Course Description:

The design course tackles issues around physical improvements and other design considerations. Topics that are highlighted involve the design committee's roles, elements of design, facade renovation programs, parking issues, and zoning. Both Main Street programs and Elm Street programs will benefit from further presentations on curb appeal for neighborhood revitalization and visual merchandising for downtown merchants.


September 13, 2019

Session 1 | Design Committee Roles and Operations
If it’s visible, it’s the responsibility of the typical design committee. In this session, attendees will learn in greater detail the myriad of functions that a well-oiled design committee will undertake. In addition, the skills needed on the committee, from architectural to historic preservation to planning and zoning expertise, will be explored in this session

Session 2 | The Importance of Historic Preservation
The historic architecture of the business districts and neighborhoods of the Commonwealth is one of its most important and enduring assets. How the community mobilizes to protect and enhance these precious physical components is a critical function of any revitalization effort. In this session the attendee will gain a greater appreciation for the important role that historic preservation must play in any revitalization effort and the legal tools and financial incentives available to assist with that effort.

October 11, 2019

Session 3 | Transportation and Parking Issues
Always among the most important of the physical components of any revitalization project is the issue of parking. Whether it’s an actual supply problem (too few spaces) or a management problem (poor enforcement), parking is always a hot-button issue. This session addresses ways that the downtown or neighborhood can better insure the use of the public right-of-way for all modes of transportation including auto, pedestrians, bikes, mass transit and related issues.

Session 4 | Managing Streetscape Projects
In most cases, though not all, the local revitalization organization will be an advocate for the reconstruction of public amenities within a business district or neighborhood. Occasionally the local organization will actually contract for these construction projects. In this session, the attendee will learn the different steps involved in the streetscape reconstruction process, from conceptual architectural design to the development of technical drawings and bid documents, through construction phase activities and project closeout. The session differentiates between those programs that are acting as project advocate/ombudsman and those that are actually responsible for contract management.

November 8, 2019

Session 5 | Understanding the Elements of Design
The various components of design do not begin at the individual property level. Community design is a complex inter-relationship of physical elements that begin at the regional level and work their way down to the individual structure. In this session, the attendee learns how neighborhoods and districts, along with corridors, preserves and nodes, begin to frame the physical environment of community.

Session 6 | Planning and Zoning Issues
Façade renovations, new signage, historic preservation efforts, housing rehab projects and the physical arrangements of structures on land are all components of the land use regulations of communities as usually defined in the municipality’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances. In this session, the attendee is educated on the different and critical roles that the community’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance play in institutionalizing the local revitalization effort. The impact of the comprehensive plan on the overall strategy, and the relationship between the details of the municipal zoning ordinance and local organization’s design guidelines are explored. Also covered are methods for the local design committee to analyze how these documents are impacting the revitalization effort and to seek legal steps to make these critical documents more supportive of the local revitalization effort.

December 13, 2019

Session 7 | Visual Merchandising for Downtown Merchants
Physical revitalization does not stop in the public domain. Window display and store layout are also part of the physical environment of the business district. In this session, the attendee will learn the basics of good window display support to merchants. Also included are the basic geometrical layouts for store interiors based on the type of business. An overview of color and lighting are also included. The focus of this session is not to make the attendee a visual merchandising expert, but to provide them with sufficient information to know the difference between good and bad merchandising and where to go for technical assistance.

Session 8 | Operating Effective Façade Renovation Program
One of the most iconic activities of any revitalization is the storefront restoration project, and the best renovation programs are based on a solid set of policies,guidelines and procedures. In this session, the attendee will learn the best practices for putting in place a high quality façade renovation program. Included are the pros and cons of running a grant program versus a loan program, developing an annual façade renovation program schedule and design guidelines. Also included in this session is an understanding of the important legal aspects of state prevailing wage requirements and federal Davis-Bacon requirements.

Refreshments and event space provided by
Fay-Penn Economic Development Council

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