Main Street Blog

Main Street Blog

September 23, 2021 | Community Spotlight: Disaster Preparedness in the Allapattah Neighborhood of Miami, Florida | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, Main Street America |  Commercial corridor in Allapattah's district. Photo credit: The Allapattah Collaborative CDC In honor of National Preparedness Month, Main Street America’s National Park Service Main Street Community Disaster Preparedness and Resilience Program has been working with their partners and local community leaders to host Takeovers on MSA’s social channels. This week, we welcomed to our Instagram Stories the Allapattah Collaborative CDC, a Main Street program in Miami, ...
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September 23, 2021 | To Rebuild America, Invest in Great Places |  As Congress moves towards passing legislation to fund an historic investment in traditional infrastructure, Main Street America has joined the Percent for Place Coalition in calling on Congress and the Administration to invest in Americans’ quality of life, access to opportunity, and connections to each other through civic infrastructure. “Civic infrastructure means the places that boost our economy, increase our social and economic resiliency, support our health and well-being, and strengthen our democracy: parks, trails, Main Streets, town squares, libraries, and recreation centers," ...
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September 22, 2021 | Nominate Today for the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award |  Nominate an outstanding volunteer in your community today for the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award (STACVA) ! Sponsored by CivicPlus , STACVA honors extraordinary public service volunteers in localities under 25,000 residents. This annual awards program spotlights the urgent need for citizens to fill critical civic volunteer roles including local government boards and councils, volunteer firefighters, EMTs, and the many advisory committees that support key local government functions. Localities represented by the top three nominees will receive cash awards ...
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September 21, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Funding Main Street Recovery through American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Dollars | By: Kelly Humrichouser, Director of Government Relations, Main Street America |  Aerial shot of Downtown San Marcos. Photo courtesy of San Marcos Main Street. Photo credit: Andy Heatwole Main Streets and small businesses are benefiting from the strategic use of ARPA State and Local Recovery Funds through the advocacy and innovation of local leaders and decision-makers. An influx of recovery funding to states, counties, and cities through the American Rescue Plan Act has huge potential to spark the economic recovery of downtowns ...
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September 17, 2021 | We Need Your Help! Sign Regulation on Main Street | We need signs. We can’t get along without them. They give us direction and needed information. As a planned feature, a business sign can be colorful, decorative, even distinguished. However, far too often signs are oversized, poorly planned, badly located, inappropriately lit, and altogether too numerous. This can result in sign clutter that dominates the downtown landscape, overshadowing buildings and trees, eroding community character, ruining scenic views, degrading historic ambiance, and blighting entire neighborhoods. Main Street America is looking for examples of Main Street ...
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September 16, 2021 | Great American Haunted Main Street: Storytelling Contest |  Does your Main Street have a ghost story to tell? We want to hear it! Tell us about your downtown’s strange sightings, haunted buildings, or other paranormal activities for a chance to be named a 2021 Great American Haunted Main Street. Share your commercial district’s ghost stories with us by submitting a short essay and a few high-quality photos using this form . A panel of spook-tacular Main Street America storytellers will judge the submissions and announce the winners in the Halloween edition of our Main Street News on October 28! Learn more about the deliverables, ...
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September 15, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Preparedness Month on Main Street | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, Main Street America |  September is National Preparedness Month , a month dedicated to raising awareness at the community and individual level about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies. For Main Street communities across the country, disasters from record-breaking hurricanes to quick-spreading fires are all too common. To address the need for more resources to support commercial district practitioners in disaster preparedness and recovery, Main Street America (MSA) launched the National Park Service Main Street ...
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September 13, 2021 | Act Now! Advocate for the Main Street Movement | Over the past several months, Congress and the Biden Administration have been working toward the passage of two infrastructure packages, which may have a profound effect on development priorities for our communities over the next five years. As the second infrastructure bill takes shape, Main Street America is advocating for the utility of infrastructure programs for Main Street programs and projects that are important to our communities. Read on for key steps to take today to advocate for Main Street. After the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March, attention shifted ...
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September 9, 2021 | Pandemic Recovery Efforts in Georgia: Progress on the Georgia Main Street Innovation Grant Program | By Jenna Temkin, Manager of Marketing & Outreach, Main Street America Left: Grassroots Coffee in Thomasville, Georgia receives a grant through the Main Street program's ecommerce matching grant program. Photo courtesy of Thomasville Main Street. Center: Maria Elias with her mural "Unidos," for the Athens Arts Alley. Photo courtesy of Athens DDA. Right COVID-19 has posed significant challenges to Main Streets throughout the country, and the pandemic continues to test downtown districts today. To support Georgia Main Streets throughout ...
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September 9, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Beyond COVID - Workforce as the Next Big Challenge for Main Streets | By: Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Main Street America | In 1989, the New York Times ran their now-famous (for us Main Street old-timers) article entitled “When Wal-Mart Comes to Town.” Featuring Wal-Mart’s arrival to Independence, Iowa, this article predicted the doom of small-town downtowns when big business competitors move into commercial districts. Twenty years since the article’s publication, I think we would all agree that—like so many competitors and economic shifts before—Main Streets found their competitive advantage by offering ...
