Pharos-Tribune

October 14, 2012

OUR VIEW: Downtown efforts earn recognition


— Congratulations to both Logan’s Landing and the Walton Main Street organization on their recognition at a statewide Main Street conference last week.

Logan’s Landing had a particularly impressive performance. Not only did the organization win a design award for the Market Street pocket park that features a statue called “The Dancers,” Becki Harris was honored as the statewide director of the year and Pam Leeman was honored as one of three board members of the year.

The recognition came as a surprise to both Harris and Leeman, who thought they were attending to share in the glow of the recognition for Logan’s Landing.

Both, though, are more than deserving of their own.

Harris works hard in her role to promote Logansport’s downtown, organizing promotions and working with businesses to help them achieve their goals, and Leeman has teamed up with fellow board member Kathy Dingo to organize the annual “Dancing With Our Stars” fundraising event. Now heading toward its fourth year, the dancing event has raised well over $100,000 to support efforts to transform downtown Logansport into an arts and design district.

Just last week yet another pocket park took shape in the 400 block of East Broadway, and both Leeman and Dingo were on hand to oversee the project.

Walton’s Main Street organization also received an award for community impact for the work the group had done in painting buildings downtown. The idea behind the project was to spruce up some of the community’s more rundown buildings with an eye toward encouraging others to invest in their properties.

The efforts in both communities are clearly paying off.

Not only are the flowers, the pocket parks and the scattered artworks bringing beauty to downtown Logansport, more and more new businesses are opening there. Local merchants are chasing a dream by opening restaurants and shops in downtown’s historic buildings, and in the process, they are bringing new jobs and tax dollars to the community.

There is still much to do, of course. Both communities still have too many empty buildings downtown.

But the efforts of both organizations are showing progress. Both downtowns are growing more attractive and more vibrant.

It’s a long road to travel, but those involved in both efforts deserve recognition for the progress they have made so far.