Ashland’s Community Empowerment Grant Plans to Revitalize Downtown | Central Missouri News

ASHLAND — It has been several months since the Missouri Main Street Connection awarded the City of Ashland the Community Empowerment Grant to revitalize its downtown.

Now plans are beginning to form for upgrades.

Ashland City Administrator Tony St. Romaine said one of the first steps in this project was to get feedback from the community, which they did Wednesday night at a meeting. virtual town hall.

“We had almost 50 people from the community connected to this Zoom, which was a really good performance,” St. Romaine said. “We’re starting to put some meat on the bones of things and how we’re starting to implement some of the ideas that they came up with.”

This is a two-year grant where the organization helps cities develop their downtowns while working to preserve its history.

“I think everyone, especially the people of Ashland, are really excited about establishing, you know, what we call this downtown sense of place, this sense of place, the place where the community wants to gather for local events”, says Sainte Romaine.

Resident Roy L. Williams has lived in Ashland for nearly 40 years and said he thinks the initiative is positive for his community.

“I think it’s a good idea, really,” Williams said. “I would like to see them have a two-pronged thing where one is beautification, but the other is trying to maintain the historical significance of downtown Ashland.”

Williams said he was hesitant about change, but hopeful for the years to come.

“I have to understand that it’s really important, that the growth is going to happen,” he said. “So the best thing we can do is try to keep it going in a healthy way and I’m really proud of Ashland.”

Mayor Richard Sullivan said residents like Williams have responded positively to discussions about revamping Broadway in downtown Ashland.

“As this transitions and trying to give our downtown a refreshed look, I think they’re taking it to heart and it’s something they want,” he said.

Mayor Sullivan said he hopes these measures last well into the future.

“The key we want to do is keep businesses in our downtown neighborhood to revitalize those buildings and make the whole neighborhood very attractive,” he said.

The city hopes to start seeing these initial changes begin within the next year.