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.