By Faye Gaston

Owners of eight buildings in downtown Union Springs met in a Town Hall meeting on December 12, 2019 at the FPH Bakery.

City Councilman Brian Agnew was the facilitator for the discussion of Downtown Revitalization, and the good attendance was in response to letters mailed from him.

Roderick Clark made this statement, "As a member of the City Council and the Development Authority, it was amazing to see such a fine group of city stakeholders coming together in aspirations to beautify their existing buildings in our downtown structure as a whole. The Development Authority is considering assisting downtown Union Springs committee with future initiatives."

Among the 20 concerned citizens present were Union Springs Mayor Saint T. Thomas, Jr. and City Councilman Stan Cooks. Lively discussion included the consensus that all citizens are paying the penalty for the neglected appearance of some buildings downtown. It was pointed out that some businesses are struggling to make it financially, and that "human assets" could be shared in free labor.

Several buildings have not housed businesses for years. With the scarcity of available jobs, new businesses were suggested such as a taxi service, selling solar panels, and paying local artists to paint murals. There is training available for welders.

There was a report from the sub-committee on the problem of citizens not picking up litter/trash and cars and household appliances that don't work not being disposed of.

City ordinances concerning these problems were published in the local Herald newspaper and that non-compliance is breaking these laws.

The schedule for city trucks to pick up (free) leaves, limbs and trash and to haul away (free) discarded household appliances was published also. One merchant suggested businesses that are chain stores can well afford to pay employees to pick up trash.

Also suggested was the awarding of certificates of appreciation by the City to volunteers who regularly pick up trash along streets and sidewalks. The Town Hall meetings began in February of this year.

Last month the group was divided into two committees for improving downtown Union Springs and the county-wide public school system.

The public is invited to all meetings. The next meeting for the entire group is Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Richard Stone Complex.

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