A lot is happening to improve the appearance of downtown Huntsville. The Main Street Advisory Board met on Friday at City Hall to share updates on improvement plans, upcoming events, and introduce the new Main Street intern. Huntsville City Planner Armon Irones also introduced a new intern and new staff member, and a new mural is being installed in front of Rather Park at the Walker County Title Building.
The Beautification Committee met with City Horticulturist David Zellar to solidify plans for moving shrubbery at the intersection of 12th street in preparation for the crosswalk mural funded by the Arts Commission. Bids have been requested and the work is expected to be complete by October 1 for Fair on the Square. Large planters with flowers are slated to fill the spaces.
The T Mobile Grant to fund informational kiosks is almost complete, and will provide one digital version and one with print promotions. Advisory Board Chair Helen Belcher is working with the Walker County Historical Society to display quilts in the open area at Gibbs Powell House on Sip and Shop days to bring in more foot traffic. Caroline Crimm proposed signage and a display at the new location of Texas Historical Tours to direct more traffic toward the quilt display.
The pavement overlay slated for September at the intersection of 12th Street and University Avenue will be postponed until after Fair on the Square.
According to Sandra Gray, “The Downtown Business Alliance (DBA) is only two lamp posts away from total sponsorship goals on the downtown lighting project. SHSU has agreed to chip in so that the lighting can be extended all the way down Sam Houston Avenue to the university. We are excited about the official lighting ceremony will take place on Nov. 12.”
“People are starting to show enthusiasm and are really working as a team to make things as clean and inviting as possible,” said Main Street Manager Annel Guadalupe. “Starting Oct. 1, there should be a shift in the appearance of downtown. We now have a designated person to oversee regular cleaning and maintenance. It makes an impact on the perception of visitors.”
Downtown businesses have adopted respective blocks to clean and beautify as part of the collective effort.
“It only took the Fabric Carousel team about an hour to clean up our block, which we are doing regularly each month on the day of Sip and Shop,” said Belcher.
Laura Bruns announced that Bluebonnet Antiques will celebrate its 35th Anniversary during Sip and Shop on Oct. 8. The theme for that event is 'Haunted Huntsville' and attendees are encouraged to wear costumes. Caroline Crimm will also host a tour on the Joye Mobile through Historic Texas Tours.
Guadalupe updated the group on recent activities at the Main Street Office. This month, the Texas Association of Conventions and Visitors Bureaus connected with visitor’s bureaus from all over the state to share how to promote our city as a whole. All the elements for Touch-a-Truck are ready for Sept. 24.
A recent inquiry was made by an individual who is interested in creating a renaissance faire downtown the second week in February of 2023. They are working with the Texas Renaissance Fair to learn more about procedures and protocols and have received verbal support from the Downtown Business Alliance.
Guadalupe introduced Jessica Cuevas as the new Main Street intern. Cuevas is a junior at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice. This is the third internship for Cuevas involving the City of Huntsville. Guadalupe also inquired about the availability of the group to take a historical tour of downtown as a mini retreat so that the entire group will be more informed about the history of Huntsville.
SHSU will host their Harvest Festival downtown on Nov. 19, as part of their homecoming celebration, which includes a parade beginning at 6 p.m. Guadalupe suggested that one board member be present at each event to represent the group and offer information to guests. There are 11 events downtown scheduled from September 2022 through May of 2023.
Irones introduced Amor Sheffield as his new intern. She is a senior at SHSU majoring in Political Science. He also introduced Layne Yeager, the new planning technician for the city, who came on board the previous week.