An effective revitalization project encompass three distinct segments. These segments include beautification and preservation, economic restructuring and development, and innovative events and promotions.
For the first several years, HDP has focused on beautification and preservation, with an emphasis on infrastructure. This lays the groundwork for future projects. For example, it would not be wise to have large scale events that draw in hundreds of people if we have a run-down downtown district. With a clean district, that ensures that those people that come to the events will return time and time again.
The same can be said for business recruiting and retention. By providing a clean and comfortable downtown area, we promote business growth. No business wants to relocate into an area that looks as if though it has been abandoned.
Now that the downtown area is presentable, we have been working on bringing out new marketing tools while at the same time recruiting new businesses to the downtown area.
These efforts have increased the occupancy rate downtown to close to 90% of the available buildings.
We are working on opening avenues for even more retail and services. These revitalization efforts have created several hundred new jobs. Moving forward, new projects will continue to reinforce the revitalization efforts, which should lead to new jobs and will attract more people in to the region. Our goal is to serve as an example for surrounding towns and to assist in regional growth through revitalization.
We have come a long way in just a few short years, but there’s still a long way to go. Right now, people are just starting to realize the change that has been happening in downtown, but it’s going to take a lot of promotion and marketing to bring in people from outside of the area. As we move to complete the core beautification projects, the next step is to market the downtown area.
Our goal is to create a historic downtown district that draws in people from all over the country. To do this, we must continue pushing the revitalization project in
conjunction with facilitating a new, massive branding campaign for the downtown area.
Future Goals Include:
- Rebuild Store Facades
- Finish Town Square Project
- Create/Sign additional parking
- Expand into Residential Revitalization
- Increased quality events
- Recruit new business downtown
- Rehabilitate “abandoned” buildings
- Expand revitalization efforts in the secondary downtown district areas
- Increase advertising/promotion of the downtown area through local and regional outlets
- Increase awareness of historical assets both locally and regionally to further brand the downtown district as a destination point
- Create an area Artists Cooperative
- Expand the Downtown Poteau Farmer’s Market and Bazaar