Ti project reviewed by trust

TICONDEROGA There have been many improvements to downtown Ticonderoga in the past year. Many, however, are not obvious to residents. Thats one of the frustrating things about revitalization, said Todd Barman, a program officer with the National Trust Main Street Center. People want to see immediate results, but often the early steps arent very visible. A lot of work has been completed here in Ticonderoga, but even some of the volunteers themselves are frustrated, he added. Im here to help Ticonderoga get through some of the growing pains and help get to a point where more projects can be implemented. Barman was in Ticonderoga recently for meetings with the Ticonderoga Main Street Project committee. The National Trust Main Street Center is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program aims to revitalize commercial districts by including historic preservation with economic development. Currently, there are more than 40 state-wide, city-wide, and county-wide Main Street programs with more than 1,200 active Main Street projects nationally. With a $100,000 grant, Ticonderogas Main Street project has four committees economic reconstruction, organization, promotion and design of volunteers that have been in place since 2006. Ticonderoga is typical of communities in the Main Street program, Barman said. It has strong assets to build upon and clear opportunities for growth, yet it has obvious areas of need, Barman said of Ti. Thats pretty common. While Tis needs are typical, its outcome will be unique, Barman said. They way things will play in Ticonderoga will be unique, he said. The personalities, the communitys particular strengths make Ticonderoga like no other place. Ticonderogas business hub has moved from downtown to the intersection of routes 9N and 74. Still, Barman said, downtown revitalization remains important. Its important from the perspective of being the center, the heart, of the community, he said. A lot of that comes from nostalgia; people want things to be like they were years ago. But a lot still has to do with economic revitalization; Ticonderoga has strong commercial assets downtown. Ticonderogas Main Street project has lagged behind others, Barman said. He wants to see more, faster progress. I always set the bar high, he said. I have high expectations. Id like to see more improvement. Im very optimistic for the future of the program in the community, but I want to see more. So does Ticonderoga Supervisor Bob Dedrick. Noting illness to several key committee members, Dedrick acknowledged Main Street progress has been slow but thats about to change, he said. Weve identified the strengths and weaknesses in our original plan and each committee has been meeting on a monthly basis, Dedrick said. I think weve developed a momentum to carry us forward. Dedrick pointed out Main Street successes this year. The group has sponsored Ti Waterfest, a French & Indian war battle re-enactment, a visit by historical re-enactors portraying George Washington and Henry Knox and a Spring Fling at Easter this year. Still to come is a Halloween Festival and the annual Santa Fest held in conjunction with annual arrival of Holiday Train. Weve brought a lot of people downtown, Dedrick said. Any time we get people visiting downtown its a plus. The Ti Main Street grant will expire April 1, 2009. The grant money has been primarily for forming a downtown revitalization strategy. We have to have all our plans in place by then, Dedrick said. Then well need to find the funding to execute our plans. Barmans visit and meetings with the Ti Main Street group was welcomed, the supervisor said. Its been an exhausting, but productive day, Dedrick said. I feel like we have a good plan in place with the help of the National Main Street Trust. Itll take a lot of hard work, but we have a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of talent and a lot of dedicated people to make this happen.

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