Survey shows historic downtowns are thriving
Retail sales, ground-floor occupancy rates and special event attendance continue to grow in historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. Those are among the findings of a survey conducted by the National Main Street Center of the Washington, D.C.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The 2001 National Main Street Trends Survey asked organizations involved in downtown revitalization to indicate how 16 economic indicators changed in their towns in 2000. The survey was completed by 200 communities, representing 24 states and ranging in population from 300 to 600,000.
Retail sales in older commercial districts increased in 56 percent of respondents’ communities, and more than 60 percent of respondents reported that there were more retail businesses in their commercial districts in 2000 than in 1999. Over half of all respondents reported higher ground-floor occupancy rates than in 1999, and no one reported decreases in ground-floor occupancy. Additionally, 78 percent of respondents reported an increase in attendance at special events and festivals.
In almost all instances, communities that have had active revitalization activities for more than five years were more likely to report increases than were communities that have had active revitalization activities for five years or less. Respondents identified a number of challenges — e.g., movie theater closings, sprawl and parking — facing downtown revitalization.
For more information, visit www.mainstreet.org.