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Made on Main: Supporting Innovative Community Transformation Projects

January 29, 2019 | Made on Main: Supporting Innovative Community Transformation Projects | 

Goldsboro, North Carolina was one of the seven communities selected to receive a Community Action Grant.

In 2018, OneMain Financial and Main Street America (MSA) launched Made on Main Street, a grant program that provided seven $25,000 Community Action Grants for innovative, community impact projects led by inspirational local leaders. The program focused on Main Street member communities in seven states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.

The 2018 Made on Main Street projects selected represent a variety of creative and practical community transformation approaches. In each of the grant-awarded communities, OneMain Financial hosted a community celebration block party event that brought the communities together and showcased each of the projects. The final projects are scheduled to be completed by Autumn 2019.

Mesa, Arizona

mesa_AZ_kim_skinner.jpgPhoto Credit: Kim Skinner Photography

Project: Makerspace Expansion
Main Street Organization: RAILmesa (Retail, Arts, Innovation, Livability Community Development Corporation)

RAILmesa is helping support the expansion of Heatsync Labs, an all-volunteer run community makerspace located in downtown Mesa, into a larger, mid-century downtown storefront. For the past seven years, Heatsync has served as a resource for technical expertise and as an incubator for fledging maker businesses. Heatsync’s extensive offerings include 90 open hours and 27 free classes and meetups per month and free access to tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines, welders, and lathes. In addition, Heatsync members host a weekly coworking day, which typically attracts 10-15 entrepreneurs. Their grant is going toward preservation-appropriate building improvements, tools and equipment, tables, chairs, instructor time, community engagement efforts, and a mural.

Brunswick, Georgia

MadeonMain_Brunswick_GA_Tamara_Gibson_Photography.jpgPhoto Credit: Tamara Gibson Photography

Project: Streetscape Transformation
Main Street Organization: Brunswick Downtown Development Authority/Brunswick Main Street

Brunswick Downtown Development Authority will be transforming the streetscapes in its three commercial areas in an effort to address the near-unanimous public call for streetscape improvements. Their Made on Main Street project focuses on new bicycle racks, trash receptacles, and 85 planters in their three commercial areas. As part of this project, Brunswick Downtown Development Authority is forging new relationships with community members, civic leaders, and local businesses to implement these improvements. The organization is also thinking long-term: they will track trash reduction after the streetscape installations and hold seasonal re-planting events for the community to come together and change out plantings season to season.

Charlotte, Michigan

Photo Credit: Henwood Studio
Project: Pocket Park
Main Street Organization: CharlotteRising

CharlotteRising and the City of Charlotte are transforming a downtown vacant lot into a collaborative, multi-functional pocket park that draws on experience-based design to activate the space. Features will include green living walls, a flexible performance space, game tables, umbrellas, trees, a fireplace, hanging string lights, and a gateway art piece. More importantly, CharlotteRising is bringing together multiple local partners to develop consistent, collaborative, community-led programming. Local schools, downtown businesses, an art gallery, the local library, and the local hospital have all been involved. To best understand the pocket park’s impact, CharlotteRising will be measuring qualitative and quantitative metrics following its completion.

Goldsboro, North Carolina

Photo Credit: DGDC

Project: Downtown Murals
Main Street Organization: Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation

Goldsboro, N.C., is well-known for three things: its U.S. Air Force Base, its strong connection to the arts, and its African-American music heritage. To celebrate all three and to showcase its recent inclusion in an African-American Music Trail of North Carolina, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation (DGDC) and the Arts Council of Wayne County has spearheaded a multi-pronged community impact project, which includes six semi-permanent crosswalk murals and two permanent wall murals in downtown Goldsboro. In the RFP and mural creation processes, DGDC prioritized the hiring of regional artists and sought input from city officials and the public in the selection of the mural designs.

Painesville, Ohio

Photo Credit: Erin Renee Photography

Project: Community Gathering Space
Main Street Organization: Downtown Painesville Organization

Painesville, Ohio, is one of the state’s most diverse communities, and the Downtown Painesville Organization (DPO) celebrates this diversity with its “Everyone is Welcome” campaign, which encourages all residents, visitors, and new partners to come to downtown. In support of these efforts, DPO is creating a new public space right outside of its new downtown office location in Painesville’s historic Gage House. This greenspace and eating area will offer a new, beautiful place for community members and make DPO more physically accessible to the public. This project also creates an opportunity for DPO to bring in new partners for potential future programming and events.

The Dalles, Oregon

Photo Credit: Natalie Lucci Photography

Project: Restored Neon Signs
Main Street Organization: The Dalles Main Street

The Dalles Main Street is harnessing the power of neon to make their downtown a more vibrant—and eye-catching—destination. The Dalles Main Street and the National Neon Museum are partnering to light up downtown with restored historic neon signs strategically placed on various downtown properties, giving travelers from the freeway and pedestrians a glimpse into a colorful past. As part of this project, interested downtown property owners will apply to host one of the six restored neon signs. To generate continued community interest and attract visitors, the project partners also plan to create a walking tour app focused on the history of the signs and of the downtown district.

Prosser, Washington

Photo Credit: Natalie Lucci Photography

Project: Downtown Beautification
Main Street Organization: Historic Downtown Prosser

Historic Downtown Prosser (HDPA) is partnering with the City of Prosser, multiple teams of volunteers, and local business owners on a downtown beautification project that will beautify and help connect public places in the city center. With the grant and HDPA funds, 10 new trash receptacles will be installed, 28 light poles will be painted, 25 street-level planters will be planted with native grasses, and 31 hanging baskets and brackets will be purchased. Partnerships and community engagement are featured prominently in this project, with HDPA, city staff, community members and business owners all participating in a volunteer beautification weekend in September. Volunteers and HDPA will continue to steward the planters and the new infrastructure to sustain this effort.