4 simple downtown ideas so good I keep saying them

When I visit small towns like yours, I love to do a walk-through of the downtown. We always come up with better ideas and new ways to try them based on what we see. 

A few ideas come up frequently enough that I wanted to share just a few of them with you today. 

1. Be conspicuous. A group of people walking around downtown and pointing is going to get other people talking. It gives you a chance to enter those conversations with people who won’t ever come to your formal meetings. 

2. Give empty lots to different organizations for one month at a time. In May the library is doing an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party, in June the car club is showing off cars, and in August the ag kids are holding a petting zoo. None of those organizations can permanently adopt the lot and keep it interesting, but by taking turns, there’s always something going on. And that’s much better than an empty lot. 

3. Any former window is now a frame for art. Every downtown has some bricked-up windows, filled in doorways or plastered-over openings. Those are frames. Fill them with art.  

4. Do temporary things. Thinking that the solution has to be big and permanent is what keeps you from doing cool little things that only last a while. Use chalk for art in any space. Paint on fabric and hang it instead of doing a full mural. 

Keep shaping the future of your town, 

PS – I have a bunch more of these, but I’d love to hear your ideas. What short term temporary fun little ideas are you nurturing for your downtown?