Sip 'n' talk at empty stores

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stealing ideas from the best is better than trying to reinvent the wheel.

And so it is with a proposal for revitalizing downtown Lewisburg. That idea sounds as dry as a policy wonk, but it's as juicy as homemade pie.

Next Tuesday evening area residents are invited to help create a new organization to improve the heart of the city, but kick-off meetings need follow-up tail-gate parties to maintain momentum, so here's the idea I stole.

Have churches sell a slice of pie with coffee at monthly events where downtown needs attention.

The various locations could be a marketing event for the property owner, or a place where redevelopment ideas are discussed.

Pie proceeds could either help the church directly, or go to one of its ancillary ministries, or go into a kitty for extension cords so coffee pots could be electrified where there's no juice, or to power a mobile cooler when ice tea is more appropriate. In the heat of summer, the cords could go to electric fans.

The suggestion is, in effect, to hold the Chamber of Commerce's monthly coffee break in or at empty buildings -- places that need revitalization. Flourishing businesses might still host the event, but a hosting bank could point to its interest rates, or a hardware store could extol the merits of engineered lumber.

If this catches on, restaurants here might be persuaded to participate in an event that might be called "A Taste of Lewisburg."

Meanwhile, 5:30p.m. Tuesday in City Hall is where and when folks will be talking about revitalization of downtown Lewisburg. It's a conversation that needs to continue at other places around the public square.