Group hopes to breathe new life into square

Friday, May 30, 2008

Revitalization of downtown Lewisburg is the goal of a program toward organization of a Downtown Alliance for property owners, their businesses, tenants, residents and people who want better looking city blocks around Marshall County's Courthouse.

A pep talk at City Hall to jump start the Alliance this week included some good-natured kidding of Mayor Bob Phillips' empty lot on Commerce Street. While renovation of empty buildings is a goal for the proposed Alliance, Phillips was offered several ideas for his vacant land: Make it a handball court, or; Sell donuts there and call it the Donut Hole.

Known for his ability to speak extemporaneously, the mayor replied with issues for the community, and explained his family researched its options. Excavation and stabilization of the lot could cost $15,000 before a new building's foundation could be set.

Other issues raised by Phillips' comments reveal reasons to have a meeting for the foundation of the proposed Alliance.

Hosted by Lewisburg's Community Development Committee, program discussion set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall is to be moderated by Michelle Williams, director of community development in the state Leadership Center of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Other municipalities, their merchants and property owners participate in Main Street USA, a quasi public group advocating revitalization of small town blocks. Some communities have merchants, associations. Others like Shelbyville have had groups independent from Main Street USA and call their organization Our Town.

The goals are largely the same.

Greg Lowe, immediate past president of the Chamber of Commerce and currently codes enforcement officer for the city, led discussion Tuesday this week in City Hall during a Community Development Committee meeting to get members....Pick up a copy of today's edition for full coverage.