IL Main Street Conference: 2021 Sessions



    Illinois Main Street
    Conference: Sessions

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Exploring Evergreen and Timely Topics

We offered attendees a wide range of topics focused on the expertise and needs specific to Illinois commercial districts. Below, explore the event schedule and session offerings ranging from supporting entrepreneurs in your district, structuring and funding your revitalization program, creating impact with downtown promotions, and much more.

New! Several sessions now include links to many of the speaker presentations.

Schedule

Jump to: Wednesday, November 3   |  Thursday, November 4  |  Friday, November 5



Wednesday, November 3


Registration Opens

5:00 p.m. | The Warehouse 200 at 200 East Douglas Ave.

Once you arrive in Jacksonville, check in at The Warehouse 200 for the conference. Grab your badge, program and other goodies to get started with materials in hand.

Registration will be open at Warehouse 200 on Wednesday, November 3 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and at the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St. on Thursday, November 4 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.



Director Meetup

6:00 p.m. | The Little Stove 56 N Central Park

For local Main Street organization managers and directors. A chance for you to meet and greet with each other, connect and get to know your fellow Main Street leaders.


Welcome Reception

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. | The Warehouse 200 at 200 East Douglas Ave.

Join us for an evening of appetizers, refreshments and connection with community revitalization leaders from across the state. Our conference program kicks off with welcome remarks from our hosts in Jacksonville, a celebration of our work over the year, refreshments and live music. Come prepared to make friends and get revved up for revitalization!



Thursday, November 4


Registration Opens

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Once you arrive in Jacksonville, head to the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St. to check-in for the conference. Grab your badge, program and other goodies to get started!

 

Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St.

Start your day with an energizing continental breakfast at Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St.


Welcome

9:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside Room

Join your revitalization colleagues to kick off a day of connecting and learning with a message from Patrice Frey, President and CEO of Main Street America.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Main Street America is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and has participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 30-year history. As President and CEO of Main Street America, Patrice Frey oversees the organization’s work, offering technical assistance, research, advocacy, and education and training opportunities for Main Street’s network of approximately 1,800 members across the nation.

Diagnosing Your District

9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

Have you ever wished you could “measure” a business’s appearance and/or storefront? Wanted to quantify “first impressions” without judgment or taste issues? With an elusive ROI, can business be graded or given a score which is measurable and achievable? In this session, you will utilize a diagnosis toolkit to evaluate businesses, both brick and mortar as well as online presence.

Speaker: Amy Meadows, Principal, Windows Matter

I Hate Fundraising! Removing Anxiety & Boosting Board Participation

9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside

This session will help you respond to the age-old statement “I’ll do anything, but just don’t ask me to fundraise!” Even the most reluctant board (or committee) member can participate in the many tasks toward raising the necessary funds to operate your local revitalization organization. The trick is asking people for money is only part of the job. Everyone can do his or her small part towards larger fundraising goals. Lessen anxiety and generate participation by asking board and committee members to undertake defined tasks. The session will include a mock 20-minute training session about the many tasks needed to raise funds that you can replicate in your own organization, including a take home template.

Speaker: Donna Ann Harris, Principal, Heritage Consulting, Inc.

Illinois Main Street Community Application Workshop

9:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St.

For all communities interested in joining the Illinois Main Street program in 2020-2021, this application workshop is a mandatory step. In this workshop, we’ll review the baseline requirements for Illinois Main Street program participation as well as the process by which programs are evaluated upon application and annually. In addition, you will hear about the benefits of the program and ways to stay involved even if you do not pursue membership.

