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Changing The Face Of Downtown Harlan

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

An effort to breathe new life into a Southeastern Kentucky city is underway.

Property owners and volunteers are coming together to change the face of downtown Harlan.

Many believe a facelift downtown is long overdue. Some business owners say it's a chance that's too hard to pass up.

"With the economy like it is, it's important to get any help you can, and it sounds like it's a good opportunity to do some things we need to do to our building," said business owner Eddie Greene.

The Harlan Revitalization Association is pushing for grant money from "Let's Paint the Town" - a community based group with TOUR Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Association Director Elizabeth Powell says it's a good way for everyone in Harlan to get involved.

"One building owner helping the next building owner. It just creates a really good atmosphere and a good sense of comrodery between everybody and a strong sense of community," said Powell.

Each downtown property owner can apply for up to $2,000 in grant money for exterior improvements. That could mean new signs or planters or even a fresh coat of paint.

"Downtown Harlan has a lot of history down here and I would just like to see it help in that area," added Greene.

In as soon as six months, Powell hopes these buildings will generate a positive image that brings tourism, jobs and new businesses to town.

"I sure hope they take advantage of it. It's a great opportunity. We can't let it pass us by," added Powell.

Volunteers are also needed for the labor because the grant money only covers the cost for materials.

If you own a building in downtown Harlan and are interested in applying for a grant, contact Elizabeth Powell at 606-573-7698.


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