Have you thought about how to re-imagine Linden’s Downtown?
If so, your dreams came true when First Lady of Texas, Mrs. Cecilia Abbott, in official ceremonies on April 18th recognized Linden as a Texas Main Street. Mrs. Abbott delivered a congratulatory address to Linden citizens and then unveiled an architectural rendering of a more vibrant and consumer-friendly street scene on the west side of the Courthouse Square.
Entitled “View Along Main Street,” the rendering is the first of a series to be created for Linden by the Texas Main Street Design Team.
The Texas Main Street Program (TMSP) provides historic downtowns the opportunity to re-develop through public and private investment. Operated in Texas by the Texas Historical Commission, TMSP is one of the oldest and largest in the nation, with 89 fully-designated communities.
After a rigorous and competitive application process, Linden was chosen in January 2017 as one of two designated Main Street communities. In Texas, Linden is among the three with the smallest populations in the entire program.
TMSP’S mission is to provide technical expertise, resources and support for Texas communities in the preservation and economic revitalization of historic downtowns and commercial districts.
The First Lady was joined by state and local officials, local business owners, volunteers, and dozens of residents eager to see the Main Street vision for Linden. Ms. Abbott commented that Linden’s commitment to historic preservation is apparent, pointing out that the historic Cass County Courthouse was restored with funding assistance from the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Courthouse Preservation Program.
Texas Historical Commission (THC) Vice Chairman John Crain stated in his remarks that “historic preservation isn’t just about the past – it’s about developing economic opportunity for the future”. He announced that the Linden Heritage Foundation has qualified for a grant from the Preservation Trust Fund, also managed by THC, to develop a professional restoration plan for the Old Linden Firehouse.
Mr. Crain then announced THC’s new “Town Square Initiative” which uses an online portal – Downtowntx.org – to attract potential real estate investors/developers and business owners/entrepreneurs from other places who may want to consider under-utilized or vacant historic properties in Texas Main Street towns. Linden has its own dedicated page on this website to feature available Main Street properties.
Twelve Main Street cities, including Linden, will help celebrate and promote DowntownTX.org by hosting local Imagine the Possibilities tours. Linden’s tour will begin at the Linden City Hall on Friday, May 19th at 5 p.m..
Selected properties featured on each city’s DowntownTX.org page will be open and accessible to the public, and tour attendees can obtain additional information on downtown development and business resources at a central gathering point.
To get the Main Street ball rolling, the Linden Heritage Foundation hosted a series of field trips and community forums with Mount Vernon and San Augustine to spark initial interest for the program. Main Street staff and board members from those two cities fielded a range of questions about how they have turned historic buildings into unique entrepreneurial successes, attracted tourism to their town centers, dialed up local sales tax revenues, and supported the property tax base.
By fully committing to Texas Main Street, Linden also can imagine – and ultimately realize – a whole new world of progress, success, and economic development for our downtown.