More than Stores

| Monday, May 19 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. | Room: Ambassador Salon II | Session Tracks: ST, BD, EI

"If you build it, they will come" doesn't always work for downtown retail development. Sustainable downtowns have diverse uses and serve diverse groups. This session focuses on how downtowns can benefit from non-retail uses, such as office, industrial, and residential spaces as well as non-profit endeavors. Learn how local Main Street organizations can encourage positive non-retail economic growth and build a supportive environment for retail. Also learn how communities can address issues that develop from storefront churches and social service agencies. The aging population and the potential value of being a retirement-ready community will also be considered.


Mim Evans, Northern Illinois University
Mim Evans is a research associate at the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University, where she focuses on downtown revitalization. Prior to this position, she was the executive director of Genoa Main Street, Inc., in Genoa, Illinois for seven years and a consultant to public and private sector clients on economic development and project feasibility in the Rocky Mountain region. She has an MS in urban planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Norman Walzer, Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University
Dr. Norman Walzer is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University and the Director Emeritus of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. His focus is on innovative economic development practices, assisting development groups and public officials with research needs, and aiding local strategic planning practices. He has served as the Interim Dean of the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University and the Chairman of the Department of Economics at that same university.