As I reflect on my role on the task force for Downtown renovation I discovered an article from Destination Development International entitled, 8 Amazing Facts About Downtowns The article begins saying:
“The heart and soul of every community, besides its people, is its downtown. The health of a community can instantly be portrayed by the vitality of its downtown. It is the litmus test for all your economic development efforts – both tourism and non-tourism. Downtown provides that all-important first impression of the community that answers the questions: “Is this a place I’d want to live? A place my employees would want to live? A place I’d want to hang out? Show off to friends and relatives?” If you want people to visit your community, to open or relocate a business there, or move to your town, downtown needs to be a place they’d enjoy spending time in.”
Roger Brooks of Destination Development is working with North Platte to take the next step in setting up a marketable “brand.” Roger Brooks is a champion of downtown renewal as the cornerstone of community development. During his first visit to North Platte Brooks outlined many inexpensive steps that could we could take to improve and strengthen our downtown. I’m confident the branding proposal that will come from the branding project will include specific action steps for our downtown.
I am convinced we are at the tipping point when it comes to Downtown North Platte. Restoring 5th street, the DDI project, and the Downtown Taskforce provide us with a unique opportunity to renovate our Downtown. Renovating downtown sets the stage for significant economic development. It is important to create a plan for renewal but it is more important now to act for renewal. There are steps we can take today, now, now to renovate downtown. Let us not only plan but act.
What can we do? Several actions each of us can take to renew downtown North Platte. I’d suggest these 5 actions:
- Have lunch downtown this week. The Espresso Shoppe has great Paninies (the club is my favorite) and the Depot’s blackened Chicken sandwich makes a great lunch.
- Buy a used book at A to Z Bookstore
- Attend the play at the Neville
- After lunch walk into one of the other stores downtown and say hi. Maybe you’ll see something you need and buy it. Or maybe you’ll make a new friend.
- Meet your friends Downtown after work for a cool beverage.
I do not own or have a financial interest in any of the businesses I’ve mentioned in this post. I do have a stake in the future of Downtown and in North Platte as a whole. If you’d be interested in having coffee downtown let me know. Email me at “downtown-NP@drku.org”.