Second ‘Heart of Alpine’ business open house set for Saturday
March 16th, 2017 under Community
By JIM STREET
ALPINE – After a successful “Heart of Alpine” downtown business open house last month, many businesses said they wanted to do it again, perhaps monthly.
A second iteration, “Heart of Alpine Spring Celebration,” will be Saturday, March 18, marking the end of Spring Break for most area schools.
Art galleries, restaurants and shops will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the historic downtown area.
Many will offer sales, dining specials and other attractions including refreshment and entertainment.
The idea came from the Alpine Downtown Association, created last fall to address social and economic potential of the downtown district and to foster economic development.
The association of some 50 interested merchants and other supporters has formed committees working on attempting to renew efforts toward a quiet zone, tax abatements for those who invest in improving downtown properties and helping make the Amtrak Depot downtown a cultural center.
A quiet zone would seek ways to prevent vehicles and pedestrians from crossing the tracks in front of an oncoming train, reducing the need for frequent blasts from the train’s horn.
Some businesses have spent large sums to improve downtown buildings, only to be hit with big tax increases. An abatement could provide some relief to them and encourage others to do the same.
And Amtrak is scheduled to complete construction next week on providing handicap access to the outside of the building and making rest rooms complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
At the center of town at 5th Street and Holland Avenue, the depot is in an ideal spot to be a cultural center.
Some members have said the association should not be just about events, per se. But many feel having the Heart of Alpine promotions help get the word out about the association and the need for spicing up downtown activities.
The promotion includes businesses on both sides of the Union Pacific Railroad. In the past, the tracks have provided a delineation between the “Anglo” community on the north and the “Hispanic” community on the south.
“We have two cultures but we are one community,” ADA President Brad Obbink said.
Note: Jim Street is secretary of Alpine Downtown Association and a principal in its founding.
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