By Shane Barton, Downtown Revitalization Coordinator
On Thursday, December 7th in Harlan, KY, the CEDIK Promise Zone Downtown Revitalization project hosted our quarterly convening of downtown stakeholders engaged in downtown revitalization efforts funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission. These scheduled convenings provide a dedicated space and time for our downtown stakeholders and partner organizations to come together to share and collaborate.
In attendance were roughly 50 individuals representing all eight Promise Zone counties and various regional organizations including the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, the Kentucky Main Street Program, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, MACED, KCARD and others.
The day’s activities revolved around the attendees. The morning started off with each attendee sharing a project they were most excited about over the coming months and a resources they need to fully deliver it. The dialogues spurred by connecting ideas to resources dominated the rest of the day as conversations organically started to happen during available moments throughout the day.
The afternoon involved two concurrent tracks – one focusing on hosting film productions and receiving film credits, and another focusing on a downtown’s walkability, historic purposes and scales of development.
The highlight of the day was no doubt the food and commentary provided by food entrepreneur Ashley Bledsoe and her food truck Taco Holler. Ashley’s food was a crowd favorite, but her message of diversity and inclusion – and in particular her metaphor that tacos are life – really hit home with the crowd. Our next convening has been set for early March 2018 in Barbourville, KY.