maps, which cross-promote heritage tourism and irreplaceable architecture, the Main Street community has eco-tourism, were distributed to visitor centers and to trade leveraged its sense of place and authenticity to create a show venues. vibrant downtown. Many states have individuals in state tourism, preserva- tion, arts, or humanities organizations that can help you develop a heritage tourism program. For a current list of Ways to Measure the Impact of Heritage Tourism heritage tourism contacts in your state, look in the “Re- sources” section of Successful heritage tourism programs bring both quantita- Since 2000, artists have been opening studios and show- tive and qualitative benefits to Main Street communities. rooms in three small Missouri communities that stretch Measuring the impact of heritage tourism, like the eco- along 50 miles of the Mississippi River. Highway 79—a nomic impact of tourism in general, is challenging because National Scenic Byway—physically connects Clarksville, tourism expenditures affect many different sectors of the Hannibal, and Louisiana, which also share a connection local economy. While 100 percent of lodging expenditures through The Provenance Project—an organization dedicat- might clearly be attributed to tourism, tourist spend- ed to using arts and artists to spur economic development, ing also includes a portion of retail and restaurant sales, which, in turn, will spur heritage tourism. The group began and expenditures in other sectors of the local economy. placing ads in national trade journals to entice artisans to One effective way to differentiate between local and relocate to these picturesque communities. Tourists pour out-of-town spending is to encourage merchants to track into the area for a semi-annual gallery tour called 50 Miles zip codes. This information can also provide valuable of Art where they can watch artists work, buy their pieces, marketing insights about where customers originate. and enjoy various recreational and historic attractions. Surveys can also help you learn more about your tour- Clarksville, a town with a population of 500, develop- ism market. Asking visitors about expenditures is one way ed a strong artisans niche and an antiques cluster. When to measure the economic impact of tourism. Some com- the program started in 1989, the downtown vacancy rate munities have worked with local colleges or universities to was 89 percent; by 2006, it had dropped to 15 percent. conduct an economic impact survey, often for an annual “Authenticity in appearance and retail establishments event. Surveys can also measure customer satisfaction. By that create and sell distinctive items that [aren’t] available repeating exit surveys over time, Main Street communities in other communities are what have made Clarksville can see if customer satisfaction is increasing or decreasing. unique,” says Ralph Huesing, executive director of Historic When possible, work with research professionals to Clarksville, Inc. develop surveys and keep in mind that the way in which By focusing on recruiting businesses that offer items surveys are distributed and collected can affect the people can’t find anywhere else and preserving its accuracy of the findings. HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA 218 PROMOTION

220 How to Involve Local Businesses Cultivating hospitality skills among local mer- • chants to respond to the needs of travelers, from Local Main Street businesses can help support a heritage offering shipping services for larger items to tourism effort in a number of ways, including: cross-marketing businesses to keep travelers in the community longer; • Encouraging local businesses to diversify their mer- chandise or services to appeal to both local and out- • Recruiting new businesses that appeal to heritage of-town customers; tourism travelers as well as local customers; and • Creating packages that include lodging, dining, at- Having local businesses collect zip codes from • tractions, and shopping to appeal to the heritage customers to track expenditures by out-of-town travel market; customers. Businesses can be a great draw for your community. The arts council of Somerville, Massachusetts, for example, uses the arts as an economic development strategy. To encourage exploration of the Union Square Main Street district, the council produced an ethnic markets bro- chure and began offering free, guided tours of the mar- kets. The brochure introduces new customers to cuisine and products that come from nations ranging from Bra- zil to India. The tours offer customers an opportunity to meet the market’s shop owners, sample food, and learn more about various cultures and cuisine—a comprehen- sive experience! Courtesy of Somerville Arts Council Conclusion - As more places recognize the potential of heritage tour ism and work to enhance their heritage tourism assets, it Heritage tourism is not a panacea nor is it a “quick fix” to - will be increasingly important for communities to differ revitalize a community. Heritage tourism is not the right entiate themselves from other emerging heritage destina- answer for every town nor should it be seen as the sole tions. While there is a growing market for heritage tourism salvation for any community. Heritage tourism is not about destinations that have developed interactive and authentic creating a “Disneyland” experience. It is about taking the experiences that appeal to today’s more educated traveler, real places and real people in your town and finding ways there is at the same time increasing competition for these to share them with visitors. It is about finding a preserva- sought-after travelers. By learning from others who have tion-sensitive way to diversify a local economy and retain a successfully developed heritage tourism attractions, you can sense of place. avoid pitfalls and maximize your heritage tourism potential. Make Sites Come Alive Technology helps make sites come alive. The West Virginia Business Site Lo- cator for Heritage Tourism, for example, matches tourism businesses seeking to locate in culturally rich heritage areas with appropriate properties in West Virginia Main Street communities. The website, www.wvtourismbusinesssites. org, is a collaboration of the West Virginia Development Office, Main Street West Virginia, and the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. Off the Road New Mexico is another example of the power of the Internet. Shannon Papin of the New Mexico MainStreet program and Tricia Ware of the New Mexico Economic Development Department took an eight-week road trip (funded by their employers and the McCune Charitable Foundation) to visit 20 New Mexico MainStreet communities and report on their shopping and dining adventures. A website ( was created to chart their shopping experiences and food-oriented explorations at locally owned, one-of-a-kind businesses in historic downtowns throughout New Mexico. The accounts offer a brief background on the area, travel directions, and descriptions of several local eateries and shops. Courtesy of HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA 219 PROMOTION

