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Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomeCommentaryOp-edWhere Is Your Engagement?

Where Is Your Engagement?

Young Resident: “Wow…that Food Truck Fete was great! We need more events like that to bring us back Downtown…maybe even live Downtown.”
Downtown Merchant: “The cruise ship passengers aren’t spending money like they used to; and we can’t get the hotel guests to come Downtown.”
Hotel Manager: “We want to send our guests Downtown but we want assurances of safety and a unique island experience with a variety of shopping and things to do and flexible business hours.”
Property Owner: “Why are my rental spaces so empty for so long?”
Church Pastor: “Our congregation is getting smaller and harder to attract as there is no parking and people fear from gunshots on our steps.”
Neighborhood Organizer: “Putting a plan in place and starting clean-up of the neighborhood has begun to turn the area around as part of Downtown.”
Two Residents Sitting in Roosevelt Park: Resident 1: “Ya know…this revitalization t’ing is a good t’ing.” Resident 2: “Well let’s go to the DRI Community Forum on Nov. 7th and join in the effort.” Resident 1: “No man…I’m too busy…I gotta go grocery shopping and have lunch with my friends.”
How often I hear these statements play out. Many people…residents, business people, property owners, government officials, and event visitors…commend the efforts at revitalization of our Downtown. But it stops there. Revitalization is not an arm-chair activity; it’s not something you watch other people do.
Revitalization requires each and every one of us as community members to become engaged in some aspect of turning around our historic Downtown, including its residential neighborhoods, to ensure its survival and to provide an Island Experience Zone that will attract residents and visitors to Downtown. Help with communications and marketing; help with re-establishing a safe environment; help find and implement parking and transportation solutions; help with finding ways to promote new, creative business opportunities and locations; help with community volunteerism programs to clean up the physical environment of our town.
Downtown Revitalization Inc. [DRI] is providing the community the opportunity to gain a healthy basketful of information and to ask questions and to establish buy-in at a Community Forum at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, Nov. 7, at the Memorial Moravian Church on Norre Gade, Charlotte Amalie. Every resident, business owner, property owner, community organization, church/synagogue member, and school parent should be present and find a role to participate in the revitalization of the Downtown…If that is want you want and if you wish to benefit from those efforts.
We have themed this event: What’s In It for You?... because we want everyone to understand that there are significant benefits for each of us in the overall effort. Come find out what they are….
Editor’s note: David A. Bornn is the chairman of the Downtown Revitalization’s Working Group on Enhancement of Business in Downtown.

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