December 01, 2005
Downtown Conroe

Conroe is still thinking about ways to get people to visit their downtown area.

Consultant Roger Brooks told city officials that the key to revitalizing a downtown area is to find a niche and brand it. That means finding what's unique about Conroe and building upon it, he said.


Brooks said he thinks Conroe's niche to promote downtown could be dining and live entertainment. The city already has the Crighton Theatre and Heritage Place, an outdoor concert area, in the downtown area. The city could adopt the slogan, "Conroe Live," he said.

The branding and slogan, along with a logo, would need to be used on street signs and maps for theme continuity.

Conroe also would need to consider creating a pedestrian center, possibly on Main and Simonton streets, in the heart of downtown. Brooks envisions a center with wide sidewalks, water features, seating areas and lots of trees and shrubs.

He also suggested more amenities, including a new 800-seat performing arts center, an expanded Crighton Theatre and an updated Heritage Place that could be converted into an outside amphitheater and a multi-use theater.

In addition to entertainment, the area needs 34 new shops, restaurants and businesses, including three pubs with entertainment, two coffee shops, three delis, a magazine/news stand and a bookstore to create critical mass, Brooks said.

''Conroe needs to raise the bar," Brooks said. ''A lot of the shops are marginal."

The price to make downtown Conroe a showpiece would run about $25 million, he said.

I have to say, that sounds like a lot of money for a city with less than 40,000 people in it as of 2003. And I'm still not convinced that they're not trying to out-Woodlands their neighbor to the south, something which I don't think they'll be able to do. I mean, I can see the potential for a performing arts center, but an outdoors amphitheater? Don't we already have one of those in the area?

Maybe this can work, I don't know. It feels like a big gamble to me, though. Anyone in the area care to comment?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 01, 2005 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

Is this the same Conroe with citizens who ban books and plays? Is a "pub with entertainment" about the same as a bar with a jukebox or karoke? Didn't know Conroe had a shortage of those. Sounds like he wants to copy Towne Square in Sugar Land to Conroe.

Posted by: texxas redd on December 1, 2005 4:25 PM

If I remember correctly, the only thing that really sticks out in my mind about conroe was that anyone smart tried to leave there and they once told Gary Mauro he should leave town if he was smart. So, maybe that's going to be hard.

Posted by: balzac on December 1, 2005 4:37 PM

No, texxas redd, it's the same town where taxpayers did not care to pay for books about the joys of homosexuality in the children's library.

Posted by: ttyler5 on December 1, 2005 5:51 PM