The Rose Theater will be a stop on the tour

By Laura Bacon/NT Staff Writer

Three downtown businesses, including the Rose Theater, will be toured as part of the forum.

AUDUBON — A Downtown Forum will be held in Audubon on Wednesday, July 17, focusing on the characteristics of a successful downtown, with the intention of sharing ideas to help community leaders get ideas on how to help their communities.

Sara Slater, with Audubon County Economic Development and Tourism, said about 36 people had signed up for the event which will offer time for networking, learning about how to get to know your downtown and assess it; discussions on environment and places to go, maintaining historic buildings, a thriving business community and downtown living.

Slater said the forum would be a great opportunity for Audubon, and for individuals in other communities, seeking ideas on improving their downtowns.

The forum starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. with a tour of three downtown buildings — the Rose Theater, The Broadway 312 and a building that was formerly a doctor’s office that is currently being remodeled into office space.

The Iowa Downtown Resource Center is putting together the Downtown Forum. Four forums are planned around the state — on July 16, there will be one at the Sigourney City Hall in Sigourney. On July 23, the forum will be held at the Parkersburg Civic Center in Parkersburg, and a final forum is planned for July 24 in Cherokee at The Gathering Place.

Jim Engle, Director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, said this year they are focusing on the characteristics of a successful downtown.

“We have nine themes that we think communities have to do a good job in to have a very viable, vibrant downtown area and there is several little sub-points under each theme, but when participants come to the downtown forums this year we’re actually going to have them self assess themselves based on these nine themes,” Engle said. “Then after that, we’re going to talk about that and we have picked four or five of those themes out where my staff is going to show some slides and examples from around the state of communities that have done a good job with things like public safety in the downtown area, or developing a good business mix in the downtown, or promoting it as a place to go, and even fixing up the downtown buildings and the great historic architecture we have in the communities.”

You can register for the forum at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DowntownForum, it is free to attend.