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National expert on revitalizing downtowns pays a visit to Herkimer

By JOLEEN FERRIS

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Many are not what they used to be, but they still have a place in our communities and still determine the pulse and health of the cities, towns and villages in which they lie. That is what a national expert on downtowns says about the city centers.

Teresa Lynch, with the Main Street Center of the national Trust for Historic Preservation, visited downtown Herkimer on Wednesday, giving businesspeople, community leaders and residents there ideas on how to restore it to its former glory.

"It still is the center of the community. I think more than anything the community itself is judged by the vitality of its core of the center district and when the downtown suffers, the entire community suffers. Yes, downtown may not have the same types of shops, businesses that it had in the past but there is a place for it," says Lynch.

The Herkimer Now Revitalization Committee brought Lynch to Herkimer on Wednesday. Her organization has spent the past 30 years helping communities revitalize roughly 2000 downtowns all over the country. She spent the day touring downtown Herkimer with the goal of identifying its possibilities, opportunities and needs.

Roseanne Weisser's family has owned businesses in downtown Herkimer for more than 60 years. Today's downtown is much different from the one Weisser remembers. She realizes that you can't always go back, but hopes that Lynch can help downtown Herkimer move forward.

"If all those people that said 'I remember when and I wish it was that way' would show support for this group, 'Herkimer Now,' it would be, it could be and maybe even better because everything changes and it's come full circle and I think maybe what's going to emerge might even be better than what we remember," says Weisser.

Next, Teresa Lynch will present the committee with an achievable, short-term plan to capitalize on downtown Herkimer, and restore it to the downtown that many on the committee remember. Lynch plans to share the initial observations from her tour with members of the Herkimer Now Revitalization Committee Thursday morning.

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