Downtown Lansing by wulinqing

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 32

									The Community s Vision for
Downtown Lansing

                  and

Implementation Strategies Guide




           Prepared for:

   Main Street Matters
        Lansing, Iowa




             Prepared by:


           Downtown Professionals Network
           28 South Water Street— Suite 214
           Batavia— Illinois 60510
              630.482.2930
              www.downtownpros.com




       January 2011
             V3    01.17.11
                                                The Community s Vision for Downtown Lansing
                                                                                                 and Implementation Strategies Guide
                                                                                                                                         January 2011 | V3




         Introduction
         Main Street Matters, the non-profit organization spearheading downtown revitalization efforts in the
         community of Lansing, Iowa, is taking a pro-active approach to planning for the future prosperity of
         downtown Lansing. The facilitation of an open forum community visioning process represents an important
         step in continuing efforts to engage downtown Lansing stakeholders from all walks of life in a grass-roots
         initiative to enhance Lansing’s historic downtown business district. The visioning process is part of an
         intense program start-up process that builds on extensive groundwork already completed by Main Street
         Matters and lends direction for year one action plan projects and activities to be launched in 2011.


         Report Contents
                   Introduction and Acknowledgements ................................................................. 1
                   The Importance of Vision.................................................................................... 2
                   Downtown Visioning Workshop Summary .......................................................... 3
                   Downtown Lansing Vision Statement ................................................................. 7
                   Unleashing the Power of Vision: The Main Street Approach ............................... 8
                   Main Street Matters Implementation Strategies ............................................... 10
                           Business Opportunities ........................................................................ 10
                           Promotion ........................................................................................... 14
                           Design.................................................................................................. 20
                           Organization ........................................................................................ 23
                   Main Street Matters Year One Action Plan Outline and Planning Guide ............ 26
                           Business Opportunities Committee ...................................................... 26
                           Promotion Committee ......................................................................... 27
                           Design Committee ............................................................................... 28
                           Organization Committee ...................................................................... 29
                   Next Steps: Action Plan Development Process, Hints & Tips.............................. 30



         Acknowledgements

         The community’s vision for downtown Lansing, and related concepts and strategies outlined in this
         document, are rooted in ideas and insight shared by downtown Lansing stakeholders and community
         advocates that participated in the process. DPN appreciates the community’s enthusiastic participation and
         is especially grateful for the efforts of Main Street Matters leaders that helped to facilitate the process.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                                                 Page 1
         The Importance of Vision
                   "If you don't much care where you're going, it doesn't matter which way you go. You're sure to
                   get somewhere if you keep at it long enough."
                                                                            - The Cheshire Cat in Alice's Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

                   "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get
                   there."
                                                                                                                                        - Yogi Bera

         Vision at the Core
         A shared vision has power that is grounded in its ability to move a community toward the future in a
         profound way. It describes, with a sense of purpose, what your downtown stands for and what your
         organization is striving to create. Vision provides meaning by describing who we are and what we want to
         become – a portrayal of our desired future. A shared vision can effectively shape the agenda for Main
         Street Matters and serve to:
              ► Inspire action
              ► Align individuals to the purpose
              ► Motivate individuals to work together in efforts to overcome constraints
              ► Identify special features and unique attributes that distinguish the downtown today and in the
                future
              ► Bring focus on priorities and “first steps” toward the community’s vision for downtown
         The community’s vision for downtown Lansing will provide a basis for moving forward, serving as a
         launching pad and providing direction for Main Street Matters’ program of work.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                                         Page 2
         Defining the Community s Vision for Downtown Lansing
         Downtown Visioning Workshop Summary
         More than 35 people representing a diverse cross-section of the Lansing community attended and
         participated in the visioning workshop conducted November 3, 2010. Following is a summary of workshop
         activities highlighting input provided by community participants.

         Workshop Activity One: Front Page News

         Working in groups, workshop participants completed a visioning exercise, creating the front page for the
         Lansing Daily Planet’s Special Downtown Lansing Progress Edition for November 3, 2020. Results of each
         group’s work are summarized below.

         Group A
         Headline: Riverwalk Ribbon Cutting
         Lead Paragraph: Dignitaries from around the area will be in Lansing tomorrow to join in a ribbon cutting ceremony for
         the new (soon to be named) river walk
         Photo: Depicts trail leading to downtown
         Late News:
             − Hundreds of bikers are expected to travel through Lansing tomorrow as part of the first year anniversary of
                 the expanded Mississippi River trail
             − Bruce Palmborg from his bedside announced to the citizens of Lansing its award for the nation's outstanding
                 Main Street community.
         Looking Back in History – Turning Point: Revitalization of the West Lansing Business Park was Catalyst for Downtown
         Lansing of Today. Much merriment was had by all as...
         Free play
             − The corner of 3rd and Main continues to smolder ten years after the fire that started at that location.


         Group B
         Headline: Birding Festival Nests Thousands
         Lead Paragraph: Thousands flock to Lansing for local bird festival. It was held November 5th through 7th.
         Photo: Photo of a bird over the river
         Late News:
             − Lansing resident named county supervisor
             − DOT announces groundbreaking for new Lansing Bridge.
             − Bike trail project rolls on
         Looking Back in History – Turning Point: Northern Engraving plant sold was catalyst for Downtown Lansing of Today.
         Northern Engraving was sold to the Ashley Furniture Company bringing countless new jobs to Lansing
         Free Play:
             − New canoe rental business opens in conjunction with bike trail project
             − Lansing school receives state grant for special programs
             − Come get lost in Horsfall’s




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                      Page 3
         Group C
         Headline: Dedication of Old Stone School
         Lead Paragraph: Today Lansing dedicated Old Stone School as a historical museum
         Photo: Depicts Old Stone School
         Late News:
             − Nov 28 - Lansing Downtown "live" window display to kick off Christmas Season: Santa, Hayrides, Lighting of
                 Christmas Tree, Hot chocolate – Location for activities: 298 Main Street, MSM Park
         Looking Back in History – Turning Point: Ten years ago today a group of concerned citizens and business owners met
         to plan the future of Lansing was catalyst for Downtown Lansing of today. Anonymous donor contributed 1.5 million
         to the Old Stone Schoolhouse fund.
         Free Play:
             − Sarah Palin wins in a landslide


         Group D
         Headline: Lansing’s economic boom positively affects surrounding area
         Lead Paragraph: The city of Lansing is bursting at the seams. The City Council is seeking options for expansion due to
         the high demand for retail space in Lansing's bustling downtown.
         Photo and caption: Depicts architects rendering of Horsfall’s expansion – “Grand opening Horsfall’s Lansing Variety
         plans $5 million expansion project”
         Late News
             − Ski slope opens. Droves of people are expected for this weekend's opening of the Driftless Area Ski Resort
         Looking Back in History – Turning Point: Main Street Matters meeting was catalyst for Downtown Lansing of today.
         Local visionaries united to revitalize downtown Lansing.
         Free Play:
             − Photo of bikers, people walking dogs along riverside trail


         Group E
         Headline: New Bridge Dedication!!!
         Lead Paragraph: Sen. Mike Connelly returns for ribbon cutting. Sailboat Regatta for Sunday evening.
         Photo: Keehigh wins Fed. Achievement 10th honor AGAIN
         Late News:
             − Dog show wins "Pedigree" interest. Pedigree Dog Food agrees to establish outlet store in Lansing due to
                 large "Dog Show" turnout
         Looking Back in History – Turning Point: Big Clearance Sale at Old School Emporium was catalyst for Downtown
         Lansing of today. Everything must go!
         Free Play:
             − Friday night Promenade on Riverwalk. Switch Back to return for performance.
             − Photo: National Birding Fest planned for Spring




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                          Page 4
         Workshop Activity Two: Visioning Questionnaire

         Following is a summary of group consensus responses to a visioning questionnaire designed to identify
         community values and various features that could be part of, and instrumental to achieving, the
         community’s vision for downtown Lansing. The responses and results provide a basis for the vision
         statement and proposed year one projects and activities.

