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A Milestone

This article first appeared in issue 22, and was written by Linda Waggener.

On the Square every building has an active business or is being renovated

For the first time in years every building on the square is active - either doing business now or remodeling towards that goal.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well thanks to Marie and Bobby Booker who are putting in a silk flower manufacturing and sales business in the former Corner Drug building. The Bookers are remodeling the interior while building owners Brenda and Craig Williams continue to maintain and improve the exterior of the building.

Isn't it wonderful that we have parking problems on the Square again? I say that knowing I'll catch what-for from a couple of my friends in business here. However, for years, plenty of parking spaces were empty because there was no draw to downtown - even yet, that's the case on Saturdays when more things are closed than are open on the square.

As a few specialty shops got known, the Square began to get active again. Then once the Rigney's Columbiana Institute opened on the Square, it felt like court day every day. Parking was an impossibility. It caused everyone to work a little harder at remembering to leave the storefront parking spaces open for current customers. The city government is strictly enforcing the two-hour limit on free parking. Parking problems are a hopeful sign because it means there are people passing by windows, stopping in to browse the shops, and buying.

If we can work from here with an attitude of continuously improving on what we have, Columbia has its best hope ever. Our town is very much "on trend" because all over the world people are drawn to small towns which have held on to their own identities.

There are twoneeded-improvements issues which come up in surveys:

CLEANLINESS-everyone agrees, we can do better. The state of repair of our courthouse is not acceptable. Dr. John Begley called on Adair County to make its unique landmark courthouse our 'brass rail', that one thing which reminds us of our commitments, our heritage, every time we encounter it. Take a walk around his Lindsey Wilson College campus and notice the difference in it and in our downtown. Maintenance was his first priority - the campus would look loved and cared for - even in the state in which he inherited it. There are no electrical lines now marring the view on the well manicured campus. There are no buildings with peeling paint.

We can do better. Downtown can be 'Lindsey clean' if we work together.

REST ROOMS, PLACES TO REST, MORE OUTDOOR DINING-The only public rest rooms downtown are in the courthouse, not the municipal building. Have you been in one lately? We can do better. The huge success of the fountain plaza and outdoor dining says let's do more. Let's have more benches and rockers on the Square, and another dining plaza diagonally across the Square. It's needed.

Bring back double parking, protect pedestrians, let the bypass take the trucks off the Square, and we're even more the traditional, pure retro downtown much of America is looking to find, thanks to community pride and enlightened downtown landlords.

This story was posted on 1998-11-15 12:01:01
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