Downtown center

Ambitious plans to convert the former American Legion Hall in Southwest Harbor into the nucleus of a new performing and fine arts center in the downtown are generating considerable buzz. Any time a small community can increase the number and quality of true destinations in its business district, the entire town benefits.

To become a reality, the effort is going to require a true partnership on behalf of all interested groups and individuals. There are a lot of moving pieces here. If a major roadblock arises at any one juncture, it may be enough reason to scrap the entire project.

The town’s government may be called upon to approve related infrastructure improvements. Nearby businesses, along with lending material support, may be asked to weather sustained disruptions while construction is under way. Voters may be asked to consider any associated zoning or regulatory changes that might needed.

So far, the prime first step, the purchase of the American Legion Hall and relocation of that organization to a site nearby, is proceeding full speed ahead. Fortunately, it appears the idea’s backers have the time, energy and drive to make it happen.

While architect’s drawings and conceptual plans may be impressive, it is going to take a lot of hard work on the ground, and widespread support from all factions in the community, to make the Village Center for the Arts a reality.

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