We’re getting close to the end of the year, and that means it’s time for a Main Street update. It’s been a busy year, that’s for sure! Old projects are making new headway, business is doing well, turnout is up at events, and plenty of housekeeping and planning has been done to guarantee that we’re ready when the spring grant season rolls around. But, the year isn’t over yet! There are still three big events coming up before the New Year.
The annual Festival of Lights at Krodel Park, sponsored by Main Street Point Pleasant as our largest fundraiser, opens tonight! It will be open from 5:30-9 p.m. every night through January 1st, and though it is free, donations are certainly accepted to help keep the light show running and support our work downtown.
Shop Small Saturday is a week from today, Nov. 27th, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sure, Black Friday is great, but how many 75” flatscreen TVs can one person really buy? Our local merchants will be having their sales on Saturday, and you can find almost anything on our Main Street! We have our own Bath & Body with Kelsi Boyd’s Silver Market Co., antiques at the Mason Jar, furniture at Bordman’s, unique locally made gifts at CounterPoint, home décor at Forgotten Treasures and the Vintage Vault, jewelry at Sider’s Jewelers, clothing at Babies N’ Beyond, the Boutique Basket, Lemon & Lavender, and M&Z’s, and so much more!
And last, but certainly not least, Christmas! The City of Point Pleasant’s annual Christmas parade and tree lighting will be on the 3rd, and Christmas on Main will be on Saturday the 4th from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Our local merchants will again be having sales, food trucks and vendors will be set up on Main Street, and you might also run into a few special jolly guests!
These last events will wrap up what has already been a phenomenal year for our downtown. The Main Street Car Show and the Sugar Plum Stroll had their best turnouts ever with well over 1,000 people at each event, and six new businesses have opened this year! The Silver Market Co., Forgotten Treasures, Gil Shepard CPA, Bunker 304, Boutique Basket, and 1st & Main Burgers & Fries are all great additions to our group of merchants, and we certainly wish them all the best in the coming years. A recently completed market study will help us replicate this success with more new businesses next year.
As for projects, you may have noticed signs of construction around the Fisher Building and Kisar-Kincaid House. Thanks to the Gordon & Mildred Jackson Foundation, the Fisher Building is getting a few much-needed structural improvements and a brand new standing metal seam roof, the first step toward our planned Waterfront Farmers Market (more on that in a future article).
The Kisar-Kincaid House, for its part, is once again moving forward. A feasibility study in the spring identified a bed & breakfast as the home’s best potential use, and with a guiding plan now in hand, occasional work days are now getting the home ready for major interior work next year. In March, we will be applying for a SHPO grant to install new heating, cooling, and electrical systems. This will be our largest grant application next year, and it will get the house much, much closer to the finish line.
We have also submitted, and are getting ready to submit, several smaller grants for various projects.
Our downtown streetscape needs extended toward Tu-Endie-Wei, and we have applied to the Department of Highways for help with the engineering and design. A decision is expected soon after the New Year.
We also applied to T-Mobile’s Hometown Grants program, a national partnership between T-Mobile and Main Street America that will award $50,000 to 500 small towns over the next five years. Likewise, a decision is expected in January. This grant would support our Downtown Arts Project and fill our Main Street with murals, sculptures, and other works by amazing local artists.
A third “small grant” (at least, compared to the work needed on the Kisar House) is due in February. A WV Humanities Council grant would upgrade our floodwall murals sound system, making it 100% digital and able to be accessed by any smartphone using QR codes. The current system uses the original clickers to trigger the sound, which is fine if I am giving a tour, but doesn’t do much if a tourist who happens to be in town wants to listen.
A full schedule for next year, to be sure, and those are only the projects that I can write about now. There are a few other surprises in the works, and Main Street Point Pleasant is assisting with predevelopment needs. Keep an eye on Main Street. It’s been a good year, and next year will be even better.
Chris Rizer is the president of the Mason County Historical & Preservation Society and director of Main Street Point Pleasant, reach him at [email protected]