Steve Banister

Steve Banister

Lend a Hand for Downtown

You are invited – indeed encouraged – to join Main Street Hanford and to share your ideas toward creating transformation strategies for downtown Hanford. The second in a series of community get-togethers on ways to transform Downtown Hanford into a fabulous and fun destination will be held on Monday, January 23rd at 5:30 p.m. in the City of Hanford Training Room at 319 N. Douty Street.

Participants at the first meeting came up with dozens of great ideas on what could be implemented to ensure that downtown Hanford remains the heart and soul of our community. These ideas included efforts and changes in infrastructure, business mix, walkability and accessibility, activities and events, as well as new residential opportunities.

It’s imperative that our community provides input as a means of creating the vision for the future that will ensure a vibrant, healthy, and resilient downtown Hanford for many years to come. The Main Street America Approach has proven again and again that a small number of committed people can make a big difference in a community. Flourishing downtowns have strong community leaders and committed citizens. Hanford is lucky to have citizens and current leaders that care a great deal about our community and would like to work together on assuring a vivacious downtown.

At this second gathering we will be putting together an inventory of downtown Hanford’s already existing assets: natural assets, architectural assets, human assets, educational assets, economic assets and so on. Participants can then work together to create ideas on how to formulate plans to enhance these existing assets and shape the future of downtown Hanford around them. Hanford is fortunate in that very few communities have a town square as picturesque and serene as downtown Hanford’s. Now we just have to make it and the rest of our downtown into something vibrant as well as beautiful.

As Hanford continues to grow it is vital that our civic leaders understand the impact a vital downtown has on our community as a whole. The more we begin to look like every other community the less reason there is to visit. The Internet’s Free Dictionary describes generica as “regions of the urban landscape of the United States that are indistinguishable from one another because they have the same retail outlets, chain restaurants, and strip malls.” The more Hanford does to protect and enhance our downtown’s unique character, charm and vibrancy, the more people will want to visit, shop, and dine.

From coast to coast downtowns big and small are striving to remain relevant in a rapidly shifting world in which cities expand beyond their cores. Edward McMahon, chairman of the National Main Street Center Board of Directors, states that every “successful” community has its own strengths and weaknesses but they all share some common characteristics. Successful downtowns involve a broad cross-section of residents who participate in determining and planning for the future. Communities that choose their future and capitalize on their historic, unique and distinctive qualities are always more successful than those that leave their future to chance or try to assume a new and different identity.

Main Street Hanford is a certified Main Street America program and part of a network of over 1600 neighborhoods and communities that shares both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities. Being certified is a special mark of distinction in the shared understanding that participating programs, organizations, and communities are part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating impressive economic returns. We hope to see you on the 23rd and look forward to your participation in this widely shared and proven approach to creating brighter community futures.

Steve Banister is a steadfast downtown enthusiast and business owner.  He is a current and founding board member of Main Street Hanford

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