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Guest donaltopablo

Collin County Live Work Play

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I thought this was interesting to me, seems like this would be a good model for suburbs around the country. This is certainly more along the lines of the type of suburban developments I would like to see. Little cities with charm as part of a larger city.

Collin County downtowns go for old-time charm

Traditional 'live, work and play' environment is staging a strong comeback in area cities

Lisa Tanner

Senior Writer

In many Collin County cities, downtown areas bustle with activity despite intense competition from newer and larger business and retail areas.

As the county fills with sprawling office developments, big-box retailers, shopping malls and entertainment options of every type, some residents continue to look to the older downtown areas for the character and convenience they offer.

That charm is definitely a draw.

Shoppers who frequent those areas typically find unusual retailers, the mom-and-pop stores rather than the homogenous retail chain offerings, said Al Meyers, vice president of business development at retail consulting firm Retail Forward Inc.

But there are drawbacks for businesses.

Often many people don't live near the downtown area, which means they aren't often in the neighborhood. And parking and congestion are another issue in some central business districts.

Still, many cities have done a great job creating convenient, free parking.

The one-of-a-kind downtown area offers a "fun, different, often delightful shopping experience," Meyers said.

Walking an old main street where window displays often make the difference as to whether you enter a store or not is a much different experience than visiting a mall.

As a result, activity is building in downtown areas in cities across the county.

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