A downtown is the historic business district of the community. It generally provides a variety of uses, which may include, but are not necessarily limited to, retail stores, offices, government buildings, theaters, housing developed through the reuse of old buildings, parking facilities, public spaces and other features that draw residents and visitors.
Characteristics of a Great Downtown include:
- Functions as the centerpiece in the everyday life of the community. Offers an array of places where people come to conduct business and meet their daily needs, as well as go shopping, meet friends and relax.
- Enjoys a reputation for excellence that reaches well beyond the community’s boundaries. Attracts visitors from a distance that reflects its physical size.
- Possesses a tremendous vitality, with lots of people not just during the day but also in the evening and on the weekends.
- Offers special events and attractions throughout the year.
- Provides accessible parking.
- Receives support from the community to attract, retain and grow businesses. Examples: “Buy Local” campaigns and façade improvement programs.
- Its streets, public spaces and constituent neighborhood (if applicable) satisfy the characteristics listed for those Great Place categories.