Working to improve nightlife on the Square, highlighting entrances to the Square from State and Main streets and improving the one block radius surrounding the Square are three areas that should be focused on according to a downtown assessment team that studied Centerville last week.
Working on these areas and others will help to both sustain and grow Centerville’s downtown in the future, according to the assessment team who presented their findings to interested community members Thursday afternoon at the Majestic after a two day study of the city.
Director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center Jim Engle and Design Specialist for the Iowa Downtown Resource Center/Main Street Iowa Tim Reinders were the two who completed the assessment and presented their findings in a one hour meeting Thursday.
The duo not only toured the city and the Square, they also conducted numerous interviews with representatives of Centerville and Appanoose County, including members of the business community, service organizations, volunteers, shoppers, rural residents and others.
The duo outlined both the strengths and weaknesses of the city and the downtown area in their presentation.
“If I were to sit down…and came up with a top ten list of things that a downtown has to have to be cool and exciting and successful, Centerville would have about eight of those,” said Engle.
The two areas Engle highlighted that Centerville still needed to work on the most, were a strong neighborhood surrounding the Square and a strong nightlife economy on the Square.
The Square itself was highlighted as a major strength of Centerville, with a good mix of businesses. Finding your way to the downtown area for anyone not from here though, was seen as a problem. And directing people to the Square is becoming increasingly important as the number of tourists and visitors in the county has been growing over the past several years.