Downtown’s vacant windows may not stay that way for long
KINGMAN – Revitalizing downtown Kingman is on the minds of many throughout Kingman, and so business and property owners in the area have started another project that could serve to get more shoppers, tourists and maybe even potential residents to look at the city in a new light.
The Historical Preservation Commission has heard from multiple downtown businesses that want to contribute to the area’s vacant window revitalization project.
“The first one who was very excited was Rik Simon from Off-Broadway Photography,” said Bill Shilling, City grant administrator and staff liaison to the commission. “Not only was he excited about it, but he donated one of his photos to be placed in the window.”
Simon thinks the project is a great idea because it will make storefronts downtown more appealing, and said he’s excited to see how the project turns out. The photo at his place of business is scheduled to go up sometime this week.
“I’ve been downtown for 20 years, and revitalization is a good thing,” Simon said. “It just needs to be more pleasing to the eye.”
Simon decided to submit a photo that he took at Grand Canyon West. While it’s not a photo of Kingman, he said it still depicts the area around the City that people come to see.
“I understand it’s not of Kingman, but it’s of the surrounding area which is cool,” he said. “And that’s one of the big issues that we’ve got is people coming down and seeing what’s available here.”
The idea came about through the main street town hall meeting held last summer, and businesses and downtown revitalization advocates are getting on board.
“Businesspeople looked around downtown and thought about the vacant windows that were kind of an eyesore, and we tried to think of a way to make the streetscape look better,” Shilling said. “One way to do that was to dress up the windows in some way.”
Shilling added that the goal was to go after projects that are “low-hanging fruit,” or projects that would make a difference without requiring too much money or effort. He said even simple projects and improvements can make a difference.
The commission agreed and decided to pursue the project at its March meeting. Barb Charon, vice chair, said increasing the aesthetic appeal of the windows could bring more business downtown.
“I think this project would be greatly received in the downtown area especially, where we have a lot of old dilapidated buildings with some pretty horrid looking fronts ... It would get more business downtown,” she said in March.
The City has also decided to put photos in vacant windows at the 911 dispatch center downtown.
“I think it’s a wonderful project,” said Deann MacLeod, administrator at the center. “We’ve done put in some niceties like flowers in front just so we can be more in line with the businesses in the area. We absolutely want to make sure that we beautify the downtown area and make sure our building is as nice as those around us.”
Another business planning to get in on the action is the Child and Family Support Services. Shilling said that organization is still deciding what they would like to put in their window.
Shilling explained that the City won’t finance projects beyond the three already in the works. Rather, the hope is that downtown property owners will see the revitalized windows and take the initiative to do similar work to their storefronts.
“If you’ve got a vacant property downtown, maybe you’ll dress it up to make the overall streetscape look better,” he said.