Where is Henderson (KY) as a community going, growing and progressing? In order to answer that question we believe 20/20 vision is needed.
Having recently graduated from the 2013 class of Henderson Leadership Initiative as a class we delved into questions like this and others as we focused our attention on the health and wellness of our community along with surveying the general population on questions involving recycling and the state of our downtown environment.
As a product of Henderson and the late 1950’s, I grew up in the 1960’s & 70’s when downtown Henderson was full of activity and businesses. Shops and restaurants were seemingly always seemed busy….
Places like the downtown YMCA where Mr. & Mrs. Heib cared for youth and adults in our community, the Kraver, Klutey’s jewelry store and grill, Ruby’s Café, JJ Newberry’s and soda fountain, FW Woolworths candy counter, Mann’s women’s ready to wear, MAC’s men’s & boy’s clothing,
Bernstein’s, Bohn’s ,the Fashion Tree, Peartree, Frank G Schmidt, and the Traditional Shop were common businesses to frequent. Our streets were alive with cars, pedestrians and commerce.
What happened to those businesses and our vibrant downtown area? Some still remain; Alles, Simons, Campbells, O’Daniels to name just a few. Others disappeared as urban sprawl, subdivisions and malls became popular.
We found through our class analysis we may have just turned the corner downtown. Residents are excited to see tangible improvements being made in residential living spaces and redevelopment of commercial buildings. Newly renovated residential properties like those of Glen & Judy Stone’s (Princess building) and Curt Hamilton’s second story living space are beautiful, functional, contemporary and in demand. More are on the way!
Residents told us recent downtown infrastructure improvements to our city streets and the addition of the new Henderson Riverwalk is beautiful, useful and needed.
We believe with proper planning, visioning and communication Henderson can once again attract and retain young and seasoned professionals who love what Henderson has to offer.
Last week I was just in Atlanta working, commuting 13 miles one-way which some days could take 40 or more minutes to commute to downtown Atlanta’s Merchandise Mart. Many folks are looking to escape the concrete jungles like Interstate 75 in Atlanta and relocate to smaller vibrant communities like Henderson, Kentucky. Young entrepreneurs like Jason Munoz, co-owner of CKB and who want to make Henderson “their forever home.”
We live in one of the best river town cities in America. Visitors tell us how great it is. History shows us where we’ve come from and what we’ve accomplished.
TOGETHER we can revitalize, recycle and reshape this place we call home.
Just as the new river walk leads us beside the mighty Ohio with it’s spectacular views, it can also be the beginning of a path that leads us to newly paved streets populated with pedestrians visiting new eateries, bistros, cafes, internet based businesses, retail storefronts, and specialty grocers.
20/20 vision-Where we came from……who we are……how we’re growing!
We the class of 2013 HLI urge each of you to get involved in our community, YOUR community and help Henderson turn another corner and page in the history books. The synergy and momentum Henderson has experienced in recent years is just the beginning of a bright new downtown environment.
Through active communication, teamwork and getting our story out we can spread the word that we’re one of the BEST river town communities to live in America.
This blog appeared as a guest editorial in the Henderson KY newspaper The Gleaner on Saturday, January 25, 2014. Subscription required to view.