Welp, looks like we’ve gone and done it now… I guess Microsoft Word hasn’t yet figured out that “welp” is indeed a word used here in the south. Someone must have accidently installed the “northern version” of Microsoft Office on my computer or something… What have we gone and done you ask?? I’ve been talking over the last several weeks about some restorations and renovations about to happen in the Main Street District. And we have two or three that are finally getting off the starting blocks. I may be totally out to lunch by trying to think our group had anything to do with it… but who knows… maybe we did.
Things in the public realm take excruciatingly long periods of time to get ramped up and moving forward. The first step is to talk about it and promote the things you want to get done, and that is what we use this column for. And when everyone else starts to chatter about it, it is best if you already have a plan to turn the talk into action. These things gradually inch forward and eventually pick up steam if you keep pushing, but the catch is to not get hopelessly bogged down in the talking stage. I’ve heard so many stories of people and groups of people talking things to death and then wanting recognition for their good intentions. Seriously?… It’s easy to talk about doing things. Easy to talk about what you could have done or should have done. Easy to talk about what you need to do and what you want to do. But as Herb so eloquently states at the bottom of this column every week, “doing things” is all that really matters. Words can be nice at times and make you feel good about yourself or bring comfort to others, but actions speak so much louder!!
It’s been a long time in coming but it looks like the “action” worm is turning and we will soon be paying out our first façade grant since I took the wheel of this fine operation called Luling Main Street. Like I’ve mentioned before, we have paid out grants before, but nothing like this. We have finally built up enough money to be able to offer some real help to business/building owners who want to fix up their building or place of business. Nobody wants to set up shop or do business in a ghost town of vacant or neglected buildings, and customers will avoid these areas also. We have all seen downtown Luling go through many different stages over the years and some of these stages have been ugly. Fortunately we are in an upswing right now and vacancies in the district are shrinking. We still have work to do and would still love to get some more of these vacant buildings filled up with viable and attractive businesses. But it will take less words and more action to see us to the other side.
We have put our money where our mouth is and it looks like people are finally rolling with some of these projects which will vastly improve the look and feel of our town as well as give a boost to the businesses themselves. After doing the Heritage Circle Clock Project last year, our group decided that the best thing we could do right now is try to get some of our buildings in our district fixed up a little bit. So we decided to hold back our Rajun’ Cajun funds this year for potential restorations, and now that we have received back several Façade Grant applications, I’m glad we did. For the last 18 months we’ve been running around like crazy spending a lot of money doing all kinds of beautification projects and burning up many volunteer man hours seeing some of this stuff through. But we decided to back up some future projects for the time being, so we can fund this program, and I am happy to report that it looks like it has worked. And that my friends, is why I was tooting our horn in the opening sentence of the first paragraph. With all the oilfield work going on just south of us and contractors being pretty scarce, it’s tough to get anything done around here. So it is nice to finally start seeing some progress. We will keep paying out allotted funds until they are gone, so contact us if you have been eyeing a potential restoration project to your building or business.
Step by step, however painstakingly slow it may be, we are seeing progress on many different fronts, and I am thankful to have so many people backing us up and helping us do some impactful things around here. And if you stay with it, things will start to fall your way. I’m not sure that I buy into everything that this accomplished writer was pushing, but this zinger by Helen Keller rings true in almost every application I can think of; “We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough”. I know I’ve been preaching less talk and more action, but Helen’s words are simple, truthful, and inspiring words to live by…
“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things… – Herb Kelleher
– Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager