Billings Chamber visits Allentown, PA to learn more about downtown redevelopment

More than 50 people from the Billings Chamber of Commerce including city council members are in Allentown, Pennsylvania to see how similarly sized cities are continuing to grow.

The group is in Allentown to hear about how that community has developed and implemented a similar urban development district, to the "One Big Sky Center" proposed in Billings.

Billings Chamber President and CEO John Brewer says the group is learning what worked for Allentown, and what the community would do differently if they had it to do all over again.

Brewer says the development there has been very successful as more people look for opportunities to return to the city center. "Millennials as-well-as the retired generation are looking at coming downtown and being part of a vibrant community with activities and sporting events and grocery stores and restaurants." Brewer continues saying, "It's this really cool environment that's pulling people back downtown and that's where they want to be. So, offering them that venue is proving to be very productive because then they also work and play and they spend a lot of money in the downtown core." 

Brewer says Allentown has also seen 3,000 jobs added to downtown over the last couple of years and many of those people are choosing to live and recreate in the downtown.

Chamber members will continue their Thursday and will return home to Billings on Friday.

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