Speaker: Norma Ramirez de Miess, Vice President of Revitalization Services, Main Street America


Year-Round Placemaking: Creating Outdoor Spaces Even in Colder Months

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside

Being in a four-season state, Illinois Main Street communities face weather-related challenges every year. But plunging temperatures, gray skies, long nights, and hibernating plants and animals don't mean WE need to hibernate, too. Winter can be like any other time of year - if people are out, everyone wants to be out! Strategies like blocking the wind, capturing the sun, incorporating color, and creating comfortable seating can help create outdoor spaces people want to be in, no matter what season. In this session, join Lindsey Wallace, MSA’s Director of Strategic Projects and Design Services, to be inspired with ideas for how to create safe, fun, and comfortable outdoor spaces all year round.

Speaker: Lindsey Wallace, Director of Strategic Projects & Design Services, NMSC

Community Supported Businesses as a Development Alternative

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

Population declines, retirements by business owners, and growing internet purchases have pressured leaders in many downtowns especially in small communities to find new ways of financing essential main street businesses. One technique growing in popularity is for residents to pool funds and hire a paid manager to help start or reopen a closed business such as a grocery store or restaurant considered vital to local quality of life. This session examines the use of this investment approach, how businesses are organized, and keys to successful operation based on experiences in Illinois and other states. Materials from a recently published Guidebook to Starting a CSE will be presented.

Speakers: Norman Walzer, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs; Sean Park, M.S. Program Manager, The Value-Added Sustainable Development Center at Western Illinois University

Don't Stop Believing – How Persistent Advocacy Can Lead to Big Outcomes

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

Do you sometimes feel like you're banging your head against the wall? Like you're the change leader in your community, but everywhere you turn you are faced with naysayers online, NIMBY residents, stubborn elected officials and have no allies on your side? Oftentimes it feels like it would just be easier to let someone else do it for a while. In this session you will hear why walking away is not the answer. How true, big change can happen, brick by brick, block by block, and most important, person to person. You will hear from a former alderman and mayor, on how citizens in his community engaged him from being a consistent "no" vote on the City Council to becoming a champion for the downtown. You will hear details on specific steps and programs the community adopted which led to historic investment and activity in Quincy's downtown.

Speaker: Kyle Moore, President, Great River Economic Development Foundation and former Mayor, Quincy, IL

How to Make Your Economic Development Director Your Best Friend

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside

How do you get a seat at the table with your City officials? Your mayor? Your City Manager? Or Your Economic Development Director? Be their best friend. Prove your worth with (yes) favors, conversations over coffee, and being well...a great friend. Learn how to help your credibility and your value in City hall by just being you, because you are the best advocate for your district.

Speaker: Meghan Cole, Executive Director, Carbondale Main Street

Lunch on your own

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Downtown Springfield

A map and list of suggested restaurants is available at registration.


The Power of Main Street

1:30 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside Room

The Illinois Main Street program has a twenty-five year history of creating and sustaining reinvestment in communities across the state based on the Main Street Approach. This framework empowers local leaders through a combination for retail strategies, historic preservation, entrepreneurial development and organizational effectiveness. As we kick-off the conference, join a panel of experts for an insightful discussion led by Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton about employing this combination of tools to activate investment in your community.

Moderator: Juliana Stratton, Illinois Lt. Governor with Norma Ramirez de Miess, Vice President of Revitalization Services, National Main Street Center

Panelists: Amy Meadows, Principal, Windows Matter Design/Promotions; Donna Ann Harris, Principal, Heritage Consulting, Inc. Organization; Jonathan McGee, Deputy Director of Regional Economic Development (RED), Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity; Kyle Moore, President, Great River Economic Development Foundation and former Mayor, Quincy, IL

Revitalization Recognition

2:30 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside Room

We are pleased to celebrate success and present The Lieutenant Governor Revitalization Recognition. Highlighting projects, activities and events Illinois Main Street communities create and implement to advance successful work in Design, Organization, Economic Vitality and Promotions. Additionally, this Recognition honors an outstanding volunteer for their involvement in revitalizing their community through their Main Street Program.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Discussion: Using ARPA Funds in Your Community

3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. | Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are being distributed through multiple avenues including your city and county municipalities. This session provides examples of ARPA eligible uses, how downtown programs can work with their economic development partners to advocate for programs to help their residents, property owners and business owners and how to provide community wide perspective to help gain allies for ARPA municipal proposals.

