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2019 Great American Main Street Semi-Finalist Spotlight: Chillicothe, Missouri

March 15, 2019 | 2019 Great American Main Street Semi-Finalist Spotlight: Chillicothe, Missouri 

In just a few weeks, we’ll announce the three winners of the 2019 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) at the Main Street Now Conference in Seattle, Washington. In anticipation of the GAMSA reveal, we’re highlighting each of the 10 GAMSA semi-finalists on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every day until the #NOW19 conference.

Semi-finalists are selected by a national jury of community development professionals and leaders in the fields of economic development and historic preservation. These communities exemplify the power of the Main Street Approach® to transform traditional downtowns and neighborhood business districts.

Main Street Chillicothe • Chillicothe, Missouri

Year Founded: 2001 | Population: 9,668 | Square Blocks in Commercial District: 16

Chillicothe’s annual Farm-to-Table Awards Banquet is a partnership with the local Farmers Market and a fundraiser for the development of the arts district scheduled for completion this year. Photo credit: Jaime Saucedo

“Chillicothe is steeped in a unique cultural heritage as the Home of Sliced Bread. This ingenuity continues to play a huge part of the innovative spirit of downtown Chillicothe as the citizens of the community are ever-striving to bring about positive change. The people are the reason why downtown Chillicothe is thriving today and why the vacancy rate has dropped from 25% fifteen years ago to 3% today. This willingness to never plateau has brought about incredible change in our downtown and has transformed us into a center best known for our flourishing arts scene and unique entertainment.”

– Ben White, Director of Main Street Chillicothe

Located in the rolling hills of north central Missouri, Chillicothe has become a thriving small city with a vibrant retail and restaurant scene. Main Street Chillicothe has transformed their downtown into a coveted place to live—with more than 200 residents and a waiting list to join the flourishing downtown scene.

Residents and visitors continue to be drawn downtown thanks to Chillicothe’s walkable atmosphere and green spaces. The downtown boasts three parks, wide sidewalks for walking and running, and a weekly farmers market. Quickly becoming known as the “City of Murals,” over 23 historic murals welcome visitors to downtown. A full year-long events calendar also keeps residents and visitors coming back. Events include adult activities, like a Wine Walk and Tunes Under the Moon Concerts, as well as family friendly activities, like Sliced Bread Day, a Farm to Table dinner, and more.

A return semi-finalist, Chillicothe has continued to generate impressive economic gains. Their downtown now supports 985 employees, and they’ve added 213 new jobs and 54 new businesses since 2002.

Fun fact: Chillicothe is where sliced bread was born. It was commercially sliced for the first time in 1928 by local bakery owner Frank Bench and Otto Rohwedder, who invented the machine.

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Check back next week for our next GAMSA semi-finalist spotlight!