Cheryl Leeman traditionally has been the only member of the Portland City Council with a modicum of common sense. Maybe David Marshall will be the same. Their committee appears to be off to a good start. Let's hope it will be open to many suggestions.
Here is one: Abandon the pretense that designation as an "arts district" will somehow help rejuvenate Congress St. After several years of struggling under this label, the city's main drag is actually more shabby and deserted (both day and night) than ever.
The street badly needs more entrepreneurs, more risk-takers, not more artists. Artists may be fine people, but it is business that spurs the economy.
I saw the full list and this committee will not be advocating for any crazy anti business idea. There is one anti business ringer, Stacy Mitchell in the mix.
Congress Street is as vacant as ever. Just take a walk down the street, or drive and you see store front after storefront with for Rents signs.
Just like in Deering Center.
I am afraid this may be too little too late, to get rid of the Anti Business label anytime soon.
Retail in downtown areas is dead almost everywhere.
Is that an opinion, Dan, or do you have something to back it up with?
I can think of several Maine towns where downtown retail is alive and well. Rockland. Camden. Belfast. Ellsworth. Farmington.
Kennebunk, Kennebunkport. York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kittery.
There are several - including the Shopping Mile.
Most of the examples given above are tourist areas. Portland has that in the Old Port.
Day-to-day shopping by residents has generally switched to malls and big box stores all across the country.
Guess I wasn't thinking of Route 1 as a downtown.
Then there's Kittery Point, as well.
So it's not "dead" Dan, it has changed. There's a difference.
Changed in some. Dead in others.
The problems related to Congress Street are not that unusual. And even if Portland was much more friendly to business, there would still be major macroeconomic issues that would make bringing back retail in that area difficult.
Dan - by "major macroeconomic issues," do you mean one-way snarled-up streets that make it impossible to find anything?
Shut down Congress Street, brick it over and make a pedestrian mall out of it. That ALWAYS helps!
Nobody expects major retailers to return to downtown Portland. But specialty shops can thrive, as the Old Port has shown. Manchester, NH, could be a model. That city has managed to attract businesses to both its new office towers and to its renovated mills -- old structures that only a few years ago were unoccupied eyesores. Its new sports and entertainment venues are close to the city center and all this, combined with the many restaurants that line the main street, keeps downtown looking busy day and night.