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Heart Of Adair Beginnings

This article first appeared in issue 3, and was written by Linda Waggener.

Heart of Adair Beginnings

Heart of Adair is the name of the group dedicated to revitalization and preservation. It is affiliated with the Kentucky Main Street program, a division of the Kentucky Heritage Council.

In 1977, concerned about continuing threats to commercial architecture and economically sluggish downtowns, the national trust for historic preservation launched the National Main Street project.

The original study was to identify the reasons why downtowns were dying, identify the factors that have an effect on downtown health and develop a comprehensive revitalization strategy that would preserve historic commercial buildings.

With a grant from the manufacturing firm, Bird and Son, the trust hired a full time program manager for each of three test communities whose role was to be an advocate for the downtown, coordinate project activities, convince merchants, property owners and city officials to commit funds that would create long term benefits. In effect, the three program managers served as catalysts for change.

What became clear over the term of the initial test period was the importance of a strong private-public partnership, a committed organization, a full-time program manager, a commitment to good design, quality promotional programs, in a coordinated incremental process.

By almost any standard of measurement, business in all three test towns improved over the three-year test program.

As towns all over America have blossomed under the program, Main Street Kentucky responded to Columbia's original call last September with the suggestion that the first order of business was to find and gather together leaders in the county with like minds. The first public town meeting was held January 31, 1996. Since that time upwards of sixty people have been meeting and following through with one step after another to get organized, get agreement, and get going on downtown revitalization.

Action Teams

Economic restructuring, works with the county industrial authority to recruit new businesses to downtown, Amy Waggener, chair, and members Jean McLean, Bea Beard, Lloyd French, Rita Coomer, Sheila Taylor.

Organization, works as consensus builders and negotiators, Judy Phipps, chair, Linda Fitzpatrick, treasurer, and members Brian Walker, Ann Warren, and Mitzi Bault.

Promotion, serves as media and events coordinators, Linda Waggener, chair, and members Jane Aaron, Guy Adams, Bob Tobias, Jon Coomer, Donna Vaughn, and Elaine Bennett.

Design, works to influence signs, building fronts, landscape, and displays. Charles Grimsley, chair, and members Vonnie Kolbenschlag, Sally Markle, Beverly England, Mike Loy, Mackie Jo Pennington. and Judy Somerville.

Finance, fund raisers, money management: Rev. Jim Chaffin, chair; Robert Flowers, Dan Antle, Mike Neal and Ben Arnold, board chair.

If your home or business is in Adair County, Adair County is your business.

This story was posted on 1996-01-01 12:01:01
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