Downtown Hanford image by Ravyn Cullor
Written by Edward Smith
Hanford city leaders hope a partnership with a retail real estate consultant will produce a new plan for their downtown as well as a strategy to recruit businesses.
The City of Hanford entered a $70,000 contract with Birmingham, Alabama-based Retail Strategies to develop a five-year plan to harness community data to attract commerce.
Representatives from Retail Strategies will visit Hanford in April to work with downtown stakeholders to develop strategies for recruitment and hear from business owners and development directors about the city.
City leaders will also go out to a Retail Academy workshop on May 18 in Birmingham.
“Our team is more than excited to host deeper discussions with business owners, community leaders, and downtown stakeholders,” said Jenn Gregory, president of Downtown Strategies, a division of Retail Strategies. “During our time in the market, we will analyze real estate potential and opportunities for revitalization and redevelopment in order to enhance the placemaking efforts in Hanford.”
Retail Strategies has worked with municipalities including Corbin, Kentucky; Warner Robins, Georgia and Mississippi County, Arkansas.
The contract comes as the City of Hanford is also applying for two new grants totaling $10 million to improve walkability and public safety in the downtown.
Executive Director of Main Street Hanford Michelle Brown said it would be smart to come up with a strategic plan backed by grant money — should they receive it.
“To have a committee come in and talk us through this is definitely something we want to see,” Brown said.
The City of Hanford is applying for the RAISE Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Clean California Grant from the California Department of Transportation.
“In addition to the retail element, we are excited for the Downtown Strategies team to visit the market and work with all downtown stakeholders to bring fresh ideas to downtown,” said Hanford City Manager Mario Cifuentez. “We know they have worked in markets throughout California and are proud to partner with their downtown experts.”