Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1998 study largely ignored

According to the web site of the Lancaster Campaign, a subsidiary of the Lancaster Alliance, "Early in 1998, The Lancaster Campaign contracted with LDR International, Inc. (sold to HNTB Corp. in 2000) to create a plan to 'stimulate the economic revitalization of the City of Lancaster by developing a community supported vision and action agenda'."

It indicated that "implementing the following strategies will help Downtown Lancaster develop as a destination."

Following are the various points. Noticeable for its absence is any suggestion of creation of a convention center or hotel. The idea was apparently dismissed as worthy of disucssion!

The entire study can read at

Develop new downtown attractions. New attractions, beyond bringing more people downtown, will generate excitement, publicity and other positive spin-offs. New entertainment venues such as a multiplex cinema/retail complex and new or expanded museums are needed.

Develop a full program of effective visitor information. Good visitor information should convey a consistent and interesting story about a place from the first point of contact (through a general fulfillment piece) to site-specific information (e.g., brochure for an historic building).

Implement a Comprehensive, Coordinated Signage System. The intent of a wayfinding system is to make a city more visible (to passersby) and more accessible and understandable to visitors by improving the physical and graphic image of a city’s directional signage. Of particular importance is the need for enhanced signage at the Route 30 exits, at the city gateways and within the city.

Increase the profile of Lancaster Central Market as a visitor destination. The Central Market is one of Downtown Lancaster's primary attractions, although current operations are not conducive to visitors.

Develop downtown retail. An aggressive retail retention and recruitment program should be implemented to create a thriving downtown retail environment that is appealing to both residents and visitors.

Build on existing strengths, such as Central Market, the Lancaster Heritage Center, a new interactive visitor interpretive center, and the development and expansion of Lancaster's "Lanes and Alleys."

Promote evening activities as a niche market. Downtown contains excellent restaurants and nightspots that are different from anything offered in the County.

Implement a building lighting program – "Light-Up Lancaster!" Many of Lancaster’s buildings are distinctive and beautiful. A dramatic building lighting program would both create a festive evening atmosphere and improve public safety by increasing light levels downtown.

Implement a public safety awareness program. The public must be made more aware that downtown is safe if one uses simple common sense. A favorable media campaign would greatly enhance this effort.

Ease parking restrictions. Convenient, reasonably priced parking is critical to a satisfying downtown experience.

Accommodate motor coaches downtown. A significant effort should be made to increase motor coach traffic by providing incentives to tour operators, providing convenient motor coach parking, and creating attractive, centrally-located drop off areas that meet the needs of visitors.