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Dalhart Chamber explains benefits of Main Street Texas program at ‘Rise and Grind’ breakfast


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Dalhart Chamber explains benefits of Main Street Texas program at ‘Rise and Grind’ breakfast

By SHAWN YORKS
Dalhart Texan

Any opportunity to improve downtown Dalhart’s infrastructure and draw more visitors and residents to the downtown area is a good thing. The Dalhart Camber of Commerce has applied to the Main Street Texas program and, should it be approved, would have access to grant money to make needed improvements to the downtown area. The Texas Historical Commission started the Texas Main Street Program in 1981 as a way to revitalize historic downtowns. The deadline to apply is July 30, and the more support, the better Dalhart’s chances of being approved for the program. The City of Dalhart and the Economic Development Council are already on board, and at Wednesday’s “Rise and Grind” breakfast at the Dust Bowl Bar and Grill, the Chamber of commerce hoped to drum up more support for the program from local business-owners. Dalhart Chamber of Commerce Operations Manager McKinsey Ogle said there is so much potential in the Main Street area which, in Dalhart’s case, is defined as the area between Rock Island and Denver Avenues and between 1st and 7th Streets.

But even without the Texas Main Street designation, the Chamber and city are already taking steps to improve downtown, piece-by-piece. “We are currently working with the city, we’ve submitted a grant to the PRPC (Panhandle Regional Planning Commission) for funding improvements on infrastructure,” Ogle said. That specific grant is for improvements such as sidewalks and more handicap accessibility in the 300 block of Denrock. At the Wednesday meeting, Ogle did a quick poll of what attendees thought were the most important factors of the downtown “Main Street” area. Improved appearance and design, as well as preservation and restoration were what attendees thought were top two most important factors, followed by more options like restaurants, bars and stores, infrastructure was fourth and downtown events ranked least important. “These are all very important things to not only tourists, but our own community members,” Ogle said. “Honestly, I would like to say, my main (focus) is the people who live here. I want the people who live here to fall in the love with the place that they live.” She said community support is key.

“It’s not about the big things, it’s about all the little things,” she said. “So, each one of you is one of our small pieces that we can fit together to make something really great.” With the deadline to apply coming up on July 30, Ogle is quickly working out the details, and said she won’t know if Dalhart is chosen as a Main Street city until November. The commission votes on all the applicants in October and awards applicants at the Texas Downtown Association Conference in November and, if awarded, would start the program in January 2023. “At that point, we would begin surveying the community again and getting your input (to) create a plan that best serves our town,” said Ogle, who added that annual sponsorship programs would be offered to help fund the program, with help from the City of Dalhart and the Dalhart EDC. “We’ll be in partnership with them.” If Dalhart is accepted as one of the five Texas Main Street cities chosen each year, Ogle said they’ll have three years, “To really prove ourselves as a Main Street Community.” Business and propertyowners in the designated area would be eligible for foundation repair, roof repair, infrastructure repair, painting, matching grants for facade restoration, lowinterest loans and promotion of the downtown. “Those are some of the things that, when we talked to business-owners downtown, that they were excited for,” Ogle said.

 

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