Main Street program brings local businesses back downtown

Insurance and risk consulting company Peel and Holland is moving back to downtown Murray after a fire forced them to relocate to Highway 121 two years ago.

The Murray Main Street program played a big role in the company’s decision.

From the Murray Main Street director’s desk, Deana Wright looks out to a large, empty lot because of a fire in 2014. It’s a daily reminder of the need to rebuild.

"2016 would be considered the year of action," she said.

Peel and Holland was one of the renters of those lots. It announced at the city’s chamber breakfast Tuesday that it would return and buy the five burned down lots.

Wright checked in with the Peel and Holland President Roy Riley every two to three weeks leading up to the decision, and, she  says "Made sure that he knew if he needed anything to make this deal happen, then that we would be there."

The local insurance provider will take up 8,500 square feet, with 2,500 of that for other businesses to rent.

"As we start building, there will be new jobs created but our need to expand. Our office presence was anticipating our future growth needs, which will be additional staffing additional opportunities," Riley said.

Murray is seeing other development in  downtown, including 16 apartments in two different locations and possibly two restaurants.

"It’s important remember that we are here to help our downtown," Wright said. 

They’re doing that by helping existing and new businesses develop downtown. "We have great stores," she said. "People tend to forget, especially after everything that happened in 2014, that we have some small businesses that rely on them."

Murray Main Street has led to $14 million in downtown investments since 1998. Statewide, the Kentucky Heritage Council says the state’s Main Street programs contributed $76 million to Kentucky’s economy last year.

It also added 1,138 new jobs, 250 new businesses and 358 new housing units downtown in 2015. 

The Main Street programs in our area include Murray, Cadiz, Paducah, and Princeton.

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