A planning session Wednesday to identify what needs to be done to make the 2010 Main Avenue reconstruction project a success was a great start.

It was encouraging to see community leaders and business owners from throughout Park Rapids interested in the project. The downtown reconstruction and revitalization needs the broad support of the community - downtown business owners can't do this on their own.

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Those attending the meeting were a creative bunch, with ideas from themes with caterpillars to activities involving youth and incorporating art into the alleys during construction.

As each idea was written down on a sticky note and stuck to a wall, 10 categories were made to place each of these ideas in.

The categories include: alley, parking, rest areas/bathrooms, appearance, transportation, promotion, theme, communication, signage and miscellaneous.

From here, people will begin to work in each of these areas and committees will be formed to prepare for the downtown project.

We want more people from outside the downtown area to be a part of these committees. Downtown Park Rapids is the heart of the community and the entire city will benefit from the revitalization.

The hosts of the planning session have been instrumental in getting the community rallied together so far: the Downtown Revitalization Steering Committee, Park Rapids Downtown Business Association, Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission.

We hope these organizations continue to play a role in the Main Avenue project. The ideas and leadership coming from people in these groups has been invaluable.

We have heard from other communities that have gone through a downtown reconstruction project and learned that planning early is key. We're on the right track there, with planning already underway.

As we jump into this project, we also must make sure to save some energy for next summer so we can keep things exciting throughout the project.

Good job, Park Rapids. We're on our way to having a successful, revitalized downtown.