gmhTODAY 01 gmhToday Mar Apr 2015 - Page 42

gilroy downtown The Main Street Approach Written By Larry J. Mickartz D owntown Gilroy has seen its ups and downs. Today, it is on the verge of a major revitalization. There are new businesses coming in, a yoga studio, a restaurant, and a music venue. More businesses are calling about availability. Of the 18 URM (unreinforced masonry building) 16 are on their way to being available of lease or purchase. The 5th to 6th streets paseo is built and is moving towards its final fashionable look. The garlic mural on the Gardner building and the train mural on the Fifth Street Coffee have been refurbished. Eigleberry Street is being redone with new paving, curbs, sidewalks and lights. Some would say the raid on the furniture store pot grow was a blow to downtown; others say thanks for the cleanup! Many have already discovered the shopping, food, music and entertainment offerings downtown and have become regulars! Downtown events like Fifth Street Live, The Wine Stroll, the Car Show, the Beer Crawl and the Christmas Parade are big hits. The GDBA (Gilroy Downtown Business Association) was looking for a way to capitalize on this momentum and get to the Downtown we all want. They selected the Main Street program. 42 The Main Street program began in 1977 as a three-year pilot for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The goal was to preserve the downtown’s heritage while sparking reinvestment. The three target cities were Galesburg, Illinois, Hot Springs, South Dakota and Madison, Indiana. The results were astonishing: 30 new businesses, 25% sales tax increase, $11 gain in private investing for every program management dollar. From this pilot the National Trust developed a replicable model, The Main Street Program. Today, there are 1,200 Main Street programs… many with remarkable success stories. In 2014, three members of the GDBA attended the California Main Street conference in Hanford. Armed with new knowledge the GDBA is taking on the challenge. Success is based on the Main Street Four-Point Approach: • ORGANIZATION establishes con- sensus and cooperation by building partnerships among various groups that have a stake in the commercial district. Organization brings together downtown’s nonprofits, volunteers and stakeholders. G M H T O D A Y M A G A Z I N E MARCH / APRIL 2015 • PROMOTION takes many forms, but the goal is to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride and improve consumer and investor confidence in the downtown district. The main focus of promotion is events, promotions and image devel- opment. • DESIGN means getting Main Street into top physical shape and creating a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers and visitors. The major focus here is on buildings, streetscape and planning. • ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING strengthens the community’s existing economic assets while diversifying its economic base. Market analysis, real estate and business development are the major elements of economic restructuring. Behind the Four-Point Approach are eight principals: Comprehensive: No single focus but a multi level approach. Incremental: Small steps lead to downtown revitalization.