Downtown: Alive and growing
By Randy Garrison
For the Enquirer
This past Saturday I had a couple of errands to run, and as always, I drove through downtown just to check out what is happening and see how everything is flowing.
Well, it was a very active Saturday. All of the parking spaces on Main Street were full, and each of the city parking lots were almost full as well. There were many folks walking down the sidewalks and coming in and out of the retail stores downtown.
It is a great feeling to come across the railroad tracks or enter from the west end of Main and see all of the activity going on in Hartselle. I can remember when Saturdays were almost a ghost town on Main Street.
There is lots of traffic flowing through downtown, and if a train goes through, it does tend to back up – but I always remember what a couple of merchants have shared with me: “If traffic is stopped on Main for a light or a train, they have to look right inside my store to see all I have to offer.”
So truly there is a silver lining in all clouds – that is, if we look hard enough.
Also, it was great to see the restaurants full of patrons and even waiting to get inside. Folks of Hartselle have really patronized our restaurants, and it is great to see all of them doing well.
We passed through Main Friday evening after our Valentine’s dinner, at a local restaurant and each one we passed was busy then as well.
The new banners were looking great in the sunshine, and the sidewalks make it easy to get from one end of downtown to the other. Folks were having picnics at E.A.R.T.H. Park and enjoying the beautiful almost–springtime weather. There were kids playing in the new park downtown, and folks were eating their lunches on the new tables installed next to the park as well.
It is also great to see all of the updates on several of the buildings that have been vacant. Just south of Main on Sparkman, several of those buildings have been or are currently being remodeled. The vacant buildings on the east side of the street have recently been sold and will be remodeled in the near future as well.
There are a couple of buildings for sale on Main and Railroad, but with the activity going on, I am sure buyers will be found soon, and new business will be up and running in those locations.
I take a lot of pride in downtown Hartselle. I can remember when if you wanted to buy anything, that is where you had to go. Now, I am dating myself, but that is OK – downtown is a strong and proud foundation for all Hartselle has grown to be.
I want to thank all of the folks who still patronize this part of Hartselle. You make the difference by supporting our local businesses. I also want to thank all the folks who chose downtown for your business, for the investment you made and the efforts to improve this part of our city.
Yes, downtown Hartselle is alive, well and growing. You are invited to come along and enjoy the ride.
It is a great place to operate your business; after all, a rising tide raises all ships. Come join in and raise your sails.