After pausing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping revitalize downtown Tyler is meeting again.
The pandemic brought many of the Heart of Tyler subcommittees close to “dissipating,” said President Kaitlyn Shultz.
“Once we moved past (the pandemic) and now that people are more comfortable to get out and to meet and gather, our committees have started to resurrect, thankfully,” she said.
Heart of Tyler was founded more than 30 years ago, Shultz said. It is the only nonprofit organization in the city dedicated to revitalizing downtown.
“We are a very unique organization for that reason,” she said.
Four subcommittees make up Heart of Tyler: organization, economic vitality, promotions and design. These subcommittees are like the organization’s “pillars” that guide its purpose, Shultz said.
The design subcommittee is dedicated to keeping up the aesthetic, safety and appearance of downtown. The chairs are John O’Sullivan Sr. and Mary Alice Guidry.
“What (the design subcommittee) is trying to do at this point is to get together a group of volunteers who are interested in enhancing the look and safety of downtown,” Shultz said.
A big project a couple of years ago was painting fire hydrants, light posts and accessibility railing in the downtown area.
“That doesn’t seem like it’s a big project as far as the look of downtown, but there’s research that says that even the smallest of updates … can make a difference in the way that people perceive how busy or how safe or how kept downtown is,” Shultz said.
At the first meeting since its pandemic hiatus, the design subcommittee discussed “temporary beautification,” she said.
This would include things such as making temporary repairs to sidewalks that are “busted up” with cracks to make them look better and safer, Shultz said. Members are still coming up with ideas, but an artistic idea that was discussed is putting mosaic tiles in the cracks to draw attention to the hazard as well as add beautification.
All of Heart of Tyler’s committee meetings are open to the public. Shultz said the group is working to get the word out about meetings so residents who care about the revitalization of downtown know what is going on.
Meetings are always posted on the Heart of Tyler Facebook page. People also can call (903) 593-6905.
The committee also is beginning again to hold all of its events, Shultz said. The organization’s annual fundraiser Black Tie Bingo is set Oct. 22.
The group also has scheduled a leadership interest social Nov. 17 for community members to learn more about the organization and its leadership roles.
“Our people are so eager to get back out there and get some stuff done because COVID just really took the wind out of everybody’s sails,” Shultz said.
To learn more about the committee, visit heartoftyler.org .