Mission task force recommends downtown business association to build on revamped Johnson Drive momentum

Mission's Johnson Drive is now fully open after months of construction.
Mission’s Johnson Drive  fully opened last November after months of construction.

A task force appointed to study the revitalization of the Mission downtown district in the wake of the Johnson Drive rebuild has come up with six recommendations to help attract customers and raise the profile of the area.

Kevin Fullerton, whose business Springboard Creative has donated a significant number of hours to the city’s promotional efforts, said, “the city has done an excellent job in revitalizing Johnson Drive.” Now, Fullerton said, business owners are remodeling their stores and the recommendations pick up on the momentum already in place.

The first recommendation is for the downtown business and property owners to form a business association that could promote the area, attract new businesses and visitors. The task force defined the downtown area as either side of Johnson Drive from Lamar to Nall – that area of Johnson Drive which was rebuilt last summer.

Fullerton said the idea of a business association was unanimous at each of the meetings. “We have people lined up who want to put together this association,” he said. Approximately 100 businesses could be involved, he said.

The second recommendation is to form a business improvement district to create a sustainable funding source for promotion of the district. “We are looking at a kind of urbanism going on,” Fullerton said. Landscape and lighting make people feel comfortable, he said. The new street lights on Johnson Drive are adequate, but a business district could continue with the landscaping. It also could put money together for promotions and banners.

The final four recommendations included: the city develop a comprehensive marketing plan to promote the district; city staff add website content and printed materials that guide prospective business owners though the process of establishing a business in Mission; the community and city continue to support community events that bring positive attention; and the city implement the remaining recommendations of the 2014 Johnson Drive parking task force.

The last recommendation involves paving and striping parking lots the city owns to the south of Johnson Drive and improving signage so visitors know where to park.

A couple of city councilors raised questions about extending the downtown district both to the east of Nall and to the west of Lamar. The recommendations are expected to come back to the council for formal adoption in the near future.