guided by a vision of what Downtown can be

The Downtown Garner Association is the foremost advocate for Main Street’s economic revitalization and charged with casting a vision for its future – one that is borne out of asset-based economic development strategies, market analysis, community input, and a long term public-private commitment to downtown revitalization.  

our Vision Statement

Developed with feedback from downtown stakeholders in cooperation with the Downtown Garner Association and the North Carolina Main Street Center.  This vision statement is an integral part of DGA’s annual strategic plan  for downtown economic revitalization.  It builds off of existing community assets, key partnerships, and the commitment of the Town of Garner.

Historic Downtown Garner connects our small town roots with our future as a growing crossroads of cultural arts, recreation, and creative entrepreneurship in the community.

Through private development, public investment, and historic preservation, we’re expanding our downtown to become the destination for local flavor and flair in Garner.

Community Engagement

The goal of the Community Engagement committee is to tell the story of downtown and foster relationships with businesses and stakeholders to strengthen DGA’s position as the leading advocate for Downtown Garner.

2019 Measurables:

  1. Raise $15,000 in annual sponsorship donations by the beginning of April
  2. Visit with every business and stakeholder in Downtown Garner at least once by July 31
  3. Find 2 opportunities to give back to downtown stakeholders in time or financial support

Committee Projects:

  • Run DGA’s annual sponsorship drive
  • Develop a downtown engagement program to regularly keep up with stakeholders
  • Build a strategic social media plan for promoting downtown
  • Provide support for PRCR’s Recreation Center grand opening event

Event Planning

The goal of the Event Planning committee is to develop a strategic annual event calendar that brings people downtown to eat, shop, and play.

2019 Measurables:

  1. Plan 9-12 downtown events between April-December
  2. Recruit 10 new volunteers to fulfill event manpower needs

Committee Projects:

  • Plan food truck rodeos, outdoor movies, and pop up markets
  • Build a volunteer program to support existing events and expand capacity for future needs
  • Develop an event-specific marketing plan that feeds into DGA’s overall social media plan
  • Work with PRCR on long range planning for town festival & new events

Design & Public Art

The goal of the Design & Public Art Committee is to build a foundation of tools to support and guide future design efforts in downtown.

2019 Measurables:

  1. Create 1 new opportunity for public art by the end of 2019
  2. Create a complete downtown property database by the end of April

Committee Projects:

  • Build/update a cohesive property & business database
  • Revise the façade grant to meet the needs of downtown & encourage growth
  • Consult with the town on streetscape enhancement projects & signage opportunities
  • Support projects for temporary & permanent public art in downtown

Downtown Development

The goal of the Downtown Development committee is to create a strategic economic development plan to foster growth and sustain the existing business community.

2019 Measurables:

  1. Recruit 3-4 volunteers to sustain the committee by March
  2. Develop 1 mentoring opportunity to be supported by Gearworks tenant by December

    Committee Projects:

  • Collaborate with Community Engagement to address needs or opportunities that arise from meeting with downtown businesses
  • Work with the Economic Development Director to flesh out programming for Gearworks
  • Research opportunities for maker space in downtown
  • Assist the town to market & develop the pad adjacent to the new recreation center

2019 Downtown Plan of Work

The Downtown Garner Association Board of Directors develops an annual plan of work based on the principles of downtown revitalization – Organization, Promotion, Design, & Economic Vitality – pioneered by the  National Main Street Center.

History & Context

of Downtown Revitalization

Historic Downtown Garner Plan

In 2009, a public-private partnership between the Town of Garner and the Garner Revitalization Association (now DGA) led to development of the Historic Downtown Garner Plan, a strategic economic development guide for downtown revitalization.

The HDGP had three objectives: 1) to facilitate a market-based planning approach to enhance the Downtown Area from Vandora Springs to Jones Sausage Road, 2) to create a community-based vision  to guide the character of future development in Downtown Garner, and 3) to develop an Action Plan to guide GRA and the Town of Garner over the next 10 years including public investment and phasing strategies.

By 2015, the town and GRA had set in motion or implemented all feasible tasks identified in the HDGP, including development and passage of downtown and parks bond proposals in 2013; key infrastructure investments in stormwater, transportation, sidewalk, and streetscape improvements; and perhaps most importantly, the construction of a brand new 40,000 sq. foot Recreation Center on Main Street to serve as a civic anchor to the historic business district.  The Recreation Center will open in 2019 and is expected to be a key player in the next phase of development for Downtown Garner.

Garner Forward Comprehensive Plan

Participating in development of the town’s Garner Forward Comprehensive Plan was a natural next step from the Historic Downtown Garner Plan.  Comprehensive plans are intended to provide a long-range vision for land development and redevelopment opportunities, community infrastructure decisions, and community image. Several past and present DGA board members served on the steering committee for Garner Forward and provided input to help shape future development surrounding Downtown Garner.

With a $9 million public investment in a new 40,000 sq. ft. recreation center and support for an active community-driven Main Street program, Downtown Garner was added as one of Garner Forward’s five opportunity sites  DGA’s Downtown Development committee worked with consultants to update renderings from the HDGP. These visuals are already being used to cast vision for Downtown and will help encourage the type of high density, mixed use retail, restaurant, and office space that DGA would like to see in the next phase of downtown redevelopment.