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Murrow College of Communication at WSU

Pullman Tries To Make Main Street Work

PULLMAN -The city of Pullman wants to make main street better. Parts of downtown Pullman work, but there are still vacant and damaged storefronts along main.  That’s why the city created the Downtown Rejuvenation project. The initiative will create a plan for what the future of downtown Pullman will look like. One hundred thousand dollars has been set aside in order to do research and create this plan, as well as make preliminary improvements. The Downtown Pullman Association is a non-profit organization that will be assisting the city in developing this plan. The association’s mission is “to lead and advocate for the vitality of downtown Pullman by promoting commerce, culture, and celebration.” 

The city of Pullman’s quest for a better downtown represents a bigger problem that other small towns with university’s face when making major changes.  How do they account for the constantly changing population that cycles through the town every four to five years with each graduating class?

Allison fisher, the downtown initiative coordinator, believes it’s possible to use the changing population to their advantage.

“What’s unique about the situation is that we’re constantly having a demographic of 18 to 21-year old’s and you can count that demographic to always be there, so it’s kind of nice for business to know that they’re going to have that demographic year to year,” Fisher said.

This consistent demographic can create business opportunities for stores that have youthful appeal. B&L Bicycles owner Brice Erickson thinks the downtown project is already successful in its early stages and he observes the way downtown customers change throughout the day and how the increase in college students can be beneficial.

“You have people that are coming down to do certain things during the day, and as those businesses are closing, it used to be that you would come down, you would see, oh you can always go downtown in the evening and find a parking spot,” Erickson said.  “Now, you come downtown at eight o’clock and you’re going to find a lot of those spaces are filled and that’s because people are actually coming down and there’s actually more places to do things at.”

WSU student Alex Dolewski gave his thoughts on what would make him more interested in downtown.

“I already think downtown Pullman is a beautiful  part of town,” Dolewski said. “But, if we’re trying to make it more desirable I think it would need more, like, well-known restaurants, probably some better bars, and just things families can do as a whole. Something that will, like, keep the in the downtown, you know.”

City councilmember Eileen Macoll says that the important changes to make first aren’t business related, but accessibility related.

“We have hired a consultant and we’re looking to put together a master plan to redo our aging sidewalk infrastructure.  Our sidewalks are worn and they’re in tough shape, they’re broken in places.  So, one of the big goals for the next two years is to come up with a plan and implement it to make our sidewalks much safer for all users,” Macoll said.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The video was aired on a previous broadcast.



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