Monday, January 11, 2016

Buying their Main Street

This thrilling article from YES! Magazine details how a group of neighbors in Minneapolis got together to improve their Main Street.  Many of the stores were vacant and it had a gloomy air.  They pooled their money and bought up some of the stores.  Then they sold or rented the spaces to enterprises that needed affordable space, like a bicycle store, a bakery and a brewery.  These new enterprises created jobs and injected vigor into Main Street.  This is a model that has resonance for many places whose Main Streets are slowly sagging into obliteration.  I had the opportunity to visit Mount Morris, a town in upstate New York, revitalized by the efforts of Greg O'Connell, a New York City developer who loved the area.

Here's another great story about transforming a lost piece of Main Street: the Nebraska town of Lyons transformed a building that was only a facade into a pop-up theater.  This project, developed by artist Matt Mazzotta, re-created the front of the building so that it would be lowered, revealing bleacher seats.  Then, they used a tractor to put a large movie screen in place.  For the inaugural event, they played a movie about the history of downtown Lyons, starring several local residents.  It reminds me of the wonderful film "Be Kind, Rewind," in which a community makes a movie about itself.

So if your Main Street looks pathetic, considering buying a bit of it and remaking it!

No comments: