Latta Group To Address Improving Downtown

By Betsy Finklea
Mike Griffey appeared before the Latta Town Council at their meeting on Thursday to discuss downtown redevelopment.
Griffey said several members of the group involved in the Church Street re-landscaping project and the Latta Revitalization Commission were discussing downtown redevelopment. Griffey said they created a working group that includes Jarett Taylor, Melinda Robinson, Ed Hayes, Amanda Morrell, Paula Williamson, Cindy Easterling, and himself.
Griffey said the group wants to assist property owners in marketing their buildings to get quality retailers to complement the businesses already here and to fill the existing needs. Their plans include:
1) Creating an inventory of the properties downtown. He said 50 percent of the property on Main Street is occupied. Some of the vacant buildings are in sellable shape, and some need some work; 2) Creating an incentive package; 3) Having a central contact person for people interested in these properties; and 4) Sprucing up downtown. He said the project is broader than these items.
What they are proposing is to pay for some window clings that will transform the vacant buildings to look like a business such as a gym, a meat market, a café, etc. On that window cling, it will have the central contact person’s information in case someone is interested.
The group also hopes to bring together the economic development leadership of the state and locally to see how to put this together.
Griffey said there would be a focused approach to attract existing businesses in other locations to open another location in Latta.
Griffey said they will be looking at all of the opportuni ties. He said they will be looking at standards, zoning ordinances, and what other communities are doing. He said they would go to the property owners and ask “how can we help you market your building?”
The group is asking for council’s blessing. The next step is for Latta Revitalization to approve, and they will become a working group under Latta Revitalization. Griffey said he is not affiliated with the town of Latta Revitalization.
Griffey said this will build on the momentum of some of the things that will be happening such as the addition on the library and the repairs soon to be done on the Latta Rotary Club building.
Griffey believes this will help property owners with a coordinated approach to marketing.