On the morning show today, Leslie and I were talking about Downtown Evansville and all of the increased activity thanks to the Deaconess GLVC basketball tournament that started today at the Ford Center. We got on the topic of what downtown needs in the absence of something like the GLVC tournament to bring people downtown. Downtown Evansville needs to become a destination spot beyond Ford Center events. The Ford Center is over a year old and not much has changed downtown in terms of new business.

We did mention the new Club Canopy Bar, which is located inside the Jungle restaurant and how it extends into the historic upstairs portion of the building...great news. One thing that really stands out about Downtown Evansville is the old Stratman's building still sitting vacant and one thing downtown really needs is a grocery store. I live downtown as do many others and the number of people living downtown is growing.

The Stratman's building would be an ideal location for a grocery store and my question is what's the hold up? Even if not a grocery store, that is a prime piece of downtown real estate that could be put to very good use and could be one more thing to keep people here after a Ford Center event.

I know there is a plan to improve and expand downtown, but when is it going to get kicked into high gear? These things take time, I realize that, but let's start the conversation. Valparaiso in Northern Indiana is smaller than Evansville, but has one of the most bustling downtown areas I have ever seen. There are restaurants, bars, retail shops and even an amphitheater that blends into the landscape in such a way that you don't even notice it unless there is an event there.

I can easily see Downtown Evansville looking the same way. We are the 'River City'...what about a river walk concept throughout the entire downtown area with restaurants, bars and specialty retail shops. The Ford Center is doing it's job getting people down here, we just need more to keep them here after an event or better yet, bring them here on nights the Ford Center is dark...now we're talking.

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