In 1999 when the Centerville Public Square was no longer the center of commerce and activity, where it had been for generations, the Hickman County Economic and Community Development Association (HCECDA) was formed to target downtown revitalization as a key project.
Faced with the daunting task of returning and maintaining vibrancy to downtown, the group of volunteers went to work on recommendations to solve problems and find funding.
Their first project was to improve lighting on the Public Square. This was accomplished in 2002 with a grant through USDA Rural Development. This revitalization grant coincided with the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s decision to reroute Highway 100 straight through the Square. It was at this same time that the county’s government decided to move nearly all of its Courthouse offices – judicial system, mayor, register, elections, trustee, etc. – to a new facility two blocks away. The county Archives and the nonprofit Historical Society moved into the vacant main-floor offices.
In 2003, Historic Downtown Centerville was chartered as a nonprofit corporation of volunteers. Its members include citizens, merchants, the Centerville mayor, the HCECDA executive director and the newspaper editor. Elections to the 17-member board are held each February.
With changing demographics and a struggling downtown economy, it was decided the former Hickman County Courthouse would best serve the area by refurbishment of the Courthouse into a history and cultural arts center. A site to hold craft workshops, theatrical and musical productions, community meetings, conventions and weddings, educational activities for all ages, and an arts and craft gallery for exhibitions.
It is the desire of this group to serve the citizens of Hickman County by creating an aesthetically pleasing and revitalized Centerville Public Square for future generations to enjoy. The group’s Mission Statement reads as follows:
“Historic Downtown Centerville will create a guiding and nurturing environment that will establish the Old Courthouse on the Public Square in downtown Centerville as the historical, cultural, commercial, recreational, and living center of Hickman County.”
Held on the first Monday of each month, HDC, Inc. meets at 4:00 pm in the Hickman County Chamber of Commerce office on the square. The public is welcome to attend.