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The Main Streets Approach: Are you ready?

June 27, 2015

dive inI had an initial call with Laura Rowe-Cole, the Executive Director of the California Main Streets Alliance, about bringing the Main Streets approach to Fairfax. I met her at the National Main Streets Conference in Atlanta in March.

She was the Executive Director of Main Streets Davis and Fairfield for over 15 years, and has worked with towns across California for almost 10 years, helping them to start and maintain Main Streets programs.

Her experience shows in her immediate quick-fire questions to gauge Fairfax’s “readiness”:

  1. How big is your town?
  2. What’s the downtown like?
  3. What’s your town’s reputation?
  4. Are business owners open to change?
  5. Is there a Starbucks?  What chains are there?
  6. Are people into locally-owned businesses?
  7. What’s your city government like?
  8. How engaged is the community in “community things”?
  9. Are people generally conservative or progressive?

She didn’t say what the “right” answers were, but I could deduce:

  1. Any size.
  2. Cute is good. Cool is good. Charming is good.
  3. Anything is workable.
  4. Yes.
  5. No. Not many, or any.
  6. Yes.
  7. Open-minded.
  8. Moderate to very.
  9. Generally progressive.

Okay, Fairfax passed the initial test.  Next up: Homework.

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