ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACTION PLAN
Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI), along with Group Melvin Design and The Riddle Company, was commissioned by the Williamsburg Economic Development Office and Planning Department to aid with the development of a sustainable downtown marketing and design strategy. The focus of the project was to strengthen downtown’s appeal by creating a vibrant environment and develop an implementation strategy to help generate momentum and support the City and investors in making better decisions, managing risk, and improving the prospects for success.
To reinforce the downtown’s sense of place and support growth, the plan built upon Williamsburg’s unique historic, natural and cultural assets.
The team spent several months gathering information on the physical conditions of downtown Williamsburg, including existing public spaces, infrastructure, architectural character, and streetscape elements. They completed a retail market and merchandise analysis. The information from both these exercises was used to inform the strategy and identify opportunities to strengthen and even diversify the retail and entertainment offerings within in the city.
Local stakeholders and the community were engaged as part of the planning process. Community and stakeholder input was gathered from local and regional residents, colonial Williamsburg visitors and staff, College of William and Mary community (Administration and students), downtown Williamsburg businesses and residents, City and public leadership (elected officials, the city Administration, relevant city departments and regional organizations including tourism officials).
The recommendations offered a series of tools and tactics, including both permanent and temporary solutions to help advance downtown’s overall vibrancy.