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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'Downtown Development Goals' Announced

This morning (Tuesday), the city of Huntsville along with the non-profit development corporation Big Spring Partners, the UAH Jazz Ensemble and "Tallulah Bankhead," held a media event to announce their goals for raising awareness and developing the city center. This comes a year after 200 leaders and developers made an "ideas trip" to Chattanooga.

While no specific projects were announced at this event, some rather vague goals were laid out:
  • Create a long-term plan for downtown. I thought that was what the Downtown Master Plan, last updated in 2006, was for. However, I would like to see more public involvement the next time it's updated.
  • Compile a list of restaurants, retail, companies, etc. that would work downtown, and bring them there. Not a bad idea, though I would take it a step further-- identify undeveloped and underutilized lots (surface parking, non-historic buildings) and see how each one can be redeveloped to fit with the broader scope of downtown.
  • Build a consensus among the community on downtown growth. See "long-term plan."
  • Create a long-term funding strategy for improvements. What has made Chattanooga's downtown so great? A community that supported it not only with their feet, but with their money. Many of the improvements to their downtown have been funded through private sources. Huntsville is beginning to see this with the work of Jim Hudson and the late Mark Smith (through his wife, Linda).
  • Get people downtown! It's pretty self-explanatory, but it's rather hard to do in reality. It's the old "chicken or the egg" question-- what should come first: the residents or the businesses?
All of this would be great, but we have a whole lot of catching up to do; we're at least twenty years behind most cities in terms of downtown redevelopment.

Also of note-- several representatives from Sci-Quest were in attendance. While their intent on moving the science museum downtown is no secret, this could mean that the move could occur sooner than later.


Anonymous said...

Forget Chattanooga. If downtown was as popular as Providence then everybody would be thrilled. So what "carrot" is Providence using to get those restaurants? What ability to bring business downtown does the city really have? I think giving a temporary tax-break to property owners when they open new retail or restaurants. We have to be willing to lose out on some tax revenue now to gain more later.

Anonymous said...

Big Spring park is beautiful but there is too many ducksgeese creating too much poop. Very unsanitary and unwelcoming to public use. Went ther today, on a lovely Sunday afternoon. No one was using this beautiful park area and soon we left because there is nothing there. Get rid of alot of the ducks and limit the population of ducks living there and get some shops and cafe's in the area. Have something to DO in downtown Huntsville.

Anonymous said...

Everything about Huntsville is exceptional--except our downtown area. Lookng at in pictures, its just unattractive. I believe we have the ammenities that we want as far as entertainment--it's just not where we want it (downtown). We need the "downtown development group" to lure tenants downtown. They have create a plan(3d model) as to what downtown will look like with retail store fronts i.e., a mix of clothes, shoes, restaurants and recreational spaces. Designate an area where we could imagine these spaces being and then look for business owners capable of filling these needs. I would love to see a crowded downtown Huntsville, but 10years from now I will have probably moved on. I would love to see skyscrapers, but for the sake of infill--I would settle for quiet a few mid-rises. Please go after those developers that are wanting to build things like Providence and Bridgestreet and get it put downtown. Please.