         (#) Denotes repeated response

         A. List three positive things about Downtown Lansing today – things you are most proud of.
            − Accessible to river and parks
            − Basic needs of community are met/full service (2)
            − Bridge
            − Community Center
            − Friendly community
            − Historical buildings and facades (3)
            − Library
            − Long term family businesses River view/Mississippi River (2)
            − School
            − Unique storefronts (vintage)

         B.   List three things about Downtown Lansing today that you would like to change and/or make better.
              − Better signage for Mt Hosmer
              − Events
              − Golf course
              − Improve attractiveness of stores
              − Pharmacy
              − Renovate Old Stone School
              − Riverfront clean-up (2)
              − Streetscape, lighting, sidewalks, lower curbs, clean-up (4)
              − Vacant storefronts, recruit retail (4)
              − Variety of restaurants

         C. List up to three things about Downtown Lansing that should never change.
            − Blackhawk bridge (2)
            − Emergency services
            − Friendliness of community – welcoming attitude (2)
            − Historic structures/facades (4)
            − Location
            − Maintaining streetwall
            − Natural resources, scenic beauty (2)
            − Services (grocery store, bank, stations, hardware, school, library)
            − Small town atmosphere




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide            Page 5
         D. List three things that will distinguish Downtown Lansing in 2020 - things that will make it different from most
            other places.
            − All buildings occupied
            − Center(heart) of area
            − Community events
            − Horsfalls
            − Outdoor activities (hunting, biking, etc) (3)
            − Pride in downtown appearance
            − River view with walking/biking trail, highlighting riverfront (3)
            − Streetscape
            − Venues for canoe and bike rental

         E.   List three single words that will define Downtown Lansing in 2020.
              − Beautiful (2)
              − Charismatic
              − Friendly
              − Historic (3)
              − Inviting
              − Prosperous
              − Quaint
              − Revitalized
              − Shopping
              − Transformed
              − Vibrant

         F.   Describe, in one short sentence, what Downtown Lansing will be "known for" in 2020.
              − A thriving river town; pride of the Mississippi.
              − Horsfalls, Mt. Hosmer, trails, seasonal activities, riverfront driftless area, and ice cream shops.
              − In 2020, historic downtown Lansing will be known for its inviting rural charm and charismatic social
                  experience.
              − Lansing is a quaint, relaxing place to visit and play.
              − Lansing is a vibrant spectacle completely transformed, flowing seamlessly as the river with outdoor activities,
                  along with fun places to shop and dine out.

         G. If Main Street Matters could accomplish just three, four or five things within the next two years - being realistic
            - what should they be?
            − Assist filling empty storefronts
            − Clean up town - sidewalks, vacant lots
            − Develop city codes to protect integrity of historic downtown district
            − Develop downtown historic district
            − Develop open spaces into new businesses with historical look
            − Development of birding, outdoor activities
            − Master planning for development
            − New curbs
            − New lighting, sidewalks, curbs and gutters
            − New lighting
            − Planned trail system
            − Promoting additional town events and activities
            − Seeking out grants to achieve goals




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                       Page 6
         Downtown Lansing Vision Statement
         Created 12.14.10

         Downtown Lansing, nestled along the Mississippi and surrounded by scenic bluffs, and natural areas
         teeming with life and beauty, attracts visitors from throughout the region, while serving the day to day
         needs of year round and seasonal residents.

         Visitors arrive in downtown Lansing by car and watercraft, as well as by enhanced and scenic biking/walking
         trails, to feel as if they had stepped back in time as they move from the scenic views of the
         downtown's surrounding natural beauty onto a Main Street that is known for its meticulously restored
         historic buildings, its enhanced streetscape, and its pristine cleanliness. Planters, lighting, banners,
         benches, bike racks, and inviting window displays combine to offer a treat for any visitor's eye.

         Friendly shopkeepers welcome visitors and invite them to share in the vibrant social atmosphere of the
         downtown, where neighbors and visitors alike fill the sidewalks, stopping to linger over coffee, browse
         through the rich variety and selection of merchandise, enjoy the wide variety of cuisine available in local
         restaurants, and exchange greetings and news of the day.

         For regional as well as local residents, downtown Lansing is known as the destination of choice for all who
         are seeking an experience of the region's natural beauty, historic character, and vital activity.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide           Page 7
         Unleashing the Power of Vision: The Main Street Approach
         The visioning process and resulting vision statement, along with extensive groundwork already completed
         by Main Street Matters, provide a solid basis for start-up projects and activities that are consistent with the
         vision for downtown Lansing.

         Main Street Matters’ organizational structure and approach, modeled upon the National Trust Main Street
         Center’s Four Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization™, provides a proven, yet flexible framework to
         mobilize resources and organize projects and activities as part of a comprehensive downtown Lansing
         revitalization effort.

         What is the Main Street Approach to Downtown Revitalization?
         The Main Street program's success is based on a comprehensive strategy of work, tailored to local needs
         and opportunities, in four broad areas, called the Main Street Four Point Approach:
         ►    Organization: Building consensus and cooperation among the many groups and individuals who have a
              role in the revitalization process and ensuring the long-term sustainability or the organization.
         ►    Promotion: Marketing the business district's assets to customers, potential investors, new businesses,
              local citizens and visitors.
         ►    Design: Enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic
              buildings, encouraging supportive new construction, developing sensitive design management systems,
              and long-term planning.
         ►    Economic Restructuring (Business Opportunities): Strengthening the district's existing economic base
              while finding ways to expand it to meet new opportunities and challenges posed by a changing market.


         The Main Street Philosophy: Eight Guiding Principles
         Experience in helping communities bring their downtowns back to life has shown time and time again that
         the Main Street Four Point Approach succeeds only when combined with the following eight principles:
         1. Comprehensive: A single project cannot revitalize a downtown or commercial neighborhood. An
            ongoing series of initiatives is vital to build community support and create lasting progress.
         2. Incremental: Small projects make a big difference. They demonstrate that positive things are
            happening in the business district and hone the skills and confidence the program will need to tackle
            more complex problems.
         3. Self-Help: Consultants and coordinating program staff can provide valuable direction and hands-on
            technical assistance, but only local leadership can initiate long-term success by fostering and
            demonstrating community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.
         4. Public/private partnership: Every local Main Street program needs the support and expertise of both
            the public and private sectors. For an effective partnership, each must recognize the strengths and
            weaknesses of the other.
         5. Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets: Communities must work to recognize and make the
            best use of their unique offerings. Local assets provide the solid foundation for a successful Main Street
            initiative.
         6. Quality: From storefront design to promotional campaigns to window displays to special events, quality
            must be the main goal.


Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide               Page 8
         7. Change: Changing community attitudes and habits is essential to bring about a commercial district
            renaissance. A carefully planned Main Street program will help shift public perceptions and practices to
            support and sustain the revitalization process.
         8. Action-oriented: Frequent, visible changes in the look and activities of the commercial district will
            reinforce the perception of positive change. Small, but dramatic improvements early in the process will
            remind the community that the revitalization effort is under way.


         The Main Street Matters Implementation Strategy and Year One Action Plan Outline that follows propose
         start-up projects and activities for implementation which:
              ►    Are consistent with the community’s vision for downtown Lansing and represent important first
                   steps toward achieving the vision.
              ►    Align with needs and priorities identified by community participants and business survey
                   respondents participating in this process and in previous planning efforts, including recent studies
                   and assessments facilitated by the Iowa Downtown Resource Center and University of Northern
                   Iowa.
              ►    Lay important groundwork for the sustainability of Main Street Matters and, in some cases, also
                   offer opportunities to demonstrate early progress and results.
              ►    Apply guiding principles and best practices embedded in the Main Street Approach to Downtown
                   Revitalization.
              ►    Recognize the start-up nature and capacity of the Main Street Matters organization, and seeks to
                   maximize volunteer efforts and resources being devoted to the organization and its efforts as it
                   embarks on the first phase of a long-term, comprehensive downtown revitalization initiative.

         The implementation strategy is not exhaustive and does not pretend to fully predict the future course for
         Main Street Matters. Rather, it is intended to organize and guide early efforts, and to provide a framework
         for Main Street Matters leaders to build upon in the coming months and years as they gain experience and
         identify new opportunities for downtown Lansing.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide              Page 9
         Main Street Matters Implementation Strategies
         Business Opportunities

         Business Retention and Expansion
         Business retention and expansion efforts are among the most cost-effective economic development
         initiatives that can be undertaken by a community, and set the stage for successful business recruitment
         efforts. Programs designed to assist businesses with expansion, relocation and building improvements in
         the district, could effectively stimulate increased levels of private investment and reinvestment from
         existing downtown business and building owners.

         Business retention efforts should be focused on enhancing communication and cooperation among
         businesses as a means of promoting the sense of Lansing’s downtown as an entity and brand. Business-to-
         business networking, marketing and trade opportunities should be promoted. Other retention efforts
         should be directed toward familiarizing businesses with local, regional and state business assistance and
         technical resources and facilitating access to these resources.

