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Herkimer Community Works to Revitalize Main Street

A devastating shooting and then months later, flooding. Herkimer has undergone a lot of hard-ships within the past 9 months. But that hasn't stopped some members of the community from banning together to regroup and revitalize the area.
A devastating shooting and then months later, flooding. Herkimer has undergone a lot of hard-ships within the past 9 months. But that hasn't stopped some members of the community from banning together to regroup and revitalize the area.
A group called Herkimer now is working hard to build Main Street back up. Their goal is to bring business owners to the street and then bring customers to the stores, all to wipe away the negative memories of the past year.
If you walk down Main Street you'll see store front after store front, most of which are vacant.
"One of our goals going forward this spring is to work on the storefront adoption we want to take some of the empty store fronts, work with the land lords, spruce them up, show what they can be,” said Kathy Penree who volunteers for Herkimer Now.
But one man decided not to wait and took a chance on Main Street, despite the building conditions.
"A mess, it was a mess, it was horrible but we put a lot into it, cleaned the floors, cleaned everything, got new equipment, there was a little bit here but we put a lot into it,” said Peter Allen, Manager of The Pizza Shop.
Allen opened The Pizza Shop just last month. He spent about 20 thousand dollars fixing up the vacant building in hopes others will follow suit.
"Just seeing empty buildings on Main Street, you know, we figured put something in somewhere, maybe inspire someone else to start adding in and going from there,” says Allen.
A main focus of the volunteers of Herkimer Now is fixing up the old Glory Days building. The windows have been boarded up since the shooting back in March.
"It’s a hole in the heart of the community right now,” says Penree.
Which is why students at Herkimer Elementary School have been painting murals to cover the boarded windows.
"The students really remember what happened there because I would just say to them ok, we're going to be putting these on the building on main street where the boards are kind of getting icky and old and they told me exactly what happened in that building so, I think as a whole we're hoping that this puts a different memory on that building,” said Elementary Art Teacher Heather Wheeler Stapf.
"So, by bringing the children's innocence of the murals to that spot and covering it up and making it a more positive and pleasant thing to look at it I think it'll help to heal the community,” says Penree.
The murals are painted on wood and covered with shellac to protect them. They’re being unveiled this Saturday during the Herkimer Holiday Stroll going on from 10 to 4 on Main Street.

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