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ISSUE: Downtown Elizabethtown rejuvenation
OUR VIEW: Walker leading effort realistically
A downtown development program outlined by Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker has much to praise. That’s because there’s a lot to it.
In a cover letter to City Council members, it’s contrasted with projects and programs of past years as being a “comprehensive redevelopment” and the mayor promises a continuous, consistent process directed by his office with key assistance from a full-time director of the Heritage Council.
The proposal seems realistic and visionary. It calls for active governmental oversight but embraces the efforts of local organizations. It is based on a five-step action plan with each aspect having a defined outcome or measure of success.
In summary, the plan calls for:
That’s a big list but it defines a comprehensive approach, not an isolated suggestion or proposed quick fix.
A list of potential projects ranges from a self-guided walking tour, signage and Christmas lights to acquisition of property, renovation of Haycraft Mill Park and sidewalk repairs.
The extraordinary renovation achieved recently by ICON Engineering for its new Public Square offices once again awakens us to the beauty and value of this historic center of our county. Interest expresses by the proposed Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame indicates that the potential is obvious to others. Some of that potential has been realized recently through activities and attractions at the Historic State Theater and by the overwhelming success of last year’s Cruise In car show.
At the same time, the closing of Rider’s clothing store after 40 years of service emphasizes the significant challenge ahead.
Walker’s approach is realistic. He’s calling for a consistent, long-term commitment and admits that both successes and failures will be experienced.
This is a worthwhile project and a well-considered plan. The mayor is putting himself out front. To succeed, others must join him. It must involve dedicated community leaders, key investors and property owners.
“Each activity will relate to the goal of revitalizing the downtown area as the central core of our community,” he wrote.
The community as a whole cannot reach its full potential with a weak core.
Let’s not let this opportunity go to waste.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.