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Editorial: Main Avenue will be revitalized before we know it

Very soon we'll be looking at a brand new Main street and revitalized downtown Park Rapids. The anticipation is building and it finally seems within reach.

However, first we'll have months of construction that might try our patience at times. We'll have to continue thinking about the final outcome.

Water leaks and sink holes have been popping up this summer on Main, illustrating the need to replace the infrastructure now. Construction can't come soon enough. Reconstruction is slated to begin Aug. 2, with some preliminary work starting the last week in July.

To kick off the construction, the Downtown Business Association is sponsoring a free community picnic from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22 on the first four blocks of Main to generate support during the renewal project.

Aang, from the television series Avatar and the new film, "The Last Airbender," will greet fans at Pioneer Park, courtesy of Arvig Communication Systems.

Entertainment at Pioneer Park will include the following: Fran Gack, Ben Ranson, Northern Light Wind Quintet, Alabaster Falls and Northern Light Opera Company.

Nate Luetgers will do caricature drawings and the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office will be doing Kids IDs. There will be live radio coverage as well.

The first 200 kids who eat at the picnic will receive a sand pail and shovel they can use to dig for prizes in a giant sand pile. Kids through age 12 are asked to sign up from 5 to 6 p.m. and the dig will start at 6 p.m.

Hot dogs and hamburgers, chips, cookies and soft drinks are on the menu. Other beverages and treats will be available from downtown restaurants.

A brief groundbreaking ceremony is planned at 4:45 p.m.

Bring a camera to capture before and after picture of historic Main street. Visitors are invited to pick up the new Positively Park Rapids Destination Guide, including a map of the area featuring the best places to shop, dine and play.

We hope everyone will attend.

Things are looking up. Business owners are optimistic. This promotion is a great way to bring the community downtown. We can't wait to see what downtown will be like once work is completed.

The end is nearing. It will be a long time before construction is needed again. Let's go into this with a positive attitude. We'll be pleased with the outcome.