Rather than investing in new downtown development projects and hoping for people to come, Fort Worth, Texas, is trying to attract more residents downtown with street fairs and events, building a customer base for any future development.
"Downtown revitalization can be fun.
At least that's the pitch for Saturday's first Historic Mansfield Arts Festival, a full day of arts, crafts and live music in the century-old town center.
Organizers said the festival demonstrates a new way of thinking about energizing downtown. Rather than pressing mostly for architectural restoration on Main Street, merchants and city officials now want to focus first on activities that attract visitors and economic interest to a broader downtown area.
"We are trying to not follow the model of 'If you build it they will come,'" said City Planning Director Felix Wong, who has helped downtown merchants plan revitalization programs for many years. "We want to bring in the customers based on the activities, and the merchants will upgrade their buildings as a result of it." "