         Based on identified trends and business survey responses, business assistance programs and technical
         assistance that could prove valuable to downtown Lansing business retention and expansion efforts might
         initially be focused in the following areas:
              ► Business succession planning

              ► Internet website and e-commerce training and assistance

              ► Marketing seminars

              ► Low-interest building improvement loans and/or incentives


         While the results of the business survey and related assessments offer a good starting point, the Main
         Street Matters’ Business Opportunities Committee should consider forming a Business Assistance Team
         and/or a Business Visitation Program in efforts to better understand and match resources to the needs and
         challenges of existing businesses. Future committee activities should also include the annual conduct of
         the business survey in order to:
             ► Assess changes in the market, the downtown business climate and changing business needs
             ► Identify possible candidates for expansion or that might be in need of succession planning
                 assistance
              ► Identify specific topics and subjects that might be appropriate for a continuing education/seminars
                series
              ► Benchmark and track progress and changes

         The Business Opportunities Committee should also invest time in researching business assistance and
         incentive programs offered in other Iowa communities – beginning first with Main Street Iowa communities
         of similar size. Partnerships with local financial institutions, state government agencies, university extension
         offices, utility providers and other potential partners should also be pursued to identify program models
         and resources that might be most appropriate and accessible to Lansing.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                Page 10
         Business Recruitment
         Community participants and business survey respondents place a high value and priority on Main Street
         Matters efforts to help fill vacant downtown storefronts. The notion of garnering the human and financial
         resources necessary to implement a highly aggressive business recruitment campaign during the earliest
         phases of Main Street Matters’ evolution would be ill-placed. Still, the Business Opportunities Committee
         can play an important role in building awareness and facilitating processes that could lead to the successful
         attraction of businesses. These early efforts should include:
             ► Compiling and maintaining an inventory of downtown properties and spaces available for sale or
                  lease. The inventory, along with simple fact sheets or profiles, should be made available for on-
                  demand distribution and via an Internet website. Updated information should also be posted on
                  the State of Iowa’s Location One Information System (LOIS). www.iowalifechanging.com/toolbox/lois.aspx
             ► Preparing a simple print-on-demand and downloadable brochure or series of fact sheets that
                  describe the downtown Lansing market, community and potential business and investment
                  opportunities. The market study prepared as part of this planning effort provides a good starting
                  point and contains much of the information needed.
             ► Creating a special “Opportunities” website feature with information on downtown Lansing business
                  and investment opportunities, available business assistance and incentives, the available properties
                  and spaces inventory/profile sheets, etc.
             ► Using signage to identify opportunities on the street – in a positive way. For example, “This space is
                  not empty, it’s full of opportunity” storefront window posters might be created and used to draw
                  positive attention to available properties and spaces.
             ► Establishing a one-stop-shop for information on downtown Lansing business and investment
                  opportunities. The location and contact information for the Main Street Matters office/contact
                  person should be prominently displayed in all business development-related materials and
                  communications.

         The market study prepared as part of this effort also provides an initial indication of business types and
         uses that might be targeted for expansion and recruitment in downtown Lansing. The Business
         Opportunities Committee should invest time in examining and building on the information contained in the
         study, and work to promote opportunities that appear to have the best potential for success.

         Redevelopment Opportunities
         Downtown Lansing, with a selection of vacant and underutilized parcels, buildings and spaces, offers
         potential for redevelopment. Certain parcels might conceivably attract attention on the part of prospective
         investors and developers who might seek to redevelop sites for higher density, mixed-use commercial and
         residential developments.

         While housing trends and projections suggest potential demand for new housing units might be limited in
         the short-term, downtowns are increasingly a residence of choice and convenience for a new brand of
         consumer. Demand for downtown Lansing housing could provide opportunities for the redevelopment or
         improvement of upper level building spaces as short- and long-term lodging options and for condominium,
         apartment and loft units.

         Pro-active planning and advance consideration of district management-related issues can help to pave the
         way for the redevelopment of vacant and underutilized sites, and for upper level commercial and
         residential development. Special attention should be devoted to ensuring that appropriate building codes
         and zoning provisions are in place. City leaders and building officials should be involved early in the


Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide               Page 11
         planning process to troubleshoot potential barriers to upper level redevelopment, and zoning ordinances
         should be reviewed and, if necessary, revised to accommodate desired residential and commercial uses.
         Parking provisions and management policies for commercial district housing tenants and business
         employees should also be reviewed and issues that might revolve around the need to accommodate
         lodging guests and long-term employee and resident parking should be resolved in advance.

         The area’s infrastructure relative to current and future business needs is another aspect that will impact
         development opportunities. The state of the downtown telecommunications infrastructure, in particular,
         could prove significant to long-term strategies for locating quality retail, service and office tenants in
         downtown Lansing.

         Possible strategies for commercial expansion and recruitment in downtown Lansing might seek to capitalize
         on three highly desirable attributes: the availability and affordability of commercial space and sites in
         downtown Lansing; Lansing’s attractive setting and quality of life enjoyed by residents; and technology that
         enables businesses and workers to locate in their place of choice and work globally.

         Downtown Lansing could potentially provide an ideal setting for “back-door retailers” that rely on the
         Internet, for telecommuters, and for small technology-oriented operations. These individuals and
         businesses tend to seek out locations that offer:
              ►    Affordable overhead and ease of doing business, including a business-friendly regulatory policies
                   and processes
              ►    Open, readily modified floor plans and work spaces
              ►    Ready, walkable access to retail goods, personal services and eating & drinking places
              ►    Surroundings with recreational features and places to simply sit and relax
              ►    Unique quality of life features that tend to revolve around home and family

         Downtown Lansing and the Lansing community appear to possess the “raw ingredients” that, with time and
         investment, could be made to effectively cater to these preferences. Underutilized buildings,
         redevelopment sites and the upper levels of Lansing’s downtown commercial buildings could accommodate
         a variety of these business types, while serving to intensify uses and increase the “captive” downtown
         population. Former Lansing area residents, seasonal residents and frequent visitors working in these fields
         in other locations might be prospective candidates as both employees and owners of these businesses.

         Telecommunications technologies and Internet access could also be vital for certain retail businesses that
         could benefit and enhance their prospects for long-term success through the application of global
         marketing and E-Commerce technologies. The availability of an advanced telecommunications
         infrastructure and/or public WiFi system could be used as key features for retaining and attracting quality
         retail tenants, and even residents who choose to live in a traditional downtown business district setting.

         Main Street Matters should work cooperatively with local community development partners to assess the
         condition of the current district telecommunications infrastructure and to develop a long-term plan for its
         enhancement and maintenance. Partnerships with utility providers, area educational institutions, the City
         of Lansing and state government entities should be pursued as a means of exploring options and pursuing
         desirable alternatives.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide            Page 12
         Business Opportunities Action Steps

          Action Description                                                                                           Priority Level

            1        Organize a business assistance team and/or business visitation program that engages                     1
                     district businesses; promotes available assistance, resources and incentives; and helps to
                     facilitate the delivery of business assistance resources.
            2        Research, compile and summarize information on available technical assistance and                       1
                     incentives available to businesses in a directory, brochure and/or fact sheets. Distribute to
                     existing and prospective downtown businesses and consider possibilities for the launch of a
                     continuing education series and/or business-to-business networking events.
            3        Compile and maintain a downtown Lansing property and business inventory; maintain a                     1
                     current list of businesses for sale and properties and spaces available for sale of lease;
                     maintain the list as a website feature, for on-demand printing and distribution, and for
                     posting on IDED’s LOIS system.
            4        Compile and summarize market information in a brochure or fact sheets to share with                     1
                     existing and prospective downtown businesses.
            5        Identify “Opportunity Sites” with posters (This space is not empty, it’s full of opportunity!).         1
                     Provide contact information for property owners/agents and Main Street Matters.
            6        Conduct the Downtown Lansing Business Survey on an annual basis (4th quarter) to track                  1
                     changes, re-assess business needs, etc.
            7        Identify candidates and promote business expansion opportunities based on prospects,                    3
                     business types and merchandise lines identified in market data reports and follow-up
                     research and analyses (i.e., consumer focus groups, visitor intercept surveys, etc.).
            8        Identify and assist businesses in succession planning by using resources and facilitating               3
                     access to assistance available from or through the MSM Business Assistance Team and
                     other regional and state resources (i.e., Iowa Department of Commerce, Iowa Downtown
                     Resource Center/Main Street Iowa, university extension offices, small business
                     development centers, etc.).
            9        Work with the City of Lansing, Design Committee and other potential partners to devise a                3
                     short- and long-term strategy for the disposition of the Main Street Matters-owned site.
            10       Facilitate cooperative advertising and marketing efforts that involve property owners and               3
                     agents to market available space and potential infill and redevelopment opportunities.
            11       Work with the City of Lansing, local financial institutions, Iowa Department of Economic                3
                     Development, etc. to investigate and pursue appropriate options for low-interest loan and/or
                     line-of-credit programs and other possible incentives that could be used, along with
                     technical and design assistance, to leverage increased levels of investment in downtown
                     buildings and businesses.
            12       Identify and actively recruit specific businesses based on prospects identified through                 5
                     market research and leads-generating activities and the availability of appropriate spaces.
            13       Work with the City of Lansing, Design Committee and other community development                         5
                     partners to review and update, where appropriate, a long-term downtown land use strategy
                     and zoning provisions that readily accommodate desired uses in the downtown Lansing
                     business district.
            14       Prepare redevelopment concepts and work with property owners to actively market potential               5
                     infill and redevelopment sites based on a downtown Lansing land use plan and business
                     types targeted for expansion and recruitment.

            15       Complete an assessment of the downtown’s telecommunications infrastructure and work                     5
                     with community development partners to devise a long-term strategy for its improvement
                     and maintenance.

