Downtown Enhancement Committee moves forward toward goals

CHESTERTOWN - The Town of Chester Main Street Enhancement Committee will be holding an important meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday June 23 at the Town Hall.

The event includes a discussion of the comprehensive community survey now under development, plus a description and discussion of affordable housing.

Jim Martin from the municipal architecture firm LA Group and Wayne LaMothe from Warren County Planning Department will be on hand to talk about the housing grant and the Main Street grants that have already been approved by the state. There will also be a discussion of the two new grants with implementation possibilities.

The plan for Main Street will be formalized for presentation to the full Town Board on July 12.

All downtown business owners and all Main Street Enhancement Committee members are urged to attend.

For months, the Main Street Enhancement Committee has brainstormed plans to revitalize the downtown area.

In May, the group rallied in a major spruce-up of the American Legion Post No. 964 headquarters next to the Chester Municipal Center.

This group of citizens has sought to reverse the recent trend of empty storefronts and neglected properties downtown .

Initial objectives of the group are to repair sidewalks, install benches and trash receptacles, add up to 10 decorative streetlights, and plant trees. The effort is to be backed up by a $72,000 grant obtained recently through Warren County. Such improvements would boost the pedestrian experience and boost commerce and activity downtown, Committee leaders have said.

Revitalization committee members said they would be trying to locate and apply for grants, whether it was for fixing up historic facades, or buying new furnaces for hard-to-heat commercial buildings with outdated heating equipment. High utility costs have been blamed for putting an unreasonable financial burden on shop owners, driving them out of business.

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