USH 12 Middleton Bypass | Middleton, WI

Planning Wisconsin: Redeveloping Your Downtown, Part Two

Jason Valerius, AICP | with 0 Comments

Planning Wisconsin:  Redeveloping Your Downtown, Part Two

Improving the economic and social well-being of communities is at the core of downtown redevelopment.  In our last blog post of Redeveloping Your Downtown, we focused on the study and visioning phase of downtown planning – determining what’s feasible and what’s desirable.  Let’s focus now on implementation tools to support a strong downtown. 

Planning for Action – Implementation Tools

Land Use and Design Guidelines – Land use policy is at the core of many community plans, but use often takes a back seat to form in a downtown setting.  Downtown vibrance depends on a diverse mix of uses and a built environment that is attractive and pedestrian-friendly.  Design guidelines and standards are often used to protect and enhance the built environment.

Landscaping and Streetscaping Plans – The term streetscape refers to the natural and built fabric of a street – its design quality and the visual impact it has on its users.  A successful streetscape balances function with aesthetics, and creates a welcoming, safe and comfortable environment for all users.  The streetscape of State Street in Madison, Wisconsin incorporates flexible, timeless, and sustainable components.

Branding and Logo Design – Downtown is the heart of the community and in many places is central to community identity.  A clear brand identity and associated logo can reinforce that identity, either for the downtown district alone or for the entire community. 

Wayfinding and Community Signage Designs – Visitors won’t visit what they can’t find (or didn’t even know about).  Coordinated signage can help draw people in to local attractions and reinforce community character and identity at the same time. 

Financial Tools Tax increment financing, business improvement districts, and grant programs are all sources of funding that could be used to implement a downtown redevelopment plan.  A clear understanding of funding options is important, as it allows the plan to be tailored in ways that improve funding options.

Are you a community leader looking to enhance your community's downtown?  Have you considered these many aspects of downtwon revitalization?  We can help!  MSA's plans have helped hundreds of communities realize their full potential.  For more information on redeveloping your downtown, contact Jason Valerius, AICP.

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