         Priority Level Key:
                                                 1 = Within 1 Year            3 = Within 3 Years        5 = Within 5 Years



Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                             Page 13
         Promotion
         Marketing and promotion activities offer an opportunity to re-introduce area residents and visitors to the
         downtown area, to highlight positive changes occurring as part of the downtown revitalization initiative,
         and to promote the downtown Lansing “experience.” Early efforts of the Main Street Matters Promotion
         Committee will play an important role in “setting the tone” for the community’s downtown revitalization
         efforts, in overcoming negative perceptions that may exist among local and regional consumers, and in
         generating traffic that will help to support existing and new downtown Lansing businesses.

         An effective marketing and promotion strategy for downtown Lansing might best be developed through
         images, messages, activities and events that:
               ►   Capture the broad range of activities, uses and personalities that are identified with downtown
                   Lansing to promote a larger downtown Lansing “experience.”
               ►   Showcase and celebrate the downtown’s distinguishing features and small town, hometown
                   qualities.
               ►   Capitalize on key activity generators, the cluster of downtown eating & drinking establishments and
                   destination-oriented retail and service businesses located within and immediately surrounding the
                   downtown.
               ►   Make connections to surrounding natural and recreational features.
               ►   Celebrate progress stemming from Main Street Matters and the community’s downtown
                   revitalization efforts, and convey a strong sense of promise and optimism for the downtown’s
                   future.

         For the short term, Main Street Matters Promotion Committee efforts might best be focused on:
              ► Re-introducing year-round and seasonal residents to the downtown businesses district and
                 heightening awareness of the complete mix of goods and services available.
               ► Nurturing a heightened sense of the downtown Lansing brand and building local brand loyalty.
               ► Assessing the effectiveness of existing downtown-hosted events with an eye toward improvements
                 and/or introducing new events that capitalize on assets and promote a quality image of the
                 downtown.

         Long-term marketing and promotion strategies should evolve as an orchestrated campaign focused on
         promoting the many ways in which one can experience downtown Lansing. Messages, activities and events
         implemented as part of a professionally produced branding system and marketing & promotion campaign
         should serve to reinforce the downtown Lansing “brand.” This approach, implemented over time, will
         support efforts to:
              ►    Increase traffic and the level of activity in the downtown area.
              ►    Support existing downtown businesses, capitalize upon key “activity generators,” and draw
                   attention to the downtown’s distinct assets.
              ►    Overcome negative perceptions and misconceptions.
              ►    Better capitalize on the Lansing area visitor, tourism and seasonal resident markets.
              ►    Enhance confidence among prospective investors and entrepreneurs.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide             Page 14
         Special Events
         The Main Street Matters Promotion Committee should work closely with other community organizations
         and groups already staging festivals and events in the downtown area and lend support, where needed
         and/or appropriate. At the same time, the committee should seek out and pursue opportunities to enhance
         events or introduce new, small-scale events to enhance the downtown’s “entertainment factor” and that
         could, overtime, evolve into a larger scale festivals or events. Examples include:
              ►    Staging a “Silly Sailor” regatta or bed race-style boat race on a downtown street, or a “Duck
                   Wheels” pinewood derby-style competition as part of a Driftless Area or Riverfest celebration.
              ►    Organizing Iowa’s largest Duck Waddle – a bunny hop-like publicity stunt.
              ►    Birding events and activities, such as a bird-calling contest, guided birding tours, kid’s “name that
                   bird” contest, a “famous birds” trivia game, etc. that could evolve into a larger birding festival or
                   Fall Festival of Foliage and Feathers.
              ►    Organizing and staging a weekly Farmers Market in the downtown area. Farmers Market events
                   often start as small-scale exhibits and events, but also have the potential to evolve and become
                   major attractions that draw visitors to the downtown on a regular basis.
              ►    Working with area industries, contractors and local government to organize a “Touch-a-Truck”
                   event as a salute to local employers and industry, and to offer a fun experience for children to
                   touch, sit in and “drive” buses, dump trucks, fire trucks, backhoes, bulldozers, tractors, etc.

         Longer-term marketing and promotion strategies should seek to develop a local “signature” festival or
         event that highlights local history, heritage and culture, possibly as part of a local National Historic
         Preservation Awareness Month in May and/or an Alumni Week or “Generations Celebration” staged
         around the Memorial Day holiday. Ideas, sample proclamations, and suggestions for activities are listed on
         the National Trust’s website at www.presrvationnation.org and include:
             ► Host an open house to show off a historic building that has been recently restored or is in need of
                 restoration.
             ► Hold a career day, inviting preservationists, architects, craftspeople, researchers and others to
                 speak to students about their work.
             ► Encourage Main Street merchants to display the National Trust’s Preservation Month poster and/or
                 create special store-window displays that highlight the history of their business or building.
             ► Hold workshops for owners of historic houses.
             ► Organize a work project to clean up a historic town square, park or cemetery.
             ► Conduct a walking tour through a historic district.
              ►    Collect "then and now" photos of your community and exhibit them in a public space such as a
                   school or library.
              ► Present preservation awards to those who have made a difference in your community.
              ► Organize a block party, community picnic or period fashion show in a historic neighborhood or
                park.
              ► Hold a photo or architectural trivia contest.
              ► Bury a Community Time Capsule.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide               Page 15
         Business Marketing and Events
         Downtown Lansing features an eclectic mix of businesses, including retail establishments, eating & drinking
         places, service providers and professional offices. Marketing and promotion strategies should seek to go
         beyond special events and retail events to increase awareness as to the complete range of products and
         services available from downtown businesses – and to capitalize on traffic generated by non-retail
         establishments. Activities and programs to create and nurture a strong sense of local Lansing brand loyalty
         might also serve to facilitate cooperative marketing and advertising activities – and to extend the reach of
         downtown advertising beyond a ten-minute drive time area to reach important regional market segments.

         Examples of business marketing and promotional events for consideration include:
            ► Develop a “Lansing Loyal” program that entitles card-holders to special privileges and perks at
                downtown events and participating downtown businesses. The Darlington Main Street Program in
                Darlington, Wisconsin has developed a similar program that could serve as a model for Lansing.
              ►    Work with local media, or using social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to produce a “The Owner
                   is In” cooperative advertising campaign that features local businesses and personalities on a
                   rotating basis, and emphasizes the advantages of doing business with locally-owned businesses
                   (i.e., personal service, quality assurance, local expert advice, etc.).
              ►    Create and distribute a special yellow pages-oriented downtown business directory and calendar
                   for local distribution, and/or a downtown “Shopping, Dining & Attractions Guide” for regional
                   distribution, placement at visitor-oriented facilities and businesses, and available for download
                   from a downtown Lansing website.
              ►    Organize downtown business networking activities and events that help to build a “referral system”
                   by broadening downtown employees’ awareness as to the variety of goods and services available
                   from downtown businesses. For example, a periodic “walk-about” event that includes a tour of 2 or
                   3 downtown businesses, followed by a social activity, might be introduced in partnership with the
                   Business Opportunities Committee.
              ►    Encourage businesses to develop creative cross-marketing partnerships and arrangements that
                   help to generate desirable pedestrian patterns and capitalize on traffic generated by both retail and
                   non-retail establishments. Examples include:
                        − Coupon for free dessert with beauty salon service/purchase
                        − Coupon for free jewelry cleaning with hardware store purchase
                        − Dinner for 2 gift certificate with new bank account, mortgage, or insurance policy
                        − Appliance store or gift shop gift certificate provided by realtor at closing
              ►    Organize a “Trading Places”-style program for businesses to trade window displays and/or
                   incorporate products and services from other businesses in their own window displays to, in
                   essence, create a walking downtown directory showcase.
              ►    Work to introduce a new, targeted retail activity or event that includes elements of entertainment
                   or education. Examples include:
                        − A “Girls Night Out” event, possibly staged during the hunting season or as a kick-off to the
                             Christmas shopping season, offering in-store specials, treats, entertainment and small
                             novelty or premium items.
                        − A “Kids Day Out” or “Family Night” event featuring old-fashioned entertainment and
                             carnival games demonstrating, or making adaptive/creative use, of products and services.
                        − A “Class of Downtown” event, possibly staged around the back-to-school period, but
                             offering special classes, product demonstrations, make-it & take-it crafting activities,
                             special trunk showings and other activities that showcase downtown products and services.


Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide               Page 16
         Image Enhancement
         The downtown’s setting on the banks of the Mississippi River, the community center, nearby school
         facilities, the cluster of eating & drinking places, the impressive collection of historic buildings, family-
         oriented events hosted in the downtown, and locally-owned businesses catering to the everyday needs of
         area residents are among the features that have helped downtown Lansing maintain an identity as a
         “community center” and gathering place. These features also provide a basis for image-building and public
         relations activities that will help to promote a positive image for the downtown and enhance the
         community’s awareness of the downtown as a highly important and invaluable community asset.

