Holly Springs was stirring last week after a meeting at city hall about downtown revitalization.
Some have asked if the topic of the meeting was pre-published by the city in the newspaper. No, it was not.
Staff writer Sue Watson was aware there was a special-called board meeting. And when I found out it was focusing on downtown development, I decided it was very important that I attend, too.
The South Reporter has a vested interest in downtown. The newspaper has been here 152 years.
First and foremost, I thought it was a great meeting. I appreciate the mayor and board making downtown revitalization a priority. And I appreciate them having an open discussion, with input from anyone in attendance who wanted to comment.
I’ve seen officials, in every place I’ve worked, who would have shied away from such a meeting.
Mayor Kelvin Buck kicked things off October 24 with his five-year plan for downtown revitalization. He was enthusiastic. And he was direct, as far as the things he wanted to see accomplished, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Then he opened the floor for public discussion – good or bad, positive or negative.
Stakeholders shared the mayor’s enthusiasm. It was great listening to so many people unified behind a common goal – improving Holly Springs, particularly the downtown area.
The topics varied, from more green space, to underground wiring, to lighting, to entertainment districts.
The one that caused the most feedback was the downtown canopies that were put up, I believe, in the 1970s.
And Wednesday, that carried over into the world of social media.
Motions were passed at the meeting, including one in reference to the canopies. And even though my wife says I need a hearing aid, I don’t believe any of the motions and votes meant anything was going to be done without discussion with business people and others and then final approval or disapproval of the board. The discussions last week and the ensuing motions which passed simply gets the ball rolling toward hopefully improving downtown.
The South Reporter, of course, is not directly on the square, so we do not have one of the canopies in question. We did have an awning put up several years ago.
Personally, I like the canopies on the square. And I would like to see them renovated, repaired, painted, upgraded, maintained – with the lighting attached to them fixed or replaced and put into working order.
But I didn’t get into any discussion on Facebook. I’m not a big fan of that part of social media. Typically, things get worse before they get better, and misinformation and bashing spread like wildfire.
Most importantly, those people invested in downtown (business owners), plus the mayor and board, Main Street Chamber, Historic Preservation Commission, Tourism, Zoning Commission and perhaps others are the team in downtown revitalization.
We have a great downtown, and we have a common goal to make it better.
Communication is the key.