Competition for the coveted Michigan Main Street designations has a crowded field of 17 communities applying to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).The winners, to be announced in June, will receive intensive, year-round training in Main Street’s revitalization strategies designed to create new jobs and investment in local downtowns.
“The full proposals we received are all highly impressive,” said Sabrina Keeley, the MEDC’s acting chief executive officer.“Selecting our Main Street communities will be a difficult decision.Each of the 17 communities has shown true commitment to this program and should be commended for their efforts.”
Full applications have been received from the following communities:Boyne City, Calumet and Calumet Township (joint submission), Clare, Escanaba, Grand Rapids, Howell, Hudsonville, Ionia, Ishpeming, Jackson, Linden, Marshall, Mount Clemens, Muskegon, Niles, Portland and Wyandotte.
The MEDC expects to designate at least two Main Street communities.The field of applicants was narrowed down from 23 communities that submitted notices of intent for the program.
Michigan is now one of 39 states in the U.S. to operate a Main Street program.Communities selected to participate in the program will be educated in the four-step Main Street approach that includes:
- Design: Enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging supportive new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, and long-term planning.
- Organization:Building consensus and cooperation among the many groups and individuals who have a role in the revitalization process.
- Promotion: Marketing the traditional commercial district's assets to customers, potential investors, new businesses, local citizens and visitors.
- Economic Restructuring: Strengthening the district's existing economic base while finding ways to expand it to meet new opportunities and challenges from outlying development.
Since 1980, the National Main Street Center has been working with communities across the nation to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas.The Main Street approach was initially developed to save historic commercial architecture, but has become a powerful economic development tool as well.For more information on the program, visit www.mainstreet.org.
“There will still be plenty of help available for Michigan communities that do not receive the Main Street designation,” Keeley said.“The MEDC has a multitude of downtown development tools and a skilled staff ready to assist the remaining communities with their action plans.”
MEDC is a partnership between the state and local communities promoting smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life