What is Project Elkhorn?
Project Elkhorn refers to a recent economic development effort aimed at strengthening the vitality of the city economy. This effort strives to help improve industrial, commercial, and retail sectors. The group leading this effort is the Elkhorn Economic Development Alliance (EEDA), which is in the beginning its second year of funding from the city. In 2014, the City of Elkhorn contracted Redevelopment Resources to conduct an in-depth market study. The EEDA is using this study as a guide for its work going forward. Key insights are listed below.
The number one message of this study was RETENTION –across all sectors. There are lots of resources
available to local businesses to help them with this priority. The EEDA and its volunteers will be reaching out to businesses to share information about these resources. Community members can also help by encouraging businesses to seek assistance from the EEDA.
Focus on Downtown District
Of all the sectors, Elkhorn’s industrial sector is its healthiest, while the downtown district may be in
need of the most assistance. According to the leading specialist on community branding, Roger Brooks, the heart and soul of every community, besides its people, is its downtown. Here are some important facts about downtowns:
- The activities that most vistors do are shopping, dining, and entertainment in a pedestrian-friendly setting.
- Diversionary activities are where 80% of visitor spending takes place.
- Curb appeal can account for 70% of sales at restaurants, retail shops, lodging, etc.
- Of all consumer spending, locals and visitors alike, 70% occurs after 6 p.m.
Elements of Success
Successful downtown revitalization efforts include a number of key components and involve the whole community.
- Creation and programming of dynamic public places
- Installation of amenities
- Downtown niches
- Block by block projects
- Commitment from city