When Brownstown/Ewing Main Street formed in 2008, volunteers involved in the nonprofit organization were reminded of the town, state and county celebrating their bicentennials in 2016.
At that time, one of the volunteers, Linda McCormick, said she wondered what the organization would accomplish by then.
That’s because the downtown areas of Brownstown and Ewing had several empty buildings. There were blighted areas and a limited amount of stores — and that was before two separate fires struck downtown Brownstown.
Also, the Ewing Depot looked like it would fall if a strong wind came through, and the old feed mill across from the Jackson County Courthouse was a safety hazard.
But now, those involved in Brownstown/Ewing Main Street can look at both communities with pride.
Several new shops and stores have popped up, areas burned by fires have been turned into parks and renovation of the Ewing Depot is nearly completed.
In other areas of Brownstown, a multiuse trail connects the fairgrounds to the downtown, the Jackson County History Center has added to its campus and the Jackson County Community Theatre has a new addition.
A lot has been accomplished, and it should be celebrated, McCormick said.
“You can look through the list of that Building Better Communities plan, and almost everything is checked off,” she said of the plan that was created early on for Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.
“I just feel like this year has been a year of celebration because when we started in 2008, we never dreamed it would be possible,” she said. “We took some huge projects and checked those babies off.”
McCormick recently attended a Brownstown Town Council meeting to thank the current members, who have played a big part in the projects, and previous council members involved in the early stages of Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.
Other individuals and organizations have stepped up to improve the two communities, McCormick said.
“I believe the progress that we’ve made over the past few years is a result of the way our community works together,” she said.
“We have all of the individuals and organizations that have kept on working for their goals, but we have had some planning meetings and come up with community goals,” she said. “The only way they could be achieved was with the entire community working together. We needed to have the synergy that comes from collaboration that we have. It has been like magic since then. It has really taken off.”
As 2017 approaches, the organization’s first task is to establish a beautification committee.
Anyone interested in being involved may attend a meeting at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at Joe and Sheila Reynolds’ home at 547 E. North Shore Drive, Brownstown.
Read the full story in Thursday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.