Downtown is the engine of growth


It’s been gratifying to have so many people comment to me in the past week that they intend to read “Our Towns” (see previous post). We couldn’t ask for a better blueprint for moving Warren forward, so the more people who read it — the better.

I mentioned in my review that the list of “10-1/2 Signs of Civic Success” at the end of the book is worth the price of the book alone. Copyright laws prevent me from just reproducing the list here, but one of them is: “They have downtowns,” which the authors say is “the quickest single marker of the condition of a town.” Greenville, SC and Burlington, VT (above) are held up as examples of downtowns that have done an especially good job of revival.

The need for revival should not be seen as something to be ashamed of; most downtowns, including Warren’s, were built largely in the 19th Century and can’t be expected to to be perfectly adapted to life in the 21st Century. They require “attention, resources and creativity” to overcome the horrors perpetrated on so many downtowns in the name of “urban renewal” in the mid-20th Century. If you haven’t yet, take a look at “Places and Things Gone from Warren, Ohio” on Facebook for photographic and written examples of how urban renewal played out here; it was plastic surgery using a meant ax and we still suffer from the effects.

But the signs of revival in downtown Warren are better than they’ve been in a very long time. There are new bars, restaurants and stores, and even new apartments and condos. I’ll provide a detailed list of what’s new in the next post.

Posted Sunday, June 3rd, 2018 under Economic development.

Comments are closed.