PARRSBORO - If Parrsboro is to improve the experience of its visitors, then it must focus on the Main Street area, according to Taylor Redmond.
The local art gallery owner, in a recent presentation to mayor and council, urged the town to hire a Main Street facilitator, whose responsibility it would be to bring the town's downtown core to life with artistic depictions of its history.
"Basically, what I'm trying to do is put the buzz back on Main Street, and trying to get the people back on Main Street," said Redmond.
She remarked on how everyone seems to enjoy Old Fashioned Saturday Night, even though all they are really doing is mingling and talking on the street. She wants to take that several steps further.
"When I came to Parrsboro, it took me a long time to even realize what Parrsboro was in its past," she said. "What I'm suggesting is, why not take Parrsboro, its history, its people, and put those stories right on the street so the locals can enjoy them, and also visitors."
Story stations could focus on anything from the landing of the Handley Page, to the "Year of Winter" in 1800, and the travels of the MV Kipawo.
Phase One would see the creation of the story stations, while Phase Two of the project would see artists commissioned to interpret each story, Redmond explained.
"It's putting the past with the future," she said. "It would be a little present-day art, but it would still share history and be kind of blending both."
Most importantly, she said the project would have to be something the community can engage in. She is inviting everyone to submit their own ideas for story stations, and hopes that the end result would see more local people back on Main Street interacting with each other and the community.
"What's to encourage a new business owner, if there's nobody on the sidewalk?" she asked. "It's about getting the locals back on Main Street, which will be inviting to our visitors."
Mayor Lois Smith and council shared positive reviews of the presentation at the Oct. 26 monthly session, with Coun. David Harrison describing it as "stellar." However, they stopped short of committing any funding, or hiring a facilitator, which Redmond's proposal calls for.
"In the next year's budget, we haven't accounted for an extra position, so it's something that council will review for the rest of this year up until budget time next year," said Smith. "Many years ago we had a Main Street co-ordinator, Joan Jones, and it was a good project, but right at the moment the town is not prepared to hire another employee."