Community improvements

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Tony Young

Campbellsville Mayor

When I was a young boy, my father would drive around the block three or four times downtown to find a parking space. There wasn’t a vacant store in downtown at that time. After shopping centers and strip malls became popular, our downtown stores began to move to those areas. But recent efforts to revitalize downtown have reversed that trend.

The appearance of the downtown area gives an immediate image of the community’s character. A high-quality streetscape is key to a unique and identifiable community image.

Important elements in streetscape design include building facades, sidewalk and street design, landscaping, street furniture and lighting.

Streets should be attractive, easy to navigate and provide space for large public gatherings. These components, along with convenient parking and interesting historic buildings, create an inviting atmosphere and bring more people to the area.

Improving abandoned properties is a time-consuming and costly service. Residents rely on the city for enforcement of building codes and assistance when the owner of an abandoned property fails to properly maintain its appearance.

For example, the city has recently completed the demolition of the old radio station building near Buckhorn Creek on West Main Street. An old, deteriorated building is gone and a green space now exists.

While visiting an old city in Florida, I saw crosswalks made with red brick and envisioned how this would work for our city. However, a concern was how stable a brick surface would be with the freezing temperatures we experience in Kentucky. Therefore, it was suggested to create a similar look with concrete.

The asphalt was sawed and removed, creating a cavity in which to pour concrete. The new concrete was impressed with grooves to resemble brick and was painted red with white bordering stripes. Design enhances the attractiveness of the business district.

Other initiatives are under way, including the use of municipal aid funds to reseal and stripe Main Street. Also, downtown businesses partnered with the city to place urns and flowers in the downtown area.

We are working on historic building rehabilitation, street and alley cleanup, additional lighting and colorful banners to improve the physical image of downtown as a quality place to shop, work, walk and live.

The “Market off Main” and “Music off Main” events, which were conceived by downtown business owners, have brought excitement to downtown. Future dates can be found on www.campbellsville.us. Street festivals, parades, retail events and image development campaigns are some of the ways we are encouraging consumer traffic.

Downtown is our community’s stage. This is where we come to celebrate great accomplishments and honor our great nation.

A healthy and vibrant downtown boosts the economic strength and quality of life in our community by creating jobs, supporting small businesses and protecting property values.

Private investment increases through renovations of commercial and historic buildings, there is an increase in occupancy. In turn, the community benefits from additional tax revenue. Prosperous downtown is a symbol of community pride.

• Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young writes a monthly column about the happenings in city government. Contact him at mayor@campbellsville.us or 465-7011.