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Revitalizing historic downtown Renton

RENTON, Wash. -- There is growth happening all over Renton, but there is also a push to get people to visit the historic downtown area.

It’s one of the things that attracted Nick Hill to the historic spot of Renton.

“The heart and the beginnings of Renton are in the downtown. This is where it all stated,” said Hill inside his store, Antiques 4U. “We wanted a historic building in a historic neighborhood.”

But moving his business into downtown Renton six years ago was a risk.

Downtowns across the country have been neglected over the years, but Hill remained optimistic about the renaissance of Renton.

“We saw the potential there, and when you have opportunities like that, you just have to decide that you’re willing to take the chance.”

Since moving in, he’s seen the city make a conscious effort to revitalize the downtown area, using the national ‘Main Street America’ model.

Hill believes part of the solution is getting more people to live downtown, and that’s happening with new condominium and apartment buildings popping up.

There is also a focus on foot traffic moving forward, with signs planned to lead people through downtown, along the river and to local parks to show off even more of what Renton has to offer.

“I think people have forgotten about downtown, but they’re starting to realize it’s a unique place in a community -- not like anywhere else.”