Saving our Downtowns Survey

The Boston Globe Ideas page is currently soliciting input on how to reimagine Downtown Boston.  Boston’s future affects the entire state, and some initiatives—good or bad—could soon be coming to your downtown.   
 
Given the challenges all of our downtowns are seeing post pandemic, the discussion is important and timely.  Yet, the solutions vary depending on who you ask.  There are many interest groups and politicians with ideas on remaking our downtowns, but some use the issue as an opportunity to push other agendas.  It is imperative that the retail and restaurant sectors speak and be heard by elected officials, interest groups, opinion leaders, and the media
 
RAM intends to submit comments to the Globe on behalf of the industry, but we want to hear from you first.  Please complete RAM's Saving our Downtowns Survey below, to help us craft an industry response.
 
Also, if you want to submit your own ideas directly to the Globe by the February 2 deadline, you can email them directly to ideas@globe.com, under the subject line DOWNTOWN BOSTON.   

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* 1. Property Taxes:

Many cities and towns have property tax rates which are far higher for commercial taxpayers vs. residential.  How helpful would a lower commercial tax rate be to incent small businesses and others to locate downtown?

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* 2. Housing:

Many feel that more housing is necessary in downtowns and shopping districts.  How helpful would tax incentives be to converting commercial properties into residential?

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i We adjusted the number you entered based on the slider’s scale.

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* 3. MBTA:

Some argue that return to work in Boston has been held up due to reliability issues with the MBTA.  Rank these options in order you think can best improve the T and/or increase ridership.

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* 4. Public Safety:

Many have cited growing public safety concerns as negatively impacting the ability of businesses to attract more workers and consumers to downtown shopping areas.  How important are increased public safety measures—heightened police presence; arrests and prosecutions to prevent theft, harassment and personal injury crimes—to creating both a safer environment and a better perception of safety?

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i We adjusted the number you entered based on the slider’s scale.

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* 5. Parking:

Historically, convenient, affordable and adequate parking has been important to small businesses and to their customers, whether in a downtown, shopping district, or a mall.  Many now feel that cities should be more walkable, with wider sidewalks, dedicated bike paths, less travel lanes, less on street parking, and the removal of parking requirements for the developers of new apartment complexes.  How likely is it that less parking will create better downtown commercial districts and mean higher sales for small businesses?

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* 6. Art Installations:

In some downtown communities, art installations have replaced dark store fronts.  How helpful are such displays to create consumer traffic and higher sales?

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i We adjusted the number you entered based on the slider’s scale.

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* 7. Main Streets/BID:

Main Street organizations and business improvement districts work to create consumer traffic by sponsoring and promoting events, and entertainment, as well as to provide enhanced services including public safety and sanitation.  How effective are such investments in creating consumer traffic?

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* 8. Main Streets Funding:

Who should fund the Main Street organizations and business improvement districts?   Check all that apply.

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* 9. Government Imposed Costs:

Costs of operations can make or break a small business, particularly in times of flat or declining sales.  How important is it to cut red tape, fees and taxes, as well as to roll back and prevent further government-imposed restrictions on employer choices in order to recruit and retain downtown small businesses?

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* 10. Signage:

Façade, signage upgrades and remodeling by the landlord or business can help attract consumer traffic to that business and others in the district.  How helpful would tax incentives be to make those improvements?

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* 11. Start Up Costs:

A large generational turnover of small business owners is occurring as “Baby Boomers” are looking to retire and sell their operations.  This provides an opportunity for a new generation of entrepreneurs—young people, women, minorities and immigrants—to take over those businesses, yet the initial financial risk and investment has never been more difficult.  How helpful would more grants, loans, counseling and mentorships be to ease this transition?

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i We adjusted the number you entered based on the slider’s scale.

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* 12. Return to Work:

Since the pandemic, hybrid work has become the norm for many downtown employers and will likely remain to some degree in the future.  How important is it that government employers, as well as downtown large private sector employers show leadership on return to work by seeking more days in the office, such as 4 days per week?

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* 13. Your Business Retail Type:

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* 14. Contact information (Optional):

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* 15. Additional Comments:

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