I know I usually tend to do a lot of criticizing on this blog but occasionally it behooves me to give credit where credit is due. Over the past few months Cobleskill’s Main Street has come a long way, and this is a really positive example of the power of grassroots coalitions of small business owners and citizens working together to build on their shared assets.
Beginning a few months ago, Cobleskill Partnership, Inc. committed $15,000 to a matching grant program targeted at downtown business owners for lighting, signage and façade improvements. Slowly but surely I began noticing the changes throughout the summer. Some of the more sorely needed improvements include the replacement of that awful corrugated steel paneling above Pizza Shack as well as the plain grey facade on the building at the north-west corner of Main and Union with faux-brickwork.
The long under-utilized space at the western corner of Main and Division will also be undergoing changes as the result of a joint effort between the property owner and SUNY Cobleskill. What once was just a strip of planted trees will now be a small commons area with benches and chessboard tables.
To the shopkeepers who have driven these improvements this summer, way to go! It is now time for village officials to step up and support these efforts by going after additional grant monies for more improvements, to attract new businesses and to implement long-needed streetscape improvements, not to mention bringing Village Hall back downtown.