Almost 200 pack Tryon econ meetingPublished 9:38pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Tryon’s weaknesses named included the lack of sidewalks and bike trails, downtown businesses being only on one side of the street, the lack of small industry, lack of marketing, turnover of town managers in government, no sense of community between the wealthy and lower-income residents, lack of lodging, lack of children’s activities, residents not buying locally, lack of affordable restaurants and in-fighting among residents and business owners, among others.
Ideas for opportunities Tryon has to maximize its strengths included creating a marketing plan and vision for downtown. Some said the town should “dress up” vacant buildings by displaying art in the windows with other ideas of using vacant spaces as incubators or pop-up stores for small businesses that need a start.
A Nina Simone festival was mentioned for worldwide attention, as well as the possibility of creating a book/literary/writing festival. Other ideas included painting all the buildings’ trim the same color and creating zoning for main buildings downtown to be for retail-only stores.
Creating a barter and bucks program was mentioned, as well as the rails to trails idea and consolidating all county governments and policing.
Gayle Lane said residents could pledge to patronize two Tryon businesses every week.
Participants named several threats to Tryon, including big box stores, people not realizing the low prices of local stores, the national economy, Nina Simone statue debt and I-26 bypassing Tryon. It was also mentioned that nearby towns of Columbus, Landrum and Saluda are threats in terms of tourism, but the other towns could also be an opportunity if the towns work together.
At the close of the meeting, participants wrote down contact information so ideas and information can be shared. Further meetings will be planned after organizers review the surveys and determine the next steps.
“This is just a start, folks,” Millard said. “This is a great opportunity that we have created.”