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A Message from Tom Cravens about Abram Street

During my 40 plus years of championing Downtown Arlington I always focused on the following-many of which you have included in the site.

In June of 1996 I read an article by Dr. Ray Perryman the Pres. and CEO of the Perryman Group and Business -Economist in Residence at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at SMU.

In the article Dr. Perryman discusses that city centers were once the heart and soul of a community-the place to do business, the place to go see and be seen. But over the decades mobile folks have moved to the outskirts and the services that served those folks followed them and as a result the tax base needed to maintain a thriving downtown dried up.

But Dr. Perryman says don't close the book on downtown- "the contagious factor of activity" have rekindled and you can see new life in cities across the country. You can see mixed use developments- a recognizable mix of activities, purposes and facilities seem to come together in successful revitalization efforts. The twenty four hour presence of people who have choices about their living arrangements yet want to call downtown "home" is crucial to restoring downtowns.

When folks live in an area they want it safe, clean, and attractive. These clusters of folks add needed stability; they patronize the local eating and retail establishments, thus creating pedestrian areas which in turn attract more people and business according to Dr. Perryman's article. This round the clock presence that lures business also ups the tax base a necessary resource for sustaining the city core's vitality!

Other observations (not Dr. Perryman's) include an image of downtowns that existed both emotionally and physically in the 50's! Downtowns have always been information rich environments but telecommunications have undercut the feeling of centrality and preeminence which had dominated our impression of downtowns in the '50.

There is a whole new segment of our work force that takes advantage of this electronic age. It is interesting to note that the average size of an office lease has diminished, a reflection of more-but smaller users of space. People still need a place to meet and convene! Downtowns provide this opportunity. People and families are coming back downtown in search of a place of being- the civic and ceremonial center of "their Downtown"! A place for families and people to remember as the "heart of THEIR City".


I could go on but I hope this will do for now.

Tom Cravens


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