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16000 E. Michigan Ave., Albion 49224

12 Steps to Downtown Revitalization


2018 was a great year for Albion! Important connections were made, new businesses were opened, and the momentum of downtown revitalization continued. As 2019 begins, we are working to continue the momentum create positive change for all residents and visitors. During our October open house, we shared the preliminary plans for many downtown buildings, but more importantly, the vision for a vibrant Albion was shared. These preliminary plans are the results of months of work but it is just the beginning.  

Twelve Steps to Revitalization

The team at Albion Reinvestment Corporation has been working for almost two years on developing the Big Albion Plan.  In the early days, however, our team was introduced to “Turning Around Downtown: Twelve Steps to Revitalization” by Christopher B. Leinberger. Published by The Brookings Institution, this paper simplifies the complex work that is revitalization into twelve steps. Through research, Leinberger identified the similarities between revitalization efforts that have been successful and created this template for “returning communities to walkable downtowns.”

“The first six steps focus on how to build the necessary infrastructure, both “hard” and “soft,” for turning around a downtown.” These steps are concerned with bringing the community together, creating a vision, a plan and partnerships, and getting the right people involved in the process.

“The next six steps are the means by which a viable private real estate sector can be re-introduced to a downtown that may not have had a private sector building permit in years.” The foundation for revitalization is built in steps one through six, steps seven through twelve consider what it will take to sustain the vision for the long term. The focus of these steps includes rental housing, affordability, local retail and entertainment.

Why This Blog Series

In the coming months, we will publish one blog post for each of the twelve steps. Each post will describe a step towards revitalization and then connect that step to what has or is happening in Albion. Along the way we hope that you will learn something new about the process of downtown revitalization. Who knows, maybe reading these blogs will spark an idea you have for our community and inspire you to act.

Why Albion, Why Now

We know that some may say “why Albion, why now?” and to that, we say WHY NOT! The momentum has been building, and our community is built on a strong foundation, but we believe that it is time to pick up the pace.

As Albion Reinvestment Corporation works towards revitalizing the commercial and residential space in downtown Albion in partnership with the community, we need you to help spread the word about the good that is happening here. We need you to think about what you can and would shop for in Albion instead of traveling to Jackson or Battle Creek. Take time to share your excitement and support with your neighbors and our elected officials. Together we will continue to make good things happen in Albion and more importantly for the people of Albion.

We look forward to diving into downtown revitalization with you in the coming months. Our next post in the series will focus on Step 1, Capturing the Vision. Stay tuned!

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