Letter — Is economic development our top priority?

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, August 19, 2021

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To the Editor:

I agree with Edward Strickler regarding vacant storefronts and failed businesses downtown. What does the town do to attract and support new business?

I have some suggestions. The town could buy buildings as they come on the market. The storefronts could then act as incubators. There are loads of possible incentives. Reduce rent for a period of time or establish grants, which would not have to be paid back, if the business remains downtown for a set amount of time. (Three years? Five years?) Longwood’s Small Business Center could be a partner in providing services, such as business plan development, marketing, etc.

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I think we want businesses that generate foot traffic. We don’t need any more real estate, legal or insurance tenants in the limited space in our downtown. People are not looking to walk to these services.

I have been to small towns that are bustling and thriving. We need more reasons for folks to come to town. No wonder people travel to Richmond or Lynchburg.

Economic development? I do not see it. Is it, or is it not a priority?

Lucy Klaus