Friday, May 14, 2004
Clare, Muskegon and Niles Competing for Coveted Designation
"Main Street has been a tremendously successful program," said MEDC President and CEO, Don Jakeway. "It's a great opportunity for communities to gain access to proven downtown development strategies and learn how to maximize the unique assets of their central business districts."
Michigan Main Street is a downtown revitalization program administered by the MEDC and distinct from Governor Granholm's Cool Cities initiative. Main Street offers intensive, year-round training in strategies designed to create more jobs and investment in Michigan's downtown communities.
The MEDC implemented the Main Street program statewide for the first time last year. Four communities won the designation in 2003: Boyne City, Calumet/Calumet Township, Marshall and Portland. The latest group of Michigan Main Street communities will be selected based on the following factors:
the physical characteristics of the proposed Main Street area;
the capacity of the downtown business organization;
local economic factors; and
the willingness of the community to actively participate, including a $20,000 minimum commitment to cover part of the costs of implementing the program.
Michigan is one of 39 states with a Main Street program. The communities selected to participate are educated in the four-step Main Street approach which includes promoting long-term design concepts, community cooperation and organization, community marketing and encouraging economic restructuring to strengthen the existing economic base while expanding it to meet new opportunities.
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 preserve historic commercial architecture but has become a powerful economic development tool for downtown revitalization.
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.