The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

La Harpe Envisions Main Street Marketplace

by Kate Van Stolen, PHRCD
Program Coordinator

Underutilized and dilapidated old buildlings present a challenge for many small towns in the United States. For several years, buildings may sit empty, invite vandalism, bring down property values, and discourage businesses from coming to town.

The City of La Harpe however, is meeting this challenge head-on.

According to Hancock County Economic Development Executive Director Belynda Allen, the town of La Harpe is on the right path to support business growth by participating in the Brownfields community-Wide Assessment Grant managed by PHRCD.

"Because of this grant experience, we are learning why it is important to take ownership of these buildings that are standing in disrepair in our communities and to be proactive to find ways to use them and develop them," stated Allen.

This month a building reuse plan designed by Vandewalle & Associates (paid for by the grant) was presented to the City of La Harpe for 116-118 Main Street (north of the La Harpe City Park).

The plans show a concept for a tiny market business incubator space complete with gathering places for the community to socialize.

The plan demonstrates how entrepreneurs would be able to set up a small shop with minimal expense to try out their new business ideas before moving into a more permanent space within the town.

"Many folks would be very interested in using this tiny market concept.

"The entrepreneurial spirit in Hancock County is very strong," commented Allen.