Published On: Wed, Feb 15th, 2017

Marlinton Mayor’s Corner

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Last week, the topic was “Clean-up as Beautification.”

This week, I want to consider how small projects can make a big difference when a community works together.

Let’s say you have vacant lots or vacant commercial buildings that are not “abandoned.” In other words, someone picks up the trash, mows the grass, and tries to rent or sell the property. Still, vacancy is the problem. Two vacant lots in a row showing the footprints of old buildings, makes people wonder about the block – people who may otherwise be willing to invest, even if the lots are reasonably neat.

Vacant commercial buildings need to look occupied.  That could be accomplished with blinds on the windows, someone’s glass collection in the storefront, or a desk and chairs in an area that could be office space. Neighborhood organizations might find it worthwhile to make a phone call. Try to talk to the property owner. See if they will allow you to stage a window space.

The beautification project of choice for vacant lots is clean-up, planting, and/or uniform fencing. Something that makes a change and shows that someone is taking care of the property.

In the case of vacant residential lots, re-purposing for something is better than nothing.

Alleys seem to be a magnet for trash. Alleys can be positive. They provide parking space off the front street. They also provide a place for containers for garbage collection.

Beautification isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort.

What is better for one family, is better for the entire community.

Remember: if we change nothing – then, nothing will change.

Too many of our problems have been allowed to happen while we wondered what could be done. The real problem is between the big things we can’t do and the little things we won’t do.

Prevention is a real part of the answer to future community design.

The sooner we address problems, the sooner we improve the community’s appearance.

The restrictive nature of town ordinances is for the purpose of maintaining our community in such a way that lenders can see value, and real estate owners will want to invest.

Raising a consciousness about community appearance is what these articles have been about. To keep our town as economically viable as possible. Removing the negatives through clean-ups is a great community building exercise, but, the best beautification campaigns have to include prevention campaigns. Beautification will be better served in a fun project instead of just more work.

Beautification has many parts.

For instance, every business is entitled to a sign.

Wouldn’t you want the biggest and baddest sign on the block if your livelihood depended on attracting customers?

But, keeping sign clutter at a minimum is yet another goal.

In good condition, fences can be attractive and are practical.

“Ugly” fences present another problem, and that reminds me of all the Big Ugly stories I have heard over the years.

So, it time for me to quit, until next week.

About the Author

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