The news of the State Loan and Investment Board approving the grant for Project Enterprise has been on the tongues of community members. Speculation about the company — which one it is, why they are moving, if they’ll last — trickles into many conversations.

It’s exciting. The new company will make a big impact on the community.

Those responsible for bringing Project Enterprise to Sheridan deserve kudos for the effort involved. They moved the needle on the “economic diversification” conversation.

A concern, though, exists regarding the future of downtown Sheridan. As the area around the new interchange and now Project Enterprise grow, local leaders must remain diligent in emphasizing the strength and appeal of our downtown.

Sheridan’s downtown certainly isn’t the only business sector of town worthy of attention. But a vital downtown reflects significantly on a community. Shuttered shops and closed doors lessen a community’s appeal. Rundown buildings in need of renovation make recruiting and retaining businesses harder. Credit is due to those property owners investing in the renovations of their spaces. As the Project Enterprise building gets underway, the gas station near the North Main Interchange is constructed and plans for another elementary school and a sports facility percolate among local entities, we must maintain our deep commitment to downtown Sheridan.

Without the vibrancy of our downtown, events like the beloved Third Thursday Street Festivals, Sheridan Farmers Markets and Christmas Stroll wouldn’t be the same. In fact, they may not exist. Part of what makes all of those events successful is the commitment shown by our business leaders and the love residents show for our downtown.

As the city expands its footprint, economy and tax base, we must ensure our downtown not only survives, but thrives. It is literally at the heart of our community.