The International Downtown Association honored Livingston County Economic Development and its hired consultant, Streetsense, with an Excellence Award.

The award was for the county’s Downtown 2.0 Commercial District Assessment, a comprehensive plan for Livingston County and its nine downtowns that identifies shared downtown challenges and establishes a set of clear strategies and tactics for the county to collectively address business attraction and sales growth, capital investment, and redevelopment.

The Downtown Achievement Awards identify improvements to urban centers by dedicated organizations around the globe.

Livingston County was among 15 projects that received an Excellence Award. Ten projects were recognized with the industry’s highest honor, a Pinnacle Award.

The winning organizations represent more than 35 cities in the United States, Canada, South Africa and Singapore.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our Downtown 2.0 Commercial District Assessment. The plan will continue to provide the backbone for future economic development initiatives in Livingston County,” said Maureen Wheeler, deputy director of Livingston County Economic Development.

The 2018 plan has been instrumental in implementing key initiatives and programs focused on downtown revitalization, economic development officials said.

Among the plans highlights:

n The First Impressions Program funds Livingston County Economic Development projects that promote a lasting and genuine first impression of Livingston County’s downtown districts and businesses.

n More than 100 pieces of permanent and temporary art has been and will be placed across the Main Street corridors of the county’s nine villages as part of the Inspirations Trail.

n The Dream-O-Vate Competition was a business competition that allowed nine new businesses to open.

The competition was a retail attraction program aimed at increasing retail occupancy in the county’s nine downtown districts.

All new businesses have benefitted from press coverage and ribbon cuttings that helped raise awareness and drive sales.

n Livingston County is embarking on a wayfinding master plan, called LivCo Wayfinding, to create a unified, consistent impression across nine villages in the county. The goal of this is to encourage effective and safe connections to unique destinations and places of interest.

The Downtown 2.0 plan was the culmination of an effort that began in July 2017 when Livingston County Development Corporation received a New York Main Street Technical Assistance Grant from the state Office of Community Renewal

That led LCDC to engage Larisa Ortiz Associates for a physical diagnostic of each downtown, that includes stakeholder interviews, public meetings and a retail market analysis for each downtown community.

The project also included a county-wide retail market analysis.

Then, in February 2018, more than 200 residents attending a meeting in Mount Morris where Ortiz presenting her findings and recommendations. Those in attendance then broke into nine groups by community to discuss priorities for their downtowns. Top priorities were reported back to the whole group and included addition of wayfinding signage, a retail attraction program, public art on Main Street, parking lot upgrades, downtown façade and building rehab and promotion and events partnership.

For more information on Livingston County Economic Development, call (585) 243-7124 or visit the GrowLivCo website at https://www.growlivco.com/.

The International Downtown Association is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit www.downtown.org.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1