Austin's downtown is experiencing a facelift - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Austin's downtown is experiencing a facelift

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- Wednesday evening a handful of people turned out to tour renovated buildings in downtown Austin. It's part of the Main Street Project, an initiative to bring businesses back to the heart of town.

Austin's Main Street is usually busy with traffic, but up until 5 years ago many of those cars were driving on by, instead of stopping to shop.

"As the malls started to grow and urban sprawl, that sort of thing, it just became not necessarily the place to be anymore," said Sarah Douty, the Program's Coordinator.

It was at that time, Austin's Main Street Project became a reality. A group of volunteers decided to restore the downtown to how it once was, years ago. Douty said the project has helped the cities economy.

"Since we've started the project there has been over 5-million dollars of investment put into the downtown. We've seen a lot of businesses move into downtown or existing businesses expand."

The Bakery Lounge is just one of the remodeled establishments.

"Our bar needed facelift for a long time and we got it. We've had new faces come in and we've had a lot of very positive feedback," said Dixcie Lindberg, the bar's manager.

While local shops might be excited about the project, it seems the community is as well.

"It's a nice use of public and private expenditures. It's giving the city some control over the exterior of these buildings," said Lee Bjrondal.

Six housing units have also been created during the remodeling, with spacious rooms overlooking main street.

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