Perceptions Toward Downtown: Surveying City Managers in Smaller Texas Towns
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In recent years, as city leaders have looked for ways to create a higher quality of life for residents and diversify their tax bases, downtown revitalization has captured the attention of citizens and policy makers alike. Unfortunately, the literature on the topic seldom examines the topic empirically. At the same time, however, there has been a call for increasing this relatively scarce body of knowledge. The study fills a gap by examining attitudes city managers in smaller Texas towns have about the components and challenges of downtown revitalization. Attitudes about infrastructure, leadership, multi-functionality and implementation tools are explored through a survey of 256 city managers. The results show that city managers have very strong attitudes toward downtown revitalization. For instance:
- Encouraging private development as a future contributor to the tax base is viewed as a viable tool for redeveloping the center city.
- Downtown business owners can be very effective partners and leaders for pushing the revitalization program forward.
- A mix of businesses and special events are important components of multi-functionality.
Some suggestions for future action and study are also presented:
- Expand and increase educational opportunities for those involved in downtown revitalization.
- At the local level, formalize processes for addressing infrastructure, multi-functionality, leadership and financing.