Downtown Indicators Partners Meet, Share Ideas
Early in March, Smart Growth Vermont and our partner, the Center for Rural Studies, hosted a meeting with members from our test communities and our steering committee. Participants discussed the data findings for the indicators of downtown health gathered by the test towns. Ideas were exchanged on how to best utilize this information and folks shared what they felt were their top five indicators. After lively discussion, negotiation and debate, some of the indicators that came out on top included retail and commercial vacancy rates, first floor mix by business, value of private and public investment in development projects and square footage of infill potential.
Focus group meetings in each community will be held in April to gather community feedback before we finalize the indicators and begin to draft a handbook for communities in Vermont and around the country on how to measure the health of their downtowns. Once the handbook is published on the web, we will conduct trainings for our downtowns. For more information on this project, check out the project’s webpage.