BOUNTIFUL — The city of Bountiful is beginning to see a sort of rebirth of Main Street.
Back in the '50s and '60s, city officials say Main Street in Bountiful was the hub of economic activity for southern Davis County. But City Planning and Economic Development Director Aric Jensen says things started changing a few decades back.
"Back in the '70s, '80s and '90s, when the malls came up, in particular the Layton Hills Mall, the Valley Fair Mall and the downtown malls in Salt Lake, the development on Main Street and the area sort of fell into neglect," he said.
The city has been trying to reinvigorate Main Street for about 20 years and a few of the more recent strategies are really starting to pay off.
"It's been within the last five or six years where we've really started to see things pick up on Main Street," Jensen said.
"The businesses that we're focusing on are the mom and pop, boutique users."
He says the big money makers have been the recently opened phases of mixed-use developments. The residential units were so popular, there was a waiting list for them. The commercial spaces were leased out very quickly after that. Jensen says they were leased out within a few months instead of a few years, like they expected.
"There's no question that there is more action on Main Street than there has been in the last 10 years," he said.
Jensen says Bountiful has offered low interest loans to business owners, which is bringing in a lot of new companies to the area. But, the city is not necessarily trying to attract well-established chain restaurants.
"Those particular users require high traffic volumes and visibility. They're not the kind of users that would typically locate in a ‘Main Street area.' The businesses that we're focusing on are the mom and pop, boutique users," he said.
Plus, the city has done away with restrictions that would make all storefronts look similar. Jensen says city leaders don't want to, in his words, "Disneyland" Main Street.