On Nov. 2, InVision Hazard held their annual meeting at City Hall. Many community members as well as their steering committee gathered to discuss the upcoming year and hopes for change in the Queen City.
“We have a city government that’s all new, and is ready to hear what we say and wants to work with us and a city government who is trying to do things properly and sustainably and that isn’t always easy and isn’t always popular,” says Les Roll. “I’m not willing to look at my son Silas in twenty years and say we didn’t do everything we could to help downtown be what it could. I owe it to him and myself, and owe it to my community who raised and nurtured me.”
InVision Hazard is a group of passionate individuals who are making active efforts to breathe life back into Hazard, particularly downtown and Main Street. In addition to many beautification projects they have helped organized, such as the Riverwalk, they have also orchestrated many events downtown to bring traffic to the area; for example, Thursdays on the Triangle, where local artists, farmers, vendors and musicians could celebrate their talents within an open green space this past summer. InVision Hazard also hopes to persuade more businesses to inhabit downtown; alone, Kentucky River Area Development Districs (KRADD) relocating brought 36 employees downtown on a daily basis.
Soon after InVision began these projects, Main Street life once again came to a halt when the Grand Hotel devastatingly burnt, closing a large portion of the street. The City of Hazard plans to proceed with partial demolition, removing the top two floors to stabilize the building, essentially meaning there is a chance for rebuilding on the footprint, and getting downtown back open.
Once the area reopens, River Arts Greenway desires to collaborate with InVision Hazard to paint murals on the sides of buildings in downtown Hazard, potentially leading to a “mural walk”, where community members and visitors could use a map to walk the streets of downtown, like so many before them, and admire the murals they wish to paint on these forgotten, historic buildings. One idea is to allow Hazard residents to be involved in the paintings, using a paint-by-numbers style outline, making this a community effort to relive what once was a booming, vibrant city.
Erin Joseph can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.