Karen Ott Mayer 4/23/13

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Karen Ott Mayer

Thursday meet offers overview of Como Main Street Program

As the Como Main Street Alliance has grown and taken hold this past year, more and more people ask me one question.

“Karen, what’s happening with…?”

It may be someone is interested in knowing about sidewalk repairs or the potholes on Elder Frank Ward Street.  Or another person may want to know what’s happening with the historic city hall building we gutted last summer. 

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Whatever the case may be, it’s natural and expected for interested citizens to want to know what’s happening in their own community–and we’re glad to share as much information as possible.  I like to remind people that strategic long-term planning focuses on a healthy amount of time devoted to idea gathering, meetings, collaborating, networking and listening.  Particularly when resources are strapped or when a community like Como has a central revenue generator like our tourism tax, taking inventory of needed projects and then prioritizing involves many open minds.  No one person or project can take all the resources.
So what is happening?

This Thursday at Main Street Gallery, the Como Main Street Alliance will hold its first annual membership meeting followed by a public information session at 7p.m.  During this time, we’ll share our annual report (which was presented to Mayor Hill and the Como board this month), a detailed work plan and welcome The Stennis Institute who will present “First Impressions.”  As I’ve repeatedly told folks, anyone who wants to influence an outcome or voice an opinion needs to be involved in the process.  Those who prefer to show up when all the planning work has been done hoping to throw in an opinion will be too late.

Exciting things are happening in Como.  When I hear people say, “things will never change here,” I shake my head in amazement.  They are already changing!  This past weekend, the opening of the Como Community Park represents a huge step forward for Como.  Multiple planners who have visited Como this past year have pointed to cross paths and alleys that connect our Main Street and Elder Frank Ward Street as real bridges for future growth. In short, our Back Street one day could hold as much commerce and interest as our Main Street. 

And for all those people who believe life stands still, now is the time to pay close attention.  Hernando is still the fastest growing community in the state with a median income of $70,000.  What does that mean?  A continued population push into our county of educated, sophisticated consumers looking for opportunities.  Those opportunities may mean investing in an old building, buying a lot or proposing a new business.

This year, the Como Main Street Alliance has been quietly meeting and organizing.  We’re in the midst of 501C3 application, our 2013 membership campaign, and still busy idea swapping, debating and dreaming.  Support continues to grow.  Why?  Because CMSA is the primary organization in Como dedicated to fostering a healthy business climate, promoting our unique heritage and assets and bridging communication with our town leaders. This month, Mayor Everett Hill and the Como aldermen voted to continue their partnership with the Como Main Street Alliance for the 2013-2014 year. This spirit of cooperation continues to fuel great things in our small town.

What’s happening?  A lot of good.