This article can be filed under the “be careful what you wish for” heading. The row between the Franklin Main Street Program and many of the downtown merchants is unfortunate, but predictable. A few years back, merchants were enthusiastic about reconstituting the Main Street Program that had fallen by the wayside. I didn't share that optimism. The downtown merchants were and are, capable of making their own individual and collective decisions for promoting their businesses. Creating a government entity creates an additional barrier to entrepreneurial flexibility. At the time, I argued that if we were having difficulties promoting joint business ventures, why did we think a layer of bureaucracy would solve that problem?
Theoretically, the Main Street Program should be working to improve the business climate and in the process - make itself obsolete. What are the odds of any government program working toward its own demise?