There seems to be a growing number of vacant buildings in downtown Moncton. I walk from home to the downtown for meetings a few times a week and it is becoming quite noticable. I read that Downtown Moncton Inc. is working hard to try and fix this.
There are some folks that aren’t too worried about downtowns but I am not one of them.
Back in the 1990s I had to pick up a guy at the airport at 10 pm. He was coming to town to evaluate the community as a place for a large new investment. By coincidence or luck when we drove into downtown Moncton at 11 pm the place was booming (this was a weekday). Something had just ended at the Capitol and people had flooded the streets and bars and cafes. We stopped at the hotel and went for a walk and he was amazed at how ‘vibrant’ Moncton was.
Vibrancy is something that is difficult to measure but it matters when it comes to business investment. Most companies want to be in places that are dynamic and that can attract workers.
The downtown can/should be a concentration of a community’s vibrancy. There might be lots of optimism and entrepreneurialism and innovation and excitment in the universities, in companies and in cultural insitutions but the downtown should be a concentration of this vibrancy.
In our zeal to contain costs or expand our business parks, let’s not forget the broader impact that a downtown has on the town itself.