There is a place in Houston that is unique to this world.
The Square, with our stately Chickasaw County Courthouse, green lawn, wide streets and businesses, is distinctively Houston.
There may be other places that have more shops, a bigger courthouse and maybe even a little more pizzazz, but none that say Houston like The Square.
As many downtowns slowly fall into disrepair, we hope the city leaders of Houston and more importantly the downtown business community, will realize how important this space is to our heritage and identity.
Houston should always work to keep it a spot we all point to with pride.
My 75-cents worth
You paid for this paper, so here’s my six-bits worth of ideas and suggestions for downtown.
• We need crosswalks. The next time you call Houston a sleepy, little town, we ask your try to cross Madison or Jackson street in sight of The Square on any given afternoon. Let’s call our highway commissioner and state representatives and see what it takes to get a couple of crosswalks painted on these busy streets.
• Let’s organize one more event for downtown. We held a record breaking Homecoming on The Square July 4th weekend. The football homecoming parade is next and that will be followed by the Christmas Parade in just a few short months. We need to find some kind of spring event for the Square. You pick it Houston and your Chickasaw Journal will support it.
• We need to be open to change. The idea of bringing CVS Pharmacy to town landed like a sack of wheat and never went anywhere. Yes, there were better placed for CVS to open in our community, but I digress. I hope every business on The Square realizes more businesses on The Square will bring more people downtown. It doesn’t take a genius to realize more shoppers mean more money for every business downtown. Let’s be willing to accept something good for the entire community.
I moved to Houston three years ago and was discouraged by the number of empty buildings in the downtown area.
We are pleased to report there have been a number of successes and a few set-backs in the downtown area.
The city has worked hard to keep up with the owners of vacant buildings. I have attended meetings where city fathers have quite frankly said they want code enforcers and street safety officials to go after those property owners who fail to keep their property up to city standards.
The Colbert Building and the Watkins, Ward and Stafford building on the west side of the square are incredible additions to the square. We hope other downtown businesses and may downtown investors will catch the renovation bug and develop the Square.
Yes, times are hard and it is tough to invest in construction and a facelift with no buyer in sight. But it is time for some of our property owners downtown get their act together.
Your blighted buildings are detrimental to every business in our downtown area, and that includes the Chickasaw Journal.
We would like to point out the downtown area was named to the National Historic Register list and all buildings downtown are eligible for tax credits to help with a renovation. Our public service commissioner Brandon Presley was recently in town touting a program that allows a new small business to open without paying the hundreds of dollars needed for a utility deposit.
We should never be ashamed to bring a friend, family member or future business owner to downtown Houston. And that applies specifically to The Square.