CAPITAL CONFERENCE 2012: THE POLITICS OF PLACEMAKING
A true collaborative effort between local government and the business community has revitalized the historic downtown at the heart of West Branch. Like CreateHere co-founder Helen Johnson's placemaking presentation at Convention, West Branch's Fabulous Fridays program shows how grassroots community-based efforts can fuel economic growth and reenergize the historic downtowns that were once at the heart of every city, village and town. This CEA finalist demonstrates how business and government working together can help our downtowns to once again become the "place" that helps define a community.
West Branch's Fabulous Fridays started a few years ago and has cranked up the city's historic downtown economy with themed Fridays, including a very popular Gong Show and Classic Chassis car show. More than 14,000 people attended over the last three summers and business is up 10-15 percent annually in the small town. The Fabulous Fridays increase the exposure to the downtown business district in the city and has generated a lot of interest in West Branch overall. It also brings back that clasic small town feel of a true community gathering.
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