Last month was a busy one for Luling Main Street. We just recently submitted our major Annual Report due to the Texas Main Street office which is graded to see if our program will qualify to be “Nationally Recognized” as a Main Street City in excellent standing. And in addition, we just submitted all of the Luling-Opoly information to the custom game designers, for a project that will help ensure that we have enough funds to keep our Façade Grant Program strong for the near future. Those were two big reasons why last month was a hairy one. And even though we don’t presently have any major beautification projects on that will alter the Luling landscape as we know it in the short term… there is an undercurrent of things going on that will positively impact our ability to do things going forward. Never you fear people… we still have several rousing and meaningful ideas for future streetscapes and other beautification projects that could unfold when the timing is right. But right now we are currently saving up funds to help ride out the wave of building renovations and restorations that we are now seeing all over the district. Our intention is to surf this wave all the way to end and not do anything to jeopardize us falling off the board, so to speak. In the public realm it’s very difficult to get momentum going your way, and when you do, you better do everything possible to keep it. We feel it’s important to put our money where our mouth is and get some (if not all) of our historic buildings restored or renovated, because nobody wants to live in a ghost town of dilapidated buildings where the excitement meter in the downtown retail district pegs out at around “zero”. Our group feels that for the time being, our funds will be best spent facilitating this wave of restorations, and by using our grant program to encourage more business owners and landlords to reinvest in the district, it will make “Main Street” Luling Texas something we can all be proud of.
It’s a process, but it seems we are finally seeing some longtime building owners get a little more engaged in the turnaround that’s happening around here and are now helping us spruce up some of the buildings in our district. I had one of them say to me that they wanted to get their building fixed up to help us. Did you catch that? “To help us”! It wasn’t to help prospects for their business or to improve the aesthetics of their building… but to “help us”. I thought that was pretty cool honestly. And another said they didn’t want to be left out and be the only ones left who haven’t done anything. And if these sentiments are any indication of the prevailing attitude out there, then let’s rock and roll! But regardless, as the dominoes start falling, we ALL stand to benefit greatly from the renewed interest I am seeing from businesses wanting to move into the Luling Main Street District. It’s exciting to watch our vacancy rates in the district drop dramatically, and to witness a renewed attitude towards our town from investors who see economic benefits to moving their businesses into our district. A jam-packed downtown district full of unique and specialized businesses will create a vibrant retail corridor that has lots of people milling about, and it will make for an exciting experience for tourists and locals alike. And slowly but surely that is the direction that little ole’ Lulin’ (g silent) is headed. I know building owners can do with their properties as they wish, but hopefully the “let’s keep values depressed so we don’t have to pay more property taxes” attitude is on its way out of here… and is slowly replaced with an attitude that embraces the increased resale values and increased rents that can be collected when these wonderful historic buildings are restored and leased out to unique and viable businesses. And when there is less supply and more demand… that is exactly what will happen. Some of these buildings still need a little TLC, and for those building owners wanting to jump on the band wagon, Luling Main Street is here to help. Anyone interested in fixing up their building façades can reach us using the contact information below to get details about our Façade Grant Program.
Changing gears here… It’s hard to believe, but in addition to everything else we have coming up (Yule Trail, Luling-Opoly, History of Luling Book, Cocoa and Carols etc.) it’s also time for us to start working on our Rajun’ Cajun Throwdown again. The Rajun’ Cajun Committee is due to start back up again this month to start laying groundwork for next year’s event. Rain or shine, our annual Cajun inspired cooking competition & festival always takes place the 2nd Saturday in March every year. Believe me, we are due for Mother Nature to even the balance a little and give us a little reprieve in the weather department this year. I know that I personally can’t do anything about such things, but hopefully she subscribes to the Luling Newsboy, because I’m reserving the right to gripe about the raw deal she’s giving us lately… Nonetheless, I want invite any of you fine people who may be interested in helping us with the 2015 Rajun’ Cajun Throwdown to come join us. The Rajun’ Cajun Committee is not an exclusive club and we’ve always strived to add a little new blood to the mix every year to keep ideas fresh and to make whatever adjustments needed to keep this event on the upwards trajectory that it has been on. So if anyone has been thinking of getting more involved in this community and might want to help us, – let us know. We welcome you!
“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things…” – Herb Kelleher
– Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager