Business owners cooperate for Youngsville revitalization.
by Carrie C. Causey
YOUNGSVILLE — Nothing brings youngsters together like free ice cream and a doodling session.
That’s what Youngsville business owners are hoping as they embark on the first of what they hope will be a multitude of events to bring people downtown.
Recently, Youngsville commissioners have made a large push to develop long- and short-term plans to give the town a facelift while brainstorming what residents would like to see in the area in the future. The overall goal is to make it a bustling historic downtown that is inviting to visitors.
Larry Kearney, owner of Old Stores Antiques, in the former location of Full Circle at The Bottling Works and Gigi’s Bistro, didn’t want to wait for plans to be made. Instead, he enlisted the support of other downtown business owners to see what they could do to bring people now.
“I talked to shop owners about events to get people coming back into downtown,” he said, adding that he has recruited other organizations.
Saturday, from 3 to 5 p.m., residents are invited to take part in the event in the parking lot of Charron’s Deli, 133 E. Main St., Suite 100.
Kearney plans on local children coming and each drawing whatever they want on a single 4-feet-by-8-feet canvas using markers and Crayons to create an exhibit called “Children of Youngsville.” Afterward, he said, children can have free ice cream at the deli.
The town may decide where to house the finished creation, or an area bank has also offered to hang it.
Sponsors in the endeavor include the Franklin County Arts Council and other nearby shops.
Kearney said arts have always been a big part of his life, and he has seen how they have helped revitalize other towns. Though his store is new to its current location, Kearney said he previously had a store in downtown Youngsville and watched how it worked for more than a year.
“We have 200,000 people in a 10-mile radius,” he said, adding people often cut through Youngsville to go to nearby highways and interstates. “Hundreds of tourists pass through each week.
“We need to take advantage of what is here. One shop can’t do it by itself.”
Plans for next month include a proposed event involving flowers, but details have not been finalized.