Huntsville has done a decent job of increasing diversity of retail/recreation Downtown. There's still a lot that needs to happen for us to be come a "destination" city though.
Huntsville could encourage more local (non-chain) restaurants to open up Downtown (especially mid-priced semi-casual restaurants that appeal to young professionals or young families.) A few more sports bars with a family atmosphere would be good too.
Perhaps the city can offer financial incentives to chefs and entrepreneurs who will set-up downtown, with mentorships from established restaurants to ensure more success. Same goes for boutique retail. Perhaps a deal can be struck with lease-holders on key properties to incentivize this as well.
The mid-sized cities that are attracting the most new jobs and growth in 2014 ALL have vibrant Downtowns. If we homeowners in the greater-Huntsville area want to ensure our investments are maintained, we need to be creating our own, unique "destination city" in an affordable, low-tax state. Talk about a win-win!
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