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Examiner
  • Progress looks like Main Street

  • Once a major destination in any American city, Main Street in Blue Springs has not been exempt from hard times. With the soaring popularity of fast food restaurants and strip malls, old time Main Street has taken a beating.

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  • Downtown Main Street in Blue Springs is the focus of new life.
    Once a major destination in any American city, Main Street in Blue Springs has not been exempt from hard times. With the soaring popularity of fast food restaurants and strip malls, old time Main Street has taken a beating.
    Take Adams Dairy Landing in Blue Springs. While it’s become popular and successful, it has effectively drawn attention away from the city’s historic corridor.
    In January, Christine Smailys, owner of Christine’s Salon, acknowledged that most of the attention is being paid to the large retail center, which shows an average of one new store opening every other month.
    But in early December 2010, a group comprised of new and older downtown merchants met for the first time in a very long time. There had been a downtown association before, but they had disbanded and the interest was lost.
    While the definitive focus of the group remains unclear, the intended outcome is more definite: bring awareness and business back to the Main Street area.
    Some business has already located in the corridor, including Special Events, Memories on Main and Hattey’s on Main.
    Lara Vermillion, president of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, and downtown merchants recently spoke with Gayla Roten, state director for Missouri Main Street Connection, an organization designed to enhance the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of historic downtown districts.
    “Basically it was an informational meeting, one where we learned what other cities were doing to transform their Main Streets,” Vermillion said.
    Main Street is the site of some popular city events, including Boo Fest, Fall Fun Fest, weekend movies, car cruises and the farmer’s market. Vermillion said there could be more downtown events in the planning stages.
    For the time being, Blue Springs Main Street is seeing some general improvement.
    Using grant funds, the city is installing several crosswalks on Main Street. Several feet of new sidewalks have also been installed, as have decorative lights, and one office building near City Hall, the site of a fire as a result of arson, is nearly rebuilt.
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