Opening Plenary - Cobo Conference and Exhibition Hall

Sunday, May 18
Cobo Conference and Exhibition Hall

The newly renovated Cobo Conference and Exhibition Hall in Downtown Detroit provides a perfect backdrop for the opening plenary of the 2014 National Main Streets Conference. The general session—which approaches the fervor of a political convention—includes a warm welcome from the host state of Michigan, entertainment by Detroit musicians, future-focused remarks by the National Main Street Center’s president and CEO Patrice Frey, the presentation of the coveted 2014 Great American Main Street Awards, and an inspiring and provocative keynote address by nationally known revitalization consultant Donovan Rypkema.

Donovan Rypkema“Main Street—Right from the Start” is the title of his remarks, and no one knows Main Street communities better than Don Rypkema. He has worked with the National Main Street Center since it was first established in 1980. His presentation will focus on the immeasurable impact that Main Street has had on downtown revitalization approaches and the current place-based economic development strategies. Additionally, he will discuss findings from recent Main Street impact analysis study his firm has conducted in Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Michigan.

Donovan Rypkema is principal of PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development consulting firm. The firm specializes in services to public and non-profit sector clients who are dealing with downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures. In 2004, Rypkema established Heritage Strategies International, created to provide similar services to worldwide clients. He was the 2012 recipient of the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s highest honor.