Action


Recovery can only be achieved through a concerted effort.
Effort is the enemy of apathy and the process of improving requires rallying residents to action and connecting expertise to opportunity. During this phase, we bring residents together around previously identified initiatives and coordinate outside experts to bring their particular skill sets to the community.


Assistance

Strategic Planning Facilitation

The mission of your revitalization organization has the ability to affect every single person in the community, but all too often those mission statements go unmet. It’s time to align your aspirations with your actions and start doing the work your organization is capable of and the community desperately needs. By taking a candid approach to strategic planning, we cut out wasted time and effort and get to the point. Through this process we will assess if your mission statement is appropriate, and update it if needed. We will identify short-term goals and long-term aspirations. We will decide who is in charge of each identified project and align accountability measures to ensure the work gets carried out.

GET IN TOUCH


February 16, 2023

Setting The Stage

When we moved into our home, there was a room in the basement given over to spiders and those and thousand-leggers. We did our best to make the space work
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September 8, 2022

RFP = Recipe For Problems

I received a bit of a surprise via email late last week. An RFP for a downtown master plan was addressed specifically to me. This was a surprise because I
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October 6, 2022

Scarred Landscapes

At the northern terminus of Sky Line Drive in the Shenandoah Valley sits the town of Front Royal, Virginia; a town of around 15,000 situated in one of most spectacular
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November 23, 2022

Thankful for the Flaws

I find no value in telling a community what they want to hear. There are plenty of people in this line of business who are happy to fill that role-
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December 1, 2022

Lit Up

Cooking, college football, groggy mornings and switching out fall decorations for winter, such are the traditions of Thanksgiving weekend and I, for one, fully indulged. The golden light of October
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January 5, 2023

Get Going

This stuff isn’t complicated, but enough people are out there selling complicated solutions, which has led buyers to believe it’s complicated. The sad fact of the matter is, and this
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January 26, 2023

Apply Effort

“Well now, what do I do?” The all-so-common refrain of those recently installed in a position to help their community. I speak with dedicated and passionate people every week who
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February 2, 2023

Sell Local

Live it, like it, don’t leave… I think.  No, eat pray live, that’s it… nope- that's not it.  Love. Laugh. Lactate… augh! I can’t remember what the motto was, but
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February 9, 2023

Trajectories

Most American cities have been in decline for at least 40 years, some as long as 70. To think things will get fixed in the short run is some real
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August 18, 2022

Locals Are People Too

Recently, I was sitting down for coffee with a couple of colleagues/friends at a neighborhood cafe. We were discussing the concept of complete streets as we sat outside and watched
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February 23, 2023

Clean-Up!™️

I am here to tell you about a revolutionary new product! It's the latest from the Revitalize, or Die.’s labs in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and it promises to
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March 2, 2023

Treat the Town pt. 1

These days, if you see a high-rise crane, you can make a very educated guess as to what’s being constructed. Chances are, it's a medical facility. The US Healthcare industry
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April 6, 2023

How, Not What

It's always a lot more fun to discuss the what, but it's the how we really should consider. Maybe that's why most places never make any progress. Because everyone is
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April 20, 2023

Downtown Playbook

In looking back at my recent blog posts, I realize I have been building up to this. I have identified and written about a number of issues that plague communities.
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May 11, 2023

Travels

The nearly full moon had just launched from behind the massive San Petronio Basilica as we sat in Piazza Maggiori sipping the last dregs of our Negronis and toasting the
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June 21, 2023

Effort Over Time

We know that when it comes to every facet of our lives, there are no shortcuts and no silver bullets. The simple truth is that real improvement takes effort over
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December 1, 2023

The Downtown Playbook

Late last year I was on a call with a Councilman from West Virginia as he told me all the struggles his community was facing. Sadly, it was the usual
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February 16, 2024

A Simple Solution

Care. That is the simple solution. This stuff isn’t that hard, but a lot of people have a lot invested in making it seem hard. They have been extremely successful
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April 22, 2021

Damn it, Do it!

Idle hands are the devils play things, so the saying goes. We know what this means for a person- nothing good comes from boredom, and like I regularly rant about-
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July 23, 2020

Why Good Neighborhoods went Extinct

I followed my dad’s finger, pointing through the windshield towards the second house in from the corner. “There it is, that’s the one I grew up in” he said as
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July 1, 2020

The Real Parking Problem

For anyone that has worked in economic development, community development and especially, downtown revitalization, you have become all too familiar with the parking problem trope. It might be the single
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February 26, 2020

Communityness

A city or a town cannot be successful, or only to a marginal degree, if it is not also a community. A city aims to serve its residents, but this
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October 9, 2019

The Shape of Place

The way I best describe how place affects me is an oft repeated phrase that has most likely grown annoying to those that know me, “I am no more neighborly
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August 1, 2019

All Politics is Local

Earlier this week, I posted a story about Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s announcement of a proposed plan to deal with vacancy, if he were to be elected president. I sometimes forget
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July 24, 2019

Wise Council

I enjoy meeting with elected officials. I enjoy talking with anyone that cares about their town. Most council members I speak with are well-intentioned and became involved because they are
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May 7, 2019

Save Our Buildings, Save Ourselves

A few years back, while hosting an event for the governor’s State of the State address in Marietta, Ohio, I had a chance to speak with a local councilwoman during
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February 24, 2021

Vacancy Busting: A Step by Step Guide

I can sometimes get bogged down in the policies of vacancy. I get pretty excited about design standards, code enforcement and vacant property registries. I love reading about new methods
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August 10, 2020

Find A Friend, Save Your City.

Neighborhoods first. If I just had one piece of advice to give to city leaders it would be that. Put the neighborhoods first. Prioritize the people. Do your absolute best
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September 15, 2021

Bedrooms are for Sleeping

A colleague reached out this morning and asked if I had ever written anything about permitted first floor uses in a downtown. I responded that I had not, but hey,
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December 16, 2021

If I Had Ten Million Dollars

Those funky flannel loving Canadiens known as the Bare Naked Ladies had plenty of thoughts on what they would do with a million dollars, but never once does the song
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January 20, 2022

Instant Gratification

I’m counting 2022 as a phenomenal success. I completed all of my new years resolutions and its still January. Get in shape - ✅ Learn French - ✅ Read more
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March 10, 2022

A Show of Hands

“Raise your hand if you think cars should be prioritized over pedestrians downtown” I asked the crowd of 70. One person raised their hand. “Raise your hand if you think
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March 24, 2022

Kill The Committee

Do people cross to the other side of the street when they see you? Have you noticed no one invites you out to TGI Fridays? Do your acquaintances avoid making
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April 13, 2022

Civic Relationships

Our lives are defined by relationships. Our happiness and well-being are largely determined by those relationships we carry throughout our lives. Some are good, some are bad, some change us
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May 12, 2022

Simple, Not Easy

Last week over beers in Panama City, friend and colleague, Allan Branch, put it to me this way, “Whenever I’m traveling, I always wonder, why are some towns doing better
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June 17, 2022

Buildings Before Businesses

A building is a business. I repeat, a building is a business. If you manage your own life, you can understand this principle. You have to spend less than you
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