         Downtown Lansing image enhancement and public relations efforts should highlight positive changes
         occurring in the downtown, especially those that offer glimpses of the vision becoming reality. Messages
         should promote the downtown as a vibrant, caring, “community center” and gathering place for family,
         friends, commerce, culture and social interaction.

         Examples of image enhancement activities and events include:
            ► Publicizing, promoting and celebrating downtown improvements, new business ventures, and other
                positive changes through social media (i.e., Facebook) postings and updates, local news releases,
                newsletters, speaking engagements, website features, special ceremonies, editorial columns, photo
                opportunities, and other available means to promote positive perceptions about the downtown
                among the local and regional population.
            ► Using website, social media and newsletter features and news releases to highlight special efforts
                and contributions made by the downtown business community and individual businesses in
                community enhancement efforts and charitable initiatives.
            ► Facilitating, supporting and working with other organizations to stage community goodwill activities
                and events in the downtown area. Examples include:
                    − Staging a tree planting ceremony with local Boy Scout troops to celebrate Earth Day.
                    − Placing “Toys for Tots” collection barrels at various downtown locations and businesses.
                    − Producing a music event or local talent show with a canned good or non-perishable food
                        item to be donated to a local food bank as the price of admission.
                    − Organizing and promoting a holiday “Mitten Tree” using donated mittens to decorate a
                        community tree prior to being forwarded to a local charity for distribution to less fortunate
                        families.


         Tourism Marketing

         The scope of downtown Lansing marketing strategies should consider opportunities to even better
         capitalize on Lansing’s wondrous beauty, natural resources and recreational qualities to market Lansing
         and, specifically, downtown Lansing as a “must see” Driftless Area attraction. The Main Street Matters
         Promotion Committee should work closely with area visitor attractions, and the business community, to
         expand regional and tourism-oriented marketing programs and advertising campaigns. Ongoing and long-
         term activities might include:
              ►    Working with area lodging providers, as well as downtown restaurants, retailers and other visitor-
                   oriented establishments to assemble a professional quality Downtown Lansing Shopping and
                   Attractions Guide with coupons and special offers from district establishments for placement and
                   distribution at visitor-oriented facilities located throughout Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin and
                   within area lodging units.



Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide             Page 17
              ►    Organizing visitor-oriented businesses and facilities to participate in cooperative advertising
                   opportunities and leveraging participant dollars to gain prominent placement in tourism
                   publications.
              ►    Organizing and hosting familiarization (FAM) tours for travel agents, tour operators, travel writers,
                   and other tourism professionals.
              ►    Developing and “planting” feature articles and editorial content promoting downtown Lansing as a
                   visitor attraction in tourism publications and newspaper travel sections, especially those that might
                   identify with, or create links to, Midwest recreational enthusiasts.
              ►    Developing and maintaining high quality visitor-oriented Internet website content that promotes
                   the district as a “must see” visitor attraction as part of a Downtown Lansing website as well as
                   through reciprocating links with appropriate websites
              ►    Working with the State of Iowa Tourism office (Travel Iowa) to gain exposure in state-produced and
                   sponsored travel publications, websites, etc.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide               Page 18
           Promotion Action Steps
           Action Description                                                                                               Priority Level

             1        Compile a complete list of events staged in the downtown area. Work with other groups to                    1
                      publicize existing activities and events that are consistent with the quality and brand desired for
                      downtown, and/or to add new sub-activities or sub-events, where appropriate.
             2        Publicize and promote the full calendar of downtown activities and events via a downtown                    1
                      Lansing website, table tents, area publications, news releases, etc.
             3        Work with the Organization Committee to create and maintain a Main Street Matters /                         1
                      Downtown Lansing website (and supplemental/linked Facebook page) that serves as a one-
                      stop web source for information on Main Street Matters and downtown Lansing news,
                      information, events, etc.
             4        Produce and introduce at least one (1) new, small scale downtown Lansing special event.                     1
                      Examples include a Silly Sailor (by land & water) regatta and bed races; birding-oriented
                      events/activities; special farmers market-oriented activities or events; a small-scale summer
                      music series and/or talent show; and a “touch-a-truck” or downtown Lansing mini grand prix
                      kids racing event.
             5        Develop a “Lansing Loyal” program that entitles card holders to special privileges and perks.               1
                      Research the Darlington, Wisconsin model and others for potential application to Lansing.
                      Target for launch in fourth quarter.
             6        Develop, launch and manage an ongoing image enhancement strategy and marketing                              3
                      campaign to focus positive attention on, and heighten the appeal of, downtown Lansing as a
                      community center.
             7        Support, promote and facilitate downtown business community cooperative advertising and                     3
                      cross-marketing efforts, with particular focus on programs and collective marketing efforts that
                      extend the reach of downtown Lansing marketing & advertising efforts and that support the
                      downtown Lansing brand.
             8        Create a professionally produced yellow-pages-oriented downtown business directory and                      3
                      calendar for local distribution (may be packaged with Lansing Loyal card); and/or a Downtown
                      Lansing Shopping, Dining & Attractions guide for placement and distribution at visitor-oriented
                      facilities throughout Lansing and the surrounding region, and available for download from the
                      downtown Lansing website.
             9        Work with local media, or using social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to produce a “The              3
                      Owner is In” or similar cooperative advertising campaign that features local businesses and
                      personalities on a rotating basis, and emphasizes the advantages of doing business with
                      locally-owned businesses (i.e., personal service, quality assurance, local expert advice, etc.).
            10        Organize downtown business networking activities and events that help to build a referral                   3
                      system for downtown Lansing businesses, products and services; consider a regularly
                      scheduled event that engages business owners, employees, area hospitality providers, etc.
            11        Organize and promote a “Trading Places”-style program fro businesses to trade window                        3
                      displays or that incorporates the display of products from other businesses to create a walking
                      showcase directory.
            12        Produce and introduce at least one (1) new targeted retail activity or event that includes                  3
                      elements of entertainment and/or education. Examples include a Girls Night Out event; A Kids
                      Day or Family Day celebration with carnival games and contests focusing attention on retail
                      businesses/products and services; and a Class of Downtown event featuring special product
                      demonstrations, make-it-take-it crafts, trunk showings, etc.
            13        Establish contacts and maintain partnerships with local, regional and state tourism                         3
                      development and marketing partners. Organize and manage an intentional and aggressive
                      tourism marketing strategy which focuses attention on downtown Lansing as a “must see”
                      visitor attraction.
           Priority Level Key:
                                                  1 = Within 1 Year              3 = Within 3 Years            5 = Within 5 Years




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                                 Page 19
         Design
         Historic Preservation and Aesthetics

         Historic preservation is a key element of most, if not all, successful downtown revitalization programs in the
         United States. Communities across the country have come to recognize that their historic resources are
         integral to maintaining a strong sense of place and a distinguishable identity in the market place.

         Results from the downtown business survey indicate strong support for efforts to restore and preserve the
         downtown’s historic character, and the results were consistent with input collected from visioning
         workshop participants. Moreover, the recent award of a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to
         complete a downtown architectural survey is an important first step toward gaining National Historic
         District designation that could open avenues to technical assistance and financial incentives for building
         improvement and historic rehabilitation projects in downtown Lansing.

         The Main Street Matters Design Committee should work hand-in-hand with the consultants retained to
         conduct the downtown architectural survey. The findings and information should be used to gain a better
         understanding of the downtown’s historic resources and the benefits of a National Register designation.
         With that information in hand, the Design Committee should also work to draft design guidelines offering
         guidance to property and business owners contemplating changes and improvements to their properties.
         The development and application of design guidelines, along with design assistance that could become
         available if Lansing is successful in gaining Main Street Iowa designation, will promote quality building
         improvements and the preservation of downtown Lansing’s historic assets – among its most distinguishable
         and marketable features.

         In the mid-term, consideration should be given to coupling design guidelines and design assistance with
         incentives targeted at projects that comply with the intent of the guidelines. This might enable Main Street
         Matters to “incent” related design review and approval processes, and complete at least two or three
         showcase projects that set a high quality standard to be emulated by others. “Mini-grants” should be
         considered to leverage improvements in properties where large matching expenditures are not feasible or
         possible.

         The Design Committee should also work closely with the Main Street Matters Business Opportunities
         Committee to promote a business- and investor-friendly regulatory environment in the district. A complete
         review of city land use plans, zoning ordinances, building codes and development policies should be
         performed to ensure compatibility with both community historic preservation goals and with downtown
         economic development goals.

         Appearance and Maintenance
         Business survey respondents and community participants made frequent comment on the downtown
         area’s appearance, with participants placing a high priority on potential efforts to enhance the downtown
         streetscape and to improve maintenance in both the public and private realms. Main Street Matters should
         work to foster a “Disney Mentality” to maintenance and cleanliness to ensure that the district is perceived
         as an area that reflects the pride of Lansing citizens, particularly as it pursues tourism development
         strategies to bring more and more first-time visitors to the area. Their first impression of the district –
         based largely on impressions of the district’s appearances – will be a determining factor in whether visitors
         choose to return. A regularly scheduled downtown clean-sweep effort that includes a fun, social
         networking component could help to foster this Disney mentality to maintenance and cleanliness.



Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide              Page 20
         Relatively simple projects designed to enhance and enliven the downtown’s streetscape and public spaces,
         such as the installation of banners and other street decor, new signage, and the repair of street lights could
         help to enhance the district’s appearance and the pedestrian experience. Efforts and elements might
         include additional flowers and plantings, banners, flags and other decorative and interpretive elements that
         add color, that signal arrival to a special place within the Driftless Area and Lansing community, and that
         help to tell the downtown Lansing “story.”

         The former building site owned by Main Street Matters could provide another more immediate opportunity
         to show signs of change and progress. Interim development strategies might consider options for a public
         space that could serve as an interpretive site, a gathering place or an urban activity center. Special, yet
         relatively low-cost décor and landscaping treatments might be applied to draw attention to the site; and/or
         the site might serve as a stage to host small-scale events. Main Street Matters should also consider
         opportunities for community partnerships and involvement in the site’s planning and development to
         create a strong sense of community ownership in the outcome.

         Longer-term and more extensive streetscape enhancement efforts will require time, patience, money and
         teamwork. The Design Committee should work closely with the City of Lansing and other community
         development partners to devise a plan and strategy for the reconstruction and replacement of
         deteriorating infrastructure, including downtown streets, curbs, sidewalks and lighting. Recent streetscape
         projects completed in New Hampton, IA and Prairie du Chien, WI, and the Iowa Green Streets Pilot Project
         currently under construction in West Union, IA, could serve as excellent case studies and offer insight on
         processes and potential funding sources and options that could be appropriate to Lansing.

         Links and Connections
         Efforts to improve links and connections between the downtown and the river and surrounding
         recreational areas could help to strengthen the downtown’s connection to neighborhoods, community
         attractions and natural features. Main Street Matters should work in cooperation with the City and other
         community development partners to promote and advance the continued expansion of, and improvements
         to, recreational trails and river connections that serve to create a more seamless transition between the
         downtown and surrounding attractions – and help to establish the downtown as a focal point.

         The Blackhawk Bridge crossing the Mississippi River and connecting Lansing to Wisconsin may be among
         the most critical connections for downtown Lansing. Informal polling of downtown businesses suggests
         traffic from the bridge could account for up to fifty percent or more of business transacted by various
         Lansing businesses. Issues revolving around the maintenance of this route loom large for the downtown
         and for the community as a whole. The Design Committee and Main Street Matters should assume an
         advocate and “watchdog” role, working closely with the City and appropriate officials to ensure the bridge
         is properly maintained and that proactive measures are in place to promptly address conditions, issues and
         incidents that could otherwise result in the bridge’s intermittent or even long-term closure.

         Parking Management
         Opinions regarding the supply and management of parking in downtown Lansing appear to vary greatly.
         Still, most tend to agree that parking habits of downtown business owners and employees who are
         occupying prime on-street customer parking may be among the chief, and seemingly most easily remedied,
         concerns. The Design Committee should work with other Main Street Matters committees and downtown
         stakeholders to promote “Customer First” business practices which include self-imposed off-street business
         owner and employee parking policies.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide              Page 21
         Design Action Steps

            Action      Description                                                                                  Priority Level

               1          Work with the City of Lansing to address ongoing maintenance needs of the existing               1
                          downtown streetscape, furnishings and public spaces. Consider conducting a semi-
                          annual or quarterly walk-about with Design Committee members and City officials to
                          identify maintenance needs, develop a punch-list of work items, and assign
                          responsibilities and timelines to address maintenance needs.
               2          Participate and manage the completion of the downtown historic/architectural survey              1
                          and to follow-through on findings and a possible application/nomination for National
                          Register Historic District designation.
               3          Organize and promote a regularly scheduled “downtown clean sweep” event to engage                1
                          businesses and volunteers in efforts to maintain the downtown area’s streets, sidewalks
                          and public spaces and helps to nurture a Disney mentality to downtown maintenance.
               4          Plan, organize and complete at least one, small scale downtown improvement or                    1
                          enhancement effort. Possibilities might revolve around interim improvements at the
                          former building site owned by Main Street Matters; new street banners; a large-scale
                          window posters program highlighting downtown architecture and special features; a
                          storefront banners/flags program; and/or an “Adopt-a-Pot” seasonal flowers and décor
                          program.
               5          Participate, or work with the City of Lansing and other partners, to organize and                1
                          facilitate a task force which will serve to address short- and long-term concerns
                          revolving around the Blackhawk Bridge.

               6          Work with the Business Opportunities Committee and City of Lansing to review existing            3
                          land use plans, zoning ordinances, building codes and development policies to ensure
                          compatibility with business development goals and strategies and to promote a
                          business- and investor-friendly regulatory environment
               7          Work cooperatively with the City of Lansing and other community development partners             3
                          in support of the expansion and enhancement of pedestrian/bicycle trails and pathways,
                          especially those that provide opportunities for links and connections between the river,
                          recreational areas, community attractions, neighborhoods and the downtown.
               8          Develop Design Guidelines to promote quality building improvements, infill construction          3
                          and redevelopment in downtown Lansing. Identify and promote available design
                          assistance and incentives, and work with the City of Lansing, Business Opportunities
                          Committee, et al, to leverage and direct investments and incentives at showcase
                          projects that will set the standard for downtown Lansing improvements.
               9          Implement or commission a parking study to establish or revise parking policies in order         3
                          to best address and accommodate the needs of the downtown’s various user groups,
                          including shoppers, patrons, diners, employees and residents, and to accommodate
                          new development that could occur in the future.
              10          Work with the City of Lansing and other community development partners and groups                3
                          to review existing streetscape enhancement concepts (i.e., Vision Lansing), conduct
                          research, study models (i.e., Prairie du Chien, New Hampton, West Union, etc.) and
                          devise a process for the long-term improvement and enhancement of the downtown
                          Lansing streetscape and infrastructure.
              11          Initiate and/or complete construction on long-term downtown streetscape and                      5
                          infrastructure improvements.

         Priority Level Key:
                                                  1 = Within 1 Year                3 = Within 3 Years         5 = Within 5 Years




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                           Page 22
         Organization
         The strategies and projects outlined for implementation in this document are ambitious, and the
         Organization Committee’s roles as partnership builder, resource locater and publicity machine will be
         absolutely vital to ensuring the success of Main Street Matters and community of Lansing revitalization
         efforts. In some cases this role may require the Organization Committee to locate or develop entirely new
         sources of funding to execute a Business Opportunities Committee project, or to find a new volunteer
         source to ensure that a Promotion Committee event is adequately staffed. In other cases, it might require
         the organization to re-assess priorities and existing budget allocations as projects may shift in priority based
         on changing circumstances and emerging opportunities.

         Funding
         Main Street Matters has already demonstrated keen awareness of the importance for generating support –
         and funding – to support the community’s new downtown revitalization initiative. The 2010 pledge drive
         was, by all accounts, a great success and, beyond generating dollars, helped to increase awareness for the
         effort and build momentum. It will be important for Main Street Matters to follow-through on the effort by
         collecting on those initial pledges; renewing pledges for coming years; and seeking out additional pledges
         and other forms of support to sustain Main Street Matters and the community’s downtown revitalization
         efforts for the long-term.

         Some of the projects outlined in this document will require additional and unusual amounts of funding – in
         some cases for a one-time project. The Organization Committee should work with each of the committees
         to review project funding needs and to formulate a strategy for meeting those needs. As with all Main
         Street projects, meeting funding requirements does not necessarily entail writing a check. Assisting the
         Promotion Committee, for example, to produce a festival, might instead involve acquiring donations or
         discounts from local suppliers. For larger-scale projects, sponsorships, grants, one-time capital campaigns,
         and donations of technical expertise and services are all sources of project funding that should be
         rigorously investigated and pursued.

         Volunteers
         Some of the projects recommended in this study will require extraordinary volunteer resources. Whether
         the project is the addition of a new festival or event, an effort to network businesses, or an attempt to
         rehab a downtown building, the Organization Committee should work with the relevant committee to find
         unique ways to acquire new volunteers – and engage them in the process. For the above festival example,
         the committee might assist by forming a partnership with a local community group or enlisting the help of
         students from the local high school.

         Partnership Building
         While Main Street Matters can and should take the leadership role in facilitating projects adopted as a
         result of this visioning and planning process, the group’s continued success in forming partnerships with
         entities such as the City of Lansing, Iowa State Historic Preservation Office, Iowa Downtown Resource
         Center and other local, regional and state organizations, will prove essential to achieving the vision for
         downtown Lansing.

