By Kayla Pickrell, Intern
Although still in its planning stages, the Main Street Program is “up and running,” said Director Emily Ammerman.
“It’s a big project,” Ammerman said. “If we as a town are going to do it, now is the time to strike.”
The city started the project in January and is running at the state and city level, with an office located in Frankfort, Kentucky and Cynthiana.
The Main Street Program plans to revitalize downtown to create a physically appealing town and a positive mentality from the community.
With the project there are four committees: organization, economic restructuring, promotion and design.
Each committee sets goals for a one-, five-, ten- and twenty-year plan.
“Our committees are really involved with setting this downtown plan in motion,” Ammerman said, “but we still need committee members.”
The program is also in the process of applying to be a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, which could take up to six months.
“By having a non-profit status, there are more opportunities for grants and donations,” Ammerman said. “It’s very difficult getting those grants.”
A similar program was adopted in Georgetown. It cost over $500,000 to revitalize their downtown district, Ammerman said.
“I don’t think our estimates will be that high as far as I can see,” Ammerman said.
The first plan of action is to bury the power lines. Ammerman has been in contact with Kentucky Utilities, AT&T and Time Warner Cable to get estimates on how much it will cost.
Since there are not many grants available at the moment, Ammerman has been attending city commission and fiscal court meetings to ask the city and county for help with funds.
The head engineer for KU is from Cynthiana and has offered an estimate that may not last very long, Ammerman said. She believes the city needs to act fast in order to get the best price.
“I knew the community has inquired about getting the power lines buried,” Ammerman said. “It’s something a lot of people talk about.”
Costs of re-paving the concrete and re-doing the sewer and water have to be taken into consideration.
“Whether we have to contract the work out or use the Public Works Department, I know it will get done,” Ammerman said. “I’m just hoping the city will take interest in this.”
Not only does Ammerman think the city needs to be involved, but hopes the community can come together to revitalize downtown.
“The physical appearance of downtown is what I think most people want to see changed,” Ammerman said.
After working day in and day out with the problems of Cynthiana, Ammerman decided to get out of downtown and travel to Boyd and Berry.
What used to be flourishing and exciting towns, are “declining over the years very quickly,” Ammerman said.
She returned to Cynthiana with a positive outlook and sees a lot of potential.
“You get down sometimes and feel as if you are fighting a losing battle,” Ammerman said. “You always see the problems and not the positives.”
Ammerman said Cynthiana has a lot of beautiful buildings, but people lose sight of that when they are constantly comparing the town to Georgetown or Paris.
“As the program goes on, people will hopefully see the positives and how lucky we have it,” Ammerman said.
To implement community involvement, Ammerman plans on launching a Community Pride campaign this week.
“This is our community,” Ammerman said. “If we pull together, we can make a big difference.”