August 9, 2005

Downtown Without Big Boxes

At BoomtownUSA, Jack Schultz has some evenhanded comments about the actual effects of banning big boxes on downtowns:

I related my own experience of strolling around Ellensburg�s downtown early in the morning and not finding a place to get a cup of coffee or a newspaper. I was disappointed to see over a dozen vacant buildings in the downtown. Obviously banning big boxes hadn�t led to a boom in the downtown area. I also was shocked to find their only big box store closed early in the morning. Without competition, they obviously didn�t see the need to be open at odd hours.

Ellensburg has a wonderful potential with their downtown area. It is historic, with wonderful brick and stone buildings. It should be a magnet for the community. It should be an entertainment center with people living in the lofts above the retail shops. But, it won�t become such a place by trying to stifle competition, keeping the big boxes out of the county. It will do so by finding its own niche, building it and developing its own special sense of place.

What he said.

Posted by Kevin on August, 9 2005 at 10:05 AM