Wednesday, August 03, 2011

You Can Always Go... Downtown!!

A friend brought an article that is in the OJornal to my attention. The article brings attention to the many vacant storefronts downtown. The article points out that once thriving Columbia Street is also falling victim to hard times and vacant storefronts.

How do you revitalize downtown has been a topic of discussion probably longer than any of us can remember. In my last post I stressed that this was one of 5 areas that I thought we should utilize resources to develop and market.


But good things do seem to be happening downtown. Last weekend I was driving down South Main Street in the evening and was amazed at the amount of cars and the amount of traffic I saw. I talk to co-workers who live nowhere near Fall River who drive down to listen to bands at a downtown venue. There is a comic and card shop that also seems to be known outside of our community.  I don't recall who gets the credit, either Mayor Flanagan or former Mayor Correia but the idea of trolley/restaurant tasting tours is something we need to continue to do. We lost First Night, which on those occasions that I attended, I thought did a lot to help introduce people to downtown.  The problem with First Night is that it was usually so cold but why can't you have a Downtown Summer Festival that would run from late afternoon and flow into evening with live music venues and street vendors, performers etc? What happened to Artist Storefront program which got a lot of hype but doesn't seem to be as embraced as it needs to be? My friend pointed out that a simple Google search brings up all sorts of empty storefront ideas including an indoor Farmer's Market. I have said in the past that a temporary Lizzie Borden exhibit with mock courtroom should be set up and the city SHOULD exploit the interest in the Borden case. And of course the case itself has some wonderful downtown ties.


Lefty's View: As corny as this is, as I write this post, I can't get the 60's song "Downtown" out of my head. If you're not familiar with it, it basically says downtown is a place to go to get away from it all. It speaks of bright lights, movies, music, all-night shops and the bustle and energy of someplace you want to be. Now I'm not saying Fall River's downtown can be transformed to rival New York but I do think we have to embrace the idea of making downtown someplace you want to be and a place where things are happening that you don't want to miss.


Wotan Pereira said...

Petula Clark song is nice, if annoying as hell. It was written about NEW YORK CITY, which Fall River never was. Downtown Fall River is an empty stage that every so often gets SOMETHING on it and everybody says "Wow, wouldn't it be great if it were 1954 again? And all the people and shops and all?" Patrice Cloutier is in charge of all the fake "arts revitalization" crap. Ask her why she hasn't come up with a "waterfire" or "aha" like pvd or nb. It's an election year, there should be something

Anonymous said...

Former Mayor Correia is responsible for the trolley/restaurant tasting tours. The last one they had didn't go very well so I suspect Flanagan is responsible for the lack of organization and support.

Lefty said...

I agree Woton Fall River is obviously not going to become New York but Downtown has to be more of a destination. If you want to revitalize it you have to bring foot traffic. I think one of Fall River's issues is we have several "downtowns", each neighborhood had it's own downtown strip at one point.

Anon, thanks for the input! When I see other communities having food taste-offs and competitions I think why not Fall River?