         Main Street Matters should serve in the capacity of a steering committee, helping to manage resources and
         coordinating projects selected for implementation with appropriate organizations and groups, and
         monitoring implementation of each project component. Each Main Street Matters committee might


Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                Page 23
         pursue projects proposed as part of this strategy in collaboration with several other groups. Some groups
         and entities are specifically identified in this document as being key partners, but the list is not exhaustive.
         The Organization Committee, in consultation with other Main Street Matters committees, should work to
         identify – and recruit – additional organizations, businesses and individuals that share an interest in
         community revitalization goals.

         Main Street Matters board members, committee members, staff and volunteers must effectively work
         together as the “keepers of the vision” for downtown Lansing; as “advocates” for the local Main Street
         program and its mission; and as “builders” to enlist the help and support of community and economic
         development partners and stakeholders that all share an interest in the success – or failure – of downtown
         Lansing. Fostering an environment of partnerships and team work should be among the highest of priorities
         for the Main Street Matters organization.


         Leadership Development
         As a young organization, Main Street Matters volunteers and staff may find themselves embarking on new
         territory, working in areas and dealing with challenges and issues that have not been encountered before
         as they pursue opportunities and projects proposed in this implementation strategy. Once hired, as
         anticipated, Main Street Matters staff, in particular, will be involved at a high level and responsible for
         important tasks that will have a major impact on the organization’s success.

         The Organization Committee, working with the Board of Directors, should allocate sufficient funds for staff
         and volunteer training that will help to nurture their leadership skills and enhance their abilities to work
         effectively, execute projects, and generate intended results.

         The Main Street Iowa program and network offer excellent avenues for leadership development and
         networking, and provides valuable technical assistance and training to designated communities. Main
         Street Matters should maintain contact with Main Street Iowa and, at the next available opportunity,
         should make application for designation as a Main Street Iowa community.

         Communications and Public Relations
         Fostering an understanding of the importance of downtown revitalization for a community, and the
         benefits and impacts of these undertakings on the community at large, must be a priority for all downtown
         organizations. For Main Street Matters, this need may be more pressing and immediate as the organization
         pursues a self-initiated Main Street program course.

         Keeping projects that have been adopted as a result of this visioning and planning effort before the public
         eye will be important. Internal and external communications systems must be created to manage the flow
         of information and to keep the community informed.

         The Organization Committee should work consistently to publicize plans and progress being made through
         the implementation of projects originating from this planning effort – and always celebrate successes
         achieved as a result of this or any Main Street Matters activity. Public relations efforts might include, in
         addition to immediately necessary newsletter, website and social media applications development, regular
         “progress reports” delivered at city meetings; news releases issued under a unifying banner or theme; town
         meetings; stakeholder meetings; monthly downtown merchant coffees to discuss projects, plans and
         results; and a monthly or weekly update on a local radio show or cable access television show.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                Page 24
         Priority Action Steps – Organization
          Action Description                                                                                               Priority Level

            1        Manage the production of the 2011 Main Street Matters Action Plan – assemble project sheets                 1
                     prepared by committees, present to Board for review/refinement/approval, and finalize plan
                     and related budget for implementation by committees and project teams, and for monitoring
                     by the Board.
            2        Follow-through on the collection of 2010 pledges; and devise and implement a strategy for the               1
                     renewal/expansion of the pledge program for 2011. Create and/or maintain related databases
                     and record-keeping systems to track pledges and other forms of revenue and support
                     received.
            3        Develop and manage the Main Street Matters internal communications system to provide for                    1
                     the timely and efficient production and distribution of meeting notices, meeting agendas,
                     meeting minutes/notes, committee and project updates, etc. Online and email resources
                     should be utilized to maximum extent.
            4        Work in conjunction with or in a support role to the Board to help organize the staff hiring                1
                     process, to develop personnel and operations policies, and to facilitate orientation and training
                     processes and opportunities for staff, volunteers and new board members.
            5        Develop and manage the Main Street Matters external communications system. Initial                          1
                     emphasis should be placed on the development of a website and Facebook page that serves
                     as a one-stop source for Main Street Matters and downtown Lansing news, information and
                     updates. The system should also incorporate aggressive, ongoing public relations efforts to
                     recruit volunteers, solicit input and support, and publicize plans, projects and results.
            6        Maintain contact with Main Street Iowa and, at the next available opportunity, prepare and                  1
                     submit an application for Main Street Iowa designation.
            7        Make a budget allocation for ongoing staff and volunteer professional development and                       1
                     training opportunities. For 2011, consideration should be given to an allocation that would help
                     to fund and/or offset costs for a Lansing contingent of staff and volunteers to attend the
                     National Main Streets Conference in Des Moines, IA (May 22 – 25, 2011). Future budgeting
                     processes should also consider allocations for staff and volunteer training.
            8        Produce an annual report and event to highlight progress, activity and successes; to thank                  1
                     volunteers and partners for their efforts; and to preview plans, projects and activities slated for
                     implementation in the months and years ahead.
            9        Create and strengthen partnerships with other community organizations and group. Distribute                 3
                     information, make presentations and provide frequent updates to community organizations
                     and groups. Identify and promote opportunities for other groups to participate or to adopt
                     projects identified for implementation.
            10        Develop a long-term finance strategy that incorporates various forms of revenue and support                3
                      (i.e., pledges, sponsorships, grants, etc.) in order to provide for the long-term operations of
                      Main Street Matters and the execution of its programs, projects and activities.
            11       Develop a more formal volunteer recruitment, training and recognition program and new board                 3
                     member recruitment and orientation process.
            12        Monitor needs for staff/administrative support to respond to the growth of the organization and            3
                      its evolving/growing scope of work.

         Priority Level Key:
                                                  1 = Within 1 Year            3 = Within 3 Years         5 = Within 5 Years




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                                Page 25
         Main Street Matters Year One Action Plan Outline and Planning Guide
         Business Opportunities Committee
         Goal:
         Strengthen downtown Lansing’s commercial base and foster a quality, vibrant business mix through the
         implementation of market-driven business retention, expansion and recruitment efforts.

         Business Opportunities Committee members and volunteers work to:
              ► Assess and monitor the downtown’s economic condition and performance, and identify
                opportunities for growth
              ► Help to strengthen and retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses
              ► Find new economic uses for traditional downtown buildings and underutilized spaces
              ► Develop and provide access to resources, tools, technical assistance and financial incentives


         Proposed 2011 Projects and Activities:
              1. Organize a Business Assistance Team and/or Business Visitation Program to identify needs and to
                 promote and provide referrals to available assistance, tools, incentives, etc.
              2. Research, compile and summarize information on available technical assistance, tools and
                 incentives available to businesses; create a brochure or fact sheets for distribution; and consider
                 possibilities for the launch of a continuing education series, seminars or networking events.
              3. Compile and maintain downtown property and business inventory; maintain a current “Hotlist” of
                 properties available for sale or lease; post opportunity sites on IDED LOIS system.
              4. Compile and summarize market data for prospective investors and businesses in a brochure or fact
                 sheets, available in print & distribute on-demand and downloadable formats.
              5. Identify “Opportunity Sites” with posters (This space is not empty, it’s full of opportunity!).
              6. Conduct the downtown Lansing Business Survey on an annual basis (fourth quarter).

         Tickler File (Potential Projects and Activities for Future Implementation)
              ►    Identify candidates and promote business expansion opportunities based on existing and follow-up
                   research (i.e., consumer focus groups, visitor intercept surveys, etc.).
              ►    Assist businesses in succession planning by facilitating access to technical assistance/resources.
              ►    Work with City, Design Committee and other partners to devise a short- and long-term strategy for
                   the disposition and/or development of the MSM-owned site.
              ►    Facilitate cooperative advertising and marketing efforts to market downtown opportunity sites.
              ►    Work with city, local financial institutions, IDED, etc. to investigate and pursue development of
                   appropriate options for financial incentives, loan pools, line-of-credit programs, etc.
              ►    Identify and actively recruit business prospects based on research and leads generated.
              ►    Work with City and other partners to review and update land use plans, zoning, etc. to readily
                   accommodate development and uses desired in the downtown.

         Other Possible Projects:
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________


Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide            Page 26
         Main Street Matters Year One Action Plan Outline and Planning Guide
         Promotion Committee
         Goal:
         Attract people to visit and do business in downtown Lansing, and promote a quality image of Downtown
         Lansing, through effective marketing and quality events.

         Promotion Committee members and volunteers work to:
              ►    Produce special events that attract people to have fun and experience the downtown in new ways
              ►    Produce business events and marketing programs that promote the full range of businesses,
                   products and services available in downtown Lansing
              ►    Work with other groups and organizations to host events and promote a complete calendar of
                   downtown events
              ►    Create, support and promote events and activities to enhance the image of downtown Lansing
              ►    Work with local, regional and state partners to market and promote downtown Lansing as a “must
                   see” visitor attraction.

