Goin? Downtown

Bulldozing malls to make Main Streets

| March / April 2003

A number of towns across the country, especially inner suburbs, are turning dying regional malls and old strip malls into pedestrian-friendly Main Streets with unique character.

In the Denver suburb of Lakewood, the Villa Italia mall was knocked down this summer and the vast parking lot ripped up. Work crews are now laying down a grid of streets. Over the next several years, a true downtown will rise up along those streets, one with offices, homes, sidewalk caf?s, a cinema, a town green, and, of course, shopping. It will be the downtown that this suburb never had. As Mayor Steve Burkholder described the community planning process that led to this project, Lakewood?s citizens wanted not just a shopping spot, but also a place to hold a parade when the high school basketball team wins the state championship.

A trade magazine for state and local government officials, Governing offers some of the best coverage around on community issues and urban planning. Subscriptions: $19.95/yr. (12 issues) from Box 2030, Skokie, Il 60076; www.governing.com