Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Belt: Revitalization Begins to Pay off for the Paseo Area

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Belt: Revitalization Begins to Pay off for the Paseo Area

Article excerpt

One of the most ardent redevelopers of The Paseo has been John Belt.

Belt has worked to get much of the property on The Paseo listed in the National Register of Historic Sites and personally invested in the property to preserve the character of the street.

"I have had a concept, with respect to the street, because of its unique nature and inherent charm, that it would make a perfect setting for an arts and cultural location for the city," Belt said.

"That has really worked out quite well for the street, and that is the direction it has taken. We now have a number of artists who make their studios on the street. With each passing year, that colony of artists expands." Belt said some of the artists have been involved or had studios on the street 15 years. He said some of those who formerly had studios on the street, but do not now, still are actively involved in The Paseo Artists Association.

The Paseo is "getting there," or beginning to reach its potential as an arts and cultural center of the community, he said.

"It is a natural for that. It is not that I have been the one who has brought it about. It is the artists themselves who really have an affinity for the area, that have brought it about." Artists and shopkeepers on The Paseo, though, pass on much of the credit to Belt for holding the property together and making the redevelopment possible.

"Well, I try to do that, and I try to see that it is made available for those purposes. That's the way I think it should be used, so naturally there is a tendency for people who are interested in that to have faith in the street," Belt said.

"Collin Rosebrook is a good example of that. Collin has a pottery studio there, and it is a beautiful studio. He is a very fine ceramicist." Belt said his interest in The Paseo was developed somewhat accidentally, starting in 1976.

"I am a lawyer, and the initial contact was brought about because a person on the street in a small restaurant there came to me for help. …

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