Daniel Hintz has a passion for downtowns.
"They are the crossroads of culture community and commerce," he says. "Communities have been built this way since the dawn of the agricultural economy, creating meeting places for pople to do business, to connect, to meet their neighbors."
But for a time, Hintz says that importance was ignored.
"We've reaped soem of the social ills of getting away from the design of community," he says.
Hintz oversaw the transformation of downtown Bentonville as it capitalized on the stimulus of Crystal Bridges.
"That project galvanized a community, both from a Bentonville standpoint, as well as a regional standpoint," he says. "That I think can't be underestimated."
Now the Northwest Arkansas Council is contracting Hintz to collaborate with all five major cities.
"We're offering Daniel's time time and energy and experiences as a resource to the cities," says President and CEO Mike Malone. "But it's really up to each city to determine what they want their downtowns to be."
Malone says a vibrant downtown is crucial to attracting talented young professionals.
"They can choose to really work anywhere, around the country around the world, and even within our region," Malone says. "More and more, we're finding creative folks, young folks, they really want to gather in downtown. They like the excitement of being able to live work and play all in a downtown area."
Hintz says each community is at different stages of revitalization, and he's been working to understand what each city wants to achieve.
"It is about business, it is about the culture, the identity of who we are, and it's a great way to showcase who we are in sort of a grouped setting," Hintz says. "For the past several months I've been working with each community to understand what those needs are, and you're really going to see some momentum in that realm in the next several months."