published: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Wohl and Todd make a difference
When U.S. 27 expanded to become a major north and south route in Sebring, there was a natural move by businesses to open or relocate along the busy corridor. This led to a drain of businesses from historic downtown.
The economic slowdown made the situation worse. At one point there were more empty buildings than businesses.
Things are beginning to change thanks to the work and enthusiasm of many people.
Gene Brenner, a potter and former art teacher, was a leader in seeing the historic Circle's potential, buying and restoring several of the historic buildings.
City councilmen John Griffin and Bud Whitlock were instrumental in creating Sebring Thunder, the popular annual autumn car show.
The Community Redevelopment Agency has spearheaded several initiatives designed to draw tourists and new businesses to downtown Sebring, including grants to help new businesses with move-in costs.
The News-Sun thanks all the people who are focused on reviving downtown Sebring.
There are two individuals who deserve special praise: Casey Wohl of Gray Dog Communications and Lora Todd, of DogTown, USA on the Circle and Heartland Riders Association.
Wohl took on promoting downtown Sebring in February 2010. Since then, she leads a merchant's brainstorm and networking meeting every month and helps create and organize regular events downtown every second Friday of the month.
For example, in honor of Mother's Day, a "Girl's Night Out Wine Walk" is planned on the Circle for Friday, including fashion shows -- mothers and daughters; mothers and dogs - among many activities. Boutiques, galleries, stores and restaurants will be open from 4-9 p.m. Participating merchants will provide complimentary glasses of wine.
Wohl's work brings people downtown, and helps businesses organize together in a way they did not before.
Todd is an active volunteer with many organizations, including Heartland Riders Association. She is a key organizer for the annual Run to the Heartland, an event that attracts thousands of participants.
The weekend saw Todd's latest brainchild: The Heartland Tailgate Extravaganza. Organized with the essential help of Gabe White and White's Transmissions, Todd said Monday the event went well, despite iffy weather. "There was a steady flow of people all weekend," Todd said. "The best part was all the families there. The kids loved the trucks, sitting in tires and getting their pictures taken."
The point here is, brainstorming only goes so far. In order to make changes we have to make things happen. Eloquent speeches have their place, but in the end, progress only comes with rolled-up sleeves and sweat.
We thank all the individuals who donate their time reviving downtown Sebring. Special kudos to Wohl and Todd who think outside the box and make their ideas come to life.
Thank You (by: Blindman~ - 5/9/2013)
Thank you Mr. Brenner, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Whitlock, and special praise to Laura Todd, and Casey Wohl for everything you have done for downtown.
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