The Downtown Austin Alliance on Thursday is launching what it says is a strategic and comprehensive plan for downtown that will spark and guide the economic recovery process from the pandemic. The months-long venture is called the “Roadmap to Recovery,” which will direct efforts and initiatives deemed necessary to achieve full economic recovery, as well as future resiliency for downtown Austin.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have deployed several successful initiatives to keep downtown vibrant, safe and clean,” Dewitt Peart, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said. “As stewards of downtown, it is our duty to look to the future and drive the actions needed to ensure we re-establish the thriving city center that downtown was prior to COVID-19. Our goal is to help businesses recover and facilitate reengagement with downtown by employees, residents, visitors and creatives.”
The project will have four phases: discovery, visioning, mapping and action.
Commencing now, and lasting until early 2021, the discovery phase will include focus groups, individual interviews, workshops and surveys to better understand how the pandemic has impacted the people of Austin. The results of these efforts will be shared anonymously with the public and serve as snapshots of Austin’s progress towards recovery, illuminating the attitudes, challenges and goals of our community. Many of the actionable ideas from the discovery phase may be implemented immediately or at any point in the process.
Based on the findings from the discovery phase, the visioning phase will focus on developing key indicators to determine what success looks like. These indicators will correspond to crucial economic segments that contribute to downtown’s vitality, including the hotel, retail, restaurant/bar and music industries.
Focusing on the key indicators, the Downtown Alliance will create a dynamic and flexible Roadmap to Recovery which will include specific priorities, pathways and milestones. The goal of the mapping phase is to ensure downtown Austin is positioned to recover quickly as well as to endure future economic fluctuations and other events that could bring uncertainty to downtown Austin.
The action phase will consist of the Downtown Alliance realigning its work to implement, monitor and adapt the roadmap to ensure its areas of focus and programs are successfully reviving the sectors that make downtown a draw for scores of visitors and businesses to the city.
“Downtown’s success and recovery is key to the continued growth and economic stability of the entire region,” Peart added. “Across the country, communities are grappling with the challenge of rebuilding. As an organization with a sole purpose of enhancing the vitality and value of downtown, combined with the experience and leadership we have had in many of Austin’s well-known design initiatives, projects and strategic plans and vision, the Downtown Austin Alliance is uniquely qualified to lead the way for downtown Austin’s renaissance.”