Downtown about to move on up

March 10, 2013 by  

In its continued effort to revitalize downtown Manchester, the local board of director is considering a proposed plan to improve pedestrian access, rethink parking, improve lighting, and rejuvenate downtown landscaping.

The current 803 parking spaces include 214 on-street spaces that are heavily used and 300 spaces in street lots that are classed as “severely under-used”. The plan is to make the underused parking areas more attractive to shoppers.

Ideally, these improvements will encourage additional businesses to locate downtown. At the moment, the feeling is that many businesses are reluctant to take a chance on a downtown Manchester location for fear that prospective patrons will not find parking adequate. The price tag for the earliest phase of the project is $1.5m. With increased foot traffic and less congested automobile traffic in the downtown area, new shops and restaurants should feel confident opening. This, in turn, will shift more parking to the underused lots, allowing a more even distribution of parking and an increase in customers for all downtown businesses.

For the plan to work, it may require the help of the downtown business community. Local merchants can pool their resources and seek out local printing companies to produce advertisements that will benefit several merchants at once. A postcard printing, with a percentage off purchases at several downtown establishments, or a flyer printing with coupons for several merchants will encourage downtown shopping. What benefits one of them will benefit them all and, once consumers get into the habit of coming downtown and see the improvements, everyone’s business will no doubt increase.