With the opening of all the “box stores”on the periphery of Courtenay it is time for some innovative action to revitalize the withering downtown area.
Having had the opportunity to travel in Europe, I have noticed that the most attractive and busiest towns have a central street or streets that is void of cars and traffic.
Some have been fortunate to have large central squares that are teeming with visitors, shoppers and tourists.
One such town, Galway, in Ireland, has two or three streets reserved for foot and bike traffic only and the stores, pubs and restaurants spill into the streets, making use of canopies (it rains frequently there), tables and displays to attract patrons.
What a fun place to have a coffee, a meal or just enjoy the sights, sounds and music.
On a small scale, Courtenay could also enjoy a resurgence, by merely closing Fifth Street to traffic, and allowing the resulting calm and space to evolve into a thriving and fun marketplace.
Already we have a very active Farmers’ Market that is set up on Headquarters Road, somewhat distant from downtown. Sound familiar? Just like the box stores.
Let’s bring them in to Fifth Street three or four days a week, or more, to get things going.
Encourage buskers to populate the corners and allow the restaurants, pubs and coffee shops to spill into the resulting space in an inviting fashion.
There is plenty of parking for cars on the peripheral streets. Who ever sold any merchandise to a car anyway?
How about it merchants, musicians and farmers? Let’s get together and have some downtown fun!