I am new here and I am interested in reducing urban sprawl. It seems to be the case that misuse of TIF districts in many areas has created an environment which fuels over-development of retail in areas which are already saturated. If this is the case, what can be done with regard to convincing state and other local bodies to reform and restructure their rules regarding the creation of TIF districts? Is this an issue that can be taken up at the federal level?
In a slightly unrelated vein, I'd like to ask about Main Street redevelopment ideas. I was in Winchester Virginia today and I was impressed with the beauty and walkability of the downtown. The area is historically and culturally rich (with places like the tomb of Lord Fairfax from the 18th century, several museums preserving the area's civil war and colonial heritage and of course, the town has the distinction of being home to the country legend Patsy Cline). Further adding to the town's attractiveness in my view, is the pedestrian mall. However, one thing was on my mind as I walked around the streets that were lined with 18th century buildings: the almost total lack of people on a Tuesday afternoon. Most of the people I saw were driving through town towards the new big-box developments along the highway.
The question here is, how can towns like this seize hold of and cultivate their cultural and architectural capital? I personally think that creating incentives for downtown necessity retail may be one way. The stores along the pedestrian mall were either gift stores or restaurants. There were a few clothing stores. There were no hardware stores or food markets. There were no pharmacies. These are the things that need to be located downtown. What other ideas are out there?
(Gedunker) I modified the thread title to be a little more specific about the thread topic. Thanks and carry on!