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Jordan will approach the revival of its downtown by devoting relatively small amounts of money over long stretches of time to produce significant change. In the end, it wants amenities such as public pathways leading along Sand Creek, which runs through town, something that hasn’t ever been possible given private ownership and other obstacles.
But the city is starting small by taking steps to improve the commercial climate downtown in hopes of attracting more investment.
“We want to make sure Jordan is visible in things like Google searches, and finding them from Hwy. 169,” Wendell said. “We also want to make sure that all businesses collectively have certain days when they are all open and it becomes a prime shopping day for all — things like Saturdays 9 to 4 that would become prime times.”
Pending the creation of a major new civic space, she said, the city could close a downtown street for a festival or a farmers market that would create the same impact, with participants drifting off to nearby stores.
Shakopee likewise is starting with local businesses, literally creating a database of businesses along the 101 corridor as it begins to create a marketing plan for a stretch of roadway that now feels tired and aging in spots despite a remake for the roadway itself.
Tabke arrived in office deploring the missed opportunity when the powers that be merely slapped down new asphalt when they could have gone the route of St. Louis Park along Excelsior Boulevard, with its array of medians and landscaping that remade the once crime-ridden area’s image and led to new investments.
The mayor is keenly aware that visions for more urban densities will create friction. “It’ll be interesting to watch the comments section,” he said wryly. But he believes in major change.
“We need a different type of development than you see in ‘suburbs,’ ” he said. “We need to know what we can do to put a vision in place — how to get that done, where we need to take it.”
The Minnesota River, the trails along it, Huber Park, scads of historic homes and commercial buildings, are all downtown assets to build on, he said.
“Now we need to get a vision moving. But there’s just a long way to go yet.”
David Peterson • 952-746-3285