Washington Square


Gathering in Washington Square


Aerial of Downtown


Renovation and Improved Facade

Renovation and Improved Facade


Limited Public Access
to Water


Ottawa Riverwalk


Columbus Street


LaSalle Street

Goal 1

Revitalize and preserve Ottawa’s downtown architectural heritage and traditional downtown atmosphere.

A healthy downtown is vital to Ottawa’s character, image and economy. The downtown is the central focal point for the community including entertainment, shopping, recreation and historic interests for residents and visitors alike.

  • Encourage building owners to maintain and update existing downtown structures
  • Promote facade and signage improvements to existing buildings with historic architectural integrity
  • Reclaim primary downtown streets to calm traffic and create a pedestrian friendly atmosphere
  • Promote existing and new businesses

Goal 2

Encourage a vibrant cultural atmosphere and public involvement in downtown.

  • Have a reason for the public to come downtown such as having a
    variety of shops and restaurants
  • Promote civic art in the downtown
  • Promote cultural events in the downtown
  • Promote entertainment events and establishments in the downtown
  • Coordinate businesses and cultural events through a Downtown Management Program

Goal 3

Promote public and private investment in the future of downtown to achieve an economically stable Central Business District.

  • Support and promote existing businesses
  • Recruit new business into the Central Business District through a
    coordinated management program
  • Develop strategies for infill development
  • Buildings should be built as high-quality, long-term components to the urban fabric
  • Architecture should respond to functional needs and reinforce downtown activities
  • Parking needs should be evaluated to support downtown redevelopment with sufficient on-street and off-street parking

Goal 4

Reinforce the sense of historical continuity and unique character and setting of downtown Ottawa.

  • Provide connections to the rivers and parks
  • Maintain existing views to the rivers as well as key architectural features of the downtown
  • Identify and create opportunities to strengthen and increase linkages between the downtown area and residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Fox and Illinois Rivers, the I&M Canal and the Lateral Canal
  • Respect the architectural heritage of downtown
  • Promote the historical connection that downtown Ottawa has with Abraham Lincoln

Goal 5

Increase and promote residential uses in Ottawa’s downtown.

  • Increase the population of residents that can easily walk to the Central Business District.
  • Encourage building owners to capitalize on second and third floors of existing structures to be utilized for residential uses
  • Introduce new infill development into the Central Business District with office and /or residential uses occupying the upper floors
  • Encourage infill redevelopment or adaptive reuse to connect existing residential neighborhoods to the Central Business District
  • Evaluate and improve pedestrian linkages from existing and proposed residential areas to the LaSalle Street corridor