Press “Play” for 2018

Executive Director Report – Dec 29, 2017

Probably 90% of downtown organizations in the last 10 years have used the tag line “Live Work and Play”. Not surprisingly, as that really does encapsulate the elements of a successful downtown district. A place with a diversity of users and uses creates vibrancy, safety and economic sustainability.

Downtown Santa Cruz is in a very exciting transitional stage and how this diversity and balance of activities is managed in the years to come will be a determining factor in the ongoing sustainability of Downtown Santa Cruz as a successful Business District.

We are moving in a good direction in the “Live” department with new housing in the works. As projects move forward it will be vital to continue efforts to insure affordability and economic diversity in the housing stock downtown and we will need to be very creative and innovative in our approach to transportation, access and mobility.

As far as “Work” is concerned there is a lot to consider. High Tech has long been considered the golden egg for Downtown development and, in fact many cities have experienced great revitalization on the coattails of tech and science start ups and the related creative class industries that can infuse local economies. The impending installation of fiber in Downtown Santa Cruz is a big advantage for the next phase of attracting tech and other business, yet our commercial space availability and challenges relating to the cost and availability of workforce parking, as well as a reputed challenging planning process present definite limitations to growth in that area. Even with such limitations, Santa Cruz still scores many positive points as a place to do business and will likely continue to experience moderate growth in office users. Retail and restaurant work in Downtown is facing a number of challenges, which warrants a whole separate post, or more. Ultimately, there are many elements to understanding and managing Downtown as a place to work and the Downtown Association will continue to work to foster positive and sustainable environment for doing business in. We will also unabashedly dangle our participles.

So then, what about “Play”? It could be argued that a big selling point on both living and working downtown is the downtown lifestyle; the culture, the social context, the events, in short. the PLAY. What is the role of the Downtown Association, as place makers to promote and develop a culture of play, and how can we best do so.

In 2018, the Downtown Association shall explore the notion of Play in Downtown. Through our events, through our marketing and through our place-making initiatives we will explore the ways that our downtown can be most attractive as a center for recreation.

The year will begin with a series of winter and spring events aimed at diverse demographics and each designed to encourage a downtown Play, from Kids Day to a Beer March to our inaugural “Downtown Santa Cruz Pre-Am Golf Tournament, Let’s consider 2018 one long play-date in Downtown Santa Cruz.

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