Main Street Matters

Downtown Corsicana saw a number of new business openings this spring and summer. Chickadee’s Embroidery Shop moved from their previous location on Second Ave. to 314 N. Beaton. They embroider for all occasions, including baby showers, horse shows and rodeos, corporate recognitions and golf tournaments. Cowgirl Click at 101 S. Beaton offers contemporary women’s clothing and costume jewelry, plus a nail salon. The Smoothie Bar & Lounge at 312 N. Beaton offers healthy fruit smoothies, free Wi-Fi and artwork by area artists. For liquidation pricing on name brand products, check out Max Discount at 316 N. Beaton.

Hable Construction was lauded in the May 2011 issue of Traditional Home magazine for their “hand-drawn aesthetic so loved by designers.” Hable has developed seven fabric patterns in a muted palette for furniture maker Hickory Chair.

Yates Communications LLC, the latest venture by Corsicana native and former KAND Radio owner David Yates, is currently developing the official smart phone app for the City of Corsicana, with separate platforms for residents, visitors and economic development professionals. Yates says he anticipates the new apps and mobile websites to launch early next month.

The Corsicana CVB has already begun incorporating smart phone technology into its print advertisements. A series of tourism ads in Dallas Child and County Line magazines include a Quick Response code which, when scanned with a smart phone, automatically launches a web page touting an overnight Family Itinerary that includes several stops downtown.

The Brick Street Farmers Market succumbed to the heat at Commerce and Collin Sts. and moved to the Remington, 122 W. 3rd Ave. in June. The venue change provides shade and foot traffic headed to Brick Street BBQ on Friday and Saturday mornings. Market organizer Jackie King says the heat and drought have taken their toll on the local producers-only market, resulting in fewer produce offerings by those vendors that have persevered in the drastic conditions. Faith Temple remains a stalwart with their baked goods, including wonderful “fried” pies. Grass fed beef, potatoes, squash, onions and corn were also available at last check.

The Remington and Brick Street BBQ have begun hosting a number of festivals and downtown events, including the Hotter ’N Hell Steak Cook-off August 12-13. And, speaking of steak, diners now have a variety of options for rib eye dinners, including Brick Street BBQ (Wednesdays), Aguado’s (Fridays) and Napoli’s (seven days a week).

“Understanding Your Business Risk: Putting Out the Fire Before It Happens”

In light of the recent fire downtown that destroyed one building and seriously damaged two others, the Main Street Economic Restructuring Committee will host a panel discussion entitled “Understanding Your Business Risks: Putting Out the Fire Before It Happens” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 23 at the Palace Theater. A panel of local experts will cover topics such as business insurance, code compliance, fire safety, incentives for building upkeep and more. Mayor Chuck McClanahan will moderate. Business and property owners in the downtown district are encouraged to attend.

Downtown Consumer Survey to Launch August 20

The Main Street Economic Restructuring Committee is finalizing plans for a downtown consumer survey. The 39-item questionnaire will be made available in both online and hard copy formats, and will be distributed to workers at major area employers and through local media.

The intent of the survey is to gauge consumer preferences for downtown shopping and living. Knowing precisely what consumers want and expect downtown will allow the community’s economic development team to recruit specific businesses and developers to fill the gaps that exist in the district.

It follows a downtown business owner’s needs assessment survey conducted by Corsicana Main Street last fall. That query sprang several projects that were completed or are currently under development that address the needs of downtown merchants. An Oncor energy efficiency workshop, SBDC-sponsored web design tutorials and a print advertising campaign for downtown have all been completed as a result of the findings. Public improvement projects, a tourism map and directory of the district and a building improvement education program are all in the works as well, and a new billboard for downtown Corsicana will soon be installed on I-45.

Corsicana Main Street Coordinates Technical Assistance Downtown

Targeted Brownfields Assessments
The Environmental Protection Agency recently funded assessments of two properties that have been identified as lynchpins for wider downtown revitalization. The agency’s Targeted Brownfields Assessment program was tapped after Corsicana Main Street Director Steve Dieterichs attended a presentation by the EPA’s Janet Brooks during Main Street Manager Training in Paris, Texas, in February. Consultants recently combed, poked and prodded both the IOOF Building and the State National Bank Building, looking for asbestos, lead-based paint and other environmental hazards that could hinder development of the properties. These reports are being utilized by the buyers’ agents in negotiations for the sale of the properties.

National Trust Structural Assessment
An emergency structural assessment program with the National Trust for Historic Preservation
was utilized following the devastating downtown fire in June. Within a week, a structural engineer
was on-site surveying the damage. The report’s recommendations were well received by the
property owner, who has indicated his intention to undertake new infill construction on the site of the lost historic building.

Fundraisers Planned for Downtown Streetscaping Initiative

The Corsicana City Council approved a resolution on August 2, amending the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan to allow for more historically accurate and less expensive bench and street lamp designs. The Winchester bench by Urbanscape Furniture mimics the consultant-provided design originally specified in the Master Plan, but at a savings of nearly a thousand dollars per bench. The spun concrete lamp poles from StressCrete mirror those found in historical photos of our downtown.

The Main Street Advisory Board will hold a pumpkin patch fundraiser October 14-31 at the Visitor Center in Allyn Park. Many sizes and varieties of pumpkins will be available, and some special kids’ events are being planned. Sales proceeds will benefit the downtown bench replacement program.

The Advisory Board is also making plans for a number of fundraising events in early December. These include a Downtown Swirl wine event, Breakfast with Santa, a downtown loft tour and more!

About Corsicana Main Street

Designated as an official Texas Main Street City in 1985, the Corsicana Main Street Program works to assist in the revitalization of the downtown area through the use of historic preservation and economic development strategies.

By Steve Dieterichs, Director