by Margo Christensen, Ponderosa Hotel Management & Member of the Ron Drake Steering Committee
The Ron Drake Consulting Week in January was inspiring, and that’s a massive understatement. Most of us had no idea what to expect beyond a series of meetings over a three-day period plus one large “visioning” session.
Ron Drake, consultant, speaker and author of Flip this Town: Preservation Made Practical on Main Street USA plus a related national podcast, offers inspiration and energy to small towns across America.
Partnering together, the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, City of Prescott, Prescott Downtown Partnership and Arizona Public Service paid for Drake’s consulting fee, organized his travel and formed a steering committee to coordinate the logistics in planning the sessions.
Sessions held during the week included potential investors, real estate brokers, bankers, business owners, building owners, elected officials, City of Prescott staff, high school students and members of the Prescott Area Young Professionals. Surprisingly, many similar ideas and common themes for enhancing Prescott and the downtown area emerged from these divergent groups, including:
- connecting bike trails from downtown to the edge of town or beyond.
- more culinary options.
- more outdoor seating.
- using alleys, such as the Whiskey Row alley, creatively as pedestrian walkways or for events.
- a food hall or culinary hall.
- downtown loft living
“The best way to bring life downtown is to bring lives downtown,” Ron explained, inspiring private sector investors and developers to align future projects with the desires of the community.
“We saw the community come together like never before, and through teamwork came up with our own creative ideas and solutions to enhance Prescott,” said Doug Reed and Chris Campbell, owners of Tour Prescott.
Expect exciting times for the community of Prescott as the steering committee and others work to bring some of these ideas to fruition.