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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Downtown volunteers looking for more people

Friday, March 25, 2005

Improvements to downtown Brazil won't come quickly, but volunteers comprising a group called Brazil Main Street hope improvements will come.

While all agreed Brazil is a good town, the 14 in attendance Thursday afternoon at Riddell National Bank also said there is room for improvement downtown.

"We're not looking to change the world -- in the first month," said City Engineer Brian Pohlar. Pohlar chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Tom Arthur.

The group has established by-laws and it plans to elect a board of directors April 14.

Fourteen people attended Thursday's meeting, though a lack of business owners was noted.

The purpose of the nationwide Main Street program is to facilitate business and restore participating cities' downtowns to past glory. That involves helping owners of vacant buildings find viable tenants and help existing businesses fluorish.

In attendance for the first time were local real estate agent Shirley Louderback, her husband, Leon Louderback and their son, Rick Louderback.

Leon was on Brazil's first Plan Commission 45 years ago, he said. Leon lamented the fact that there has been more than one attempt to make downtown Brazil stronger, including plans to beautify the downtown, but all have failed. Rick Louderback recently sold a home inspection business and volunteered to help the group by talking with downtown business owners about Brazil Main Street's goals and how participation could benefit their businesses.

While Brazil Main Street is just getting started, the State of Indiana has pulled the plug on the state's encouragement by ending the Indiana Department of Commerce. In fact, the people who met with city leaders about starting a Main Street program found themselves out of jobs when the Department of Commerce was disbanded earlier this year, Pohlar said.

Brazil Main Street meetings are open to the public and the group plans to meet the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Riddell National Bank community room. The evening hour was chosen to help residents who work during the day, especially merchants, attend.

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