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Letter To The Editor

 

January 31, 2019

EDITOR

The Countywide & Sun:

I am writing in response to what I perceive as a negative editorial in the Countywide about downtown Shawnee. Phrases like "the older section of the city only seems to bump along" and "Downtown Shawnee is just a memory today" don't accurately reflect the progress being made.

There are so many new building and business owners restoring buildings downtown that the Historic Shawnee Alliance has run out of matching façade grant funds. Awardees who receive up to $4,000 in matching grants typically invest many times that in their façades and thousands more in building renovations. Many borrow from and pay interest to local banks, hire local tradesmen, buy materials and furnishings from local businesses, remit sales tax, and contribute to local causes and charities. In other words, downtown Shawnee building and business owners contribute substantially to the local economy.

I am in the final stages of renovating a historic building on Main Street myself and met an insurance inspector this past Friday. The first thing he said when I met him at the door was "looks like downtown is undergoing a resurgence." Yes, it is.

In addition to the many and varied businesses located in downtown Shawnee, there are iconic landmarks like Hamburger King, the repurposed Ritz Theatre, Hornbeck Theatre, Santa Fe Depot Museum, and Woodland Veterans Park that draw visitors to the area.

And more recently, downtown has seen an influx of new businesses – a coffee shop that can hold its own to any in the city, medical marijuana dispensaries, a fine dining restaurant (soon to open), a bicycle shop, sandwich shop with a unique menu, clothing boutique, game arcade, home décor store, cooking supplies, arts and crafts, antiques, a sign shop, new office space, and likely others I am not aware of. There are also 22 new apartments and townhouses being constructed in the heart of downtown. All of this has happened over the last couple of years.

I would not call this "bumping along." I would call it a resurgence.

The public and city's investment in the new state-of-the art swimming pool and money from the city, county (Tax Increment Finance Funds) and Shawnee Municipal Authority for Streetscape was money well spent and will pay dividends for years to come.

Linda Agee

Shawnee

 

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