Assessing Downtown Canton

Assessing Downtown Canton report represents a collaborative effort between Canton Main Street, Uni­versity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois Extension. The assessment was conducted in the sum­mer of 2014 to provide technical assis­tance for revitalization efforts in Canton, Illinois. This analysis was utilized to guide downtown economic development initiatives.

The assessment has three parts. The first part analyses the issues and challenges Canton faces by looking into some key demographics. The sec­ond part conducts a downtown market analysis to gauge the possibilities of revitalization based on a retail focus.The market analysis uses a retail assessment framework developed by University of Minnesota Extension, Ohio State University Extension, and University of Wiscon­sin-Extension. The market analysis draws upon quantitative and qualitative approaches to identify retail expansion and recruitment opportunities for Downtown Canton.

The third part of this study explores the possibilities of revitalizing Downtown Canton by look­ing at factors that influence the retail market. This part was the focus of the summer workshop course where students focused on a number of variables responsible for making a downtown more resilient. The assessment for resiliency followed a framework introduced by Michael Bu­rayidi in his book Resilient Downtowns – A New Approach to Revitalizing Small- and Medium-City Downtowns. This includes exploring the possibilities of improvements in retail development, downtown living, immigration, heritage and cul­tural tourism, civic and cultural amenities, down­town design, and leadership and partnerships.

The Assessing Downtown Canton report can be found on our website at