We love what's happening in Purdy

Thursday, May 12, 2011

If you haven't visited Purdy lately, it's time you paid the town a visit. Over the past year, a transformation has taken place in the heart of the city's downtown. The revitalization process is still taking shape, but there's enough progress being made to impress anyone who visits an area that was once delapidated and empty of any business.

Ed Mareth is spearheading the process through his visionary Project Genesis organization. He has renovated a circa-1881 building on Washington Street that is located across from the Purdy Post Office. Three of the four business spaces are now occupied. The east part of the building houses three companies, including Pixelscopic, LLC, AgriEconomics, LLC, and I-Look, LLC. Mareth's Project Genesis offices occupy another part of the building, and now the Utopian Bean coffeehouse and cafe is set to open next Friday in the building's west side.

There are plans to build a new post office and demolish the old building to create a new square for Purdy. Another impressive addition to the downtown is an expansive community garden, which when completed, will provide a beautiful outdoor gathering place and real focal point for the town. When finished, those travelling into Purdy on Highway C will have a clear view of the garden and the newly refurbished Project Genesis building on Washington Street to the north and a view of the Purdy R-2 campus and city park to the south.

As DREAM Initiatives begin in Cassville and Monett, it's exciting to realize that Purdy is already engaging in its own community revitalization project. The guiding principle behind Project Genesis says a lot about what is underway in Purdy. As stated on the non-for-profit organization's website, "the mission of Project Genesis is to grow an economic base in the community of Purdy by partnering with entrepreneurs to develop new local businesses." Project Genesis' endeavors are "devoted to the socio-economic success of individuals, enterprises and the community and region as a whole," and the organization stands firmly upon the principles of faith, education and economy through hard work and a bold vision for Purdy's future.

In my opinion, Cassville and Monett would be wise to take a look at what's going on in Purdy and use the effort as inspiration for their own planning initiatives. Purdy's effort is working because it is guided by an inspired vision, private investment, community buy-in and a sincere interest in restoring the city's history while planning for future growth and development. All of those elements are in place in Purdy, and I, for one, am impressed by what I see.

Lisa Schlichtman