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Baxter Gets Grant For Broad St Improvements

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Baxter Gets Grant For Broad St Improvements

Baxter plans to use a $15,000 State Downtown Grant to improve storefronts and increase parking on Broad Street.

Baxter Mayor John Martin said the town has tasked a committee with overseeing its downtown revitalization plans. He said the first step will be passing an ordinance in May that will turn Broad Street into a one-way street to make space for more parking. Martin said with several businesses already in the process of major renovations, he has high hopes for the transformation of downtown Baxter.

“We’ve talked about this a long time,” Martin said. “That’s one of mine and the council’s goals is working on the downtown. A lot of people that we talk to want to keep our downtown the small-town atmosphere, and that’s kind of what we’re doing.”

Martin said when people pull into parking spots on Broad Street from both directions, two cars end up occupying three spaces. He said he also hopes the funds will help upgrade storefronts with new paint jobs and awnings to attract more pedestrians once more parking is available.

He said he is focused on keeping the historical feel of the area alive throughout the changes.

“It’s history,” Martin said. “It’s things that people remember. The building that we’ve got there, there’s a lot of old buildings that have been renovated and there’s going to be new buildings that are going to be built.”

The $15,000 will get the ball rolling, but Martin said he plans to pursue additional funds through the Department of Economic and Community Development to tackle further revitalization plans.

“There’s a building on one end that’s all brick and it’s been renovated and it’s going to be a restaurant,” Martin said. “And on the other side of town, it was really where there was a lot of junk cars and things sitting around, and that building was bought, and it should be completely renovated by the end of the week.”

He said after those are renovated, a number of adjacent properties are set for upgrades. He said is excited about the changes and plans to lean on the committee to put its plan into action.


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