Transformational Strategies for Downtown Laurens

Kathy Plante of Main Street America addressed ways for developing a downtown area in a program hosted by Main Street Laurens in the Witherspoon building last evening. She shared results of a survey recently conducted, gathering ideas on the aspirations of residents. She said, “Revitalization needs to be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data and sustained and inclusive community engagement.”

Her presentation centered around transformation strategies suggested by Main Street America. They called for a deliberate path for strengthening the downtown economy, organized around Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization.

Plante said economic vitality focuses on capital and incentives along with other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing business, property development and creating an environment for entrepreneurs and innovations that drive local economies.

Ms. Plant said Design supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.

Promotion positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of

the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.

She said Organization involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.

Kathy Plante said that strategies for development fall into two broad categories: Those focused on a specific customer segment and Those focused on an Industry, Product or Service segment.

Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn gave final remarks, emphasizing the solid rapport between the City government, Main Street Laurens, and the a desire for revitalization. He said, “We have many new people coming into town, and this is one thing you all can do and it will not cost a cent: Please be positive about your town.”