Our friends at Castro Valley Matters wrote their recipe for a town square. We’ve adapted it here to help you design and build a successful town square, either from scratch or via revitalization.
1. Beauty. A well-designed Town Square will give residents and visitors a reason to enjoy your downtown and new streetscape.
2. Walkability. Successful downtowns are walkable. Improved walkability helps local businesses attract more customers and achieve greater success.
3. Ideal Location. The site is ideally located for a Town Square, at a T intersection, within walking distance of anchors such as the post office, banks, large restaurants, and unique local businesses
4. Focal Point. The Castro Valley Boulevard’s streetscape improvements cost Alameda County $9 million, but people often still drive to park, do errands, and leave. Your neighborhood or town may find similar or higher costs for a streetscape improvement. However, towns and neighborhoods need a center and focal point to attract more shoppers, walkers, families with children, and seniors to the downtown. Your investment will not be wasted.
5. Pride. Town Squares honor their unique identity as a beautiful small town that is surrounded by trees and hills and is proud of its history, location, and family-friendly atmosphere.
6. Community. Community gatherings, special events, a relocated farmer’s market, summer concerts and outdoor movies all can happen at a Town Square. These events bring life to the downtown and increase business for merchants. Maybe you have a few events like this that can grow bigger and better at your new town square, bringing in more income and interest in the town.
7. Parking. A town square doesn’t come with legal parking requirements—but the on-street parking around the square can serve the whole downtown.
8. Supply and demand. Alameda County is planning to sell a former Daughtrey’s manufacturing brownfield site to a developer at a loss and add approximately 30,000 square feet of retail space on a boulevard that already has roughly 100,000 square feet of vacant retail and restaurant space for sale or lease. What hidden gems do you have that can breathe new life to your town square?
9. Our voice. Residents deserve much better solutions than vacant buildings or sprawling shopping centers. They also deserve a voice in its future. A Town Square can transform downtowns and other neglected or over-sprawled development centers.
10. Health. A Town Square benefits health and safety. Shoppers and workers, children, and seniors will have more reasons to walk and get exercise. Don’t count out brownfield revitalization in your plans.
Check out the original article here.