An updated tool for downtown

June 5, 2023Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

You may recall in early 2016 the Chamber, – through its Abilene Regional Growth Alliance (formerly known as the Abilene Industrial Foundation (AIF) – began a partnership with the City of Abilene to begin a strategic focus on the rebirth of our downtown.

As luck would have it and with thanks to the likes of Mrs. Judy Matthews, the Dodge Jones Foundation and many others, Abilene’s historic downtown wasn’t on a respirator. It was plugging along, with great hope by many that a one-off Downtown hotel project would put our downtown on solid footing for at least a generation or two.

And while that’s true, the effort has roots in an issue far broader than a hotel project.

For the Abilene Chamber and the 1,200 member businesses we represent, most all of whom stare down the same challenge of workforce availability, it became apparent that those we seek to attract as contributors to our workforce have something in common: the interest in living in a thriving community with a hip, urban core where they feel safe, the environment is clean and there are things to do.

The generous and visionary members of the Growth Alliance “got it” and continue to “get it” ensuring that business owners, developers and downtown enthusiasts have the resources they need to be successful.

That’s why today we’re thrilled to unveil the new downtownabi.com website that the Growth Alliance’s Downtown Initiative has been working to redesign.

Led by downtown stakeholders such as Ted Evans (Lone Star Dry Goods), Nathan Hathorn (Silverthorne Insurance), Katie Alford (Community Foundation of Abilene), John Scott (John Scott Law), Daniel and Tiffany Gutierrez (Motis Building), and Will Duggar (Jacob & Martin, Ltd.) this group of individuals sought to create a living resource for our community regarding downtown. A place where those looking for stories about downtown, places to live downtown, developer resources, or businesses to support can find information about.

And as a living resource, we’ll need your help to assist our team in ensuring that our website stays as up-to-date as possible. See a business that needs to be listed? Let us know. Have an event going on downtown? Post it on our community event calendar. This is our downtown to shape and to share the story of.

And to those of you who have been or are currently involved in the downtown effort, thank you. Whether you’re investing, attending an event, or cheering on businesses by encouraging commerce – it matters. Every positive comment you make on social media platforms matter, and every dollar spent local matters. It encourages the brave men, women and families who are risking their tomorrow by investing today.

To the dreamers and the check writers, keep on keeping on. What you’re doing will be highlighted in the next chapter of our already storied history.

And to those who started it all – the Matthews family, the Dodge Jones Foundation and many others thank you for allowing the first impression our community makes on many people to be visionary and full of vitality.



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