Manchester’s Historic Downtown in the running to be named ‘America’s Main Street’ and win $25,000

The Board of Mayor and Alderman approved during a special call meeting Nov. 16 to apply for and accept a grant that would provide improvements to the downtown area and reimburse approved property owners 50% on applicable improvements.

The Appalachian Regional Commission grant would go toward improvements by the city to the trash receptacles behind city hall and irrigation systems in the downtown area.

If the grant is awarded to the city, private entities in the downtown area may then submit applications for improvements to be covered. The property owners would then spend the money and receive 50% of the approved costs in a reimbursement.

Alderman Ryan French said that the grant was similar to one that the city received in 2016 that from the state development district.

French said that this application was a really strong application and then the department contacted the city.

Alderman Bill Nickels voiced concern about the value in using the city’s portion in spending that would only serve to draw attention to an eyesore to try and make it look pretty, referring to the dumpsters and recycling center at the rear of CIty Hall’s parking lot. He felt that the city would eventually use that space for other purposes.    

Nickels later sent an email to the board saying, “I strongly voice disagreement for a permanent structure around our recycling dumpsters. First of all they should be moved from the square if they are that unsightly. And they are. We should put them behind the street department. Sorry for the inconvenience to the citizens. We train the citizens to be overly expectant, we could do away with them altogether and use the bins behind CCAP (Coffee County Administrative Plaza) as we are county citizens. By the way, only cardboard and aluminum is recycled consistently anyway. Much of our recycling goes straight to a landfill.”

He said another use to consider would be using that $30,000 to install Electric Vehicle chargers in the place of the dumpsters, creating repeat visits to our greenway, rec center and square. Use this money for economic development rather than a cinder block eyesore that will be torn down eventually. Wasteful.”   

The grant will provide $60,000 for public improvements to the city. The larger portion would go to private property repairs in the amount of $130,000 in capital agreements.

The Codes department was the department that applied for the grant and will be facilitating it.