“We don’t have the big events coming back and we are feeling it,” said Rhodes-Conway. “I think locally we see people coming back to downtown for things… that’s the base. But that’s not enough. We are still short of people from other places.
While it was difficult to separate the future of downtown from the grim prospects of the current pandemic, each of the panelists felt optimistic about the future of downtown Madison.
[Cap Times Idea Fest Poll: What will downtown Madison look like in the future?]
The diversity, both in the racial makeup of downtown residents, as well as in the cultural essence of businesses, restaurants and shops was reported as the thing most panelists considered most important to the city. future of the city center.
Cavazos, as head of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, has been at the forefront of bringing a diverse set of businesses to Madison as well as leading dialogues on racial equity.
“When we talk about diversity, I think once you start inviting people and meeting their needs, downtown becomes a lot more fun,” she said.
Edgewater’s Supple stressed that in addition to bringing more diversity to the downtown core, it is vital to take advantage of the dynamism that already exists and to plan to meet the needs of more people.