Downtown Revitalization Committee unveils its recommendations to community, city officials

Stan Gustafson, Economic Development Director
City of Cambridge

After six months of research and concept development, Discover Downtown is ready to present their revitalization ideas and recommendations to the public and city officials on Wednesday, March 22 starting at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School.

During this project members of Discover Downtown and their subcommittees have researched ideas and concepts focusing on revitalizing downtown into a thriving center for community activity for ages 8 through 80. These ideas were offered for additional community input at an open house held in February. Input from attending public is being incorporated into the final presentation.

“I do like the ideas that where presented bringing the community together. I’d like to see a larger hotel and maybe a different event center, that’s something that I think needs to happen for a while. I think we need more overnight stays for people, especially in the summer when we have all the tournaments. They come and then they leave. We need to have them stay. There’s more to offer here,” comments one attendee.

Each Discover Downtown subcommittee will present a specific revitalization topic with researched images and rationale of successful ideas and concept examples from other cities. The presentation will show new opportunities to connect, promote and improve downtown making it a destination for new businesses and consumers near and far. Findings from a recent visit of Pine City officials, part of a mutual downtown assessment program, will also be highlighted during the presentation. Maps showing many of the committee’s recommendations will be on hand for attendee viewing.

Formation of Community Foundation
Another component of the revitalization project includes the possible formation of a Cambridge Community Foundation created to assist in revitalizing downtown as well as supporting other Greater Cambridge community activities. A steering committee has been formed to evaluate the foundation’s formation, funding and granting opportunities. Individuals, businesses and other community organizations are encouraged to learn how they can become involved in supporting a thriving community through foundation activities. For more information contact Greg Carlson at [email protected]

Executive Committee Formed
A new Downtown Revitalization Executive Committee has been formed to move Discover Downtown’s recommendations through an ongoing assessment and strategic development process. This process is designed to invite additional community resources to support implementation of resulting downtown improvement projects.

“People are genuinely interested in going through the presentation and talking with committee members. I actually heard people say a couple of times, ’I’m really excited’ – that’s a quote,” comments Pamela Streed, committee member.

On Going Community Support Needed
As the first phase of this project nears completion and the executive committee begins developing revitalization projects, the process of transforming downtown will involve increased business and community participation and ongoing support.

“The purpose of the six-month project was to identify a wide array of activities and projects the City, businesses and community can work on together to implement and ultimately bring about downtown’s transformation,” comments Todd Streeter, principal, Community Collaboration and project facilitator.

The downtown revitalization project has been conducted by Community Collaboration with sponsorship support from the Initiative Foundation and City of Cambridge.

Want to Get Involved?
Anyone interested in helping transform downtown into a thriving center of community activity is encouraged to contact Lynda Woulfe, at 763-552-3216, or by email, [email protected]