Build a Better Block event in Middlesboro

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - Dozens of people are in downtown Middlesboro transforming a vacant block into a row of businesses.

Discover Downtown Middlesboro is hosting the event called "Build a Better Block." Organizers say the goal is to create new jobs and bring people back to downtown.

Dozens of volunteers are working on 20th Street in downtown Middlesboro.

"This is our way to create jobs, support entrepreneurs, and get positive things happening downtown," said Isaac Kremer, Executive Director of Discover Downtown Middlesboro.

In one weekend, they are renovating five vacant buildings and building pop-up parks and seating areas called parklets.

Some people came from other states to help.

"I think this is really inspiring event to see the community pull together to make change quickly and very cheaply just to test out what could happen in the future and be permanent," said Mike Lydon.

The new businesses include a pie and art cafe, boutiques, and an Exploration Center for children.

"It plants the seeds for long-term change," said Kremer.

State officials say this "Build a Better Block" event can be used as a model for other cities.

"We can use as a model for other main streets in our state so they too can see what their vision can be for their communities," said Kitty Dougoud with the Kentucky Main Street Program.

Organizers hope this weekend will lead to an economic boost downtown Middlesboro.

Anyone can show-up and volunteer to help tomorrow from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

They are also re-opening the old Park Theater to show It's a Wonderful Life on Saturday night at 8:00.

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