Blueprint For Saving Downtowns Presented

From Potter County Today

bry“You have to get bold if you want to make things happen.”  That was the theme of a presentation by John Bry, a certified downtown redevelopment specialist who spoke to about 60 community leaders and other interested citizens last week in Coudersport. Bry was brought in from Indiana by the Potter County Commissioners to share his expertise and suggestions. Vacant, deteriorating commercial buildings are a sign of the times for many small towns in America. Potter County has its share of them, but it doesn’t have to, Bry insisted. At the same time, nostalgia and a longing for the days gone by will serve no purpose. “The way it was in small towns in the past is gone. It’s not coming back that way. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a vibrant downtown, but the world has changed.”


He insisted that Potter County’s communities still offer a combination of conditions on which to build – a comfortable way of life, interesting historical features and architecture, as well people who care about their communities and are willing to work together to save them. Millions of people live a half-day’s drive from Potter County and among them are some who would be attracted to the region – willing to relocate and perhaps start new businesses – if they knew about it and came to appreciate its assets.


Bry recommended that the county and/or individual communities assemble a small team to inventory assets; create a vision and a plan; establish marketing strategies and economic or other incentives for businesses, and execute the plan one step at a time. He cited several examples where communities have employed that strategy to revitalize their downtowns. Success hinges on engaging the private sector and public agencies to work together. The effort is doomed to fail without determined leadership, Bry added.


Commissioner Susan Kefover, who spearheaded the program, encouraged those attending last week’s program to answer the call. “Take these messages out to your communities,” she said. “Determine what you believe can work for you and the county is prepared to be a partner with you.”

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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