Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities promotes real-world strategies for fostering inner-city growth in modern times
HALTOM CITY, TX, September 27, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — According to the authors of Keeping the Lights on Downtown in American’s Small Cities, there are five key strategies that city leaders can pursue in order to reverse decline in inner city areas.
First, develop and promote a clear brand for the city, one that is simple yet powerful, conveys something important about the city, and indicates what makes it different from others. Well-known examples include Paris as The City of Love and NYC as The Big Apple supported by the slogan “I Love New York.” Over the past decade, smaller cities have begun to recognize the value of branding, and a wealth of research has been published on the issue. Bottom line, successful branding can help attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to stay.
Next, brand-based overlay districts should be considered in order to bolster particular inner city areas. Generally speaking, overlays tailor specific geographic areas within a city and involve specific regulations to promote growth. The support and involvement of the business community is key to the success (or failure) of the overlay approach.
“Don’t do anything that makes it harder for businesses to grow,” is the third key concept outlined in the book. Actions that discourage development should be limited to the most intense of businesses (e.g. sexually-oriented businesses) while other issues should be addressed through zoning and proper code enforcement. According to the authors, “let the rules of commerce bring you what you want.”
Four, determine in advance the steps you will take in order to measure progress being made. For example, what information would be helpful about new businesses that have opened or businesses that have expanded? How will you obtain, and what information would you like to see, about businesses that have closed or have moved away? Can you track new business inquiries that decide to locate elsewhere and can you find out why they chose another city over yours? How about details regarding vacancies? The support and involvement of the business community can help city leaders establish goals and implement a meaningful review and analysis process.
Last but not least, benchmark similar cities. Although your city is unique, others face similar challenges and are a source of useful information. Find out what they are doing right and what mistakes you perceive. Keep an eye on the big picture and use the information gained to do better at home.
According to the authors, “All of this takes vision, determination, and some strong business ownership experience.” Having a business owner or two on the city council is a step in the right direction.
If you are seeking to revitalize your city, you can order Keeping the Lights on Downtown on Amazon. If you live in Haltom City, Ron Sturgeon will give you a copy for the asking. Pick up your copy at his office in Haltom City at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117. Ask for Lindsey.
About Ron Sturgeon
Co-author Ron Sturgeon is a lifelong entrepreneur who became deeply troubled seeing the continued decline in certain inner-city areas of his hometown of Haltom City, Texas. In 2020, he founded the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA), a grassroots organization that works to represent existing business owners and advocates for much-needed change. According to Ron, Keeping the Lights On was written for his hometown and for other cities across the country in order to “help residents, business owners, city planners and managers, and civic leaders see the problems and the opportunities in a new light.”
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) is a group of business owners dedicated to representing existing business interests in Haltom City and promoting the growth of diverse businesses as well. Innovative strategies are needed to create a strong tax base and enhance quality of life for residents, city employees, and business owners. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. For more information, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected] or visit the group’s Facebook page at Haltom United Business Alliance.
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