by Danny Wade
There’s a new berry in town, four actually. Large red berries, but not the juicy sort, have shown up in downtown Humboldt. New metal strawberry art sculptures now adorn the sidewalks.
The 4-foot berries were made possible through a grant and no cost to the city or taxpayers.
The project planning began when Lee Williams was chamber director. His resignation delayed the project.
Now with Amanda Love heading up the chamber, the ball began rolling again in July. The steering committee of Janeice Frisbee, Tommy Goodrum, John Blankenship, Seth Wilkerson and Love continued working on beautifying downtown Humboldt.
“Tennessee Downtowns awarded the group a $15,000 grant to be used before July 2018,” Love said last week. “This is not a matching grant; we will receive dollar for dollar what we spend up to $15,000.”
There are three phases in the downtown project.
Phase 1 was erecting the steel strawberries. Jake Meales of Meales Metals fabricated the sculptures. There are currently four strawberries with four more on the way.
Phase 2 of the project will focus on empty buildings downtown. Decorative banners will be installed to liven up the lifeless buildings.
“Phase 3 will be building identity and historical information signs,” Love said. “These black and white signs will be placed on individual buildings downtown and will include historical information about the building as well as the city’s logo.”
Tennessee Downtowns is an affiliated program of Tennessee Main Street designed to help communities embark on a comprehensive revitalization effort for their downtown. Using the proven downtown revitalization, this 24-month program coaches selected downtowns and their steering committees through the steps of launching an effective revitalization effort. Space in this program is limited and highly competitive. Cities must meet specific guidelines to participate.
“We love the look of the strawberries downtown; they’re even better than we could have imagined and bring so much life to downtown,” Love said. “Jake Meales did an amazing job. I can’t wait to see what the next two phases of this project look like.”