It takes a lot of people to make downtown events happen

Published 3:11 pm Monday, May 22, 2023


Contributing columnist

What’s up, Middlesboro? As I write my column, I am sitting in a hotel in Maysville. This week, I have been at the Kentucky Main Street Spring Conference and the Kentucky Heritage Council Conference — a double header. The information has been great, plus it has been confirmation that I have the opportunity to work with a great board and mayor.

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I have listened to different Main Street directors share their struggles and all I can do is feel very blessed.

I want to thank my board chair, Bo Green, for his leadership of our board. Over the past year, he has had to listen to my crazy ideas and tame my crazy passion and outspokenness. We have created quite the partnership. We might not always see eye to eye, but we have really done a great job listening to each other and learning to compromise.

The Middlesboro Main Street Board has started taking on new roles to create a more productive Main Street program.

Kristin Buyers and Celia Shoffner, the dynamic duo, are creating a fabulous event that will happen in October. Their passion for creating quality and over the top events is really a plus for Main Street. I am looking forward to seeing the faces of people who  attend the event. I know that they are going to be blown away with the amazing work that these two have put in to the event.

Shae Moyers Brock is our Organization Committee chair. Shae was the lead on planning the Senior BBQ Bash.Her love for her students really showed through as she planned this event. She created an event planning team with students and staff from the school. The outcome was an event that the students enjoyed. She will be working on a membership drive for Friends of Middlesboro Main Street in the next few months. I appreciate her taking over this committee.

Laura Cawood, the treasurer of MMS, has a role that the community doesn’t see, but we couldn’t do the events or keep things going without her. She makes sure that accounts are balanced and checks are written. She keeps us in the black.

Rick Chadwell is the Economic Vitality Committee chair. He oversees the new Connect @ 6 program that MMS has each month to provide training and networking opportunities for our local businesses. He is also who sets up our media equipment for movie nights and the tailgate nights. It is great to have someone who knows more than just pushing play on the remote.

David Whitlock is MMS board vice chair and the chair for the Levitt Committee. As you know the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series is a huge 10-week event, so having David lead this committee is quite a gift for me. He has encouraged the Levitt committee to try new concert activities, which I know you will enjoy this summer when the series begins June 22.

Jamie Bowling took over the secretary position in January. She said it will be for one year, but I hope that we can sweet talk her into doing it longer. I am so excited that Jamie has helped us celebrate her brother on his upcoming space flight. This event is something that not many towns can celebrate, so I am thankful she has allowed us to be a small part.

Board member Donna Smith helps us make the Main Street district beautiful. She orders the flowers that we need, and she plants them. As a person with no green thumb I really appreciate Donna sharing her knowledge on plants.

With her help we are hoping to get a greenhouse set up so MMS can grow and maintain our plants for downtown. As soon as the sidewalk project is complete she will be helping us get the new flower pots set up. This will make a big difference for the appearance of downtown.

A new addition to our board is Luke Boyd. He will be helping our Design Committee with streetscape and parking. I am very thankful that he is bringing his expertise to help Main Street.

Ellen Partin is also on the Main Street Board. I appreciate her for helping think through new projects. I am always up for a new exciting project, but it is important to have someone ask questions and help us see past the sparkle of a project.

I really am thankful for these board members.

While I am thanking folks, I need to thank Mayor Bowling for his support for the Main Street Program. His support did not start when he became Mayor. He has been supported the program for quite awhile. His support is not all monetary, a huge support is that he understands the benefits of the Main Street Program. I appreciate that he is open to listen to our goals and vision. We are very luck to have a Mayor that has such a passion for seeing success for our town.

Having supporters like these great people is what makes Middlesboro Main Street District a place where businesses want to come open and what creates a great place for our community to enjoy.

Finally, I want to thank you. Thank you for reading, listening, and reaching out with your comments. Hearing from you lets us know what you would like to see and do downtown.

Together we are creating a downtown and community where we enjoy living.

Looking forward to hearing from you –