Welcome back folks… Its story time again with your local neighborhood Main Street Manager. No, not like Mr. Rogers did it back in the day. He was a little too overly nice for my liking. I’m sorta nice, but not anywhere near that nice… And on top of that his jacket closet was way too organized… This may seem more like a politician telling you how great things are, when all you can think about is how absolutely terrible things are. It’s funny how any particular topic, event, or general happening can be both extremely wonderful, or horribly appalling, (at the exact same time) depending on how you view the world around you. Food stamps, finance reform, environmental topics, the local football team, waste dumps, pop culture, our kids education, gas prices… Just pick a topic and watch the proverbial tug of war begin. I’ll even add downtown crosswalks to the list. They are either a great addition, or an annoying nuisance… depending on where you are sitting. You can just forget trying to please everyone. Ain’t gonna happen… Such is life in the public realm. But things evolve, and progress is made whether you are part of the solution or not.
So as some of you might have noticed… downtown is under assault again and looks like a war zone. Construction has begun on Phase Two of our group’s downtown crosswalks plan. This will be the end of it for the most part. I can forsee others being added in the future, but it honestly would be just for looks. These first two phases will open up accessibility to all in our most heavily traveled areas and should also improve safety for pedestrians in these busy areas. Thank goodness all of our downtown business owners are amenable to the short-term pain we are dealing out to them and appreciate what we are trying to accomplish. It will be finished in short order if we stick to our current timeline. Heck, it may even be finished before a lot of you even read these words. Some will notice… and some won’t. Some of you will take a stroll on them and just assume they’ve always been there. Don’t laugh, it true! And even though roads will only be closed for 5 days or so I suppose it is inevitable that someone is going to rant on Facebook about how horrible downtown parking is or how inept city planners are… Nonetheless, it looks like barricades will hopefully come down sometime around the time this wonderful publication hits the newsstands, if the weather cooperates.
Now on to another topic… unlike the topics above, this is a topic that can ONLY BE CHARACTERIZED AS GOOD NEWS. There is not a spinmeister on this earth that will ever be able to convince one single soul that this is anything but a good thing. So without further adieu… Luling Main Street was again Nationally Recognized for its exploits for 3rd year in a row. Every fall we submit our 10 Criteria Survey that spells out our every move for the year. They review all of our actions within each of the 4 Points of the Main Street Approach, (Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Revitalization), and then they grade us. You have to get a 90 on their test to get the nod, and we came in at a 95.5. I just came back from a MS training conference in New Braunfels last week and only 58 out of 90 Main Street towns walked away with this “certificate of accreditation”. As is normally the case, only around 60% of the organizations are doing enough in their communities to achieve that level. And I’m here to tell you… they don’t just give these things out. I talked to a couple MS Managers at the training that were within two points of achievement, but didn’t get there. TWO POINTS!!! There is no grading curve and the only way to paydirt is to do the work and show sustained progress in the above prescribed areas. Thankfully I have a group of folks backing me up that make this whole process a lot easier. Our board of directors assist anyway they can, and they are helping our Main Street group make a difference in this little town of ours. They are just like all you fine folks. They are busy with their own lives, their own kids, their spouses, their jobs, their churches, their own problems and somehow find a way to make our meetings, and help us decide the directions to take and make decisions on how to better this community. They slave away at our events in between, soccer games, Little League practices, school functions, family gatherings, job/business commitments and lord knows what else… I know that it’s really tough to carve out some extra time from all of the above, but they find a way to do it, and I can’t thank them enough for all they do to help Lulin’ (g silent) be a better place. I know they won’t care for this too much but I’m going to list them here anyways. If you see them, – hug them, shake their hand, buy them a drink, and tell them thank you. Because they darn well deserve it after having to put up with everything I throw on their plates in amongst all the other stuff they are committed to. Your current Luling Main Street Board is: Sharolynn Boyd, (Pres), Edel Garza (VP), Lembo Allen (Treas), Rebecca Bohac (Secr), Jennifer Staton, Staci Gutierrez, Samantha Mims, Donna Townsend, & Karen Bell. Since I’ve had this gig for the last 3 years, there have been several other board members play important roles, and due to term limits and other reasons some have had to step aside. People like Kelly Allen, Judy Hoffmeister, Shelly Moore, Erin Etheridge, Daniel Rivas, and Luke Pruitt have poured their hearts into this program since I’ve been here, and have played huge parts in getting us back on track after some rough patches. And several of them are still part of the family helping with our events and functions even though they can no longer serve on the board. I appreciate them all and they should be proud of what we have accomplished together as an organization.
No amount of spin can change the fact that Luling Main Street is now on a roll… and we have been for awhile. We have achieved national accreditation the last 3 years in a row, and for 7 out of the 12 years we’ve been around. It’s no easy task, but hopefully most of you now know who we are, because our fingerprints are all over some of the improvements you see in the Main Street District. For someone who absolutely hates to toot his own horn, I am out of breath from being such a blowhard! I think I’m getting hives now and about to pass out… But sometimes things just need to be said, and people need to be raised up for their accomplishments… Amen?
“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things…” Herb Kelleher
“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 18 February 2016: Volume 136, No. 48