Economic restructuring is part of Main Streets Four Point Approach®, or as it is referred to by Main Street Morgantown, the Economic Development Committee. As the name infers, they focus on the development opportunities of the district: learning the current economic condition and finding opportunities for improvement, strengthen existing businesses while recruiting new ones, finding uses for abandoned buildings or empty storefronts, and continue to monitor economic growth.
It is important for the organization to understand the trends in growth (or decline) of all the factors that affect economic development, population, demographics, business types, vacancies, spending patterns, etc. By tracking these trends the committee can adjust and plan for the future of the district.
This committee also encourages new uses of empty buildings in creative ways. Downtowns were once thriving retail districts and therefore were designed for that market, and now that there are fewer retail shops, the space must be adaptively reused. This could include gallery spaces, entertainment venues, or housing. Housing is a key component to economic development because residents tend to spend money where they live more regularly and consistently than visitors. It is ideal to have a mix of business types in your district, which is part of what this committee aims to achieve.
Main Street Morgantown offers several grants to businesses who are supporters of the organization. The Economic Development Committee oversees a signage grant, façade grant, security camera grant, and is in the process of creating a lighting grant. These grants were created to improve the desirability of the downtown district through appearance and increasing safety.
Currently the Economic Development Committee is working closely with the Coordinating Council on Homelessness to help address the lack of housing and facilities for the homeless population.
As is the case with all the committee’s we will be posting updates on this committee following their monthly meetings