Bishop, who is chairman of his city's Courthouse Square Committee, told the recently incorporated Macon County Revitalization group that Livingston began its efforts in 2001 with a group comprised of citizens, businesses and the local hospital.
Livingston has moved it's telephone and electric utility power lines underground and with a "lighting project" has installed street lamps around its historic Public Square.
Working with their local electric utility company and TVA, Livingston "sold" the street lamps as memorials to raise the funds to install them. Plaques large enough to be read by passing autos were placed on the lamps, and the purchase of attractive trash cans and park benches soon followed.
A sidewalk improvement project funded with "name brick" memorials came next, and local merchants, consulting with "TownVision" architects, began remodeling many Courthouse Square buildings to make them more attractive, and to return many of them to their original appearance.
One of the first Lafayette Public Square merchants to take this local vision for downtown revitalization to heart is Mike Schwab, owner of one of the oldest buildings in town, the original Citizens Bank building located on the west corner of the Square.
Over the years Schwab's building has been a National (dry goods) Store, a pharmacy, health food store and pizza restaurant. The owner is now in the process of remodeling the large brick building inside and out, with stucco mechanics currently...
working on the side of the building facing the existing Citizens Bank downtown branch.
"We're going to remove the metal awning out front, and install modern canopy awnings, along with using an earth-tone color scheme very much like what the architects recommended in the schematic you can look at a www.maconvision.com," said Schwab this Monday.
At the first meeting of the Macon County Revitalization group, architect Dean Randalls presented a slide show of renovations made in both Dresden and Livingston which roughly followed the architect's recommendations. That and subsequent meetings have been well attended with several dozen charter members.
Working with the Lafayette group, architect Randalls' Town Vision Network has prepared a website which can be accessed on the Internet, showing options and computer generated options the architects suggest for downtown improvements for Lafayette.
For a new vision and revitalization of the Courthouse Square business area, cooperation is needed through a partnership of merchants, county commissioners, the county mayor, the city mayor and council members and citizens all working together.
This was the message delivered October 7 by Bud Bishop of Livingston, Tennessee.
Bishop also suggested the possibility of involving the O'more School of Design, to have their students take the Lafayette Public Square on as one of its projects. He invited the Macon County group to visit them in Livingston and see what they have accomplished in the past seven years, offering to help in any way he could.
The Macon County project is in conjunction with the county's Three Star Revitalization Committee, and has been incorporated in order to receive non-profit status and in order to apply for private and government funded grants to assist in the improvement effort.
The next meeting of the Macon County Revitalization Corporation is set for Monday night, November 10 at 6 p.m. in the Lafayette City Hall.
For more information you may contact Carolyn Whitaker at 699-3253, and visit www.maconvision.com to see what interesting options are available to improve the appearance and prosperity of Lafayette's downtown area.
And watch as Mike Schwab's Ideal Group LLC building is remodeled and improved dramatically in the coming months. Schwab is setting an example of what can and should be done to bring back our beautiful downtown to be an attractive and vibrant commercial area for Lafayette and Macon County.