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ADHDA to launch next phase of “Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown”
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ADHDA to launch next phase of “Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown”

This spring, regionally-renowned urban strategist Michele Reeves of Civilis Consultants gave a fast-paced downtown revitalization presentation in Astoria’s Bankers Ballroom to a packed audience comprised of downtown Astoria business and property owners and other interested citizens. While “Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown” was largely sponsor-funded, the mid-May event was put on by the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association in response to a concern about a growing number of storefront vacancies downtown.

On Nov. 14, the ADHDA will bring Reeves back for the kick-off of phase two of the Building Blocks program, which is a comprehensive, multi-month downtown assessment and identity process. In addition to community interviews and research, Reeves and Oregon Main Street coordinator Sheri Stuart will provide practical, hands on courses created for property and business owners, and any stakeholders who wish to see enhancements to downtown Astoria.

“People who attended the May 16 forum were very enthused about her energy and approach to downtown revitalization, so ADHDA wanted to find a way to keep up the momentum,” said Dulcye Taylor, ADHDA president.

Taylor said that positive “buzz” from the event brought offers of funding support for Reeves’ more comprehensive program. The City of Astoria, Astoria Sunday Market, and Pacific Power all stepped forward in response to the ADHDA request for program funding. Collectively, with the addition of the ADHDA’s contribution, those entities have committed the funds required for phase two of the Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown program.

Stuart will play an important role throughout the Building Blocks program, working to help the downtown association strengthen its capacity to implement program recommendations, and participating with Reeves in presentations and community interviews. Stuart has 20 years of downtown programs and management experience. The ADHDA is enrolled in the Main Street program.

At the Nov. 14 kick-off event, which is open to the Astoria public, Reeves and Stuart will provide a hands-on, market-based crash course on revitalization specifically tailored to Astoria. Attendees to this event will learn more about the other components of the Building Blocks program, the Main Street Approach, why downtowns matter, what demographic trends will be impacting cities and towns in the future, and the stages districts go through as they achieve economic success.

In addition to the Nov. 14 kick-off meeting, the Main Street capacity-building work, interviews and research, the Building Blocks program will include additional stakeholder interviews and other inputting opportunities.

A February workshop will be held to assist Astorians build an identity-framework for downtown, and help participants understand how to use the results of this work as the basis for more effective and cohesive marketing, event planning, media relations, branding, and land-use policy.

In March or April, Reeves and Stuart will be presenting their research and interview findings in a public forum, and offer recommendations for creating more economic success in downtown Astoria.  

“The goal will be to identify short-term goals and concrete next steps, with a clear roadmap of what you can be doing tomorrow, next month, and next year to boost vitality,” Reeves said.

The Wednesday, Nov. 14 kick-off meeting will be held at the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Kern Room, located at 1792 Marine Drive, Astoria. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event begins promptly at 5:45 p.m. For more information contact Rebecca Frick, downtown coordinator by calling (503) 791-7940 or email manager@downtownastoria.com.





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