Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced today the four selections for the coveted Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Michigan Main Street program. Boyne City, Calumet/Calumet Twp, Marshall and Portland will receive downtown makeovers through intensive, specialized downtown revitalization training designed to create new jobs and investments.
“These four communities are now on the fast track to transforming their downtowns into vibrant centers of commerce thriving with the small businesses that make Main Streets attractive to community residents and visitors,” said Granholm said.“Today’s designation arms these communities with a powerful development model that has proven, limitless potential.”
The Main Street program, administered by the MEDC, will provide the four communities with year-round training 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.
The MEDC Main Street application process began in February with 23 communities submitting notices of intent.Seventeen of those communities submitted full applications in April.Those communities were then narrowed down to 10 finalists that presented their plans to a team of officials from 12 state and local development organizations.
The Michigan Main Street Communities were selected by evaluating the physical characteristics of the proposed Main Street area, the capacity of the downtown business organization, economic conditions and the willingness of the community to actively participate, including at least $15,000 in matching funds from the community.
Michigan Main Street will now be an ongoing program with the next application process beginning in September.Communities that competed for this year’s selection are able to resubmit their application for next year’s competitive process.
Michigan is now one of 39 states to administer a Main Street program.The National Main Street program has had impressive results throughout the country. Since the National Main Street Center’s work began 25 years ago, downtowns across the country have realized an average of $39.96 of new private investment in Main Street communities for every $1 of Main Street money spent. In that time, Main Street communities have created $16.1 billion in new physical improvements, 56,300 new small businesses, 88,700 rehabilitation and new construction projects and 226,900 new, private jobs.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.