Downtown Astoria businesses will soon have a resource for revitalization planning after the Astoria City Council Monday approved a $7500.00 contribution to the Astoria Downtown Historic District as the last piece of financial support needed to hire a downtown revitalization expert.
In May of this year Michele Reeves visited Astoria and presented a vision with a practical approach aimed at giving downtown business and property owners a taste of what the town could be like. Reeves pushed aside concerns about parking saying that a successful downtown is all about pedestrians. She says taking steps to encourage people to get out of their cars and walk equals an increase in store traffic and an increase in dollars per square foot. She used examples of other areas that have taken steps to provide a walking environment by eliminating what she termed "blanks", or stretches of building fronts without windows, parking lots and empty spaces which she said people will not walk past. She encouraged restaurants to put out sidewalk tables, she told the audience that Astoria is far too beige in color and needs to liven things up. She said buildings with interesting features should be prominent. Her talk apparently inspired one property owner to strip the old facade off a downtown building within a few weeks of her talk.
Leaders in the ADHDA and the Astoria Sunday Market decided to bring Reeves on board to conduct a more in-depth analysis of the downtown and put together most of the $20,000 cost for that contract approaching the city council for the remaining $7500.00 to make it happen. Monday night the council agreed and voted to make that contribution.