A New Downtown
With the support of organizations like Main Street Wooster, the city government, and local investors, a new downtown Wooster has taken shape. The economic revitalization has been a gradual process, but today there is less than six percent vacancy in downtown storefronts and around sixty new businesses have opened. While the number of grocery and clothing stores has decreased significantly since the 1970s, the number of specialty stores and restaurants has more than doubled. These new types of small business help differentiate the downtown shopping district from large chains and shopping centers. Attracting businesses, however, was only half of the equation for rebuilding the community. Lofts along Liberty and Market Streets, which previously sat empty, have been redeveloped and now have close to zero vacancies.1 Events such as the farmers’ market and kids’ day hosted by Main Street Wooster help to increase traffic downtown and build community ties. Bringing both residents and visitors downtown has helped provide a stable consumer base for new businesses. The revitalization of Downtown Wooster has been an overwhelming success, but the downtown community hopes to accomplish even more. With upcoming goals such as developing East Liberty Street between Bever and Beall, and continuing beautification efforts by lighting trees year-round, Main Street Wooster plans to build on its success and continue in its mission to keep downtown’s economy and community thriving.2
1 Steve Huszai, “Wooster Came Together and Result is Vibrant Downtown,” Daily Record, Nov. 29, 2011, accessed July 3, 2013, http://www.the-daily-record.com/local%20news/2011/11/29/wooster-came-together-and-result-is-vibrant-downtown.
2 Sandra Hull, Interview by author, June 19, 2013, Wooster, OH.