by: Katherine Hardwick in Thought Leadership (4) Comments  

How many times have you visited another city and come home to Jacksonville and said, “I wish we could do that here.”?

Each year, members of Downtown Vision attend the International Downtown Association (IDA) conference where we network with industry contemporaries, attend workshops, hear from internationally renowned speakers and take home plenty of enthusiasm and new ideas. This year’s conference titled, Poised to Compete, was held in Minneapolis in September.

Our trip wasn’t all work and no play. Amid our schedule of workshops and presentations, we got a first-hand look at how Downtown Minneapolis has created a sense of place.  The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District was formed in 2009 and the city has made great strides in creating an inviting, vibrant Downtown.  Public art was plentiful along the streets giving new meaning to the term ‘sightseeing’. Large information and directory kiosks also served as public bulletin boards where local residents could interact and connect. Outdoor café seating along the sidewalks lets residents take full advantage of the more seasonal months in Minnesota. Nightlife thrived with an abundance of late night restaurants and bars in both the Downtown core and the revitalized Warehouse District.  And the famed riverfront Mill District has been restored with urban loft apartments and walking trails.

Role model cities, like Minneapolis, provide great roadmaps to Downtown revitalization.

4 Responses to “Learning From Peer Cities – Minneapolis”

  • Sigsbee LeGrande says:

    Sounds like a lot of valuable enlightenment came out of that trip. People may actually speak to each other while they stand around looking at maps and notices. People will sit outside if the weather is nice. Having bars and restaurants open at night creates nightlife. Why didn’t we think of all that?

    • Sabrie says:

      I would like to see the city encourage and sruoppt small business to convert older homes along Lawrence and Leon, into places of business sucha as Doctor, Lawyer accountant offices. Boutique retail shops, salons etc. By having these low impact clean business develope the properties to beautify the area, it would bring character to the down town core. There are many communities in Canada and the USA that have done this and it has enhanced the tourisim as well and encourage local residence to shop down town and sruoppt small business. I am not against big business, but it is small business that drives the economies of our communities and takes personal pride in what are city looks like and it reputation. Our down town core is getting bettter, but you need to keep some character and history of the city by integrating a combination of the small town comfort look of the past and the new dynamics of today. Converting character homes, or building representations of character homes into business’s will give that look and feel. By creating a plan that incorporates the homes as business’s will allow for current Trees and Gardens to be maintaint and beautify the area, that you would not normally see in a down town area.For a professional business to be in a home provides a much great comfort to the clients than a office tower, warmer and typical more inviting place to do business.I would encourage the city to expand on the Bernard ave, approach to business. And, do not be so restrictive on the rules, such as only 25% of the propery can be for business, and someone that works in the business must live there. Let it be 100% business for select business types, and you will find those business types will look after the properties and make Kelowna proud.

    • Radu says:

      I would like to see downtown Kelowna cloelptemy pedestrianized, and covered over with a domed glass top roof from Richter all the way to Water St.Would cost a fortune, but would become an iconic symbol in Canadian retail space, something that Kelowna desperately needs. Parking could be replaced with 3 free parkades, the current downtown one, one at the other end closer to Richter, and one somewhere about halfway.

  • Islam says:

    Hi,I’d like to see low-rise buildings of about 4 stroeis with space around them. The lake is a jewel and shouldn’t be surrounded by highrises like Vancouver has. I’d like pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with open cafes, etc in a village atmosphere. There could be offices and apartments above the storefronts that are on the main level. This would ensure a population downtown without crowding the area. It will keep the downtown accessible to all residents of Kelowna. Please keep downtown livable and not just for the people who actually live and work in the downtown. The rest of us might like to visit and not avoid the area. Highrise communities could be situated further from the lake on major arteries for easy access around town (and places to park all those vehicles that people will have who live in these highrises.)Thanks for reading this!Susan

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