Archive for Thursday, June 25, 2009

Downtown improvements vital to district’s success

June 25, 2009

Most Eudora residents are probably disappointed with news of empty storefronts in downtown Eudora. That wasn’t what was expected with the investment last year of $1.4 million in street and sidewalk improvements in the downtown district.

A few things should be remembered. We are in a severe recession that challenges most businesses, and that the businesses in the district dealt with additional stress during the prolonged and disrupting construction on the street.

But is worth noting that only two of the closures in the district since the completion of the downtown project was because of a lack of business. One business closed its doors, in fact, because the owners found the business was successful and more space was needed to continue to grow.

But clearly, the improvements weren’t the entire solution to the district’s revival. We remain convinced the improvements are, however, part of the solution.

Downtown is never again going to be the economic focus of the community as a it was century ago. But it does offer an ambience unlike another public space in the community. It promotes direct personal interaction in a way strip developments never can, in part because it encourages pedestrian traffic. It also reminds us the community is unique and has a history beyond the past two decades.

The challenge is to capitalize on those advantages and convince some storefront owners to follow the city’s lead and invest in the district.


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