Downtown on the Rebound

Reinvestments bring life back to Hamilton’s central business district.

Kevin Litwin
On Monday, May 11, 2020 - 18:03

As a post-industrial region that relied heavily on paper manufacturing, Hamilton is making a transformation through a wealth of revitalization projects.

Take a stroll around town, and you’ll see new market-rate apartments, a riverfront hotel and a thriving arts and cultural hub – all of which have resulted from Hamilton’s decision to invest more than $65 million in its downtown in recent years.

“Things are certainly on the upswing, and it started with those market-rate housing opportunities,” says John Guidugli, president and CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF). “More people moving in means more stores, restaurants and services will move in, and a lot of credit goes to local government and community leaders.”

Strong Foundation

The HCF also deserves its share of the credit, as it invests money received from donors, estates and endowments into community projects that add to the region’s quality of life and economy. The foundation provided funding for stabilization and renovation of the old Mercantile building downtown.

“I’m hearing positive comments about Hamilton, especially from longtime residents who say the city is coming back as kind of a new, urban environment,” Guidugli says.

Encouraging Growth

Considering a relocation here? Some of the benefits of setting up shop in the region include the Hamilton Community Reinvestment Area initiative, the Hamilton CORE Fund and Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

A newer business here, Tano Bistro Hamilton, is a restaurant located on Riverfront Plaza.

“Hamilton is a diamond in the rough with great potential, says owner Tano Williams. “There’s an energy here, and I’m glad to be part of it.”


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.