I am an avid gardener and love sticking my hands in the dirt. Playing in the dirt allows me time to reflect and process work-related challenges and opportunities. As I was planting some spring flowers recently, I was reflecting on the old saying about when to plant a tree. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago with the second-best time being today. Of course, you benefit from a tree planted 20 years ago as the tree now offers shade, beauty and strength from years of growth. If it is a fruit tree, you enjoy the fruit that it now produces as a mature tree. If you didn’t plant that tree 20 years ago, then the next best time to plant a tree is today.
The same goes for downtown revitalization – the best time to start a revitalization organization or project was 20 years ago with the next best time being today. Had we begun our efforts in rehabilitating buildings, adding pocket parks, or creating that event over 20 years ago, we would now be enjoying the fruits of our labor. I think many communities get into that mode of “it’s too late” to start or we should have done that a long time ago. True. But if you didn’t get started years ago, you can start today. Make that call to garner support from property and business owners, contact Missouri Main Street for assistance, or begin that project that has been on the shelf for years. It isn’t too late. In fact, today is the second-best time to get started.
Missouri Main Street offers several grants to assist you in your efforts in planting those seeds of downtown economic development in your community. Contact Keith Winge, Community Development Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.