Government and business often find themselves at odds. So, whenever they are able to come together for the greater good, it is worth recognizing. And the work it takes to keep the city's downtown heritage takes such a collective effort.
The work starts with the city's architectural review board. The board provides guidelines for businesses in the architectural district. The guidelines are designed to preserve the historic look of the downtown area. The board's goal is to keep everything uniform and as appropriate for the buildings as possible.
At times, the rules can seem inane, dealing with paint colors and signs, but cities without such guidelines often end up with a mishmash of modern and historic architecture that destroys the quaint, hometown feel places like Norwalk strive to create.
However, in order to make an endeavor like this successful, businesses need to buy in, both literally and figuratively. Maintaining the historic look, especially when replacing storefront windows, does not come cheap.
Yet, Norwalk businesses have, for the most part, recognized that keeping the original look of the town in tact will serve them best in the long run and give the uptown area a positive feel.
Both sides are also willing to compromise. Sometimes signs are an issue, especially for national companies, so the city makes allowances. On the other hand, businesses help police each other and make sure everyone is on the same page. It is a give and take relationship that all city residents can appreciate.