Renaissance to begin
Street Program holds
open house to kick off the project
CARROLLTON, Ky. Work has begun on streetscape beautification
upgrades in downtown Carrollton, and the Carrollton Main Street Program
is using the opportunity to recruit more volunteers to expand its 15-member
Main Street Program volunteers held an open house on April 14 to sign
up new members and to display plans of the downtown project, being funded
largely through a $472,830 grant from the Kentucky Renais-sance Program
as part of Carrolltons designation as a Silver City in 1998. In
addition to the grant, the city and other organizations have contributed
$142,726 toward the project.
The Renaissance Program helps cities so designated become eligible for
enhancement funds available through the states transportation
The Carrollton beautification project includes burying utility cables
around the courthouse square, repairing and creating new sidewalks,
and installing decorative street lights in the downtown area. The improvements
will be made to both sides of Highland Avenue from Fourth to Sixth streets;
to the east side of Fifth Street; the west side of Court Street; the
north side of Main Street.
East & Westbrook Con-struction Co. of Buckner, Ky.,
was the winning bidder for the project. It will work with employees
from Chrisman, Miller and Woodford, the design firm hired for the project.
Main Street volunteers say they hope all work will be completed in time
for the Two Rivers Arts & Crafts Festival in September.
Well be working with business owners to let them know when
work will be going on outside their doors, said Dick Firestone,
the Main Street Program director. Our hope is that no business
will have to shut down during this process.
In addition to the street improvements, downtown businesses can apply
for building facade improvement money available through a separate grant
totaling $37,500. The city has matched that amount.
As of mid-April, six businesses had applied for such funds, and a half-dozen
more had expressed interest, according to building inspector John Welch,
who is directing the program locally in conjunction with the Kentucky
Heritage Council, which oversees the application process.
We had a real slow start because people were kind of wary of getting
involved with the city, said Welch, 48. Now were getting
the ball rolling in order to qualify for more money over the next two-year
He added that the current grant money must be used by April 2001. And
he credited the Main Street Program volunteers for bridging the gap
between the city and the business community in their promoting the facade
The Carroll County Community Development Corp. wrote the initial grant
and will administer the program to make sure the work is done
properly, said executive director Joey Graves. His predecessor,
Bill Mitchell, wrote the grant, which was awarded in April 1999.
Graves is now working on getting Carrollton to gold-level status of
the Renaissance Program to qualify for even more enhancement money.
At that level, cities can obtain federal and state money,
But before the city can go for the gold, it must correct some existing
problems, according to Mayor Ann Deatherage.
We have a committee working on that, she said.
She has been attending the monthly Main Street Program meetings and
says the dedication of the volunteers is paying off. She says more efforts
are under way to get information to local business owners about the
facade improvement program to encourage more participation.
She said the process is pretty well governed by strict rules and
regulations but that the amount of money available is significant.
Plans submitted by business owners must first be approved by the citys
Design Review Board and the Main Street Program before being forwarded
on to the state level, she said.
As far as future downtown development opportunities, Deatherage said
she would like to see more specialty shops and eateries. She also hopes
to add occasional entertainment on the courthouse lawn with the planned
upgrades to the electrical outlets there.
Meanwhile, Firestone said private business owners along the citys
riverfront have granted permission for Main Street Program volunteers
to conduct a riverfront cleanup to remove small trees and brush and
We have the Army Corps. of Engineers verbal approval to
bulldoze down there. We want to make the city look nice to people passing
by in their boats, Firestone said. The property owners, however,
have not granted public access to those areas after the cleanup.
People around here have been talking for 20 years about creating
a riverwalk of some kind, and the property owners are starting to work
together more, so there may be some hope, Firestone said.
One property owner, Pat Hill, welcomed the idea of more use of the citys
river access to help boost downtown activity. I wouldnt
mind seeing a marina open up down there, said Hill, 37, whose
family owns the buildings at 445-447 Main St. There used to be
one at Fifth Street when I was a kid.
Carrollton Inn and Landing owner Bill Frederic plans to install a small
dock this summer at the edge of his property for his customers who arrive
by boat. But with the citys prime location along the river, Main
Street officials envision more widespread access for visitors traveling
by boat in the future.
Its hard to have a downtown this close to the river and
not take advantage of it, Firestone said.
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