Downtown Beautification is More Than Good Looks Downtown Beautification is More Than Good Looks

Downtown Beautification is More Than Good Looks

Downtown beautification programs are cornerstones of small towns and big cities across the U.S. The obvious reason why downtown beautification is so popular is plain to see: we all love to adore a pretty place. From beautiful blooms in hanging flower baskets to vibrant flags flying proudly throughout the year to seasonal decor, public art, facade improvement, and more, a pretty place can just as easily be praised as taken for granted.
But, thriving beautification programs do more than look good. There are many reasons why downtown beautification is important, and I’m happy to share my top five reasons with you.
#1: Downtown beautification drives sales.
Main Street programs across the U.S. know that a vital component of revitalizing commercial districts is flags & flowers. On average, according to best practice, small towns with thriving beautification programs see an increase across the board of nearly 30% in sales for businesses. Consumers prefer to shop in pretty places, and pretty places increase the value of a product.
#2: Downtown beautification drives tourism.
Pretty places are a sight to behold – annually, tourists pay top dollar for the chance to see beautiful things with their own eyes. The opportunity to photograph something for one’s self and share this accomplishment with friends and family is one that tourists plan and budget for over the course of months. Beautification programs, include facade improvement programs, ensure that small towns have a captive audience looking to adore their beauty.
#3: Downtown beautification increases community engagement.
Well-kept places don’t happen by accident – they are the result of a community that cares about their place. Downtown beautification programs provide a conduit for the community to directly impact the place they love – by putting in the hard work it takes to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of a place, the community sends a message to all who visit their place that this community cares. The more pride a community feels to be from a place, the more likely they are to take care of it and ensure that their community receives the TLC it needs to maintain and thrive.
#4: Downtown beautification is the perfect opportunity to show personality.
You can learn a lot about a community based on what it looks like. Are there public art murals on well-maintained historic buildings? Are there bright, colorful benches throughout the town? Bike racks in fun shapes? Trees? Flowers? Statues and fountains? Public parks? Arches? Every detail of a community tells you more about who lives there, what opportunities exist, and what kind of agency a community feels over caring for their place. No one community looks the same, and that’s a good thing!
#5: Downtown beautification is a cornerstone of economic development.
Families move, companies relocate, parents send their kids off to college, small businesses open, nonprofits launch, local governments oversee and advocate. These are the facts of modern-day society, and the level of care shown to a thriving downtown sends a message about the value of investing in a place. Is a downtown – the heart of any community – maintained and taken care of? Is it warm & welcoming? Are the streets safe? Will I have a high return on investment for restoring a building? Can my business succeed? The level of care a community shows its downtown – the level of pride they take in how their community looks – is significant for economic development in any region.
Luckily for the Mid-Ohio Valley, there are two Main Street programs who are the key advocates for our downtowns. Marietta Main Street and Downtown PKB are both actively working to see their respective downtowns thrive, including beautification, public art, and more.
Consider making a donation of significance, volunteering your time, and advocating for the missions of these two organizations any chance you get. The success of our communities are integral to the successes of either of these two organizations, and supporting your local downtown beautification program is the perfect starting place!

Cristie L. Thomas is the Executive Director of Marietta Main Street, a nonprofit organization located in Marietta, Ohio. Marietta Main Street is committed to bringing people together to preserve, enhance, and enjoy Downtown Marietta. We envision a vibrant downtown that invites all community members to invest in our businesses, embrace our unique history, and promote our community pride. Learn more at www.mariettamainstreet.org.