You are key to a prosperous Middlesboro

Published 3:28 pm Friday, December 30, 2022

What’s up, Middlesboro? After four attempts of writing a profound column to celebrate the end of 2022, I still have nothing. The words to celebrate all of the great things that happened in 2022 just seemed stale and over-used. The next approach was to celebrate the times of struggle, because we pushed through and survived the struggle.

Well, all of the words that were coming out sounded like something from Positive and Motivational websites.

Enough trying to be profound and motivating, let me just tell you about Middlesboro Main Street in 2022. The year started with a board that had become numb after a few years of Covid. They were a really good board, but they needed just a bit of energizing.

Our board chair, Bo Green got the excitement flowing when he held our first Saturday training session. We were able to re-identify what our mission and vision was for our Main Street program. As a board the new mission was developed. Our mission is to bring life to our historic downtown by developing better opportunities to live, work, sleep, shop and play. That was pretty easy to take care of ,but then the vision needed to be addressed. The task of the vision was not as easy. It seemed some were concerned how folks would respond to a lofty vision, but then why did we want to just be average. The majority consensus was that now was the time to take Middlesboro Main Street out of same old same old and share our passion of what an amazing asset we have and how we need to bring it to reality. With the commitment to lots of hard work our vision was developed. Our vision is to be the premier destination of southeastern Kentucky by preserving our past, bringing together our present community, enriching our future, and providing a space for all to enjoy. Now, I know that there are a few of you mumbling under your breath, rolling your eyes, and probably having a little chuckle. Those responses are understandable, because words without actions have been an issue. Hopefully, you have seen some action from Main Street over the past 12 months. I would love for all changes and improvements to be instantaneous, but they take time (sometimes lots of time).

Over the past 12 months we have welcomed new businesses. With the struggle of the new businesses, we learned that as an organization we needed to provide training and resources readily available to the business owners. Having a vacant building filled is not the goal, but to have the vacant building filled with a business that will be successful and remain open for many years is the goal. The training and resource program we have started will be a continuous project. We also introduced the Shop Local card, which provides special discounts at participating businesses. We hope this will encourage folks to come downtown and do more shopping.

A board that is active and working on positive change cannot achieve things without one very important element. That element is you. We are looking for folks who want to see good things happening downtown. Your commitment does not have to be a lot, just your help on one (or maybe two) projects/events. Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 8 a.m. and Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m., we will be having a Main Street Volunteer Training. If you are interested in being a part, email me at downtownmiddlesboro@gmail.com and let me know which meeting you plan to attend.

Now with a little nod, we say good-bye to 2022 and with a big loud howdy we welcome 2023.