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Mainstreet takes center stage downtown

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Mainstreet Shelbyville organizes the First Friday events downtown in partnership with Shelby County Tourism and Visitors Bureau and local business owners.At the Aug. 3 “Back to School” First Friday, staff from the Shelby County Public Library helped kids create some artwork.
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The owner of the Shelbyville High Apartments, located at 315 Second St. in Shelbyville, has received a letter from the city declaring the building unsafe
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Moving the Farmers Markets to the West Washington St. Plaza has received positive reviews, according to Mainstreet Shelbyville. Twenty-two vendors routinely are open for business Saturday mornings just east of downtown Shelbyville.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

Redeveloping downtown Shelbyville has been a centerpiece of Mayor Tom DeBaun’s administration.

One key player is Mainstreet Shelbyville.

Many don’t realize how much Mainstreet has participated in the city’s effort to attract new business to the downtown, the mayor said.

“Brandy and Jordon have been involved in almost all of our discussions with prospects,” DeBaun told the Shelbyville Common Council on Monday evening.

He was referring to Brandy Coomes, executive director of Mainstreet Shelbyville, and Jordon England, program coordinator.

The city provides $110,000 per year in EDIT money to help fund Mainstreet. EDIT stands for Economic Development Income Tax, a local option tax.

County government also helps with up to $25,000 in EDIT dollars earmarked for Mainstreet’s “Facade Program” to help businesses upgrade the fronts of their buildings.

At the Common Council meeting, Coomes thanked the council members for their support and reported on Mainstreet’s efforts.

“We’ve been really excited with the turnout at our events so far,” she said.

The Wine Walk in June, where attendees visit participating downtown businesses to sample wines from various makers, was a big hit, Coomes said.

Close to $3,900 went back to the businesses from those attending the Wine Walk via the coupons available, she said.

“For that we’re really proud,” said Coomes.

Mainstreet puts on the monthly First Friday events, in partnership with downtown businesses and Shelby County Tourism.

In addition, the organization puts on the weekly Farmers Market which has blossomed in its new location, Coomes said.

The market is no longer in the central parking area of the Public Square as in years past; it opened in May two blocks west of the downtown square at the West Washington Street Plaza, across from the former site of Major Hospital.

And this year, the Farmers Market has 22 vendors, up from 17 before, Coomes said, adding that feedback about the new location has been very positive.

During the last year, Mainstreet has provided $2,200 in rent subsidies to assist new businesses; $10,000 in interior renovation grants; and $12,725 in facade grants, she reported to the City Council. 

In other matters, the council voted 5-0 to accept a conflict of interest form from Dave Hunt, street commissioner for Shelbyville. The city pays to dump concrete on a property Hunt owns, and he provides topsoil to the city, DeBaun said.

Rob Nolley (R-3rd Ward) and David Phares (R-At Large) were absent from the meeting.

Also, Councilman Brad Ridgeway (R-4th Ward) asked about the status of the Shelbyville High Apartments, 315 Second St., since the city declared the building unsafe.

Mitch Genser, owner of the Methodist Building downtown, also owns the apartment complex which used to be the Shelbyville Junior High School.

“He’s been given a letter, a list of things that need to be completed,” said DeBaun.

Fire Chief Tony Logan added that Genser has been working hard to get the apartment building up to code.