Bryan Myrkle has made it clear in his presentation of Charlotte’s Downtown Revitalization Strategy that it is going to take “everyone pulling in the same direction” to achieve any kind of success. To that end, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce held a special “Revitalizing Charlotte” meeting March 26, personally inviting most, if not all downtown business owners.
The meeting, which was attended by representatives of more than 35 local businesses, served to provide an update on revitalization efforts currently in place. But, more importantly, invited business owners to get involved.
Myrkle, who is past president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the City of Charlotte Community Development Director, opened the meeting with an update as to what each of the six revitalization task forces have accomplished since forming in January. Task forces include Michigan Main Street, marketing, recruiting, M-50 truck traffic, community events and farmers market.
Betsy Smith, owner of Bella Grande in Charlotte, said she plans to join at least one of the task forces already in place.
“I’m encouraged by the way everything has been broken down to identify specific needs,” Smith said. “I think it is important to recruit families to live in our community and to create more festivals. But, I’m not sure everyone understands that all that stuff does not increase traffic in our stores. It may increase awareness of our community, but it doesn’t bring people through our doors.”
Smith said she would be interested in seeing a retail committee developed that would create events aimed specifically at getting people into local stores.
Carolyn Rosier said she wasn’t that familiar with the Downtown Revitalization Strategy before the March 26 meeting. She too was encouraged by the progress and would like to be involved in efforts to work closely with other retailers.
“We all need to encourage one another,” Rosier said. “We need to work together on a thought process that allows everyone to gain more.”
Specifically, she said she would like to see the revitalization efforts include taking a look at parking along the two primary blocks of downtown.
Anyone is invited to join one of the six revitalization task forces, which meet monthly. Contact information and meeting times can be obtained by contacting Myrkle at (517) 543-8853.