The importance of downtown

Published 12:46 pm Sunday, August 14, 2016

Can you believe that we are into our 12th article? Time surely flies when you are having fun, and it is my hope that together we all are. So, with that, let us today answer another question frequently asked by many people: Why is downtown so important?

We have stated in other articles about the small towns throughout America trying to compete with the larger, big box stores and malls and are struggling to keep their vibrancy. Yet utilizing small-town natural resources has helped, and our Pamlico River is no different. Many central business districts are the largest employers within a city. For that reason alone, it should be an answer we should pursue.

Another very good reason is that our local businesses are independently owned and operated. These businesses/restaurants and professional services support our local families who support our schools, churches, etc. This keeps your dollars in Washington rather than being sent to a regional office. Your money stays in town and 55 percent of the merchants will tell you that the “Buy Local, Shop Local” campaign helps them compete with these giants.

Washington has a very distinguished and lasting history connoted by its name, and therefore, our downtown area is the historical core of our community. Downtown highlights this very prominent history of our area dating back many, many years.

Our history was molded by decisions and deals that were made on the streets of our central business district just like many other towns/cities. The parades and festivals held on Main Street years ago brought visitors and shoppers to Main Street and Market Street.

The third and a very valid reason for emphasizing the downtown area is our downtown is a major tourist attraction. When people travel, they want to see unique places with good restaurants and shops within walking distance. We are very fortunate to have both. Tourism is a multimillion-dollar business and whether we like it or not, our town should be a destination point for all those travelling within the Carolinas. This is a topic we will discuss at later date.

In conclusion, while reading I came across a statement that sums up our question.

Carol Lufkin sums it up best, and I quote, “Main Street is uniquely American, a powerful symbol of shared experiences, of common memory, of the challenge and the struggles of building a civilization. … Downtown was always familiar, always recognizable as the heart and soul of the village, town or city.” Enough said!

Once again please shop, dine and play in our beautiful downtown Washington, and if you have time…take a walk with the H-Rob.

Harold Robinson is the executive director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance.