Tom Tolen /

With many downtown Brighton businesses struggling in the wake of a Streetscape project that has the downtown torn up with construction activity, a group of merchants and business owners have joined together to form a new organization called “Believe in Brighton”.

Formation of the group, which is composed of approximately 60 downtown businesses, was announced at last Thursday’s City Council meeting by Ken Larscheid, who, with his partner Toni Reese, co-own The Running Lab on Main Street.

Larscheid and Reese say that Believe in Brighton was originally conceived almost a century ago, in 1927, when the downtown needed a boost, and the present generation borrowed from that theme with the 21st Century version. There were good things to come back then because Brighton changed from its status as a village to a full-fledged city the following year.

The current group recently took donations from its members and collected enough to have a professional website developed, that being Reese says when a person goes there on the Internet, they are directed to an interactive map with links to where every downtown business is located and how to get there, and clicking on further displays the ownership of the business type of business and other details.

Although Reese freely admits that not all the businesses will survive the upheaval - one already having announced it will be closing at the end of the month - she feels certain that the majority will survive. Reese says with the changes being made in evolving 21st Century Brighton, the downtown will gain from them and the new downtown emerging from the cocoon of creative organic evolution will ultimately thrive once again, as it has done in the past.

Photos: Top - the "Believe in Brighton" logo; bottom - an artist's conception of what the Mill Pond Park/West Main St. area will look like after the changes are completed