On Saturday, April 9, 2011, the Better Block Project provided a vision of what our historic 34th Street business district could be - vibrant, beautiful, and the center of our community. I thought it was very telling that even though it was a chilly day, tons of people were out and about on the street throughout the event (even eating at the outdoor cafe spaces!). Saturday's turnout shows that there is a lot of pent up demand in our community and I think that the city is at a moment to take proactive steps to really make our town center thrive.
We have several great established businesses like Glut, Nisey's Boutique, and the super delicious Island Style Ice Cream. Add in shows or classes at Joe's Movement Emporium and a meal at the wonderful new vegan bakery and cafe Sweet and Natural and you begin to realize that locals and visitors alike could spend a happy afternoon in our town center! The problem is, no one is sharing this message with the world.
I think the city should work closely with the Mount Rainier Business Association (check out the MRBA welcome package) to promote our existing businesses and attract new investment to our town center. A marketing plan for our existing businesses and for the historic business district as a whole would establish a sense of place and show the world what Mount Rainier has to offer. Thousands of cars drive through town every day on Route 1 - imagine if we captured even a fraction of that traffic for a trip up 34th Street to our historic business district.
The excellent Mount Rainier, Maryland blog has great photos and videos from Better Block.
Stay tuned for more video of the Mount Rainier Better Block event