For college students who have an interest in historic preservation or the Main Street program, there is no better place to intern than Washington, said Kevin Taylor.
Taylor is the interning for Downtown Washington Inc. this summer.
A 2010 graduate of Francis Howell North, St. Charles, Taylor will be a senior at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) this fall. He is majoring in historic preservation.
SEMO is the alma mater of Bridgette Epple, executive director of Downtown Washington Inc. Epple has visited students at SEMO to talk about working for a nonprofit, in which tasks change daily.
“I knew I really was interested in Main Street, and my professor said (Washington) was the best place to go to if that’s what you’re interested in,” said Taylor, adding that he has always loved history.
“I like knowing where we’re from, how we got here, what worked and what didn’t and how we’re building upon it,” he said.
Taylor will spend a total of 400 hours, or 10 weeks, completing his internship this summer.
So far, he has split his time working on several projects, including helping rehab the former Downtown Washington Inc. office building at the corner of Second and Jefferson streets. The building, referred to as “The Cabin” is being transformed into a guest house.
Working on the guest house has been one of Taylor’s favorite projects. He said he feels lucky to be able to work on the oldest-standing structure in the city.
Taylor also has been working on an Ameren incentive program for the old downtown post office, where Downtown Washington Inc. has it offices. Groups and organizations can make their properties more green with incentives from Ameren, he noted.
Later this month, Taylor will make a presentation at the Missouri Main Street Connection’s revitalization conference in Kansas City.
Epple said she hopes Taylor can network at the conference, where people from across the state who share the same interests will meet.
Taylor also is working to create a “fact sheet” on Downtown Washington Inc. projects so other organizations have a jumping off point if they want to implement a similar program.
Additionally, he has spent some time writing a Union Pacific grant. Grant recipients will be announced in February.
“So much that I’ve learned you can’t learn in a classroom,” Taylor said. “It feels good to learn and to be able to show what I can do.”
Taylor has created two powerpoints for the downtown group — one to introduce historic preservation to school-aged children and another to use at a Washington Historical Society event.
Although Taylor isn’t 100 percent sure what he wants to do when he graduates, he said he’d like to be a Main Street director or start a restoration company.
Coming from a larger town, Taylor said he’s soaking up the “sense of community” Washington has.
“I love Washington,” he said. “Everyone is really friendly and everyone seems to know everybody and I like that. I’d like to work in a small community (like Washington).”