I live in a small-ish town, and my family has lived here forever, basically. I remember being able to walk down Main Street with my parents and brother. We could make one trip on a Sunday afternoon and not just get everything we needed for the week, but catch up with friends and neighbors, too. My brother and I were able to go see a movie or get a haircut while my mom stopped at the butcher and my dad grabbed items off his “honey do” list from the hardware store.
You can’t really walk down Main Street anymore. Or, to be more accurate, there’s no reason to. Some of the stores are gone now. Boarded up. Some of the store owners are getting up there in age, and their kids have moved away, uninterested in inheriting a failing business and a deteriorating building. I am really concerned about what is going to happen to the area if that continues to be a trend. I don’t want to move. I want to stay here and raise a family, just like my parents and grandparents did. I think the only way that is going to happen is if we do something drastic.
That’s why I really want to get the bulk of Main Street preserved. I think with the tax incentives and some fresh renovations, people would be more interested in coming. And staying, once they see what there is to offer. I’m not saying I want a combination post office/general store/police station like when my grandparents lived here. But if we could clean up the old theater, maybe get some new owners in the grocery store, and maybe freshen up the diner, people might start shopping here again instead of going to the big box store a half hour away.
I really want to attract people who are interested in owning a business here—the kind who are also looking to settle down with a family in a great place with lots to offer. If we could attract new blood, and maybe keep some of the younger professionals from leaving the area, we’d have a great youthful community base that could really thrive here. Then we could start on the really fantastic stuff. If the Main Street area was restored and revitalized, we would have a consistent location for things like a Memorial Day Parade, or a Harvest Festival, or any number of community-based events in the square at the end of the street. Right now it is kind of an overgrown mess, but if people started taking pride in it again, I know it could be great.
If we’re listed on the National Registry, we tap into what is basically free advertising: we’re part of a searchable database that people can look through nation-wide when looking for a vacation destination. We could make this place back into that nostalgic vision of “Main Street U.S.A.” people are looking for but can’t find. A place for community and commerce, of families and family-run businesses.