Volunteers build a better Middlesboro

Kelsey Gerhardt Staff Writer

November 7, 2013

The weekend of Oct. 25-27 marked a weekend of renovation for the city of Middlesboro.

More than 1,000 hours were put into the project by 100 area volunteers, ranging from Lincoln Memorial University students to extracurricular groups and citizens who wanted to help Build a Better Block.

This event included construction and renovations which were geared to revitalize the downtown Middlesboro area. During the weekend a stage was constructed which will provide local musicians a place to perform and bring live music back into downtown.

An Exploration Center was created which will allow children of all ages to have a space for kinesthetic creative learning and play.

“Over 100 folks have gotten behind this effort and want it to be successful. So many people helped to make this happen. It’s really been a dream of ours and we hope it sticks,” said Isaac Kremer, director of Discover Downtown Middlesboro.

The Park Theatre was reopened after 25 years with many renovations and hours of volunteer work devoted there.

“We demonstrated the need for evening entertainment in our town. While the building needs several thousand dollars to be fully up and running we showed on a shoestring how we can get it up and running again,” said Kremer.

A pop-up shop called Slice of Art was created for the three-day event which sold pieces of pie, hot chocolate and pieces of art from local artists. This displayed the ability for a store to be created quickly, be successful and make an impact on the betterment of downtown.

“There’s a huge demand from store owners who want to see more because it has such a positive impact on their business. When you give people a nice place to stay or visit they tend to stay longer and spend more money. And, if they have a positive experience, they tend to tell more people which in turn makes whole downtowns successful,” said Kremer.

Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-248-1010 ext. 204, kgerhardt@civitasmedia.com.