Speaker: Bret Austin, Developer and Owner, All Phase Property Solution & Vice Chair, Adams County Board

Momentum on Main: Activating Development

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

Learn how Downtown Springfield, Inc. pulled together existing local resources and experts to create a new Economic Vitality program that generated excitement about their district's potential and, most importantly, laid out a clear pathway for previously untapped entrepreneurs, investors, and small-building developers to come together, network, and find assistance in filling vacancies. Learn how to assess your own resources and bring them together through one easy-to-follow and easy-to-manage program, attract new people to your organization, and develop a new list of business, investor, and developer prospects.

Speakers: Kayla Graven, Executive Director, Downtown Springfield, Inc.; Abigail Powell, Director of Business Development, Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance; a representative from IMS partner U.S. Bank

Planning for Success: The Key to Volunteer Recruitment

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside

Main Street organizations always have a need for volunteers. Volunteer recruitment can often turn into “who’s left”, rather than “who’s right”. Organizations have a lot to do, from running events to updating the website, and don’t forget recruiting and helping new businesses. Spending time to recruit volunteers is often done on an as-needed basis rather than through a plan. This session will give participants proven volunteer recruitment methods and provide them with the tools to develop a formal recruiting plan. We will also address volunteer retention, after all each volunteer we keep is one we don’t need to recruit!

Speaker: Travis Brown, Tactical Projects Leader, Rokusek

Downtown Residential Rehab Program: Activating Multi-Story Buildings

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St.

In 2015 the City of Quincy, The District & development partners saw a need to encourage private investment in renovating vacant upper floor rental properties. Although downtown street level vacancy was low, upper stories were not being utilized, with some buildings starting to deteriorate. Focusing on stimulating more residential development in the downtown not only resulted in improving historic buildings, but also increased property values and brought new 24/7 residents to live downtown, which enhanced other tax revenues.

Speaker: Bret Austin, Developer and Owner, All Phase Property Solution & Vice Chair, Adams County Board


Welcome to the Power of the Pen: How to Tell Your Story

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

Words matter, but in today’s technological world, the importance of writing is sometimes overlooked. With powerful writing, however, you can reach your intended audience and evoke the emotional response you desire. Learn how to reach the logos, ethos, and pathos with your words to effectively say and sell your message.

Speaker: Erin Tighe, instructor Lincoln Elementary School and Diversity and Equity trainer

Packaging Your Revitalization Program’s Worth

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside

This session will teach you how to use the reinvestment statistics that you should be collecting, and when leverage them to attract new businesses, gain financial support, attract new volunteers, impress elected officials, and generally use your stats to make your program more famous. We will talk about how to automate some of your PR tasks, so you can create a schedule to promote your town with 52 weeks of good news. We will sum up by showing some notable examples of how to use stats in your annual reports, annual meetings, volunteer recruitment, and business recruitment packages.

Speaker: Donna Ann Harris, Principal, Heritage Consulting, Inc.



Friday, November 5



Continental Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St.

Start your day with an energizing continental breakfast at Hamilton’s.



Strategy-Driven Revitalization, Part 1

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. | Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St.

The Main Street Approach guides revitalization across the 4 Points of promotion, organization, economic vitality and design, but all points should be grounded in an overarching district strategy based in market conditions and community input. In this session, learn about why a strategy-based approach is essential to successful revitalization efforts and how you can define Transformation Strategies for your district.

Speaker: Norma Ramirez de Miess, Senior Program Officer and Director of Leadership Development, Main Street America


Managing Your Online Presence

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

How confident are you that your digital brand matches your in-person brand? Does your organization make the most of the technology tools you already have? During this session we will discuss how to manage your online presence, from your website and social media to SEO (search engine optimization). We will talk about important trends to be aware of, and how you can maximize your time and effort. We will also leave you with some easy to use tools that can help you put your best foot forward as you navigate the interwebs!

