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Downtown Vision Re-Focused: Let’s talk retail

With almost 70 people crowded around tables in the Shannon Room of the Branigan Cultural Center Tuesday evening, February 16, Las Cruces’s four-day collaboration on a next generation Master Plan for downtown got rolling.

The opening night task: Affirm key spots in the Downtown project area where the advantages of city life seem to be already emerging and additional places where the potential for even more activity is promising.

It was an essential first step for the week’s activities. Applying the broad goals of Downtown planning to actual places helps the project consulting team focus their efforts on design ideas and policies most likely to advance those goals in the shortest, most cost-efficient ways.

For Wednesday, February 16, participants are invited to dig even deeper. The featured event is a presentation by urban retail guru Bob Gibbs. He’ll lead off the two-hour session beginning at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers, with an analysis of Downtown retail demand and his recommendations for ways to make the most of the opportunities, especially for small businesses.

The foundation for Gibbs’ presentation can be found in his downloadable report (5mb .pdf).

After a break at 11 a.m., Gibbs and other members of the project team will facilitate a discussion about the Downtown retail market and how the updated Master Plan might provide support for proven strategies for retail success.

What the Tuesday night table discussions demonstrated is broad support for leveraging success in key areas. Among them: The Plaza and the Main Street corridor. Participants in the opening night event were also adamant in their advocacy for including historic neighborhoods bordering the Downtown area in projects and programs calculated to expand opportunities and broaden prosperity. That discussion will continue Wednesday afternoon, when neighborhood groups and individuals are invited to a meeting focused on that topic in the MoNas Classroom at the Branigan Cultural Center at 1:30 p.m.

For more details about the week’s meetings and participation opportunities, go here.

We hope to see you Wednesday and through the rest of the week’s meetings. But even if you can’t attend the meetings in person, you can follow our daily updates in this space on the website. And you can ask questions and comment on our progress here.

Until then, check out these images from Tuesday night’s opener: