Students present ideas for revitalization in downtown Harlan

Published: Jul. 12, 2019 at 7:06 PM EDT
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The University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University students spent three months studying downtown Harlan for an intern multi-disciplinary project, through the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK).

CEDIK specialists say the project is the second they have done in Kentucky downtowns.

The Harlan revitalization ideas were presented to Harlan Tourism representatives on Friday morning.

Specialists say all four students have different skills and backgrounds, which added to the Harlan revitalization ideas through preservation, architecture, landscape architecture, and graphic design.

"Each others' work is able to complement each other, and then everybody focused on their individual skills, to work collaboratively together. To, support these different opportunities and support these different evaluations," says Ryan Sandwick, Community Design Specialist for CEDIK.

Some of the ideas were a multi-million dollar, or hundreds of thousands of dollar, long-term ideas. One of those was re-working Highway 441, or a permanent stage.

Other ideas were simply painting mini-murals, fixing awnings, or cleaning up old bricks on downtown structures.

The ideas coincided with what the Harlan County Tourism staff hopes to achieve.

"It was really exciting for us. One of the things we really appreciated was they asked for planning documents. So, when we submitted our strategic plan for tourism to them, some of their designs that we saw today reflected some of our priorities," says Laura Adkisson, Downtown Development Coordinator for Harlan Tourism.

Tourism directors say the projects are not in progress and are simply suggestions using real-life examples.