Which came first, the chicken or the egg, is a thought-provoking question considered for centuries. Charlotte Pressler, a professor at South Florida State College, has an intriguing idea for downtown Sebring that considers both to boost the downtown core.
Pressler, who lives in a historic house downtown, is asking the Community Redevelopment Agency to do more to help citizens revitalize homes in the city's historic district. She believes such revitalization goes hand in hand with making the entire area a bigger success.
The CRA will consider her suggestion at a visioning session and we're glad they're going to consider it. It makes sense that a strong downtown also has appealing neighborhoods that make people want to live in the historic districts.
Some of Sebring's historic homes have been renovated and are wonderful additions to the city's downtown charm, but plenty of other properties are hurting. Foreclosures, abandoned houses and residents who are upside down in mortgages and unable to make renovations add to the recipe of some neighborhoods on the decline - instead of the opposite.
Pressler wants the CRA to make it easier for people to buy and renovate these historic homes. She said that in other places where the downtown is a success, so are the historic neighborhoods that surround it. One feeds off the other.
It's difficult to know just how this would work and if it's possible for the CRA to provide the help needed to make it happen, but it's certainly worth looking at. Plenty is being done and spent to make the downtown a special place. Improving the neighborhoods - or at least providing better incentives to do so - seems like a great idea.
A lot goes into revitalizing a downtown area and we're impressed with what the Sebring CRA has done so far. Perhaps this extra effort for the homes surrounding the area will be another big step in finding the success so many people want and have worked so hard to attain.