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Downtown consultant visits Farmington to help with revitalization project
Scott Day says city is operating from position of strength
FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington’s Complete Streets project has gotten some expert advice on how to engage stakeholders and the public at large in the downtown revitalization project after a consultant visited the district early last week.
Scott Day of Urban Development Services toured the downtown district and met with stakeholders on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to help project leaders and stakeholders prepare for and mitigate concerns regarding the multi-million-dollar project.
The city is in the process of planning a major renovation of a multi-block stretch of West Main Street, including rerouting traffic to make the corridor less of a thoroughfare for through traffic and installing larger sidewalks and bike paths to promote pedestrian and bike traffic. The project is still in the planning phase, and city leadership expects to unveil some of the official plans in late March, according to Complete Streets project coordinator Sherry Roach.
Day visited last week to help city leaders develop plans to help mitigate construction concerns and develop programs to help encourage people to become engaged and invested in the project, according to city of Farmington communications director Shana Reeves.
“Scott’s just here to help us work through all of this and be more prepared and maybe provide ideas that we haven’t thought about yet,” Reeves said on Tuesday.
Day said that the project is off to a solid start in terms of making proactive attempts to draw the community into the project.
“We’re operating from a position of strength right now,” Day said on Tuesday. “We’re a year, a year and a half off from construction right now, and we’ve got funding in place; we’ve got staff already in place; we have an office downtown. ... You guys are already way ahead on the curve, so that’s really, really positive.”
Day specializes in design management and retail economics for commercial revitalization, according to his company’s website. He spent his three-day visit touring the downtown district and meeting with stakeholders and city leadership. Day also toured the downtown corridor, alleys, the Civic Center and the Animas River district, and got an update on the city’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiative.
Day will return to the Four Corners at the end of the month or in early April to officially present his recommendations and advice, but he spent time this week discussing branding and marketing campaigns to help invite the public to witness the construction projects and construction mitigation efforts to help downtown businesses survive — and even thrive — during construction.
“It’s the whole spirit of ‘Watch us grow’ versus ‘It’s going to be bad, so just stay away for eight months or five months or however long it takes,’” Day said. “It really is an opportunity to celebrate the reset button that downtown’s hitting here.”
Day said he plans to survey downtown business owners to see what kind of business assistance programs they would like to see during the project. He said he could offer help in online or offsite marketing, and in merchandising and inventory control at their downtown locations to better respond to construction and consumer needs, as well as delivery service options for food vendors.
“We’ve got the luxury of time,” Day said. “It’s going to be 12 months or more before we start construction, so a year of that should build a good basis (for business assistance programs).”
Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.