How to Triple Your Main Street Budget!

Learning Approach: Best Practices

| Sheraton New Orleans, Napoleon C | Posted: Monday, 3:15-4:30 p.m.



How to Triple Main Street Budgets

We did it and we're eager to help you do it, too! Hear how we went from a Main Street program focused on fundraising and events to one now recognized as the economic development catalyst for our city. We're working on a BID and a TIF; we've just received an NEA “Our Town” grant; we got CVS to alter its store design; we've spearheaded zoning changes; and we're just getting started! After our first five years as a Main Streets program, we were in a bit of a rut, spinning our wheels with lots of ideas but not a lot of action. We focused on the easier stuff: promotions and marketing and façade improvements instead of the tougher issues that the economic restructuring committee should have been addressing. Sound familiar? The key to our turnaround was our decision to hire an objective outsider to assess our vision and help us craft a strategic plan to make it happen. This one decision helped us gain new sponsors and stakeholders, triple our budget, hire a new staff member, attract community leaders to our board, and gain the credibility we needed to make change happen. Come hear about our journey and learn how you can achieve the same level of success.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Warning signs that you need help!
  2. How to select a partner
  3. How to use your strategic plan
  4. How to maintain the momentum

For more information contact:

Gin Wallace, Beverly (MA) Main Streets
Gin Wallace has been the Executive Director of Beverly (MA) Main Streets since 2007, following a career as a strategic planner and management consultant for Fortune 100 companies. Gin moved to Beverly in 2006 from the Virginia Highland neighborhood of Atlanta, and upon seeing Beverly's downtown, thought that it had untapped potential to become a destination community. She started volunteering with Main Streets and when the Executive Director's position opened up a year later, she got the job. Under her guidance, the organization created its Downtown 2020 Plan and has gained credibility as the economic development catalyst for the city. In 2010, she was named one of the “North Shore 100” by The Salem News for her work in advancing the visibility and success of Beverly Main Streets.

Kennedy Smith, Community Land Use and Economics Group
Kennedy Lawson Smith is one of the nation's foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and development, independent main street businesses, and economically and environmentally sound community development. After graduate school in architecture, Kennedy directed the downtown revitalization program in Charlottesville, Virginia, where her small business development work led her to create a retail market analysis methodology specifically for older commercial districts that is now used in downtown revitalization programs throughout the US. She joined the staff of the National Main Street Center in 1985, and in 1991 she became its director, a position she held for 13 years. During her tenure, the Main Street program was widely recognized as one of the most successful economic development programs in the US, expanding to a nationwide network of almost 2,000 towns and cities. In 2004 Kennedy co-founded the Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group, LLC, a private consulting firm that blends downtown development, land use management, and historic preservation disciplines into a cohesive approach to solving community development challenges. The CLUE Group helps civic leaders and developers craft dynamic retail development strategies, cultivate locally owned businesses, strengthen community development programs and policies, and improve main street revitalization efforts. In March 2002, Fast Company magazine named her to its first-ever list of "Fast 50 Champions of Innovation" and in May 2004, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized her achievements with its President's Award. She was a 2005-06 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University, and was named one of the top 50 urban thinkers by Planetizen.