Great Downtowns Growing Cities
Don't miss the April 3, 2017 Conference:
New Perspectives on Growing Local Economies
If you are looking to change the conversation on growing the economy in your community, join us for this one-day conference! The conference will feature successful entrepreneurs who built networks of businesses in rural areas and urban neighborhoods by boldly taking new approaches. They will be joined by the Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, as well as experts in local government regulatory and policy tools, Internet based communication, nontraditional funding options, community organizing, and the role of higher education. More information is available here (PDF). The Conference Program is available for more details (PDF). Access Speaker Bios here (PDF). Access a downloadable registration form here (PDF).
NEW! Findings on Downtowns from Survey of Illinois Mayors
- Strategies in Downtown Enhancement, published in the Illinois Municipal Review magazine in April 2017.
- The Changing Role of Municipal Downtowns, published in the Illinois Municipal Review magazine in March 2017.
For additional resources, visit the Great Downtowns Growing Cities Toolbox.
Creative Enterprises and Downtown Prosperity
The creative economy is one of the most talked about topics in downtown development. What it includes and how to incorporate it into economic growth planning and downtown revitalization are discussed in the resources listed below. For additional information contact Mim Evans, email@example.com, or Norm Walzer, firstname.lastname@example.org. Access the GDGC toolbox for additional resources on the creative economy.
Executive Summary| Full Report
This CGS Policy Profile outlines what your small city can do to capture growth in residents, businesses and revenue generated by renewed interest in urban lifestyles. Read it here.
Training and Events
CGS regularly offers workshops for local downtown development organization staff and volunteers, city staff and officials, economic development professionals, chambers of commerce, entrepreneurs, students, and others interested in downtown revitalization. The workshops are held around the state throughout the year. Click on the upcoming events below for information on topics, dates, and locations. For information on past workshops, click on the past events below to read about the workshop and download material from the workshop. Workshops often sell out so advance registration is recommended.
Looking to change the conversation on growing the economy in your community? Join us for this one-day conference featuring successful entrepreneurs who built networks of businesses in rural areas and urban neighborhoods by boldly taking new approaches. They will be joined by the Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, as well as experts in local government regulatory and policy tools, Internet based communication, nontraditional funding options, community organizing, and the role of higher education. More information is available here (PDF). The Conference Program is available for more details (PDF). Access Speaker Bios here (PDF). Access a downloadable registration form here (PDF).
The Creative Economy and Downtown Workshop
Feb. 26, 2016 - DeKalb IL
Agenda (pdf); Speaker Biographies (pdf); Financial Models for Creative Enterprises (xls); Business Plan for Creative Enterprises (doc); Services for Owners of Creative Enterprises (pdf); Developing a Creative Economy presented by Pam Schallhorn, University of Illinois Extension (pdf); Architects as Creative Entrepreneurs presented by Lisa Sharp, Sharp Architects (pdf); Six Corners Chicago Revitalization, presented by Kelli Weffenstette (pdf); Creative Enconomy, presented by Anne Katz, Art Wisconsin (pdf); Creative Economy Final Report (pdf)
Growing Your Farmers Market Workshop
Jan. 29, 2016 - DeKalb IL
Project Development from Start to Finish
Sept. 23, 2014, Macomb, IL
Local Great Downtowns Growing Cities organizations carry out a wide range of programs and projects requiring specialized knowledge and resources. This toolbox contains tools that downtown development executive directors and volunteers can use to assist downtown businesses, carry out downtown improvement projects, provide information for residents and visitors and run their own organizations effectively. Some of the tools can be downloaded and posted on local websites. Others can be linked to local websites. New tools will be added over time. Visit the Great Downtowns Growing Cities Toolbox.
Illinois Main Street
Communities Contact Information
Need to reach a local Main Street organization? Find contacts for every Illinois Main Street organization here.
Main Street as a Downtown Revitalization Strategy in Illinois
Illinois Main Street contracted with the Center for Governmental Studies to prepare a report on the status of the Main Street program at the state and local level. All Illinois local Main Street organizations were surveyed to obtain information on their organizations, performance, needs and districts. This information was combined with group discussions and research on best practices in other states to arrive at options for the future of Main Street in Illinois. An executive summary and the full report are available below.
Additional information on the Main Street program is available at www.mainstreet.org.
For additional information about Great Downtowns Growing Cities, please contact:
Center for Governmental Studies, NIU
Senior Research Scholar
Center for Governmental Studies, NIU
- Back to the City: Can Small Towns Benefit from the Back to the City Movement? - American Planning Association 2015
- Growing Rural Communities in the Coming Decade: Using Changing Demographics, New Entrepreneurs, and Innovative Strategies to Achieve Prosperity - Illinois Community Managers Association 2015
- It Takes More Than Stores: Keeping Your Downtown Alive in the Future - National Main Street Conference 2014