Editorial: One chance for a first impression

Feb. 22, 2014 @ 11:26 PM

With familiar construction fencing in place, we’re poised to see McGregor Hall rise up from a prime corner lot of downtown Henderson.

The renderings of what it will look like are intriguing. To hear Embassy foundation representatives explain how it can operate whets the appetite. Possibilities are as varied as the colors in a rainbow.

Our area is filled with talented actors and actresses. The civic center, churches and Rollins Auditorium have long been their home to showcase their craft, and that will continue. This facility, part of an overall scheme becoming Breckenridge Commons, will be another component of the goodness Henderson has to offer.

No matter how magnificent the structure, the acts brought in or the local talent displayed inside, Breckenridge Commons will need something else. It’s going to need downtown Henderson.

Even if there are no adjustments to the downtown landscape and offerings, the one-stop learning center of Perry Memorial Library and McGregor Hall can still do very well.

But Henderson, and Vance County’s economy, can capitalize immensely when McGregor opens. This isn’t a saving silver bullet, but it can be a piece in the puzzle.

The nearby strip of Garnett Street in downtown is inherently primed for a boost. It will see extra traffic as a result of the performance hall.

Whatever lures are chosen to be there is up to business owners, developers, and the recruitment and guidance of city and county entities. As the land is being prepared for the foundation of McGregor, so too should the heart of Henderson be prepared.

Waiting until 2015 to take action would be folly.

Our downtown has several buildings begging for a coat of paint. It has open spaces craving tenants. And it already has a collection of places that visitors would find of interest.

No matter the condition, every city’s downtown is an asset. And we think especially so for a community of about 15,000. How that asset is treated, nurtured and grown is up to the people.

Let’s not wait until McGregor is complete. Plans and work need to begin now. Our appearance will be important to new guests.

As the old beach song confirms, first impressions are lasting impressions.