By 1812Blockhouse

The talk Friday centered on Downtown Shelby during the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development’s second “Fri-Yay” presented on Facebook Live. These half hour noontime discussions focus providing insight into happenings and projects in the Richland County area.

Chamber CEO and President Jodie Perry introduced two members of the Shelby Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), who shared details of a three phase downtown revitalization project taking place along Main Street over the next two to three years.

CIC representatives Jake Penwell and Cody Albert first reviewed where the CIC has been in recent years and the re-orienting that has led to the current effort. As an entity focused on collaboration between public and private sectors, the group now has three main focal points — serving as a catalyst for economic growth, rebuilding the core of the city pursuant to the Revitalization and Placemaking Plan, and solidifying its own organization .

Shaw Building – Photo Credit: Julie Rohl

Six main items are on the horizon for the downtown area:

  • Main street streetscape
  • Black Fork Commons plaza
  • Black Fork Trail and stream restoration
  • Shaw Building investment
  • Facade Improvement Grants
  • Placemaking

There was a quick review of the Shaw Building investment, where the CIC is closing on a key building at the corner of Gamble and Main next week and will work to bring it back to life, and about work with the City of Shelby on facade improvements. The structure once housed, among other businesses, Isaly’s and Lemmermen’s Drug Store.

The Shaw Building is the one with the blue painted storefront in the photo above and which can be seen to the right.

The remainder of the presentation, however, centered on the top three items above, which together for a three-step approach toward revitalization.

The Main Street streetscape will feature pedestrian improvements, an arch, enhancements on the Black Fork bridge, and the installation of trees and other decorative elements. The goal is to entice people locally and those passing through with obvious signs of vitality, thereby encouraging them to stop and patronize businesses.

The Black Fork Commons Plaza will include a fountain/splash feature for kids, a plaza, and a pergola/outdoor fireplace. The price tag is $1.2 million, which has been fully raised. Engineering is underway. The Plaza’s cost is $1.6 million, and it too has been fully funded with 12 local donors. The fundraising was kicked off by the Shelby Foundation’s gift of $250,000.

The bike trail and stream restoration work will take place in 2023, and will include restoring the banks to their nature, vegetated state.

There is hope for a “first turn of the shovel” in late summer/early fall.

Feature Photo: 1812Blockhouse

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