By Rebecca Fiedler
The city of Waco was officially inducted into the Texas Main Street program Thursday. Wacoans of all ages, state dignitaries, local chambers of commerce and first lady of Texas Anita Perry gathered at the Waco Convention Center to celebrate the city’s downtown district, honoring its history and modern growth and progress.
“This distinction honors Waco’s rich history, architecture, and a downtown that has been transforming into a jewel of the city and the region,” said Bob Davis, president of the Waco Downtown Development Co.
The Texas Main Street Program is run by the Texas Historical Commission, and its purpose is “to provide technical expertise, resources and support for Texas communities in the preservation and revitalization of historic downtowns and commercial neighborhood districts,” as the program’s website states.
Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan said the induction of Waco into the Main Street program will be of great help to the Waco community.
“I already have two local groups who have expressed they’d like to get some help, and the Main Street program provides design experts and architectural assistants,” Duncan said.
A potential design for aesthetic changes to Elm Street was unveiled at the event, showing pictures of shops along the road with new greenery, decoration and masonry.
Perry spoke of memories she enjoyed from visiting towns across the state, and paid compliments to Waco, saying she is proud of the city. Waco is the last city Perry will ever visit on a Main Street induction tour.
“The Waco Suspension Bridge is an important symbol of both your city’s past and future,” she said. “Brooklyn, New York, has nothing on us.”
Perry said she feels the city of Waco has great energy.
“Being in the Main Street program makes Waco special,” Perry said. “Waco has more than its share of dedicated citizens.”
Perry has traveled across the state since 2001 with the Main Street program, inducting 49 of 86 Texas cities in the program. Perry visited Waco Thursday after having been to Caldwell to induct that city.