The Importance of "Downtown"
Downtown Tacoma, 1958, Tacoma Public Library Archives, Richards Studio A116230-1
Every cities' downtown is expected to be the core of its economy, a magnet to attract tourism, an example to the character of the community, and where you will find its most memorable landmarks. They also tend to be the oldest neighborhoods citywide.
"Revitalization of downtowns and central city neighborhoods can be challenging at best. They can be gritty, cranky, often struggling, and contentious — but are always exciting. They are also often the hotbeds of business creativity, neighborhood activism, non-profit entrepreneurs, economic diversity, and an attraction for visitors, seniors, and young talent."
If Tacoma intends to set its sights to attract more tourism downtown, locally owned businesses both new and old could flourish exponentially which would especially help retail shops and restaurants to come up for air after the pandemic. It's a domino effect that will help Tacoman families who also shop locally and boost the economic infrastructure as a whole.
According to a study by Meeting of the Minds, most downtowns represent 38 percent of the citywide residential growth, 44 percent of the city's hotels, and 16 percent of the city's retail sales and businesses.
In order to strive for inclusivity, urban areas must plan to meet the needs of current residents. Many of the cities with a strong influence on visitors are usually known for their diversity such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Miami.
In New York, the Mayor teamed up with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Hester Street Collaborative to release the city's comprehensive cultural plan that ensures those in low-income fields of work were included in the planning, ensuring they have somewhere to reside and thrive within the metro area.
On Thursday, April 22nd, "Straight Talk" The Future of Downtown Tacoma opens a discussion on this very topic. The Mayor of Tacoma, Victoria Woodards, along with Quincy Henry, Co-Owner & Chief Experience Officer of Campfire Coffee, David Hirschberg, Founder of RAIN Incubator, Mark Pagano, Chancellor of the University of Washington Tacoma, Bill Robertson, President & CEO of MultiCare, and Clint Stein, CEO of Columbia Bank will discuss an honest and direct virtual conversation regarding the future of the "Grit City". We will surely be there to listen in to what the plans and needs of the community are and are excited for it to be an example of how a city can grow while aiding its local businesses and residents instead of pushing them out as we've seen so many times throughout many other growing metros.