Brad Belo leads the Fredericksburg Main Street Initiative broad visioning meeting on March 24. Photo by Susan Larson.

Fredericksburg Main Street Initiative Hears Community’s Vision

by | Dec 13, 2014 | Business, Government

By Susan Larson

It was standing room only as Brad Belo of Virginia Main Street introduced the format of Monday night’s Fredericksburg Main Street Initiative (FMSI) meeting.  “I’m really impressed,” he said of the 87 people gathered in the community room at the Free Lance-Star.  “In meetings like these, I usually have 25 people.”

Belo, a community revitalization specialist with Virginia Main Street, was there to help the FMSI board start the process of drafting a vision statement.  “The vision establishes the ultimate target toward which all Main Street efforts will be directed,” he said.

“Imagine it is 2024 and we have, remarkably enough, created our most desirable district.  Take a walk through the district and describe what you see, hear, smell, feel and taste,” Belo said. The district is defined as Fredericksburg’s downtown historic commercial district — primarily Caroline, Sophia and Princess Anne Streets and their cross streets from the train station to the library.

Participants first made their own notes, and then divided into four groups to record ideas.  The breakout groups then reported back to the larger group, and the recurring themes were recorded.  Among them were:

Focus on the river
Diversity of shops and services, including eateries
Beautification — standards of care for uniformity and cohesiveness
Improved way-finding (information and marketing)
Slow, leisurely transportation options
Center for diverse arts and entertainment
Preservation and celebration of history
Reactivation of existing spaces

“What a night of great energy and thoughts,” said FMSI Executive Director Ann Glave.  “In the next few weeks, a vision statement will come forward.  If you want to help craft the statement, please let us know.”

“This is the first of several workshops we have laid out for the year,” said FMSI President Scarlett Suhy-Pons.  “The idea is to bring people and ideas together to focus on this project.”

“Even after tonight, continue to flood Ann’s email box with your ideas,” said FMSI Vice President Wilson Greenlaw, Jr.

Glave agreed.  “Our goal is to hear what you have to say.”  Glave’s email is [email protected].

Related Stories:
Reinventing Fredericksburg: What Is Your Vision?
Main Street Initiative Seeks Committee Members
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