Thursday, November 13, 2008
Brewer takes leadership of new Main Street program
By SUE WATSON
Cynthia Brewer has been named the first executive director of the Holly Springs Main Street Program.
She began her new job Monday, one week before the association holds its first charrettes to flesh out the details of what the community wants Main Street to do in this city of over 8,000 residents.
Brewer has worked as development coordinator and fund-raiser, and in education and outreach for Lifeline Pilots of Peoria, Ill, since 2004. The nonprofit provides those in medical and financial need with free air transportation on small aircraft to distant health care facilities.
Lifeline Pilots was founded by Wanda Whitsitt of Champaign, Ill., and a group of 40 pilots and volunteers who coordinated 40 missions in the first three years beginning in 1981. Today a core of over 500 pilots have helped log one million passenger miles and the service area expanded to include other activities and missions in the Mid-western states.
Prior to working with Lifeline Pilots, Brewer was self-employed as a historic preservationist and architectural designer and was busy buying, restoring and preserving and reselling historic properties. Since 2005, she has been a student at Savannah College of Art and Design where she is working on a master’s in historic preservation. Brewer holds a bachelor of science in elementary education.
Brewer scoped out the historic homes in Holly Springs for two years while she and her fiancee, Kevin, of Memphis, were looking for a town in which to raise their five children.
“He was ready to get out of the city and I was looking for the next project. We both fell in love with Holly Springs, its character and charm,” she said.
While looking at a home in town with Laurie Gwin, Brewer said she was secretly looking for another historic property as a project.
“Kevin, at this point, was given a brown paper bag to breathe into. He was in sheer panic of what this woman he was about to marry wanted to drag him into,” she said. “Laurie decided to take us on a tour of homes that were already restored in Holly Springs, in an attempt to show Kevin what the restoration project could look like after love and attention.”
It was after their visit to Crump Place that the couple seriously considered where the family would settle.
“When we added up what was most important to us, it kept bringing us back to Holly Springs,” she said.
At the time, Brewer was living in Illinois and in February this year the couple looked at almost every home on the market in town. Then they asked for another tour of Crump Place and the next day proffered an offer to buy the historic home.
It was while in finalizing the purchase at Callicutt Realty that Brewer mentioned to Jane Callicutt and Gwin that Holly Springs would be a perfect candidate for the National Trust Main Street Program.
“She said they had just become members and were looking into hiring an executive director in the near future,” Brewer said.
Brewer said she was initially led to Holly Springs through a search for historic properties up for sale.
“The newest home I have lived in was established in 1920 and Crump Place is the oldest property in which I have resided,” she said.
So, the about-to-be-wed couple decided to have their wedding with their children (from previous marriages) and friends June 21 at Crump Place.
“We had a beautiful wedding day in the courtyard with 1,000 daisies, our loved ones and Daisy, the yellow lab underfoot,” she said. “Since then, there have been lemonade stands on the sidewalks and climbing in huge magnolia trees. Crump Place has truly become our home as has Holly Springs.”
The town offers the new family many things the residents of Holly Springs may take for granted – trips to Tyson’s for a malt, a life out of the big city lights and noise, a community where everyone knows your name and where newcomers are given welcome parties, and a place where people still cook and share their best baking while it is still warm from the oven.
“All of our friends and our children’s friends from Memphis and Illinois have fallen in love with Holly Springs as much as we have when we first came here,” Brewer said. “There is something very special about this town.”
Having grown up in a Main Street town in Illinois, Brewer said she is familiar with the program and happy to be offered the position of Holly Springs Main Street’s first executive director.
“I moved to Holly Springs as an investment in my family’s future and now I am pleased to be able to invest in the future of Holly Springs,” she said.
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