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Services Plan 2005-2009

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Downtown property owners, workers, visitors and guests expect Downtown to be clean, safe and attractive to use. Downtown marketing initiatives, office and retail recruitment and retention efforts, residential development and property values are impacted if these expectations are not met. A welcome and friendly environment is a fundamental requirement for the success of all the Downtown management services outlined in this plan.

Comprehensive surveys of Downtown property owners, business owners and executives, and workers indicate that in order to improve the economic and social vibrancy of Downtown, the following issues should be addressed urgently:

1. Physical appearance and maintenance of Downtown
2. Marketing and promotion
3. Safety and parking

Progress in these areas achieved through the specific programs and measures outlined in this Services Plan, among other improvements, will:

  • Promote the services, cultural, entertainment and sporting events in Downtown Akron.
  • Encourage the Greater Akron community to visit and support the Downtown business community.
  • Contribute to retaining businesses and encouraging them to increase their investment in Downtown Akron.
  • Provide an accurate representation of Downtown Akron, its opportunities and its future.
  • Encourage local and regional businesses to consider Downtown Akron as a relocation opportunity.

1. Physical Appearance and Maintenance Downtown

Goal: Establish Downtown Akron as a clean and attractive place that will add to the long-term vitality and improvement of Downtown.

Objectives:

  • Plan and encourage the development of excellent, visually appealing, user-friendly public spaces, including parking lots and garages
  • Work with the City of Akron to ensure that Downtown receives the appropriate level of public cleaning and maintenance services, and provide assistance as needed.

2. Marketing and Promotion

Goal: Position Downtown Akron as a unique destination characterized by a mix of high quality assets and opportunities – commercial, cultural, recreational and governmental – that work together to create a strong and positive image of Downtown.

Objectives:

  • Develop an effective public relations and publicity campaign to enhance the image of the “changing Downtown” and the Partnership, and to communicate the business, recreation and entertainment opportunities and other benefits of Downtown Akron.
  • Consistently inform the targeted customers about the specific programs and events organized in Downtown, especially those developed and/or sponsored by the Partnership. To this end, issue and distribute periodic newsletters, brochures, schedules of events and flyers, use advertisement in local print and broadcast.
  • Focus on special events and promotional activities to create a strong and positive image of Downtown and the role of the Partnership in its enhancement. Develop more major Downtown events.
  • Work with the city, Downtown businesses and other organizations to encourage cross-promotion efforts and greater participation in other promotional activities.
  • Learn and study the needs for improvement of the targeted customers (Downtown property owners, business executives, employees and other Downtown visitors). To this end, (1) conduct general annual surveys; (2) use special events and social gatherings to conduct short surveys to learn specific attitudes and opinions of Downtown visitors.
  • Maintain and enhance an updated database of rental, lease and for sale properties in Downtown.
    Develop a campaign to communicate incentive programs to prospective tenants/owners, and to assist them in the application process.

3. Safety and Parking

Goal: Ensure that the parking supply and transit services are managed to serve the Downtown visitors, office workers and residents.

Objectives:

  • Provide reassurance of safety in public areas; contribute to the maintenance of order. Coordinate efforts with Akron Police Department to address safety concerns and other issues in Downtown Akron.
  • Inform the customers, visitors, workers, etc. of parking locations and transit options by developing maps and parking guides.
  • Develop a parking management program, coordinating the needs of office, retail, residential and entertainment users. Advocate increased capacity to address the demands of a changing Downtown.
  • Increase awareness and involvement in transportation issues with the City. Leverage membership to be a more influential partner in City, County and State transportation planning.
  • Work with the City, property owners and merchants to explore the possibilities of short-term parking within the SID.
  • Work with parking facility operations to improve customer friendly environment.
  • Further improve the overall public image of Downtown as a safe and user-friendly area.