         Proposed 2011 Projects and Activities:
              1. Compile a complete list of downtown festivals and events; work with other groups to publicize and
                 promote events.
              2. Publish a downtown events calendar; publicize, distribute and promote via website, table tents, are
                 publications, news releases, etc.
              3. Develop, update and maintain downtown marketing and promotion content on the new downtown
                 Lansing website (with Organization Committee).
              4. Produce at least one new small scale downtown Lansing special event.
              5. Develop a “Lansing Local” program (research Darlington, WI model); target for 4th quarter launch.

         Tickler File (Potential Projects and Activities for Future Implementation)
              ►    Develop, launch and manage an ongoing image enhancement strategy and marketing campaign.
              ►    Support, promote and facilitate downtown cooperative advertising and cross-marketing programs.
              ►    Create professionally produced yellow pages-oriented business directory and/or attractions guide.
              ►    Produce a “The Owner is In” or similar cooperative marketing and advertising campaign.
              ►    Organize downtown business-to-business networking events to help build a referral system.
              ►    Organize and promote a “Trading Places”-style window display and visual merchandising program.
              ►    Produce and stage at least one new targeted retail activity or event (i.e., Girls Night Out, Kids Day or
                   Family Day, Class of Downtown, etc.)
              ►    Formalize contacts and partnerships with local, regional and state tourism development and
                   marketing partners; develop and implement tourism marketing campaign.

         Other Possible Projects:
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________


Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                  Page 27
         Main Street Matters Year One Action Plan Outline and Planning Guide
         Design Committee
         Goal:
         Preserve, enhance and maintain downtown Lansing’s physical appearance, spaces, historic assets,
         connections and special features.

         Design Committee members and volunteers work to:
              ►    Protect, preserve, enhance and promote downtown Lansing’s historic assets
              ►    Improve and maintain downtown buildings, streets, sidewalks, public spaces and connections
              ►    Educate others about good design and provide good design advice
              ►    Work with community development partners to plan and implement downtown improvements
              ►    Help guide future growth, shape regulations and motivate others to make positive changes

         Proposed 2011 Projects and Activities:
              1. Work with the City of Lansing to address ongoing maintenance needs; conduct an annual or semi-
                 annual walkabout to develop a punch-list and assign responsibilities and timelines to address
                 downtown maintenance needs.
              2. Participate and manage the completion of downtown historic/architectural survey; follow-through
                 on findings and possible National Register Historic District application/nomination.
              3. Organize and promote a regularly scheduled “downtown clean sweep” event.
              4. Plan, organize and complete at least one small scale downtown improvement or enhancement
                 project (i.e., banners, flags, flowers, landscaping at MSM site, signage project, etc.)
              5. Participate, or work with city and others, to organize Blackhawk Bridge task force.

         Tickler File (Potential Projects and Activities for Future Implementation)
              ►    Work with Business Opportunities Committee and city to review land use plans, zoning ordinances,
                   etc. and to amend, as may be necessary, to promote a business- and investor-friendly environment.
              ►    Work with city and other partners to support expansion and enhancement of pedestrian/bike trails,
                   pathways, and other connections between downtown and the river, trails, attractions, etc.
              ►    Develop design guidelines to promote quality building improvements, infill construction and
                   redevelopment; work with partners to leverage and direct investments toward quality projects.
              ►    Implement or commission a parking study to establish or revise parking policies to best cater to the
                   needs of various downtown user groups and to accommodate future development.
              ►    Work with city and other partners to plan and implement streetscape enhancements and
                   improvements addressing the downtown’s long-term infrastructure needs.

         Other Possible Projects:
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide              Page 28
         Main Street Matters Year One Action Plan Outline and Planning Guide
         Organization Committee

         Goal:
         Develop Main Street Matters as a respected, highly efficient and successful organization and resource
         center leading the community’s cause for the revitalization of downtown Lansing.

         Organization Committee members and volunteers work to:
                   ►    Generate funding for projects and program administration
                   ►    Develop and manage the organization’s internal and external communications systems
                   ►    Recruit, train and recognize volunteers and help develop leaders
                   ►    Promote and publicize the Main Street Matters organization
                   ►    Help develop and manage the organization’s finances, policies and procedures
                   ►    Facilitate and manage the annual Action Plan development process

         Proposed 2011 Projects and Activities:
              1. Manage the production and assembly of the Main Street Matters 2011 Action Plan.
              2. Follow-through on the collection of 2010 pledges and devise and implement a strategy for the
                 renewal/expansion of the pledge program for 2011 (or other alternatives TBD).
              3. Develop and manage the Main Street Matters internal communications system to provide for the
                 timely and efficient production and distribution of meeting notices, agendas, updates, etc.
              4. Work in conjunction with or in a support role to the Board to help organize the staff hiring and
                 orientation process and to develop initial personnel and operations policies.
              5. Develop and manage the MSM external communications system, starting with the development,
                 launch and maintenance of a MSM/Downtown Lansing website and Facebook page.
              6. Maintain contact with Main Street Iowa and submit application at the next available opportunity.
              7. Initiate development of a professional development and training program (consider allocation for
                 Lansing contingent to attend National Main Streets Conference in Des Moines, May 22 – 25, 2011).
              8. Produce an annual report and event to highlight progress and successes, thank and recognize
                 volunteers and partners, and preview upcoming projects and plans.

         Tickler File (Potential Projects and Activities for Future Implementation)
              ►    Develop formal program/system/strategy to create and strengthen partnerships with other
                   organizations and groups.
              ►    Develop and implement a long-term finance strategy with a mix of revenue and support.
              ►    Develop a more formal volunteer and board member development process.

         Other Possible Projects:
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________
              ►    ________________________________________________________________________




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide        Page 29
         Next Steps: Action Plan Development Process, Hints & Tips
            ►   Review the list of project examples and compile a short list of other possible projects for Year One
                implementation.
            ►   Reach committee consensus on “Top Projects” – typically 3 to 5 projects to be implemented during
                the first year, depending on the committee’s resources.
            ►   For each project selected for implementation, select/assign/delegate a team leader and team
                members that will implement the project.
            ►   Detail each project selected for implementation in terms of:
                   -        Tasks (steps) necessary to complete the project
                   -        The person(s) that will be responsible for completing each task
                                 ♦    “Committee” or “Main Street Manager” should rarely, if ever, be used
                   -        Start dates and end dates for each task
                                 ♦    Take care to schedule projects in an incremental fashion
                   -        A budget estimate for each task and the project (where applicable)
                   -        A way to measure progress or success (Anticipated Results/Measure of Success)
           ►    Submit completed action plan sheets to the person(s) designated; compile complete Action Plan
                proposal and submit to the board of directors for review, budget consideration and approval.
           ►    Make any necessary changes, adjustments or modifications required for approval.
           ►    Once approved…



                GO!
           ►    Work your plan! Monitor implementation and, if significant changes are required (i.e., timeline,
                budget, etc.), re-submit revised project plan to Board of Directors for review and approval.
           ►    Use the Action Plan as the basis for committee meeting agendas to report on progress and to solicit
                committee help and input on next steps, where needed.
           ►    Proposals for adding projects to the annual committee work plan should be developed using the
                same steps listed above, and submitted for approval prior to commencing work.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide           Page 30
         Sample Action Plan Project Worksheet

           Committee: Business Opportunities

           Goal: Strengthen downtown Lansing’s commercial base and foster a quality, vibrant business mix through the
           implementation of market-driven business retention, expansion and recruitment efforts.

           Project: Package and distribute a business tool kit with information on existing business assistance resources
           and incentives.

           Team Leader: Jenny Miller

           Team Members: Jenny Miller, Bill Jones, Roger Gibbons and Claire Smith

           Tasks Necessary to Complete                     Responsibility:                 Start Date:   End Date:   Budget:
           Project:
           Investigate existing business
                                                           Bill Jones                      03-01-11      03-31-11       $10
           assistance resources and incentives

           Acquire list of property and business
                                                           Claire Smith                    03-01-11      03-31-11       N/A
           owners
           Write a “fact sheet” for each possible
           business assistance
                                                           Bill Jones, with team
           resource/program and incentive and                                              04-01-11      05-31-11       N/A
                                                           members
           develop brochure/folder, etc. for their
           inclusion

           Produce “Package”                               Jenny Miller                    06-01-11      06=30-11       $500

           Distribute Incentives Package to all
                                                           Jenny Miller                    07-01-11      07-31-11       N/A
           Business and Property Owners

           Coordinate news release with
                                                           Claire Smith                    07-01-11      07-31-11       N/A
           Organization Committee

           Coordinate publicizing of success
                                                           Claire Smith                    08-01-11      Ongoing        N/A
           stories with Organization Committee

           Follow up with business/property
                                                           Bill Jones & Jenny Miller       08-01-11      Ongoing        N/A
           owners




           Anticipated Results/Measure of Success:
           Create and distribute business tool kit by 07-31-11; At least two business referrals or incentives approved by
           12/31/2011.




Main Street Matters | The Community’s Vision for Downtown Lansing and Implementation Strategies Guide                     Page 31

								
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