Downtown community answers the challenge to move forward

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Elizabethton is a town on the move. A town that is ready to do things, to move forward and to grow.
One of the engines spurring the move is the historic Bonnie Kate Theatre. In the coming weeks a series of Saturday events is planned to draw people back to days gone by with some favorite movies.
This weekend, “The Robe” will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday. This past weekend, it was Pinocchio and To Kill a Mockingbird. Scheduled April 27 are the shows Shrek at 4 p.m. and Schindler’s List at 7 p.m. The May schedule includes back to back showings of Star Wars on May 4; Cars and American Graffiti, May 11; ET and the Man Who Shot Liberty Violence May 18; and Ratatouille and Sergeant York, May 25.
Also, beginning May 10, every second Friday in the month from 6 to 9 p.m. the stores will be open downtown, there will be a food truck rally, craft beer, live music, and other special activities.
All of these events are in addition to the Saturday night car shows, of which the opening night of the season drew over 3,000 people to the downtown.
Also, coming in June is the Saturday night concert jams at the Covered Bridge Park in Elizabethton.
A healthy downtown is the key to a strong community. Our downtown is the heart of Elizabethton. For several years, communities like Elizabethton have experienced a decline. Big box stores, malls, and shopping centers led to the erosions of small towns like Elizabethton. Other side effects such as the loss of industry left the community with fewer job opportunities and the migration of people to bigger communities. However, we are slowly coming back.
Downtown Elizabethton is a beautiful downtown, featuring landmarks, distinctive features, and unique, old neighborhoods, which offer rare insights in the city’s past.
Whether we realize it or not, Elizabethton has an important and unique role in the economic and social development of our community. It’s where our commercial, cultural, and civic activities are concentrated. And, if we are to grow and maintain our vibrancy, we must make the most of our assets — our cultural and recreational opportunities, our sense of place, pride in who we are, what we have.
We need to realize the importance of Milligan College and what it can mean to our community. Also, Sycamore Shoals State Park on the western edge of town is an asset, just as the Tweetsie Trail and downtown walking and bike trails. Why not an art trail?
We have so much to offer as a community, and we think entertainment venues such as the Bonnie Kate and the Friday evening events the second Friday of each month is a good place to start and to add to.
We see a city on the move and we say “thank you” to those in charge of spurring the movement.

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