TEMPLE — Downtown Temple is now part of a family of 89 historic Main Street communities in Texas. Temple officials said this will help them add new business and attract more tourists.
First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott spoke at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday at In the Mood Ballroom in downtown Temple, saying the Main Street designation determined by the Texas Historical Commission has already helped to pour in millions of dollars into towns across the state.
Temple received the official acceptance on Jan. 1, which means the city now has access to architects, experts and an online program, downtowntx.org, to continue their redevelopment plan.
Downtown Temple is hoping to attract all types of people of all ages, but especially heritage tourists. Community leaders said heritage tourists statistically stay longer in a location and spend more at restaurants and shops to get the full experience.
Director of the Temple Convention and Visitors Bureau Nancy Glover said it is about nurturing local businesses. She said business owner Kenny Martin is putting in a beauty shop on the first floor and apartments above in a building on Main Street and Avenue A.
Glover said it is more than just about attracting tourists. Apartment and lofts would bring more permanent dollars to downtown.
"That would help us to become more of a 24 hour downtown and would bring in more retail, more restaurants and that kind of thing. So it's really kind of a chicken and the egg thing. It's hard to get people to come downtown without the retail and the restaurants but you can't get the retail and the restaurants without the people," Glover said.
Temple Mayor Danny Dunn said the revitalization process is already underway with The Hub, other retail shops, restaurants, spots like BJ's Brewery and even KCEN Channel 6 News.
They are hoping to revitalize the Hawn hotel and Arcadia theatre in downtown.
"And I know that the city gets called several times a week and what kinds of incentives we have for development in downtown Temple and so the city is ready, willing and able to help those businesses," Dunn said.
Local officials said they are in the process of redevelopment projects already costing about $30 million, including at Santa Fe Plaza.