Yes, it does. I recently noticed an HWS office sign downtown on Main Street. I really think this is a great idea for a number of reasons:
- the more people working, living and shopping downtown, the more vibrant our Main Streets will become;
- working downtown means that employees can use their lunch breaks to walk to places to eat or do errands (e.g. post office, public library);
- there is one less vacant storefront;
- I think the university is leasing the space, which means that the building owner, in turn, is paying property taxes (note: typically, universities are exempt from local property taxes), and;
- it seems to me that there is something symbolic about extending the built environment of the campus into the heart of the city. I know that there are loads of great campus / community initiatives, but there is something about a bricks and mortar presence that strikes me as pretty powerful.
More exciting news about downtown Geneva! The Local Development Corporation has narrowed down the selection for the Race for the Space competition to two finalists: LIME, a casually eclectic boutique, submitted by Michelle Carter Eades and The Dancing Bear, a retail beer store and coffee to go, submitted by Victor Pultinas and Jenna La Vita (see the press release for more info). Both of these businesses sound great and would make lovely additions to our increasingly fabulous downtown.
I was downtown yesterday afternoon and learned that Zotos is going out of business. It’s always sad when a business closes, especially one that you really enjoyed (where else can you buy lovely and sophisticated candles that are made in Geneva?!). While I was in the store stocking up on half-priced goods, the store manager was telling me about a competition to encourage new businesses downtown called “Race for the Space“. Maybe when one door closes, another one opens. The competition is run by the Geneva Local Development Corporation and is designed to award free rent for a year as well as help with marketing, architectural services, etc. to a new business willing to set-up shop downtown. Pretty interesting, eh?! Sounds like an innovative idea to me.