Speaker: Travis Brown, Tactical Projects Leader, Rokusek


Incorporating Main Street in Planning Processes

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside Room

In 2016, Louisburg, Kansas, a rural community of 5,000 people located within the Kansas City metropolitan region, initiated a process to create its Bright Future Plan ─ a new community comprehensive plan to guide Louisburg’s future revitalization and growth. The Bright Future Plan explored key planning issues related to economic development, housing and neighborhoods, infrastructure systems, urban design, transportation, and parks and open space and, most importantly, its historic downtown commercial district. In 2018, the North Topeka Arts District (NOTO-North Topeka), a traditional commercial district located north of the Kansas State Capitol and Downtown Topeka, completed a revitalization plan focused on the arts, placemaking, Main Street revitalization and historic preservation.

Join this session to hear about how these two communities utilized a comprehensive planning process to organize assets and engagement to prioritize the commercial corridor revitalization while addressing broad community concerns.

Speaker: Nick Kalogeresis, Associate Principal, The Lakota Group


Strategy-Driven Revitalization, Part 2

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. | Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 310 E. State St.

Once you have defined a strategy for your revitalization efforts, the hard work of implementation begins. Planning the organization’s work under the auspices of a strategy requires cohesion amongst projects and plans in order to achieve anticipated outcomes. While comprehensive strategy guides all organizational efforts, it offers a new opportunity for organizational flexibility, creating project-based, volunteer-driven teams in lieu of traditional standing committees. Join this session to understand how your organization can take adopting a revitalization strategy to the next level.

Speaker: Norma Ramirez de Miess, Senior Program Officer and Director of Leadership Development, Main Street America


Increasing Your Main Street’s Financial Stability: Turning Supporters into Donors

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Westside Room

Oregon Main Street recently published a 65-page handbook for local Main Street organizations that presents a comprehensive, community wide approach for seeking financial contributions from donors, including: residents, businesses, shoppers and social media fans.

This session will show you HOW to segment your approaches to potential donors by using a variety of communication channels you already use, for a 12-week campaign to raise unrestricted operating support for your downtown organization. We will show you what to do in each of the six weeks of planning for your campaign. We will describe the four weeks of the public campaign where your volunteer teams are making their one-on-one visits, sending weekly e-newsletters and making weekly social media posts. Finally, we will talk about the party for volunteers, tallying up your donations and thanking everyone for their support. We will discuss what is a realistic goal for your town for a first-time effort and why a comprehensive effort like this is really worth your time and effort.

Speaker: Donna Ann Harris, Principal, Heritage Consulting, Inc.


Understanding Historic Tax Credits

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside Room

Throughout the country, thousands of historic buildings have become successful renovation projects thanks to a critical financial tool: Historic Tax Credits.

Historic Tax Credits have helped make renovation and reuse projects more financially feasible. But they can be quite tricky to navigate. What type of property is eligible? What requirements do I have to follow? And what expenditures qualify?
In this session, Ashley Sarver and Aaron Holverson from Studio GWA will be answering these questions—and many more—with their overview of the federal and state Historic Tax Credit program. You’ll see real-world examples of how the Historic Tax Credit has been used to fill the gap on renovation projects, and you’ll leave with a basic understanding of Historic Tax Credits and how they could work for your project.

Speakers: Ashley Sarver, Senior Urban Planner, Studio GWA; Aaron Holverson, Senior Project Architect, Studio GWA


Closing Lunch and Keynote

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. | Hamilton’s at 110 N. East St. | Fireside Room

Join us for a final networking lunch and keynote session to underscore our collective conversations on the importance of community-driven revitalization efforts, driving home the value of Main Street efforts in spurring local economic impact.

Speaker: Kennedy Smith, Principal, Community Land Use + Economics Group


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