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Kennedy Lawson Smith to Speak in Downtown Leesburg on January 19, 2011 | Business

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Kennedy Lawson Smith to Speak in Downtown Leesburg on January 19, 2011
Kennedy Lawson Smith to Speak in Downtown Leesburg on January 19, 2011

Former National Main Street Program director to discuss the impact of infrastructure improvement projects on downtowns 

From the Town of Leesburg – Leesburg’s Downtown Improvement Association (DIA) has invited downtown revitalization expert Kennedy Lawson Smith to facilitate a community dialogue about infrastructure improvement projects, their place in the long-term development plans for a downtown, their impact on the surrounding businesses and ways to ameliorate the disruption.  The program will take place at the Lightfoot Restaurant (11 North King Street) on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.

“The DIA had gotten the sense that some members of the public might not understand that the upcoming infrastructure improvement program is one element of the larger goal of making the downtown more economically and culturally vibrant,” explained Dieter Meyer, DIA Co-Chairman. “Additionally, it had become clear that some downtown business owners are concerned that the improvements will disrupt business.”

“With that in mind, we sought out Kennedy Smith, one of the foremost experts on downtown revitalization projects in the country, to draw on her national experience and engage the public in a dialogue about infrastructure improvements, so that there is a better understanding of the fact that the upcoming improvements are part of a larger, ongoing initiative that is critical to the community’s economy and personality,” he added.

Ms. Smith will also discuss ways that business owners in other communities, not only successfully weathered infrastructure improvement projects, but used them as a springboard for strengthening sales.

Kennedy Lawson Smith is one of the nation's foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and development and independent main street businesses.  After graduate school in architecture, Kennedy directed the downtown revitalization program in Charlottesville, Virginia, where her small business development work led her to create a retail market analysis methodology specifically for older commercial districts that is now used in downtown revitalization programs throughout the United States.  She joined the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center in 1985, and in 1991 she became its director, a position she held for 13 years. In 2004, Kennedy co-founded the Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group, LLC, a private consulting firm that blends downtown development, land use management, and historic preservation disciplines into a cohesive approach to solving community development challenges. For more information, please visit www.cluegroup.com.