Main Street Searcy, a volunteer-based non-profit organization, has made strides in updating downtown Searcy, raising its appeal to the community. Amy Burton is at the center of the action with her role as executive director of the organization, which works to enhance the historic downtown by providing design, organization, professional activities and economic development. Burton has worked with Main Street Searcy since 2005, having grown up in Searcy, moving away for a few years and later returning her way back to her hometown.
Burton said she has been able to build relationships with the citizens and businesses of Searcy by being present and supporting other organizations.
“It’s their hometown too,” Burton said. “If you support them, they’ll turn around and support you.”
Junior Sarah Barnard, one of Main Street Searcy’s intern, said she has seen the relationships Burton has formed first-hand. Barnard said her favorite part of working with Burton is watching her interact with those around her.
“When she walks in, everyone knows her,” Barnard said. “It gives you small town feels.”
Burton said she is motivated to help improve the downtown Searcy area because she wants there to be a connection within the community.
When Burton was growing up in Searcy, she said people were less likely to frequently travel, which led the citizens of Searcy to form more of a community. Burton believes there is an improved quality of life that comes from shopping local and knowing where your products are coming from.
“I am sentimental, and I see the need for preservation,” Burton said.
Senior Kendra Christopher, former Main Street Searcy intern, said what she learned the most from Burton was the power of thanking people. Christopher said Burton emphasized how important it is to recognize the people who take time to do things for you.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into every event and you should always send a thank you note,” Christopher said.
Both Barnard and Christopher said they can see they value in Burton’s efforts to improve the Searcy community. Christopher added that during her time at Harding, she has seen the perception of downtown Searcy change in a positive way.
Burton said she too has been able to see change in the downtown area. The town, she said, is starting to become more reflective of the Searcy she grew up in.
“We’re coming full-circle,” Burton said. “It’s a lot more like it was 20 or 30 years ago.”