Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Downtown traffic key to success in 2009
|Downtown traffic key to success in 2009|
Coming off a year of successes in downtown Winnsboro, Kay LaFrance-Knight could be forgiven for resting a bit during the busy holidays.
However, the Main Street manager was hard at work recently, planning for 2009.
Part of that work includes helping recruit new businesses to the downtown historical district.
"We're trying to keep it retail based as much as possible because that's what creates traffic downtown." said LaFrance-Knight.
Now moving into her fourth year at the head of the Winnsboro Main Street, LaFrance-Knight said driving traffic into the downtown area is key to continued success in the redevelopment of Winnsboro's thriving downtown.
One way she would like to see that traffic increased would be the creation of living space above some of the downtown businesses, LaFrance-Knight said.
"That would be a dream," said LaFrance-Knight. "That absolutely creates traffic."
Through the Main Street program, downtown businesses can receive tax credits for renovations and improvements to their buildings by following historical preservation guidelines laid out by the National Parks Service.
LaFrance-Knight said the holiday season is one example of the value of the program to a community because now, the downtown area offers goods and services that one might have gone to Monroe or even farther to obtain.
"Actually, if you really think about it, you can do all of your Christmas shopping right here at home, which certainly benefits the local economy," LaFrance-Knight said. "It also gives shoppers this sense of place and the enjoyment of being at home as well."
Shopping at home is an important message for LaFrance-Knight, who also serves as director of the Franklin Parish Economic Development Foundation.
LaFrance-Knight pointed to the jobs and businesses local retail dollars supported by the Main Street program and said the thriving economy downtown is vital to a community's well-being.
"The Main Street Program itself is a wonderful marriage of historic preservation and economic revitalization," LaFrance-Knight said. "It takes advantage of existing infrastructure and brings life back down town, which really is the heart of a community."
With the Christmas Parade and annual Shop at Home program behind them, Winnsboro Main Street will close the door on 2008 and get set for 2009, which will mark their twentieth year in operation.
LaFrance-Knight said she expected 2009 to bring even more wonderful developments.
In addition to several businesses eying downtown, the Winnsboro Community Center is nearing completion in the old Jitney Jungle and soon, the downtown parking lot behind the Princess Theatre will get a facelift – including new street lights and landscaping.
"There are just all kinds of things on the horizon for the coming year," LaFrance-Knight said. "Lots of things to look forward to."