Vacant Oneida downtown windows spruced up

Four months after the founding of the Oneida Downtown Business Association, the organization unveiled its newest project Nov. 25.

The goal of "Windows of Opportunity" is to help the Association's mission of revitalizing downtown. Vacant windows were dressed with different themes in order to improve their look and to bring attention to the availability.

"We're trying to change the perception of downtown," said Terry Karst. "We're trying to dress up downtown with everything we do."

The idea originated from a similar project that Shannon Crandall came across on the Internet. Crandall believed that if she could get everything donated, that would get the ball rolling.

According to Karst, the Association, made up of around 35 business people, is working to give people a reason to visit downtown.

Patty Kielbasinksi added that she thinks that sometimes people forget that there are businesses downtown.

"I think the perception is that there's nothing here," she said.

Part of the goal of the group with revitalizing the area is to fuel the local economy.

"It's keeping people here and money invested in the community," Kielbasinksi said.

All three admitted that while "Windows of Opportunity is a step forward, there's still a lot more work to be done.

"It's a huge endeavor. It's going to take years to solve all the issues," Kielbasinksi said.

Some future possibilities include working with the Madison County Historical Association and setting up a walking tour.

For now though, the Association is slowly moving ahead, focused on making downtown something that meets the needs of current residents.

"The common thing people will tell you is that any downtown is dead. The misconception is that we're trying to bring it back the way it was," Karst said. "We're trying to bring it into the twenty-first century."

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