The Main Street Saskatchewan conference took place in Humboldt, Saskatchewan Nov. 5. During the morning, Kieron Hunt spoke about the importance of balancing downtown development and suburban growth. The Director of Canadian Operations for Cushing Terrell Architecture Inc says no matter how a community moves forward and for smaller town Main Streets to work in the context of suburban growth, they need local businesses to lead the way or progress will sputter.
“There’s been too many examples elsewhere where initiatives have been put in place without the support of the business community and you won’t get anywhere. If the business community does not support the initiatives, it’s an uphill battle the whole time and sometimes the business community are better served to lead the process.”
When he asked the crowd what is important for downtown’s, a grocery store was near the top. Humboldt has felt the loss of their downtown Co-op store. Hunt said urgency is needed to keep important businesses in downtown cores. “Maybe you could have got a hold of them beforehand and determined are they just outgrowing their existing building or are they having issues with parking? From understanding the challenges some of those buildings face ahead of time, perhaps you can implement policies or zoning to find the right solutions.”
Hunt said the number one most important service to any community’s downtown is banks; he was happy to see Humboldt’s all were located on Main Street.
- Read more of this article, which includes an interview (5:47) between Cushing Terrell’s Kieron Hunt and Bolt FM’s Clark Stork.
- Read another article about Hunt’s and Cushing Terrell’s work with Main Street Melfort, and efforts to undertake public engagement.
“The most important aspects for a community are to understand where it sits in its retail evolution and to be best prepared to ensure businesses on Main Streets are retained while the community provides opportunities for growth and attraction elsewhere. Main Streets and suburban growth can coexist, but the local community must decide it wants both a thriving Main Street and successful suburban or fringe growth — and make sure corporate and planning goals effectively promote the same objective.
At Cushing Terrell, we work with communities ranging from 1,000 to 50,000+ residents to ensure retail growth is balanced against demand, and that Main Streets and Downtowns have the best palette for successful businesses through best practices of economics and urban design.”
Main image courtesy of the Government of Saskatchewan.