Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. It is fun to watch the little ones scurry around looking for eggs that the “Easter Bunny” left behind. That “Easter Bunny” brings much joy to the faces of our little ones, but I’ve also seen his sick and twisted sense of humor as he will sometimes leave eggs way up in a tall tree, or hidden inside BBQ pits, or even worst yet hiding them deep in the sand of your kiddos sand box. Yes, the same sandbox that all the neighborhood cats use as their own personal litter box. The kids go from finding a few eggs here and there in the early years, to sprinting around fighting off competition and hoarding more eggs than their basket can carry as they get a little older. Then they get to the age where they expect some of these eggs to be filled with something spectacular, like wads of money, gift certs to the “Game Stop”, or keys to a new BMW… OK, I suppose a brand new “Beemer” could be a slight exaggeration, but I have been around some parents where handing out keys to a brand new Chevy 4X4 with a 12” suspension lift isn’t entirely out of the question… Oh well, all silliness aside…
We have another crosswalk going in this week. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you will now find all of our downtown blocks west of Hwy. 183 tied together with new decorative cobblestone style crosswalks running along Davis Street. They have all turned out nice and we feel that they are going to do exactly what we thought they would do when we came up with the idea in the first place. That was to encourage people to want to cross over to the next block and see what it may have to offer. Many times I have watched people walk right up to the corner and peer down to the next block contemplating from afar if they want to cross the street. What they are doing is they are scanning the next block from 50 yards away to see if anything jumps out at them as being interesting enough for them to cross the street and check it out. Visual stimulation is important and now that these decorative crosswalks make the whole 3 block area feel like a more “unified downtown district”, these new visitors will probably feel more comfortable investigating the next block before they go back to their cars and drive off. Another thing that our Main Street group has done to encourage people to walk the downtown district is all the brown and gold way-finding signs that hang in front of each downtown business. They have been out for awhile now, and these signs have helped liven up the downtown area. If you sit and watch, there are a couple areas downtown where there are no awnings, (and therefore they are no signs hanging), and people assume there is nothing down there and always turn back and go the other way. Because when you are in an area you aren’t familiar with, you will always look at signage to show you the way. So if there are any of you business owners down there that don’t yet have one of these official way-finding hanging signs in front of your business, you probably should. Put yourself in their shoes… If you are walking on a downtown sidewalk and the upcoming area looks dead, are you going to bother going down there? I bet if it looks boring, non-descript and uninteresting you won’t. But if it looks like there is something going on down there you probably will. The same thing plays out during our downtown Christmas Cocoa and Carols celebration every year. The businesses at the ends of the participation area will always need to have something out on the sidewalk to draw people down there to the end because people will assume they are already at the end if they don’t see any action going on further down the sidewalk. You just have to give them a reason to want to come down there.
We have a few more beautification type things coming up, and we are always open to your new ideas. So to all of you fine people who lie in bed staying up all night long dreaming up ways to make our Main Street District a better place… Come on by or call the number below. FYI, we are planning a Main Street work day on Sat. May 10th where our group we will be getting together and painting the antique lamp posts and the benches on all of the downtown curb outs. Mayor Hendricks also had a great idea to repaint the last three old “stop bumps” that have survived the years. So on the 10th, we will be doing that too. Obviously, the more the merrier, so if you are interested in pitching in on the 10th to help spruce up the downtown area before Thumptime, please let us know and we’ll get you plugged in. Also, thanks to everyone for all the kind words and all the encouraging notes, and please know that each and every one of them go a long way in validating your approval of what we are trying to do around here. We can’t do these things without you folks.
“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things!” – Herb Kelleher
-Derek Hall, LMS Manager