There is no power for progress without an entire community who cares about our future. One great example of this phenomenon is State Street, and what has been building over the years with like-minded citizens thoughtfully developing a desirable urban district to live, work, and play.
Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development is using one of the most powerful economic tools available to drive success – the Main Street America program — to focus on the State Street blocks from 600 South to 1700 South.
Main Street America is a national non-profit group that started over 35 years ago – with a time tested approach, a proven track record of revitalizing business districts. It’s a community-led program that focuses on preserving character, and driving economic results for business owners.
The momentum is building. Business owners on State Street have come together to build a new brand identity – the “Midtown District“. This past spring, we created a Board of business members in the area to lead and adopt the Main Street America principles of Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization to enhance the visibility of the Midtown District and ultimately drive more customers to spend time there. These 4 key principles provide a clear sense of priorities and direction for the revitalization efforts.
We held a very successful kick-off meeting to engage with the public and get more business owners in the area to sign on to the principles of this program, with over 25 other businesses and 5 mayoral candidates attending. We all met to discuss and understand the importance of local business development and neighborhood revitalization.
From that, mission statements and goals were set:
- The mission of the Midtown District is to enhance the development of State Street as an authentic and diverse, mixed-use district that promotes economic prosperity.
- The core strategies the board and community have decided to focus their efforts on are to bring in more ethnic food, more arts and entertainment opportunities, bars and burger joints and a focus on a community that is inclusive of all types of businesses.
The Midtown District seeks to build a brand. It is working to create a network of local businesses and to provide education and information on available grants and micro loans. It aims to connect the district through art and design by reaching out artists and seek grant opportunities.
Because of the development that is happening on its own and through the Main Street America Program, the Midtown District the community has been able to connect with other departments in the City to express concerns of responsible infrastructure and development moving forward. They have successfully worked with Salt Lake City’s Transportation Department on a State Street redesign (Life on State), getting mid-block crossings between 6th and 7th S and also 7th and 8th S, a new bus lane and angled parking and new bikes plans on 2nd East.
Here are some improvements to the Midtown District since the Main Street America program was implemented two years ago:
- More housing, including the purchase of a motel that the Utah Housing Authority will development into affordable units.
- The emergence of the female-powered Maven District – a development right in the heart of Midtown District with 19 women-run businesses and plans to grow their concept.
- Last month, Sapa Investment Group broke ground on Food Alley an effort of 38 artist lofts and unique restaurant spaces that we can expect to bring thousands of visitors per week.
- The Salt Lake County Council recently approved money for Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake to move ahead with design work on a bike route from 900 South to 3300 South. The capital city is also looking at designs for a route on 200 East that begins as far north as 300 South, city documents show.
State Street has always been the heart of Salt Lake City and the artery that connects to the downtown. We are excited for the potential to make this a desired destination for people and families and are happy to join the community in adding to our stock of vibrant neighborhood districts.
Want to get involved? Follow the Midtown District on social media (Facebook and Instagram – @midtowndistrictslc). As well, our team is happy to connect you with the organizers. Give us a call at (801) 535-7200.