Hirsch would like to see downtown Harlan revitalized

By Nola Sizemore nsizemore@civitasmedia.com

February 20, 2014

Addressing the Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission at a recent meeting, Trish Langford Hirsch, of Cawood, asked if space at the Harlan Center could be donated for computer education classes and a small business boot camp.

Hirsch said, being a community minded person, she would like to organize these classes and offer them to adults in the Harlan County area.

“I see a huge need in the community to educate people and have updated equipment for them to use in the Harlan County area,” said Hirsch. “To me, for Harlan County to be successful you need to bring people in. Make it attractive.”

Hirsch suggested a program she saw being used in Marion, Va. where a small business boot camp was held and after eight weeks, those with a small business plans are given a $5,000 grant plus free rent for a period of time to any downtown business area that was vacant.

“What they are trying to do is promote their downtown,” said Hirsch. “I see a lot of possibilities for Harlan’s downtown. Look at the Artisan Center in Berea, Harlan could have the same thing on a smaller scale.”

Roger Fannin, acting chair for the meeting, told Hirsch she is “on the same wave as everyone in that room.” He told her the ideas she presented were “good” and the commission would like to see her business proposal “on paper” before any decision could be made. He also told her she might approach the Harlan Chamber of Commerce for their support also.

“We focus mainly on tourism,” said Fannin. “There is a chamber of commerce here and it is very active. I’d be glad to pass on any information you have to them. Your ideas sound very good. When you get something on paper contact Brandon (Pennington) and he can get that plan to me.”

Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, or on Twitter @Nola_hde