221 RESOURCES Websites Books Destination Marketing Association International: These publications are available from the National Trust This marketing professionals organization provides for Historic Preservation ( ): publications and online resources that can help you market your Main Street community as a destination. Touring Historic Places, by Priscilla Baker (National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995). A 16-page guide for group tour operators and managers of historic The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s sites to develop, market, and host group heritage The Heritage Tourism Heritage Tourism Program: tours. Program has created an online clearinghouse of how-to information about the development, (National Preserving Our Past: Building Our Future marketing, and management of cultural and heritage Trust for Historic Preservation, 1999). An eight-minute tourism programs. Its website includes more in- video describing the economic impact of heritage depth information on the five principles and four tourism and other benefits that heritage tourism can steps introduced in this chapter, along with success provide. stories, resource directories, research, and more. Share Your Heritage: Heritage Tourism Success Stories (National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Institute for Local Self- The New Rules Project: 2001). An 80-page, four-color publication featuring Reliance’s New Rules Project offers news, resources, heritage tourism success stories from across the and buy-local campaign information as well as sample nation. Stories were selected by a national committee ordinances and other tools your community can use including representatives from historic preservation, to promote unique businesses that reflect local flavor. museums, the arts, and the humanities. Stories Across America: Opportunities in Rural Travel Industry Association: This travel trade Tourism (National Trust for Historic Preservation, association provides updated tourism statistics, 2001). A companion 44-page publication of rural trends, and tourism topics. tourism success stories. Article “Using the Internet to Promote Heritage Tourism,” Main Street News, October by Patrick W. Andrus, 2000. Describes the National Register travel itinerary website and explains features of a helpful online travel itinerary. Images from left: © Timothy Bishop; © Lees Dawson; © Leon Steele. 220 HERITAGE TOURISM: CAPITALIZING ON NOT BEING ANYPLACE, USA PROMOTION





226 A practitioner’s guide to comprehensive commercial district revitalization REVITALIZING MAIN STREET Main Streets are not just collections of old buildings, but the hearts of communities, distinct places, and the roots of our nation. Ignored, abandoned, and otherwise unprotected, they disappear. And with that, so do the souls of communities—and people. In an age of indistinguishable strip centers and homogenous culture, our Main Street districts are more important and compelling than ever. A comprehensive, multifaceted strategy—the Main Street Four-Point ® Approach —offers a blueprint for bringing community centers back to life. The Main Street Approach applies a historic preservation-based economic development strategy to powerful grassroots organization, which yields impressive results in communities of all sizes and in all places. Revitalizing Main Street provides a foundation for understanding the many facets of commercial district revitalization. From business assistance to zoning, contributing writers selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which created the Main Street Four-Point Approach, explain fundamental concepts as well as offer inspiring success stories that show Main Street revitalization in action. revitalizing MAIN STREET organization promotion design economic restructuring A practitioner’s guide to National Trust for Historic Preservation © 2009 comprehensive commercial 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 ISBN: 978-0-89133-604-4 district revitalization

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