Common goal: revitalizing downtown Monroe

Monroe St. downtown Monroe, MI (Monroe News photo by Rob Gorczyca)

Monroe St. downtown Monroe, MI (Monroe News photo by Rob Gorczyca)

Why doesn’t Monroe have a vibrant downtown? That question spurred talks between three City of Monroe entities during a joint work session Monday night.

Members of Monroe City Council, Monroe Citizens Planning Commission and the Downtown Development Authority discussed common goals heading into the new year.

Going forward, the entities discussed the need for future joint planning meetings as well as a strategic plan to address some of the issues brought up during the one-hour session.

Councilman John Iacoangeli asked the question of group, which prompted a lengthy discussion about what downtown Monroe has to offer and what it is lacking.

“If we can answer that question, then we have a common goal to work toward,” Mr. Iacoangeli said. Councilman Jeremy Molenda said Monroe needs something to anchor downtown to help revitalize it.

“If people had more than one reason to go downtown, they would go there,” he said.

Those on the panel talked about communities of similar size that have been successful with their downtowns like Tecumseh and Saline.

Business owner and planning commission member Christy LaRoy said Tecumseh is “an inspiration.”

“It doesn’t have too much more retail than we have,” she said.

Mrs. LaRoy said the town has a “ wonderful” Web site, which makes people “want to go to their downtown.” She talked about businesses working together to offer special things on the same night to draw more people into the area.

“If our town marketed inside our town or outside of town, it will make people want to come here for a date night or family weekend,” she said.

The problem, many said, is that people believe downtown Monroe does not offer anything for them, said David Roberts.