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Downtown plans worthy of support – with reservations

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Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been struggling with how to address the events of the past two months. I have given this a tremendous amount of thought, lost a lot of sleep, noticed a few more frown lines (which I’m not at all happy about), and according to Eugene, I haven’t exactly been a joy to be around.

As president of the Downtown Business Alliance, it’s difficult, to say the least, representing the views of several people in our organization regarding such an emotional and dramatic project such as ours. Of course, I have my own personal opinions about the downtown revitalization efforts, but those can’t get in the way of representing the majority. So here goes.

The Downtown Business Alliance was established with one goal, and that was to revitalize downtown and bring businesses back to the heart of our town. Now, our definition of “revitalize” seems to be somewhat different from others involved. We have made no secret of the fact that we wanted to encourage property renovations that maintained the historical integrity of the buildings and their surroundings. We’ve been very vocal about some of the elements that have been introduced into the design of Main Street that are not in keeping with the historical atmosphere of the original buildings. The future Market Center, to be built on Main Street in what is now a parking lot, in my opinion, is very industrial and not at all complementary to Main Street. It’s a great idea, but we would like to have seen something more in keeping with the architectural design of the rest of the buildings.

Which brings me to the new plan for the square. Here again, we are a little disappointed in the fact that it is too modern. We have asked about the possibility of changing some of the modern aspects and have been assured that it’s entirely possible. Small, subtle changes will make a world of difference.

But we are very excited to see progress continue, thanks to our mayor, council members, city manager and the majority of the commissioners court. Thank goodness a little common sense prevailed and we can begin renovation part two, which is Connally Street. We are also very excited about the new design for the Veteran’s Memorial and can’t wait for it to become a part of our downtown.

Now let me tell you how we feel about other aspects of the new design for the square and downtown. As for the overall concept, we are OK with it (with exceptions I’ve already referred to). Our group is somewhat divided with regards to two-way traffic on the square — we have a couple that are adamantly opposed and a couple that are adamantly in favor. The rest of us are on the fence with reservations.

We are ALL IN FAVOR of two-way traffic on Gilmer Street and Oak Avenue and being able to access the square from Main Street. We are all OPPOSED to the back-in parking. Sulphur Springs isn’t ready for that. A large number of our citizens don’t know how to park between the lines with parking as is, and an even larger number just flat don’t care how many spaces they take up, so back-in parking would be an absolute disaster. Of course, there are also thoswho are not physically able to back into a parking space.

I know it’s safer with respect to being able to see oncoming traffic when you are pulling out, and loading your trunk from the sidewalk is far better than standing in the lane of traffic. It goes without saying how much safer it is when you have children with you, because it channels them towards the sidewalks as opposed to the street. However, so far everyone we’ve talked to is absolutely against it, so it looks to us like we would be giving people a reason NOT to come downtown — kind of like cutting your nose off to spite your face. We have been assured that the back-in parking is a dead issue and will not be approved, so we support the project and hope you will, too.

Rumor has it that the newest owner of the old Corner Drug is getting closer to making some major changes. We hear that he is going to build a three-story building with retail spaces on the first floor, and offices and/or lofts on the second and third floors. We understand that the building has deteriorated to the point that it’s not salvageable, so here again, we sincerely hope that the new structure will be in keeping with the original design. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this time the rumors will come true!

Ya’ll mark your calendars for our first Flea Market of 2010 on Saturday, May 15. The Downtown Business Alliance has resumed the responsibilities of the Flea Markets and hope to see you all there. If you are interested in renting booth space you can call 903-243-0252 or come by Edwards Used Cars at 211 Gilmer St., or The Millennium Shopper at 115 Jefferson St. to pick up a registration form.

So, until next time, keep asking, “What’s new downtown?” Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been struggling with how to address the events of the past two months. I have given this a tremendous amount of thought, lost a lot of sleep, noticed a few more frown lines (which I’m not at all happy about), and according to Eugene, I haven’t exactly been a joy to be around. As president of the Downtown Business Alliance, it’s difficult, to say the least, representing the views of several people in our organization regarding such an emotional and dramatic project such as ours. Of course, I have my own personal opinions about the downtown revitalization efforts, but those can’t get in the way of representing the majority. So here goes.

The Downtown Business Alliance was established with one goal, and that was to revitalize downtown and bring businesses back to the heart of our town. Now, our definition of “revitalize” seems to be somewhat different from others involved. We have made no secret of the fact that we wanted to encourage property renovations that maintained the historical integrity of the buildings and their surroundings. We’ve been very vocal about some of the elements that have been introduced into the design of Main Street that are not in keeping with the historical atmosphere of the original buildings. The future Market Center, to be built on Main Street in what is now a parking lot, in my opinion, is very industrial and not at all complementary to Main Street. It’s a great idea, but we would like to have seen something more in keeping with the architectural design of the rest of the buildings.

Which brings me to the new plan for the square. Here again, we are a little disappointed in the fact that it is too modern. We have asked about the possibility of changing some of the modern aspects and have been assured that it’s entirely possible. Small, subtle changes will make a world of difference.

But we are very excited to see progress continue, thanks to our mayor, council members, city manager and the majority of the commissioners court. Thank goodness a little common sense prevailed and we can begin renovation part two, which is Connally Street. We are also very excited about the new design for the Veteran’s Memorial and can’t wait for it to become a part of our downtown.

Now let me tell you how we feel about other aspects of the new design for the square and downtown. As for the overall concept, we are OK with it (with exceptions I’ve already referred to). Our group is somewhat divided with regards to two-way traffic on the square — we have a couple that are adamantly opposed and a couple that are adamantly in favor. The rest of us are on the fence with reservations.

We are ALL IN FAVOR of two-way traffic on Gilmer Street and Oak Avenue and being able to access the square from Main Street. We are all OPPOSED to the back-in parking. Sulphur Springs isn’t ready for that. A large number of our citizens don’t know how to park between the lines with parking as is, and an even larger number just flat don’t care how many spaces they take up, so back-in parking would be an absolute disaster. Of course, there are also thoswho are not physically able to back into a parking space.

I know it’s safer with respect to being able to see oncoming traffic when you are pulling out, and loading your trunk from the sidewalk is far better than standing in the lane of traffic. It goes without saying how much safer it is when you have children with you, because it channels them towards the sidewalks as opposed to the street. However, so far everyone we’ve talked to is absolutely against it, so it looks to us like we would be giving people a reason NOT to come downtown — kind of like cutting your nose off to spite your face. We have been assured that the back-in parking is a dead issue and will not be approved, so we support the project and hope you will, too.

Rumor has it that the newest owner of the old Corner Drug is getting closer to making some major changes. We hear that he is going to build a three-story building with retail spaces on the first floor, and offices and/or lofts on the second and third floors. We understand that the building has deteriorated to the point that it’s not salvageable, so here again, we sincerely hope that the new structure will be in keeping with the original design. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this time the rumors will come true!

Ya’ll mark your calendars for our first Flea Market of 2010 on Saturday, May 15. The Downtown Business Alliance has resumed the responsibilities of the Flea Markets and hope to see you all there. If you are interested in renting booth space you can call 903-243-0252 or come by Edwards Used Cars at 211 Gilmer St., or The Millennium Shopper at 115 Jefferson St. to pick up a registration form.

So, until next time, keep asking, “What’s new downtown?”

 

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