Winners for the 2019 President’s Awards Program were recently announced in Austin. For more than 30 years the awards program, sponsored by the Texas Downtown Association, has recognized outstanding projects, places, and people of Texas downtowns. This year, Corsicana claimed two such awards.
Corsicana's Main Street Program was awarded the 2019 Spirit of Downtown Award for their work with the Small Business Revolution Project under the leadership of previous Main Street Director Karie Denny.
“We are just so appreciative of all the hard work that everyone did, to come out and support their friends and neighbors to help the community grow.” said Lauren Bedsole, Corsicana's new Main Street Director.
Earlier this year, Corsicana was chosen as one of six finalists for season four of Small Business Revolution, an original series on a mission to revitalize small towns by making over small businesses.
Although Corsicana was not chosen as the show's winner, Bedsole says the city gained invaluable exposure and strengthened the city's commitment to promoting and supporting locally owned small businesses.
Corsicana native and president of Colonial Construction, Jamie Wyatt, had a vision for what could be done with the downtown property and worked with Denea Hudman, Executive Director of Quitman Development Corporation in Quitman, Texas, to come up with a dramatic change to the downtown. Together they worked many long hours in formulating a plan.
Colonial Construction and The Quitman Development Corporation were named “2019 People's Choice Best Economic Game Changer” for their small business retail incubator project at the “Shops at 107” building in historic downtown Quitman.
The vision from this public/private partnership not only started the downtown revitalization in Downtown Quitman, but also has brought life to a once dying and almost abandoned county seat.
The property located at 107 Lipscomb was once set for demolition and was completely gutted. That same property is now home to a small business retail incubator that currently has 15 individual retail vendors and more on the way.
“Recognition for such an award is a testament to the vision of Dr. Randal Bennett, President of the QDC, Denea Hudman – Executive Director of the QDC, JR Evans former Mayor of Quitman and the QDC board members Kevan Burroughs, Martha Scroggins and several others had at the time the initial conversation began.” Wyatt said.
“I am honored for my company to have been chosen to be part of such a much needed project. To have been awarded as “2019 People's Best Economic Game Changer” among 119 other communities is certainly an honor and we are proud of the Quitman community.”
“When I heard that Jamie Wyatt was interested in doing our downtown revitalization, I could not believe it, especially after I saw all the work he had done in Downtown Corsicana.” said Hudman.
“I am just so honored that he believed in what we were doing and came to our little town and made such a huge investment. The dynamic change that Jamie’s work has done has changed our downtown for generations. It is hard to believe that we have been working on this project since the fall of 2015.
This project did not happen overnight, it took so many people who believed in what we were doing and working together. Our community met 20 years ago to plan for this time and in the last four years; some of those same people are still getting to see their plans come to fruition. I am looking forward to many more projects in the future with Jamie.”
“We could not be more pleased as a board for Quitman to be recognized as an Economic Development Game Changer with the Texas Downtown Association.” said Dr. Randal Bennett, Board President.
“The public/private partnership between the Quitman Development Corporation and Colonial Construction not only helped to start the revitalization of our downtown, but also paved the way for our small retail business incubator located in the “Shops at 107” project. This would not be possible without our community and those who visit spending their hard earned money in Quitman.”
119 entries were submitted in 11 different categories from communities across the state. Due to the number of entries, the entries were divided up into two categories – Design and Achievement – with separate judging panels for each group.
The business partners are currently developing The Plaid Turtle Draft House, to be located above Taylor's Smokehouse at 211 S. Beaton St. in Corsicana, which will feature a large outdoor area for concerts and special events. It is scheduled to open later this month.
Their company, Colonial Realty & Development Group, is also launching a Hometown Hero program. They will provide exclusive real estate savings for military members, first responders, medical personnel, non-profits, educators, and government employees.
TDA was established in 1985 to connect and serve communities that are committed to downtown vitality. The organization is an independent, statewide nonprofit that represents cities and towns of all sizes, economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, local associations, small businesses, and individuals.
For more information about the President’s Awards or other programs of the Texas Downtown Association, please visit www.texasdowntown.org. Applications for the 2020 awards program will open in the spring.