Downtown Development Continues to be Key Focus

 In City Growth, City Planning, Downtown Growth

Downtown development has been a focus of our city for the past several years. In recent years, there’s been several city projects to enhance our downtown: the Sixth & Main Revitalization project, the creation of a Riverfront district in downtown, a streetlight upgrade program, and street and utility system enhancements to repair and improve these vital infrastructures.

Best of all, the city hasn’t been alone in its efforts to enhance downtown. We’ve received incredible support from private partners and organizations like Auburn Main Street and the Downtown Auburn Business Association. Additionally, our efforts have been buoyed by the state with grants from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and our designation as a federal Opportunity Zone.

This administration is continuing to invest in downtown. Currently, we’re working on two components:

  • Expansion of TIF District: We’re in the process of expanding Auburn’s tax-increment financing, or TIF, district to include downtown. This would help fund infrastructure improvements necessary to promote and facilitate further investment.
  • Parking: As we attract more businesses and visitors downtown, we want to ensure the experience is positive—and that starts the minute people arrive. Parking has become an issue in recent years, and before it becomes a true barrier to downtown growth, we want to have a solution in place. We’re currently exploring options and evaluating various scenarios, including the possibility of a parking garage. We’ll communicate further when we have a solid plan.

Why Downtown Matters

A vibrant downtown attracts businesses and visitors, boosting our local economy. In fact, we’re seeing interest in Auburn from companies looking for Midwest cities to lay roots and locate company headquarters. They want a place that is economically viable, with a competent workforce and robust quality of life. A city’s downtown is a good indicator of that. And it’s part of the reason Auburn has enjoyed so much private investment in recent years.

Downtown efforts around the TIF district and addressing parking concerns are an extension of what Auburn has been focused on for the last several years. That vision—which has the best interest of the community in mind—aims to preserve our city’s history and commitment to innovation, while positioning Auburn for continued growth. Ultimately, we strive to make Auburn a desirable place to live, work and play—and that starts at our city’s “front door” and our county seat: downtown Auburn.

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