Economic Development

Shaping Downtown after COVID-19

Thursday, April 29, 2021, 2-4 pm Central (3-5 pm Eastern)

Free Discussion on Zoom

Register Here:

How did an isolated college town in the hills of Central New York assemble the economic development tools, talent and relationships to shape its downtown as a treasured part of the community? What can economic development leaders from Appleton, Eau Claire, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, share about the outlook for their downtowns during and after the pandemic. What can these cities learn from each other and the ideas shared by the participants?  We will also set aside Q&A and discussion time with the speakers and other participants to share insights on the pandemic and ideas for resetting their downtown strategies.

PART I    Shaping a City, Ithaca, NY: A Developer’s Perspective

2 PM Central

 Author Mack Travis and Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Gary Ferguson, will share their story of downtown transformation. In the past 25 years, 3/4 $billion has been invested, 25 major projects were developed, and three 10-Year Strategic Plans were conducted to guide this growth. Successful responses to the COVID-19 crisis will be discussed. To prepare for this discussion, we recommend reading selected parts of the book prior to the program.

 PART II    Appleton, Eau Claire, and La Crosse WI

 3:00 PM Central

Using the book Shaping a City as background, Part II will discuss three Wisconsin downtowns with active college communities. Downtown and community leaders from these cities will share some of their unique responses to COVID-19 and their downtown development outlooks.

PART III    Q&A followed by Participant Idea Sharing

 3:30 PM Central

In the final part of the Zoom video program, participants will be invited to ask questions and offer their comments and ideas from the communities in which they live or work. The shared expertise of the full group will result in a collection of ideas that could help downtowns increase market capture, new construction, building reuses, and return-to-business operators in the communities.

For more information on the program or for purchasing the book, email:

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