Things are looking up in downtown Plymouth

A BUSY DOWNTOWN IS a good thing economically. It is also a good sign when downtown is busy with building activity and projects.

That’s the case from one end of Plymouth’s Mill Street to the other.

It starts at the far western end of East Mill Street, where last week the abandoned, dilapidated building at 31 E. Mill St. was demolished.

The city, through the Redevelopment Authority, had tried for several years to find a buyer who would rehabilitate the structure, but to no avail. It finally became painfully obvious that the building had just too much structural damage and decay to make rebirth economically feasible.

Instead, the city has demolished the building and the small empty lot has been sold to the developers of the Plymouth Tap next door. They plan to turn the space into an outdoor beer garden.

The Plymouth Tap itself is abuzz with activity these days, as the pace of the renovation of the former Casey Jones Lanes/Club 101 property is quickening, with an end finally in sight.

It has been a long, slow process with unavoidable and unexpected setbacks delaying the process, but it appears the venue will be back in business before too much longer.

In the meantime, the process has finally begun to convert another abandoned building, 133 E. Mill St., into what should be a major addition to downtown.

Again spearheaded by the RDA, the building will eventually become a cheese center/history museum/store that will bring together the city’s cheese heritage in one place for locals and visitors alike.

That phase of the project still lies ahead, but work has begun on converting the upper floor of the building into apartments, as well as a garage/elevator addition to the rear of the building as part of the apartment development.

Finally, last week the City Council approved an electrical upgrade for the area below the municipal parking ramp at the east end of East Mill Street. This will include new wiring and enhanced, brighter lighting for better visibility and security.

The work will be paid for out of money the city has set aside for the eventual redevelopment of the area between Mill Street and the Mullet River. Those plans include new park and playground equipment for the Stayer Junior Park, a project the Lions Club is taking the lead on, with the help of city officials.

Club and city officials have gotten the ball rolling on that upgrade, which should come to fruition before too long.

Beyond that, the city has grand plans for the entire area based on the Mullet River Corridor study completed last year that will be a major shot in the arm for all of downtown, adding another attraction to draw visitors and customers to the area.

All of these efforts will help add vitality and charm to an already charming and vital downtown.

One common thread in all of these efforts is the participation and, in some cases, the leadership provided by city officials.

City Hall is a key part of Plymouth’s downtown, but too often in the past the people who have worked and governed out of City Hall had worked in cross purposes to the vitality and health of downtown, or had hindered or stood in the way of those efforts.

It is refreshing and encouraging to see City Hall not only getting behind downtown, but taking an active hand in helping downtown survive and thrive. Continuing those efforts will benefit the city and everyone who lives here.

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