This is how small businesses start
A well-thought-out, creative area in a community sparks a movement of community pride to bring people together and new small businesses. Countless small, medium, and large communities across the nation and Iowa have had to reinvent common spaces and themselves to adapt to changing environments. We can learn from the success of others to amplify new community space through creativity and culture.
All it takes is one idea to spark a chain reaction of other energizing ideas. I have seen it happen living in Houston, Texas, and my fair share of traveling. Communities can see an increase in development from the start of one idea, new art galleries, restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, live music, and upper-story housing.
Locally, Newton, East Village Des Moines, Decorah, Marion, Downtown Davenport, and Waterloo all had re-investment and have seen an uptick in new small, locally owned businesses. The great news is we do not need to look elsewhere. West End Park, being host to the annual Harvest Market, is a fabulous example of creative placemaking. A few thousand people from our community and surrounding communities came to shop, eat, and experience live music during this event. Best of all, I saw many familiar faces, some I had not seen in a while.
Let us embrace creative placemaking, look at other communities for success, and apply the Arts+Culture Alliance master plan to future projects in the community.