Foot traffic rings cash registers |

Foot traffic rings cash registers

Tammy Westergard

Since the 1980s’ decade of distress and uncertainty, downtown Carson City is reclaiming its prominence as a vibrant hub. One of Carson City’s signature annual downtown events, the Taste of Downtown, is Saturday and speaks to the value of the downtown neighborhood.

The image of a great city stems largely from the quality of its events, streets, parks, squares, plazas and public buildings, and no doubt downtown has made strides in the past 20-plus years.

All in all, the goal of summertime downtown activity is to boost business and give visitors and residents a nice value for their time and money spent.

Economists have long known foot traffic rings cash registers.

Activity last June boosted tax revenues from restaurants and bars 10.8 percent over June 2007, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation.

However, in this economy even a flat line in this sector from 2008 would be an achievement. Looking down the road though it is important to understand what we get in return for investing in downtown.

Did you know in America, especially during the past 20 years, people have become more aware of the benefits of well-planned improvements related to: Transportation by foot, bike, car and public transit; cleanliness; beauty; business; safety; events; promotions and civic investment?

The importance of creating a high-quality downtown is very apparent to real estate professionals and those starting up or relocating businesses.

Carson City residents understand this more than some think.

City center development is the primary starting place of our community’s master plan, Envision Carson City, which was adopted in 2006.

Thousands of residents participated in a year-long public outreach effort that pointed to downtown development.

The Carson City Library seeks to be a pillar in this kind of town center vision.

Consider joining Library Director Sara Jones’ blog at Learn about the parts that make up the whole and what this will mean to you.

Voice your preferences and needs.

In fact, throughout June, anyone may visit the State Library and Archives gallery, see the vision, fill out comment cards and perhaps, in the end, choose to stand with the thousands of residents who have already expressed a vision for a healthy town center anchored by a 21st century downtown central library.

The efforts and recipes for success are not cure-alls. However, this is an effort in prevention … it makes our other civic challenges easier. It draws in health and prosperity to counterbalance disease and decline.

This will grow our sustainable property tax base and fuel our sales tax base, so that the community together can be healthy in all the ways this kind of investment creates.

We know this makeover will not be immediate. But steps and investments are taking place to turn the visual plan into reality. You are invited to learn more about the Downtown Consortium’s efforts and join at http://www.down

The Carson City Downtown Consortium is also on Facebook.

• Tammy Westergard is the deputy manager of the Carson City Office of Business Development.