Thursday, February 17, 2011

Downtown Brainstorm #1 Results & Next Steps

In November of 2010, the DNA held its first Downtown Brainstorm Workshop in an effort to engage the Elgin community and encourage more involvement in downtown issues, happenings and DNA programming. Approximately 60 people attended the workshop and discussed the following topics in a series of 3 roundtable rotations:

• Special Events
• Arts Initiatives
• Property Improvement
• Community Outreach
• “Green” Initiatives
• New Business Development
• Fundraising
• Marketing

An overview of the feedback received at this meeting is available here >

The DNA utilized this feedback to help us plan our organizational programming for 2011. We decided to focus on the 3 themes that we saw reoccurring at the workshop. These themes are outlined below along with a brief summary of some of the programming that we have started for 2011 to address them.

More communication about who DNA is and what we do.
  • Creating a direct mailer to Elgin residents promoting the mission of the DNA along with our new downtown directory brochure listing downtown businesses and attractions.

  • Speaking to neighborhood groups and encouraging resident memberships and involvement.

  • Putting out regular communication about what our committees are currently working on via social media and website.

  • Providing small “innovation grants” to downtown businesses to assist them in promoting their business and the downtown in creative and innovative ways.

  • Hosting an information workshop about downtown grant programs and an open house for our Downtown Design Resource Center in April.

Smaller, more frequent downtown events and promotions, especially in the arts.

  • Planning at least one promotion each month to promote downtown businesses and attractions. Look for "Downtown Madness" in March...

  • Planning 1-2 downtown cruise nights leading up to the Downtown Car Show.

  • Working with the Cultural Arts Commission on public art component of a poetry and photography contest to display work in vacant storefronts.

  • Encouraging and supporting other groups to do small downtown “street” events throughout the summer and fall.

More marketing about the positive changes in downtown.

  • Revamping with enhanced visual media and social media applications to engage visitors.

  • Producing short videos interviewing downtown business owners about what they do and why they do it.

  • Planning to launch a campaign marketing downtown’s available commercial spaces and properties to potential tenants and buyers.

  • Planning a downtown streetpole banner campaign with key marketing messages.

  • Distributing our new downtown directory brochure in the Daily Herald Fox Valley edition (15,000+ subscribers)

We hope you will join us for our next Downtown Brainstorm Workshop on Tuesday, March 22, 6-8PM at The Centre of Elgin’s Heritage Ballroom. Please RSVP to (847) 488-1456 or

Thank you for supporting the organization that supports downtown.

The DNA Board of Directors & Staff