Tyler, Texas proves that revitalization must be an ongoing program, not a project

The renovation of downtown Tyler, Texas began in 1987, when citizens who wanted to see downtown restored to its former glory formed Heart of Tyler, Inc.

Just three years later Tyler became one of the first cities to join the Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street program for cities with populations over 50,000.

Bev Abell, the Main Street Department Leader, said downtown projects tend to ebb and flow, but there are three major phases the cycle follows.

You always have a catalyst phase where a bunch of stuff takes off, then you have a growth phase with bigger projects, then a little maintenance,” she said. “Then the catalyst starts over again.

The latest catalyst phase would have begun around 2008, when the city officially entered into a partnership with Heart of Tyler.

Since then, the downtown area has been designated as the Downtown Business, Arts and Culture District.

We’ve been in a new catalyst phase, now we’re getting into a new growth phase,” Abell said. “In the last 10 years … it’s amazing. You look at some before and after pictures on our website and you’ll be amazed.

[Photo credit: JBEwing]

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