After 10 years of witness to West Knoxville development, I couldn't really think of downtown revitalization as anything a Knoxvillian would take seriously. Jack Neely's article about urban living as the best retirement plan presented an approach I hadn't heard before, but I am familiar with the concept.
Having lived many years in Boston's Back Bay, I do recall many times neighborhood vitality was saved by retirees. Retiring to the city was for closeness, to doctor and dentist, park and church. Appointments were met. The retiree was close to church if church assistance was needed.
The elderly were not the mobile professionals, ready to relocate. No, the retirees you saw every day were the mainstay of anyone organizing a lecture. They were the ones who kept a local restaurant open by making it a traditional meeting place. These residents knew an interesting location would attract visits from grandkids and old friends. People sought to have an interesting community. Of course, a fun city costs more to live in. Older folks knew the value of a free walk along the Charles River.
Imagine a proposal that might say, "Downtown revitalization is the best assisted living we could offer seniors! Let them make the path and we will follow."