Caldwell makes bid for Main Street Project

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CALDWELL, Texas Talk to just about anyone in Caldwell, and they'll tell you their town has a lot to offer. Now officials want to get the word out in a big way.

Brenda Van De Walle is the director of the Burleson County Chamber of Commerce. She and others recently formed the Downtown Caldwell group. Their goal is to get the Texas Historical Commission to recognize them as the next Main Street Program.

"Our big plan is to revitalize downtown Caldwell," said Walle. "From an economic standpoint as well as aesthetic. And to be the heart of the community of the City of Caldwell."

Walle said the town has rallied to support the idea. Already, private businesses are lining up to donate funds to the project if approved.

The Texas Historical Commission doesn't offer money, but Walle said they'll be provided with plenty of support and training. Their first step will be to hire a manager to run the program, Walle said.

"The first year is a lot of training," said Walle. "And they have a staff, architect and marketing director that will help the city and the manager promote downtown Caldwell."

Jessica Armstrong with Armstrong Caperton and company Real Estate said this is something the town needs.

"We'd really like to see the community have more restaurants and shopping places," said Armstrong. "And just make it more of a destination for people to come and enjoy like people did back in the day and walk the streets with their families and do things like that."

Mark Groce owns Groce Home and Auto near Main Street in Caldwell. He said he thinks the program would be great for business and the town.

"I think it's good for everyone," said Groce. "I know sometimes people think it's only good for people who are located in the downtown area, but I think it's good for anything in the community if it's something that revitalizes and peaks people's interest."

The Commission selects only five cities each year for the Main Street Program. This year's decision is expected in October.