Town hall meetings provide an outlet for comments and concerns as they relate to city changes. There were a host of reasons why people participate in these meetings that runs the spectrum from complaints to complements. The May 4th, 2017 Escanaba Town Hall meeting delved into the issues of cars, polling and searching for a new City Manager. A few events were passed that will help encourage greater patronage of the downtown area.
Cat-Man-Do's Fundraisers: The 100 Block of South 15th will be closed from 5:30 to 8:30 on June (2nd, 14th, 29th), July (12th), August (9th, 12th), and September (13th) for fundraising events. Proceeds will go to Wheel a Sportsman to support disabled and hunting opportunities.
Bike and Classic Cars Night: The 1200 Block of Ludington Street will be closed from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM on June 14th, July 12, August 9th, and September 13th for "Bike and Classic Car Night".
Downtown Sidewalk Sale: Ludington Street will be close July 29th, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The event will coexist with Cabella's Fishing Tournament and Disc Golf Tournament.
Downtown revitalization efforts can take many forms that include fixing up old buildings, encouraging entrepreneurs to come and start businesses as well as developing greater nightlight and activity. According to an article in Planning Perspectives, the use of pedestrian malls, festivals, shopping centers and mixed used buildings have an impact of downtown revitalization efforts (Robertson, 1997).
It was a wise choice of city council to allow the closing of the streets to encourage new events. It will not only draw in local residents to the downtown but also new visiting residents from the region. The wisdom is that as more people visit downtown and find it a fun and exciting place to be the more they will shop, eat, and lounge in the area.
Ultimately more retail may be the winning centerpiece of success but so are attractive housing, bars, restaurants; and in this case events. People need a reason to come downtown to walk around and explore the businesses. More events often means more foot traffic which in turn could mean more profit. As any basic economist knows, more profit means more taxes and wealth for the city. Stay tuned for additional benefits in downtown growth.
You may want to read the agenda at http://www.escanaba.org/images/5/file/Council%20Agenda/2017-Agenda/CC05042017Agenda.pdf
Robertson, K. (1997). Downtown retail revitalization: a review of American development strategies. Planning Perspectives, 12 (4).