Community offers input on a direction for downtown Murray
By Michael Bradford
Tuesday night, people in Murray met for a second time in an attempt to figure out what kind of downtown they want. The area had a rough 2014. One building collapsed, another building's roof caved in, and fire destroyed three other structures. All the buildings were centered around the court square. Now, the downtown disasters are giving the community a chance to take the area in a different direction.
"Thank y'all for coming to our second of three town hall meetings," said Murray Main Street Manager Deana Wright. Her greeting was for a diverse group of people invested in downtown Murray.
Students, business owners, and people who say they love calling the city home all showed up. Erika Mehta said the challenges that came in 2014 are creating opportunities this year to make downtown Murray come alive. "I would really like to see a multi-purpose building where people can come together and do some art and humanities-related activities. I also would like to see some finer dining, and a more active night life," said Mehta."
Before adding to the court square, downtown business owner David Thomason said the shops already there need support. "If you're gonna have a historical downtown, you gotta preserve the buildings you're in. You gotta keep them safe and have them inspected," he said. It's a job he accuses the city of not taking seriously. "The main issue is to have a safe downtown. To me, that's the most important part," he said.
Everyone's ideas were shared in front of an attentive crowd and Murray's Main Street Manager. Wright said "We decided that we needed to get the community input for what they want to see in the downtown, because it is their downtown." It's an area people say has plenty of potential. "I'm excited about where we're going from here," said Mehta.
There's no date set in stone yet, but Wright said the third and final town hall on downtown development will happen in mid-February.