As community leaders have now been identified, the sponsoring organization can start
the transition from a leadership to a support role. The process of true ownership by the
business community can begin.
It is important at this stage of revitalization to begin to establish a neighborhood
and organization identity. With tools like a name and a logo, local residents and
businesses start to associate the organization with it projects and activities. It is also
important that local government, business and community leaders recognize the efforts of a
formal organization. These institutions are more likely to offer their support and their
resources to an organization with an established record of initiative, hard work, and
Ultimately, organizations dedicated to neighborhood commercial revitalization seek to
increase the "bottom line" for neighborhood businesses. However, it is the
responsibility of the individual organization to enlist both its members and its community
in establishing specific goals and priorities.
Seeking neighborhood input is important for two reasons. First, the information obtained can be invaluable in assessing individual needs and perceptions. Second, community members who feel that they have been given a voice in planning are likely to take a greater stake and role in revitalization efforts. Input in the goal-setting process can be gathered via informal conversations with local merchants, surveys, open planning meetings, or any combination of these. Once an organization has established its goals and priorities, it can begin to plan the efforts needed to meet those goals.
The new organization can begin to plan small, structured projects which seek to promote
the neighborhood and introduce the organization and its future activities. These projects
show fellow merchants what can be achieved with commitment and energy and may inspire
their own involvement. For example:
Funding or support for these activities may be solicited from the local, state, and
federal revitalization resources discussed in later sections of this report.
A group that has successfully created neighborhood identity and motivated its merchant
and owner population to recognize its stake in revitalization may wish to establish a new
level of organization. In the next section, we look specifically at the Special
Improvement District strategy. However, these first two phases of organization will be
essential when implementing any of the revitalization strategies discussed in later
sections of this report.