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1999 ICSC Convention Reflections

Another ICSC Spring Convention has come and gone. Each spring the convention blows in like a sand storm, speeds everything up and blows out again. After months preparing for and publishing our May issue, we receive a treat: a week of sun and fun with you fine folks.

The week of May 23 started off with a bang - a great, big trade expo. In addition to eager product and service reps, I noticed several members of the international community. It seemed like half of the visitors at our booth were from Latin America or Asia. I'm sure it was a welcome sight for retailers who are approaching their peak density here in the States.

I hope that attendees had a chance to check out some of the sessions in between trade expo meetings and tee times. I particularly enjoyed "The Role of Municipalities in Promoting Urban Revitalization."

While every panel was filled with seasoned pros, it seemed that the experiences of these mayors rang true for the developers and other elected officials in attendance. From Atlanta to Washington to Providence, R.I., the story sounds the same: The mayors - Bill Campbell, Anthony A. Williams and Vincent A. Cianci Jr., respectively - are trying to combat the social ills that have left their downtowns virtually empty except for office buildings.

While Sam Kathryn Campana, the mayor of Scottsdale, Ariz., suffers little urban blight in her suburban city, she too understands the importance of attracting developers. Approximately 40% to 45% of her city's operating budget stems from sales tax. It's a number that seemed to shock the remaining panelists, as well as many audience members.

At any rate, if you're a retailer looking for a new site or a developer that wants to find an area offering assistance for urban development, give these mayors a call the next time you're in their fair cities.

TAGS: Retail
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