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August 31, 2021 |  Announcing Back to Biz | Main Street America is proud to partner with Howard Schultz, the emes project, CreativeLive, and a coalition of leading businesses and non-profits today to announce the launch of  BackTo.Biz : a free online learning program created to help small businesses develop knowledge and skills to accelerate their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.   Featuring a collection of 400+ individual video lessons, articles and tools from a diverse and renowned set of innovative entrepreneurs, the free BackTo.Biz program is designed to help small business owners expand their knowledge and skills on a wide range of topics, ...
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August 30, 2021 | National Black Business Month Spotlight: The Four Way and L. May Creations | Left:: A server at The Four Way. Center: A loyal customer making a donation to The Four Way. Right: Community members play games at a recent Juneteenth event outside of L. May Creations.  In honor of National Black Business Month, we spoke with two Black entrepreneurs in UrbanMain commercial districts: L. May Creations in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and The Four Way in south Memphis, Tennessee. The Four Way, a soul food restaurant, has been a staple in the community for 70 years, and L. May Creations, an event space, is only a few years old. ...
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August 30, 2021 | Chicago INVEST South/West Update: Chicago UrbanMain Seeks to Create Local Design Guidelines |  A festival on the Chicago Ave. corridor in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago on August 7. Credit: Dionne Baux. The Chicago UrbanMain program has entered a partnership with the University of Chicago Urban Design Studio and University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Urban Planning and Policy School to support facade rehabilitation efforts in two districts in Chicago’s INVEST South/West Program . Emily Talen, Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago, will work with students at UIC and University of Chicago during ...
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August 26, 2021 | Main Street America Leadership Council Spotlight |   From upper left to lower right: Michael Wagler, Chair, Main Street Iowa; Gayla Roten, Vice Chair, Missouri Main Street Connection; Bill Fontana, Secretary, Pennsylvania Downtown Center; Committee Member Emeritus: Laura Krizov, Michigan Main Street; Larry Lucas, Colorado Main Street Program; Daniel Gutierrez, New Mexico MainStreet; Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street Program; Jenny Boulware, Main Street South Carolina; Ray Scriber, Louisiana Main Street; Mary Helmer Wirth, Main Street Alabama What makes the Main Street Movement so powerful is its grassroots network of support ...
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August 25, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Intentional Placemaking and Open Streets Initiatives—How to Boost a Community During Uncertain Times | By: Jenny Sue Stubbs ( @mywetumpka ), Former Director of Main Street Wetumpka and Author of My Wetumpka |  Inspired by a Helen Keller quote, the "Together, We Can" mural was painted by local art students and featured on HGTV's Home Town Takeover. Photo courtesy Jenny Sue Stubbs Decades of deterioration made the historic business district in Wetumpka, Alabama, a pass-through for motorists, creating a dangerous and unappealing landscape for residents and visitors. But when the town became a designated Main Street community ...
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August 19, 2021 | Staff Spotlight: Kaity O'Reilly, Education Coordinator | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, Main Street America | Earlier this summer, Main Street America welcomed Kaity O'Reilly to the team! Kaity joined the organization as our new Education Coordinator, where she provides key assistance with the operations of the Main Street America Institute and the Main Street Now conference. You've probably seen her name in our emails and blogs quite a bit this summer. Are you preparing to submit a session proposal to the 2022 Main Street Now Conference ? Kaity is coordinating that. Are you interested in attending the virtual 2021 ...
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August 18, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Improving Building Codes for Main Street | By: Larry Lucas, Main Street Architect, Colorado Main Street Program, and Joe Lawniczak, Downtown Design Specialist, Wisconsin Main Street |  Many common building renovations in our Main Street communities have become too complicated and expensive for property owners to tackle—in no small part because of the past 100 years of layered building codes. These complications have resulted in countless buildings sitting vacant, underutilized, or deteriorating. This issue has been under the rug for too long. Earlier this year, a special task force was created specifically to examine building ...
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August 13, 2021 | Now Online: Join us at the 2021 Community Transformation Workshop |   The Community Transformation Workshop , an essential component of the Main Street America Institute, is moving online for 2021. This immersive, interactive three-day experience will be filled with educational sessions and exercises aimed to provide participants with advanced tools and strategies to address complex revitalization projects and initiatives through the lens of the refreshed Main Street Approach, with a strong emphasis on Economic Vitality and COVID-19-related recovery trends and applications.   The workshop will include instructional sessions, ...
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August 12, 2021 | Announcing Jess Zimbabwe as New Vice Chair of Main Street America Board |  Please join us in welcoming Jess Zimbabwe as the new Vice Chair of the Main Street America Board. Jess Zimbabwe (AIA, AICP, LEED-AP) has served on the Board since 2018. In that time, she has played a key role in supporting the organization’s growth and success through her expertise in equitable city design, planning, and revitalization. “In our work at MSA, Jess has brought an unmatched knowledge and passion for city-making,” said Patrice Frey, President and CEO of Main Street America. “I look forward to continuing to work with her as Vice Chair as we strive ...
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August 12, 2021 | Community Spotlight: Main Street America's Field Team Gets Back on the Road | By: Jenna Temkin, Manager of Marketing and Outreach, Main Street America |  Kathy tours downtown New Hampton, Iowa. From left to right: Kathy stops at Quilter’s Window, a destination quilt shop. Center: Kathy and program staff had lunch at the Gathering Place with local pork BBQ sandwiches and ate in an outside alley. Credit: Carol Lilly. After over a year of being grounded at her home office in New Hampshire, Main Street America’s Senior Director of Revitalization Programs and long-time Road Warrior Kathy La Plante finally got back on the road to visit ...
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