PARRSBORO – Don’t let the empty storefronts fool you. There is plenty going on in this town.
A number of town improvement projects were introduced to an enthusiastic crowd packed into the Parrsboro Fire Hall at a public meeting on March 12, setting the stage for a busy year ahead in community development.
Led by Taylor Redmond, recently hired by the town as a project facilitator, the presentation featured several projects she is working on, including the marketing of Parrsboro as a wedding destination, and the decorating of Main Street with floral pallets and “age of sail” signage.
The meeting also included presentations from Bruce Graham on Parrsboro Creative, a new initiative aimed at attracting artists to set up shop in the community, and from Communities in Bloom volunteers Donna Hanna and Dawn McCully on the revival of Parrsboro’s participation in that development.
“Part of my objective is to do something now,” said Redmond, referring particularly to the recent closure of Main Street businesses Castle and Bare Bones Bistro. “It’s really a shame what we’ve lost, and we can’t afford to lose one more thing. What I’m trying to do with this project is assist businesses that are already here, and services that are already here – get some business in their pockets.”
Part of the wedding destination project will see the establishment of a website and other promotional tools to offer country wedding packages. The first step of that is to take inventory of what the community offers now in that area, and will include everyone contributing to a contest that will offer a free wedding in 2014.
“To pull it off, everyone has to put something in the pot,” she said.
The Communities in Bloom effort aims to pick up where Mary McPhee and a team of volunteers left off a few years ago – an effort that saw Parrsboro receive four of five blooms in one year. The national program builds community pride and spirit with beautification, development of green spaces, cleanup efforts and much more.
“We have a lot to live up to so hopefully we will pull this together with Taylor’s projects and everything,” said McCully. “I think the two projects will complement each other.”
Graham’s project, which he announced aims to “try and repopulate Parrsboro as an arts community,” was well received by the crowd.
“What I’m hearing from you, and Taylor before, is music to my ears,” said Sandy Graham, one of the audience members. “At this point, baby steps are just fine. I think we’re moving in the right direction, and the consensus is that these things have to be done. People are coming together, taking initiative and taking us forward together, reaching out. It’s wonderful.”
Concerns were also raised with regard to the potential for vandalism with decorative efforts such as the pallet project, and with unsightly premises both within town and particularly at the approaches outside of town limits.
Many of the projects will require public participation in order to be successful, it was explained. Redmond is seeking feedback on her ideas, and written submissions can be dropped off for her at town hall, and the Communities in Bloom team is seeking volunteers for its efforts, which are broken up into several committees.