How Downtown Revitalization Efforts Help Cities Grow and Thrive

If you’ve talked over coffee at a local cafe recently, or sat in on a Hempstead town meeting, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard talk of downtown revitalization efforts. We’re taking our first steps toward making Downtown Hempstead a prettier place — and one more friendly to businesses and people alike. And this undertaking? It’s pretty exciting stuff.

Studies show that a thriving downtown can have a very real and substantial impact on community growth. Here are just a few ways a healthy town center makes a difference, and why Hempstead is so eager to get rolling on downtown revitalization efforts.  

Downtown Revitalization Helps Grow the Economy
The International Downtown Association notes that, while the average thriving downtown region takes up about 3% of a city’s land, it brings in 17% of a city’s property tax revenue, 12% of sales tax revenue and a whopping 43% of hotel tax revenue. Put simply, these areas where events take place (and where folks want to be) serve as economic hotspots. We’ve got some great businesses downtown already, but just imagine the possibilities if we filled up a few more buildings, created a few more places for folks to rest their feet and added even more options for the fantastic people of Hempstead.

Downtown Revitalization Gets Locals Out and About
Walkability’s a pretty big deal in the world of city planning. When people have safe way to navigate between shops, restaurants, parks and other areas of interest, they’re more likely to take advantage of them. As the Congress for the New Urbanism notes, studies have shown correlations between a region’s walkability rate and the amount people spend on local retail. Those safer, better-lit sidewalks and roadways offer other benefits, too. Not only do they help encourage healthier habits, but they reduce the likelihood that someone will trip and fall over cracked concrete — or be unable to navigate an area with a walker or wheelchair.

Downtown Revitalization Draws Others in
When an area looks nice, feels safe and has great things to check out, people naturally want to spend time there. (And not just the people who call that town home.) Prettier downtowns go a long way toward drawing bigger crowds for events like town festivals, but that effect can continue year-round, too. Social media sites such as Instagram make it easy for folks to document their day trips and spread word about off-the-beaten-path attractions — and that word of mouth can draw people from all over. Those attractions don’t even have to be big and flashy. Nearby Houston has a map of murals people can use to fill their social pages with fun photos. And quaint restaurants and quirky shops are always a draw.

Hempstead’s downtown revitalization efforts might be at their beginning stages, but they’re the start of something great. Already we’ve seen sidewalk repairs, building improvements and seasonal streetlight messaging — and there’s a new coffee and wine bar going in, too. If you’d like to part of Hempstead’s coming growth, we encourage you to become an HCCA member! And if you have questions on any of the above, feel free to contact our crew. We’d love to hear from you!

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