When it comes to downtown revitalization, there is a common thread among the documented success stories: Make the experience unique for shoppers, diners, strollers, movie-goers, and other visitors and they’ll continue to come back for more — and they’ll bring their friends and family.
With this idea in mind, during the past dozen years downtown Camas has slowly evolved to become an emerging success story, with the potential for much more on the horizon.
What makes downtown Camas unique? An illustration of that answer can be found illuminated above the front door of the Camas Gallery on Northeast Fourth Avenue.
The recent addition of an outdoor mural created by artist and Camas resident Maria Repetto pays homage to the city’s past, and is also symbolic of the importance of infusing fresh ideas into the mix.
This focus on finding a balance between celebrating history and welcoming the new and innovative has been a key to downtown Camas success.
There have been many strides. New and significant investments have been made, including those that have taken place at the Liberty Theatre, Mill City Brew Werks, Camas Hotel and soon the Westlie Ford building, which was purchased by Fuel Medical and will soon undergo renovations estimated at $400,000 to $800,000.
In addition, during the past year, many new businesses have opened. When merchants are quizzed about why they chose downtown Camas, many say they had a desire to be a part of what has been happening in the area.
Admittedly, there have also been setbacks. Businesses have closed. Fundraising to support downtown projects hasn’t always been as successful as originally hoped. Controversial issues such as parking come up time and again.
But overcoming hurdles and challenges is part of any great economic success story, which downtown Camas seems destined to become.