According to Port Huron City Manager, James Freed, the University of Wisconsin, in conjunction with Ball State University, is conducting a research project designed to identify Midwest communities with the most economically vital downtowns. One metric the research group is using to gauge economic vitality is the number of downtown businesses per capita.
In the preliminary results, the City of Port Huron was ranked number seven out of 260 small to midsize communities that were sampled. Due to this finding, students and faculty are eager to learn about strategies that have been used to improve downtown vitality. According to Freed, the city will bee will be participating in research interviews.
City officials were initially unaware that the study was taking place, lending to an impartial assessment. Freed believes this is, “another affirmation that the gains [the city is] seeing and feeling are tangible and measurable.” He also said this confirms what “other studies have shown-that Port Huron is making measurable gains.”
The city anticipates taking part in phone and on-site research with faculty and students in the coming weeks as the study is finalized. Freed said he believes a preliminary report has been completed, but a final report should be made available to the public in the near future.
Reporting for WGRT, Karly Hurley.