Downtown turnaround

Brad Works
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Monctons success may hold Amhersts future

AMHERST - A downtown-based men's group is hoping a meeting it is hosting will help spark a new drive to revitalize Amherst's core.

AMHERST - A downtown-based men's group is hoping a meeting it is hosting will help spark a new drive to revitalize Amherst's core.

"It has to be done," said Charlie Bishop, president of the First Baptist Church Men's Group. "If your main street dies your town dies."

The men's club has invited Daniel Allain, director of Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville Inc., to speak Oct. 15, on the successes that city has had it its efforts to revitalize its downtown and how that could apply to Amherst.

"We're looking to spark interest to see if there are groups out there willing to work together to boost the downtown," said Bishop. "We still have a nucleus there with the banks and a number of established stores but we need to keep it that way. We're hoping this meeting will flicker a little light."

He noted in the past the town has done work including burying power lines and adding light posts and new sidewalks but added it is time to do more.

"Hundreds of cars go though there every day but not enough are stopping. Why is that?" Bishop asked.

He added Moncton has been very successful in drawing new business, young entrepreneurs and traffic to its core.

Officials with the town are not adverse to the idea.

"Obviously any community effort to revitalize the downtown is a good thing," said town manager Greg Herrett.

The mayor agreed.

"My ears and door are always open," said Jerry Hallee. "It's good if they can come up with some sort of plan."

The mayor noted the town had been focusing on drawing services to the core in recent years but added if the community wanted a change in direction to retail it would be considered.

"Right now the services downtown seem to be doing OK," Hallee said. "But the commercial side might not be doing so well.

"There has to be some type of strategy," he added. "We're very interested in developing the downtown."

The meeting will be held at the First Baptist Church vestry at 7 p.m.. The public is encouraged to attend.



bworks@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: First Baptist Church, Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville

Geographic location: AMHERST

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