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Front Page » November 24, 2005 » Focus » Preserving the past, building the future of Price
Published 3,604 days ago

Preserving the past, building the future of Price

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Sun Advocate reporter

Price city Main Street Program Coordinator, Melanie Steele looks over plans for restoring downtown buildings.

In any city, Main Street is the heart of town. This is a place where goods, services and government agencies typically can be found. Price is no different. That is why local government officials and business leaders have combined forces and formed a Main Street program which will focus on the growth and preservation of the downtown district.

In an effort to coordinate the program, Price city has hired Melanie Steele as the Main Street Executive Program Coordinator. Steele's job is to unify the various programs and committees that work separately to improve local small business. By having a coordinator whom leaders and citizens can turn to, the community will benefit from the many different programs that focus on building a strong business district.

"My job is to keep everyone on the different committees on track," explained Steele. "I am a secretary of sorts. A contact person who professionals and citizens can reach with ideas and concerns about the downtown area."

Steele explained that earlier this fall, Price city was invited by the governor's office to participate in the Main Street program. As one of only 11 Utah cities, Price will receive $10,000 in state funding each year for three years to improve and restore the downtown area.

According to the governor's office, the focus of the program is to work with communities throughout Utah to restore the physical and economic vitality of their historic business districts.

"Downtown is a gathering place for local citizens," explained Steele. "By getting everybody involved in improving Main Street, we can make it the heart of the city."

There are many reasons why downtown businesses are so important to any city. Some of the main reasons include the following:

Price Main Street at night in 1940.

•Commercial districts are a reflection of the community.

•Traditional commercial districts are an ideal location for independent businesses. These businesses keep profits in town, support other local services and support local families who own and operate businesses.

•Main Street is the historic core of a community.

•Commercial district offers convenience.

•Main street represents a huge public and private investment.

With so much history captured in the architecture of Main Street buildings, it is important to preserve this part of local history. Part of the Main Street program's focus is to preserve and reconstruct buildings located on Main Street. Although these efforts may be quite a ways down the road, Steele feels that some business owners have already begun the process by sprucing up their property and revealing original building designs.

Main Street was a thriving place in the 1920's. Several committees today are looking at restoring buildings and making the downtown area a historic place. Because Main Street houses various businesses and government agencies, the street is the main focus of future restoration projects.

"We need to start small and build up when it comes to improving downtown," Steele explained. "With continued support from business owners and the community, large growth will be achieved."

Because a cities Main Street serves as a base for the town's uniqueness, it is important to focus on improvements and restoration in this area. That does not mean that businesses located outside of this area are not welcome to join in on these efforts. In fact, Steele explained that many businesses throughout the county have already contributed to several downtown events.

"We have had businesses from Helper, Wellington and East Carbon all contribute to downtown activities such as Downtown Alive. It is important that all county businesses know that we welcome and encourage them to participate in making the business district desirable to customers," explained Steele. "If we band together, we can ensure that local residents shop locally and therefore enhance the community's shopping experience."

In order for all Carbon County businesses to thrive, Steele indicated that it is important for the community to also get involved.

"It's about developing an idea and seeing it through," Steele stated. "We want to make the area a personal community for all residents."

Because the Main Street program is in it's early stages of development, it is extremely important for interested business leaders and residents to unite and work through plans and details. Anyone interested in participating in the program may attend a meeting. These are conducted the first Wednesday of each month at Price City Hall in room 207 at noon.

"Public organizations need the community. In the long run, this program is about local residents and making downtown their own personal gathering point," concluded Steele.

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