NRVRC staff have been working with staff and citizens of the Town of Pulaski to implement economic development strategies related to the historic downtown district of Pulaski. The strategic planning process focuses on efforts to preserve the historic buildings in the downtown commercial district, encourage business development along the Main Street commercial corridor, and attract visitors and customers to support downtown businesses. The partners developed the strategic plan and associated documents part of a Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) planning grant that the Town of Pulaski received in 2016.
The DHCD grant supported the development of several reports and documents, including: a strategic plan for economic development strategies related to downtown Pulaski; design proposals for construction projects in the downtown district, and; marketing and branding materials to support promotion of the downtown district. The planning grant project builds on existing efforts by Town of Pulaski citizens to initiate positive changes in the Town of Pulaski, especially efforts to improve economic conditions in the Town and revitalize the downtown area. These existing planning efforts, and the results of the current downtown revitalization planning project, are discussed in more detail at the project website, at: www.downtownpulaski.org.
The Town of Pulaski contracted with Hill Studio to produce the Master Plan for downtown redevelopment construction projects, which include proposals and concepts to renovate buildings and sidewalks/streetscapes along West Main Street in Pulaski (between Jefferson Ave. and Washington Ave.), as well as the alleys and connecting walkways along Peak Creek and the surrounding areas. In March 2017, the Town of Pulaski submitted an application to complete $700,000+ of these Hill Studio construction project designs on downtown buildings through the DHCD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Planning grant funds also supported the development of a new logo and branding initiative to support efforts to market downtown Pulaski as a tourist and shopping destination, and provide helpful marketing materials to downtown-focused organizations. The Town of Pulaski contracted with Arnett Muldrow to develop these branding materials, which are available on the project website at: https://downtownpulaski.com/scheduleproceedings/ .
The construction projects and branding materials are part of a broader economic development strategic planning effort to coordinate the resources of partner organizations in support of investments to downtown buildings and businesses, and use these resources to improve economic conditions in the historic commercial district of downtown Pulaski. Existing efforts by Pulaski organizations to support downtown businesses include ‘Pulaski On Main,’ a non-profit organization that provides services and support for downtown merchants and businesses in association with Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. Similarly, Beans and Rice has coordinated the ‘Launch Something Pulaski’ business plan competition program to promote entrepreneurship and business start-ups in Pulaski, and also offers other small business counseling and financing programs offered by Beans and Rice.
Additional downtown-focused economic development strategies include targeted business recruitment to attract select businesses to the downtown area, coordination and marketing of downtown-based events and promotions, and providing incentives and grants to support rehabilitation of historic or deteriorating structures in the downtown area, especially commercial spaces for new business.
For further information about the New River Valley Regional Commission’s role in the planning grant efforts in downtown Pulaski, please contact Patrick O’Brien, ([email protected]) or 540-639-9313, ext. 206.