Services Plan 2010-2014

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Downtown property owners, businesses, 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 positively impacted when these expectations are met. A welcome and friendly environment is the catalyst for the overall success of the Downtown management services outlined in this plan.

Currently, Downtown Akron Partnership is contracted by the Downtown Akron Special Improvement District, Inc. (SID) to manage and implement the services plan for those property owners within the boundaries of this Special Improvement District.

Comprehensive surveys and interviews with 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, maintained and expanded:

1. Clean, safe and vibrant environment
2. Marketing and promotion
3. Stakeholder services

This services plan is designed to further enhance the property owner’s investment in Downtown with a combination of services and activities. Positive outcomes will result in:

  • A stronger promotion of the business, cultural, entertainment, residential and recreational opportunities in Downtown Akron
  • A larger percentage of the Greater Akron community living, working, playing, shopping and dining in Downtown
  • An increased number of businesses coming to and staying in Downtown Akron, as well as supporting a case for increased investment in Downtown

1. Clean, Safe & Vibrant Environment

Objective: Establish a sense of place in Downtown Akron, showcasing a clean, safe and vibrant downtown that will add to the long-term vitality and improvement of the community.

Clean Goals:

  • Maintain and enhance appearance of sidewalks and public right of way by delivering ambassador Operation Neat Street services throughout the SID district
  • 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
  • Educate and assist property owners with improving and maintaining their properties

Safety Goals:

  • Provide visible uniformed street presence throughout the SID district delivering safety services, including dealing with quality of life issues, store-front visits, providing an immediate link to city police services and strengthening social service outreach in Downtown
  • Increase safety patrols before and after traditional work hours, making safety escorts available to employees within the SID district
  • Support safety initiatives by working with the Akron Police on Block Watch meetings, safety advisories, increased security at night and other safety initiatives
  • Provide education, information and advisories to key contacts about safety, traffic and emergency issues

Vibrant Goals:

  • Improve appearance of Downtown by leading and partnering with other beautification efforts to enhance and build the streetscape of Downtown, including floral planting, physical improvements, signage and coordinated receptacles
  • Continue to partner with the City and other organizations to establish an on-going development plan of Downtown public areas

2. Marketing & Promotion

Objective: Maintain and enhance the image, awareness and usage of Downtown as a vibrant hub of activity where people live, work, dine, shop and play. Utilize our commercial, cultural, recreational and governmental strength in the region to create a strong and positive image of Downtown.

Image and Awareness Goals:

  • Maintain an effective marketing and publicity campaign to enhance the image and increase the knowledge of Downtown and the Partnership, communicating the business, cultural, recreational, residential and entertainment opportunities and other benefits of Downtown Akron
  • Be the primary source of information regarding Downtown with web-based and print resources and outreach programs
  • Consistently inform targeted customers about the specific programs and events organized in Downtown, especially those developed and/or sponsored by the Partnership
  • Promote the value and positive attributes of Downtown by coordinating messages and partnering with the City, County, Convention Bureau, Greater Akron Chamber, University of Akron and others to encourage cross-promotion efforts and greater participation in other promotional activities

Usage Goals:

  • Focus on targeted special events and promotional activities that bring people Downtown and creates a strong and positive image of Downtown and the role of the Partnership in its enhancement
  • Maintain one major event per year that brings visitors into multiple spaces within the SID footprint
    Increase the dining, arts, cultural, nightlife, recreation and retail activity into Downtown through joint promotions, events and marketing

3. Business, Parking & Stakeholder Services

Objective: Advocate for and support business development and retention, parking supply and transit services, residential development and growth in Downtown

Business Support:

  • Assist in retaining businesses through an annual contact program with strategic troubleshooting and follow up
  • Maintain and enhance an updated database of rental, lease and for sale properties in Downtown
  • Work with other organizations to assist in the recruitment and retention of store-front businesses
  • Advocate and communicate incentive programs to prospective tenants/owners, and assist them in the application process

Parking Support:

  • Inform customers, visitors, workers, etc. of parking locations and transit options by developing maps and parking guides
  • Assist with parking management, advocating and coordinating the needs of office, retail, residential and entertainment users
  • Work with the City, property owners and merchants to explore the possibilities of off-site parking and shuttle services within the SID
  • Work with parking facility operations to improve customer friendly environment

Stakeholder Support:

  • Learn and study the needs of targeted customers (Downtown property owners, business executives, employees and other Downtown visitors). Conduct annual surveys and collect information and demographics about trends and attitudes toward Downtown
  • Promote residential living and development Downtown through publications, focusing on events and enhanced private/public partnerships
  • Encourage home ownership, rentals and a sense of “neighborhood” Downtown by establishing a communication and outreach initiative for residents of Downtown Akron
  • Increase awareness and understanding of Downtown’s progress and economic impact among key stakeholders and the community at large
  • Continue advocating for the needs of property and business owners as needed