This report was commissioned by the La Marque Economic Development Corporation to explore the current conditions of the historic downtown located on Laurel Street, from Bayou Road to Yupon Drive, and also includes 1st Street, from Bayou Road to TX-3. La Marque is experiencing a Renaissance. The city’s leaders are committed to a city wide revitalization projects, one of which is the historic Renaissance District. Drawing from feedback provided to us by focus groups and the community, this effort will be driven by the principles of place making, walkability, and accessibility for the community’s aging population. This project will also help create an attractive destination for local
La Marque residents, and help refocus development toward the City’s urban core. The Revitalization Plan will include analysis of existing conditions and regulations, visual renderings of development alternatives, site plans, and recommended action items for project implementation. This plan will focus on four overarching strategies
A long-term organization is needed that has the capacity and community support to lead revitalization efforts. A downtown organization focused on revitalization carries on as individual participants come and go and may serve a variety of functions. It can:
- Develop, modify, and implement the community’s revitalization plan;
- Identify and take advantage of opportunities that arise;
- Serve as the focal point for fundraising efforts;
- Coordinate the efforts of businesses, property owners, and local officials; and
- Oversee community outreach efforts.
2. ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING
Most downtowns begin their decline when their economic functions diminish or move elsewhere. In almost all cases, successful revitalization involves shifting to a different mix of economic activities. This requires identifying and promoting new economic functions for the downtown in relation to local or regional markets and competing commercial centers. Economic restructuring should be based on a realistic inventory and assessment of market trends, existing businesses, and local assets, including buildings, infrastructure, public amenities, and the local workforce. In addition to market analyses, work under this element can include programs to strengthen and recruit businesses.
To initiate and perpetuate revitalization, the downtown must be effectively marketed. This involves making sure businesses, potential investors, residents, and visitors are kept informed of what the downtown has to offer and the vision of growth for its future. Activities can include branding (image development) and marketing campaigns, sales events and promotions, special downtown celebrations, and cultural programs that draw people downtown. Highlighting economic successes generates more activity.
The historical and aesthetic qualities of a downtown or village center and well-defined public spaces set it apart from other commercial areas. Design is the key element that ties discrete buildings and spaces into an attractive, visually coherent environment for visitors, customers, employees and residents.