Regarding the article “Untangling Downtown Santa Barbara Dysfunction: Should Property Owners Do More to Save State Street,” of course, they should do more, specifically to attract local residents to downtown.
The city should buy or lease a large building in the downtown area and turn that into a cultural or mercado center where students from area high schools and colleges can hold competitions in such things as debate, dance, art, speech, architectural design, orchestra/music, high school brain games, talent contests, and other competitions.
Use some of the local theaters to hold some of these events and charge a small fee to use the buildings.
Who would go downtown? Parents, friends, and relatives of the students along with other people who want to see their children and others compete.
People will patronize downtown restaurants and other businesses.
Downtown would always have people traffic if these competitions are scheduled throughout the week.
Also have college and high school choirs compete during the Christmas holidays in the theaters or on the streets.
Downtown businesses can pool money and resources to pay for trophies and student scholarships along with an awards ceremony.
The pop-up stores’ solution for downtown is like putting duct tape and chicken wire on a long-term economic problem.