National experts offer suggestions

and a roadmap

By LOHR McKINSTRY

TICONDEROGA -- Ticonderoga's Main Street Partnership is finally in possession of a "road map" to shape the future of downtown Ticonderoga.

Experts from the National Main Street Center were in Ticonderoga for a three-day information-gathering project earlier this month.

Project Managers Teresa Lynch and Todd Barman conducted meetings with downtown merchants, tourism representatives, local government officials, educators and other professional groups.

At the end of their visit, they showed a preview of their highly anticipated comprehensive report, which will be submitted to the local Main Street group soon.

Main Street member Edwin "Brick" Howe said the main purpose of the visit was to evaluate the downtown's existing geographic infrastructure, as well as their group's progress in following the Main Street Four Point Approach blueprint of organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring.

Ticonderoga has been trying to revitalize its Montcalm Street business district and has joined the National Main Street Center as part of that effort.

Lynch and Barman had "some concrete projects" to be put into motion, Howe said.

"Their assessment was enlightening in detail, encouraging in potential and illustrated that this is the very beginning of a long process."

Public involvement in the effort was stressed, he said.

"It is imperative that the community understands that this is an ongoing process in which they are encouraged to participate, as an increased number of volunteers will be required with every success achieved."

He said anyone interested should attend the next Main Street meeting, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, in the Supervisor's Office in the Ticonderoga Community Building.

Fundraising and the hiring of a director for the project are next, Howe said.

"Although the TMSP has acquired grants that will allow the group to hire a project manager and will likely take the project forward for another year, it's now time to begin fundraising efforts."

Quality improvements must be made for both residents and visitors, he said.

Howe said the Main Street group "must first strengthen and support existing successful businesses and establish a foundation on many levels before beginning to recruit new and appropriate businesses" for the downtown.

The Main Street Partnership is a consortium of local leaders, public officials and merchants.

They hope to fill in the downtown's vacant storefronts with different types of businesses, including some that would appeal to the almost 100,000 annual visitors to Fort Ticonderoga.

Howe said the complete National Main Street Center report will be available on the local group's Web site, www.ticonderogamainstreet.com, when it is released.

lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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