November 26, 2019 | Thanksgiving Inspiration | By Patrice Frey, President and CEO, NMSC
Last week, National Main Street Center Board Chair Ed McMahon and I visited Northern Ireland at the invitation of the Heritage Trust Network, a group that is dedicated to helping its members save heritage resources throughout the UK. Town leaders and heritage professionals gathered in Derry, Northern Ireland, to explore methods to strengthen their town centers in a way that embraces and leverages heritage resources. Ed gave a masterful speech in which he spoke about the power of the Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization, and the essential role of heritage buildings in town center and downtown development.
The days of economic development through “elephant hunting” are over, Ed reminds us. That is, the majority of towns will no longer be able to successfully recruit one big employer who will restore (or maintain) the health and vitality of their city. Instead, effective economic development in the new economy requires an incremental approach that makes extensive use of towns’ existing assets. Chief among these assets are our older and historic buildings. With their abundance of character, affordability, adaptability and location in walkable places, these spaces nurture economic growth by reinforcing the towns’ uniqueness and sense of identity.
I always find Ed’s speeches energizing and inspirational – and I know you will as well. You can view his keynote below and the accompanying slides here
If you’d rather read than listen – check out a few pieces Ed has written for the Center including The Main Street Approach: A Proven Economic Development Strategy
and Downtowns Matter
PS – My apologies for the very poor quality of the video!