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Archive for May 6th, 2009

Revitalize me

We got a postcard from the city in the mail today, inviting us to participate in an online Neighborhood Revitalization survey.  Apparently, our neighborhood (about six blocks high by ten blocks wide) is the city’s target for 2009-2011.  Based on the questions, the big push is going to be businesses on the commercial street that splits our little 6×10 rectangle.  This is good, good news.  Three decades ago, my department chair tells me, that street used to be a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined avenue of small businesses.  15-20 years ago, unfortunately, it was widened by a lane, street parking was eliminated, and businesses withered.

Some have hung on, and our family does our best to keep them in business – the little chocolate shop, the bakery, the asian grocery store, and a handful of others.  A couple small restaurants and an independent coffee shop could be enough to turn the tide away from nail salons, chiropractors, and dry cleaners.

I don’t know what kind of plans the city has in mind for this two-year revitalization effort, but if it includes antique-looking streetlights, more trees on the main thoroughfare, and some parking meters, then it’s a solid step in the right direction.   The official launch is July, so we’ll see.  I voluntarily de-anonymized myself at the end of the survey and volunteered to help with survey analysis and focus groups.  I figured I should put my money (or time, as it were) where my mouth is, and since I’m trained in research methods, that’s where I can contribute.

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