Arts and entertainment, occupation at the heart of the Downtown strategy | Local News

In order to take advantage of the foot traffic generated by the warmer months, organizations are working to cultivate the untapped potential of downtown St. Joseph.

The plan, according to St. Joseph Main Street President Dana Massin, is to strategically focus on arts and entertainment as well as occupation.

“We work with our state partners and they help us create strategies, mobilize our committees to create programming around these two strategies,” Massin said. “We’re all about building those relationships, engaging the community, seeing what they want, and asking everyone to be part of that development process as we identify strategies and implement them. »

The action will be in full swing with the return of the Sounds of Summer and Imagine Eleven summer concert series.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for us, and getting back into the rhythm and having all the activities is a big priority for all groups downtown,” said downtown liaison Christy George. “It’s something we mainly work on.”

Massin echoed the same sentiment regarding the impact of the pandemic on hosting events, having them continually every year will fit into the strategies for transforming Main Street St. Joseph, she said.

“Our group is trying to find ways to partner with community members and create more of a full calendar of sustainable annual events downtown that have sort of collapsed,” Massin said. “COVID kind of disrupted everything. That’s a much bigger picture for our Main Street model, but downtown events should definitely be a big priority.

COVID restrictions won’t stop the Downtown Association and St. Joseph Main Street from holding concerts, the Sculpture Walk’s ninth year, or First Saturdays like the virus once did.

A new website launched less than two years ago has been a productive and successful start to the campaign for the downtown area, according to George. The launch consolidated Downtown’s resources into one centralized navigation URL.

“Before, when you used Google Downtown, you got all these different things and you just wanted to know what’s going on,” George said. “It shows dining options, it shows retail options. We are working on a “Things to Do” page that tracks our activities on an ongoing basis. »

Downtown could see three new businesses take up space in the space of four months. Sk8bar and neighboring business RC’s Lunch Car have opened on Francis St. in the past two months, while ArtAttack, a studio where people can develop their artistic skills, is set to open in April. While the abundance of business will provide options for visitors and residents, George said the buildings’ ease of access and convenient parking will help differentiate downtown.

“I’m sure we’d like to see a grocery store where we need to have more people living here, so those are strategies we’re working on – occupancy for commercial real estate and real estate,” George said.

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