Last fall, the Ardmore Main Street Authority hired consultant Hilary Greenberg to develop a strategy for downtown. She toured the area, spoke to local owners and merchants, then went home to develop her plan.
Thursday she returned with her full strategy and held two presentations — one to board members and one to the community at large —  to present her suggestions.
“There is a lot in this report, so it’s your job as a board to start picking and choosing and to start deciding which suggestions are better than others,” Greenberg said to AMSA board members. “This just gives you a start to see what all is out there.”
She said that while downtown Ardmore already has a lot going for it, there are some things it could definitely be doing better. Greenberg suggested improvements to downtown’s residential base.
“When people live downtown, they change how it feels,” Greenberg said. “There is just more interaction. You see people out walking their dogs and riding their bikes. It becomes more like a neighborhood instead of becoming a ghost town after five o’clock.”
Greenberg said this would also increase revenues for building owners.
“It gives them a chance to make more money and not rely solely on the downstairs retail space. Because whatever you are charging there it won’t be enough.”
She also suggested that downtown could focus on bringing in more office space.
“I don’t see anyone in Ardmore who’s focusing on small offices and making that happen downtown,” Greenberg said. “That office doesn’t have to be a 100 person corporation. It could be nine or seven people.”
She said that while there is some office space available downtown it is not as good as it could be and needs to be improved.
Both of these suggestions help create what Greenberg refers to as a “sense of place.”
“Creating a sense of place is a game changer,” Greenberg said. “There is a whole new world called place-making that gives people a place to take their Instagram pictures.”
She said that the plans for way-find signage, the streetscape project, and Depot Park will contribute to the sense of place. She also noted that smaller projects also contribute.
“There’s a lot of cool stuff that you can do with signage and window treatments,” Greenberg said. “You need to keep working on those because they do, in the end, translate into money in somebody’s pocket.
Another suggestion Greenberg made was creating a signature event for downtown.
“You have some good events, but you don’t have a signature event,” Greenberg said. “Maybe if you can’t pick one, it’s because there isn’t going to be one.”
One of her suggestions is creating a Thursday night music night. The event would include live entertainment and drinks. She used a small town in Iowa as an example. Over the course of the summer their Thursday night event brings between $30,000 and $40,000 to their Main Street.
“Most importantly, it gets people downtown with a place to go. Right now you don’t have that,” Greenberg said.