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Allied Member Spotlight: Downtown Redevelopment Services

  
October 1, 2020 | Allied Member Spotlight: Downtown Redevelopment Services |

This week, we caught up with Ben Levenger, Principal and Managing Member of Downtown Redevelopment Services—a downtown revitalization consulting firm seeking to assist communities adjusting to the realities of today's economy. Downtown Redevelopment Services has been in business for nine years, and has offices in Akron, Ohio, and Park City, Utah. Meet Ben and learn more about Downtown Redevelopment Services, one of our valued Allied Members, below:

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with Main Streets?
The most rewarding part of working with Main Street organizations is the ability to help each one create truly catalyst strategies that will positively impact the quality of life for residents of their community. Many of our clients are small or more rural communities, and it is always amazing to see the results of a grass roots downtown revitalization or economic development effort. The participants are fueled by care, compassion and a sense of spurring change for the greater good of all.

What is the biggest change you’ve noticed since you first entered the industry?
This question is a tough one to answer as the Main Street industry is in a constant state of change. That being said, the biggest change we have witnessed is a paradigm shift away from tourism based economics. Many organizations are now focusing on local economies and rebuilding a downtown that is designed to serve the community, so the community can, in turn, support the downtown.

What your most frequently asked question from Main Streeters?
We are often asked about proper master/downtown planning practices, what services should be included, and what type of outcomes or goals should be prepared. Just as every community is unique, every downtown or master plan should be unique. The appropriate planning process should be tailored to meet the needs of each organization; providing a clear, concise and attainable roadmap for the short, mid and long-term future.

Tell us about the funniest experience you’ve had in a Main Street.
Main Streets are all quirky and vibrant in their own way, that is what gives them character. However, one of the best experiences we have seen while working in a community is the annual “Doll parade” in Houlton, Maine. Young kids are encouraged to make a parade float, of sorts, with their wagons, load up their dolls or stuffed animals and walk down main street and through the market square. It is a fantastic opportunity to encourage multi-generational participation in a downtown/community event.

Has your business pivoted as a result of COVID-19? If so, how?
COVID-19 has impacted every community, Main Street and business across the country. Given the current economic situation being experienced, our company has pivoted to begin helping communities focus on creating more locally based and resilient economies. This has been completed through a focus on economic diversification and working to identify under or over saturated services within a corridor. It is through this pivot that we have been able to focus on providing plans or strategies for organizations that will capitalize on immediately available resources and build momentum for larger projects in the future.

Any fun facts?
Fun Fact: For better or worse, our staff have a tendency to purposely plan “snow days” when visiting clients in western states during the downhill ski season.

Looking back, if you could provide professional advice to yourself 10 years ago, what would you tell them to do?
There is not right or wrong way for a community to witness revitalization success, there is only the “local” way. Locals understand their needs and desires better than any consultant. Listen to the residents and help craft goals that will meet all of their needs, and most of their desires.

Visit Downtown Redevelopment Services' listing in our Allied Service Directory, or learn more at www.dtredevelopment.com.

Our Allied Network is made up of companies and consultants that provide products and services related to downtown revitalization and economic development. Whether you specialize in market analysis, architectural design, beautiful event banners, or state of the art park benches, Allied membership provides an invaluable way to promote your goods or services to the Main Street America network.
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