Focus on community vital moving forward
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 9:15 pm
By DONNA RYDER
With the impending closure of Goodyear, area leaders are trying to find a way to soften the blow to the community. Main Street-Union City is no different.
Last week, Main Street executive director Phyllis Rauchle invited designing firm Askew Hargraves Harcourt & Associates Inc., also known as A2H, from Lakeland to visit Union City and give a presentation on the company and what it has done for surrounding communities.
“The closure of Goodyear gives our community a new challenge and that challenge is to look inward. Main Street-Union City is here to assist and help analyze opportunities that arise,” Mrs. Rauchle said.
“There is no formula, no magic answer or easy solution for what we are about to encounter, but bringing people together and working together to pool our resources and share ideas is what Main Street wants to do for our community. We are eager to help find ways to improve the business climate in our downtown and community by providing technical assistance and guidance,” she added.
A2H is a full-service designing firm which offers engineering, architectural design, planning, landscape architecture and surveying. With one of its specialties in downtown revitalization for municipal and county government, it has been able to design master plans for such areas as Covington, Ripley and Halls.
Andrew Reynolds, associate landscape architect manager, said the most rewarding thing for him is to see the community come together.
Reynolds said the company helps put together a vision for the community with public participation. A master plan is formed, with cost estimates and budgeting.
“It’s a living document. A direction you want to take, but it’s not chiseled in stone,” A2H partner Patrick Harcourt said of the master plan.
Reynolds said many times when a project begins, businesses start coming back to the downtown area. One such example is Ripley, where “Businesses started coming back downtown … many times without an incentive. It was just a snowball effect,” he said.
Harcourt added when the Ripley project was started there were 12 empty buildings. Now all but one or two have been renovated with 11 more stores open for business.
Reynolds said the company can also help cities find grant money to help with the renovations.
Mrs. Rauchle said Main Street’s mission is to enrich the quality of life of all citizens of Obion County by revitalizing the economy, enhancing the historical charm and preserving the architectural heritage of downtown Union City.
“By having A2H share their many completed projects in surrounding cities and telling us about all the resources they have to offer, I feel that gives Main Street another tool in working toward our mission,” she said, adding she hopes the Main Street board will work with the Obion County Chamber of Commerce board “to ask this company to draw up some plans for Union City as well as sole downtown building owners.”
Published in The Messenger 3.14.11