Downtown Leaders Must Plan and Play as a Team
Doyle Hyett and Dolores Palma
Local leaders must realize that in-depth teamwork, at all levels, is a key ingredient for successful downtown revitalization. Teamwork must entail the entire panoply of a community making investments in downtown —of money, time, energy, political capital, etc.
Gone are the days when “working together for downtown” meant a coming together of just the local government and the downtown business community. Today, it is realized that, to succeed, members of the investment team must include a community’s elected, business, civic, cultural, educational and philanthropic leadership.
In recent years, a palpable shift has occurred in downtown revitalization. For the most part, local elected officials seem to have come to the understanding that downtown is important to the overall economic health and quality of life enjoyed by their constituents — and, therefore, that downtown is worth investing in.
No longer are those who ask “Can downtown be saved” and “Is downtown worth saving” in the majority. Therefore, more and more, local elected officials are stepping up, providing the leadership, and acting as the impetus that forms the needed downtown team.
Progressive community leaders who join with local elected officials understand that teamwork means, together:
• Taking a cold, hard look at your downtown’s needs and potential;
• Devising a realistic, pragmatic game plan that’s success-oriented;
• Making tough decisions;
• Taking whatever actions are necessary — even if they are not popular;
• Putting your money where your mouth is.
The goal of such teamwork is to create a situation where all of downtown’s investors realize a greater return on their investments, whether business revenues, real estate values, local tax revenues, a better downtown experience or just “bragging rights.”
Teamwork brings results. Unilateral actions lead to frustration. Downtown’s success is too important to risk fumbling the opportunity.
Article Abstract from February, 2007