This past week, I visited a Southern town very similar to Conway. It has a railroad running right through the heart of its downtown, and it is flanked by a college. Several historic building renovations had recently been completed or were underway.
During my visit, I grew accustomed to walking down streets lined with mature trees that offered shade from the Louisiana summer sun. When the temperature rises above 90 degrees – as it does quite frequently in Arkansas – you begin to notice the lack of trees along the streets.
Street trees, wider sidewalks, and streetscaping are more than simple aesthetics. These amenities are attractive to employers looking to relocate a company, potential movers seeking a place to work and raise a family, and residents and visitors who want to visit an authentic and welcoming downtown.
This article from The Congress for the New Urbanism gives a few more examples of the economic impact street trees, sidewalks, and streetscaping in your downtown has on your local economy.
Kim Williams is executive director of the Conway Downtown Partnership, a nonprofit organization focused on the redevelopment and continued growth of downtown Conway. Follow Kim on Twitter at @ChamberFunKim.