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Life Downtown

Mike McGarry

February 14, 2008

Just a few years ago, the idea of “life downtown” would have been taken as a joke. Other than UCONN games and bar business, the feeling a real city was missing, especially on weekends, was underlined by silent, empty Sunday mornings.

However, signs of change were evident this last Sunday. Your servant was an observer of what a well promoted production – Bodies Revealed – can do to enliven the dead: the bodies and Sunday Downtown. People streamed into the exhibit, stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s and JoJo’s (Pratt Street), strolled around looking at the clean – thanks to the B.I.D. – few blocks around the XL Center, with many commenting on how good things are looking.

How does the city – and Northland in this case – follow up the success of this promotion? Using these weekend days, normally unfruitful, to create wealth and prestige is a good idea. Plenty of parking with some services open, the success everyone is looking for is close at hand. We even met some downtown residents out for coffee on this Sunday excursion.

It seems to us that a few factors might add to the mix. For example, the next big promotion should tie into the “Connecticut Creative Store” currently on Stonington Street. What a chance to promote the state’s products; give strollers something to do, and help fund the Colt Park improvements. Our city’s economic development operation was helpful in pushing the exhibit along, maybe it could grease the skids for something similar if we bring in another blockbuster.

The Bodies exhibit certainly was “thinking out of the box.” Congrats to all and hopefully we’ll see more of the same.

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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