©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Cities of Howell and Saline named Great American Main Street semi-finalists

Monday, October 09, 2017

Kathy Achtenberg

Competition recognizes communities for exceptional commercial revitalization efforts

LANSING, Mich. – The cities of Howell and Saline have been named semi-finalists in the National Main Street Center’s Great American Main Street competition, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.                

“As a result of hard work and an extreme belief in their downtowns, these two communities fit the definition of a Great American Main Street,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “Howell and Saline have worked diligently to enhance the sense of place and vibrancy in their downtowns, engage residents and businesses, and drive economic growth in their communities, and both cities are deserving of this recognition.”

Howell and Saline are both active participants in MEDC’s Michigan Main Street program. Since its inception in 2003, the program has aimed to create communities distinguished by a “sense of place.” The rationale is based on a range of studies that show investing in creating a sense of place is an integral part of developing vibrant city centers and downtowns, thereby making the state economically stronger and culturally diverse.

The Howell Main Street program has been an active part of Michigan Main Street at MEDC since 2005.  Since then the program has become the motivation for a newly energized community. It has completed 158 façade rehabilitations for a total investment of nearly $16.6 million, logged more than 42,900 volunteer hours and brought in 137 net new businesses to the downtown. The Howell Main Street program has been a catalyst for economic development in downtown Howell, accomplishing a less than 2 percent storefront vacancy rate and working to increase quality residential space, now having 80 percent of upper-story units with market rate apartments. 

The Saline Main Street program has been an active part of Michigan Main Street at MEDC since 2011.  Since then the program has become the motivation for a newly energized community. It has completed eight façade rehabilitations for a total investment of more than $1.34 million, logged more than 28,300 volunteer hours and brought in 12 net new businesses to the downtown. 

The Great American Main Street Award recognizes exceptional Main Street communities whose successes serve as a model for comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization. Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 90 Main Street programs have been honored.

To be recognized, communities must demonstrate overall strength in the Main Street program and documented success in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit; demonstrate impact aligning with the Main Street Approach; show a commitment to historic preservation; have active involvement of the public and private sector; and demonstrate model partnerships, including inclusive engagement of community members and local stakeholders in the downtown revitalization process.

The 2018 Great American Main Street winners will be announced in March at the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. To learn more, visit here: https://www.mainstreet.org/blogs/national-main-street-center/2017/09/01/your-2018-great-american-main-street-award-semi-finalists.

The Michigan Main Street Center supports local communities across Michigan as they implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, a community-driven, comprehensive strategy encouraging economic development through historic preservation in ways appropriate for the modern marketplace. Over the past year, Michigan Main Street communities generated more than $47.5 million in private investment, 105 new businesses and 127 façade improvements.

The Michigan Main Street program ties in with Gov. Rick Snyder’s placemaking efforts to create vibrant communities across Michigan. These efforts are based on numerous studies showing that investing in placemaking creates vibrant city centers and downtowns, making the state economically stronger. There are currently 35 communities participating in the Michigan Main Street at associate, select and master levels. Each level provides services based on a community’s commitment, from one to five years in the program.

Since its inception in 2003, the Michigan Main Street has been a catalyst for job growth, private investment and community engagement. From 2003 through 2016, 1,047 new businesses and 2,280 net new jobs were created. In addition, more than 556,000 volunteer hours were recorded in the task of revitalizing downtowns across the state.

More information on the National Main Street Center is available online at http://www.mainstreet.org/. For further information on the Michigan Main Street Program, visit https://www.miplace.org/communities/mms/.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community and talent development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect at www.mitalent.org for more information on Michigan’s online marketplace for connecting job seekers and employers. Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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