The primary goal of this project is to engage a broad spectrum of Harlan County residents in the creation of a strategic plan for utilization of two downtown buildings held in the public trust. The Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College (SKCTC) will work with the Harlan Tourism and Convention Center, Harlan County 2020, the Tri-Cities Main Street Program, the Harlan County Community Foundation, the Judge Executive’s office, and other community organizations and volunteers to develop a plan for the renovation and reuse of the Belk Building in downtown Harlan and the Rowlett Furniture Building in downtown Cumberland.
This project expands opportunities for residents to participate in community development processes and will result in plans for the renovation of two key downtown properties as potential host sites for industries related to creative placemaking. These properties are the focus of a POWER proposal, for which this project lays the foundation and provides strategic direction. Project partners will contract with BLDG, a design and consulting firm based out of Covington, Kentucky, that will provide facilitation of community meetings and produce the resulting planning documents. BLDG has previously worked with the Kentucky Arts Council and communities throughout Kentucky to provide tools regarding the use of the arts to reinvigorate struggling economies. Many communities have secured national creative placemaking grants as a result of these collaborations.