Research, research, research! As promised last week I have some interesting figures that will hopefully turn some heads and paint a new picture of our beautiful downtown. Due diligence and keeping your wits about you are crucial during any conversation, especially those conversations that involve possible gossip and rumors. When information is questioned is when true journalism is conducted and the answers become black and white.
The Belleville Main Street Program began in 2002 with the mission to preserve and restore our historic downtown and revitalize existing buildings to their former glory in the designated Main Street District. For this article, I am going to refer to the Main Street district solely, as this provided a sizable research base and is the main cause of conversation when discussing Belleville commerce in the downtown. For a map of the Main Street district feel free to visit my office as I have the map displayed for all to view.
The district contains 87 actual structures (meaning businesses that comprise 2 buildings are separated per building). With combining those said business buildings we are down to 72 buildings in the district. 19 of these buildings are currently vacant or listed for sale. When running the numbers, this comes to 26% of buildings in the Main Street district are not being used. Flip that number and we can see that 74% of buildings are currently being used in some form or fashion. This gives our downtown a rating of a C if we were to go back to school. Obviously, in school we never wanted to settle for a C grade but nonetheless this was still passing and headed in the right direction.
Keep in mind, I tried to keep this as even as possible but my numbers may be skewed one way or the other but this is a close figure. For me, when I see this number I am not as depressed as the common phrase of “Belleville is dying” may state. Yes, 74% isn’t ideal but it is much better than 50% or lower in which I would say yes, Belleville is in need of businesses and NOW! Currently we are not in that position and I strongly believe that we won’t be for many years to come.
Let the numbers speak for themselves and put your heads together to see how we can bring more business downtown. I am all ears!
See you next week!