All posts by AHA

Main Street America’s Annual Trends Survey Results

Source:  Main Street America Blog – March 8, 2019

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The Art in the Alley program sponsored by Farmington New Mexico Main Street. Artwork by Tommy Singer.

Thank you to everyone who completed the 2018 Main Street America Trends Survey! The 347 Main Street America members who participated provided a range of valuable information about their organizations and Main Street communities. Click here for a short summary of the survey results, and keep reading to dive into the successes and challenges Main Streets identified.

Respondents named fundraising as one of their top successes in 2018. Eighteen percent of respondents indicated that their organization’s public and private funding had both increased in 2018. Average operating budgets also grew this year. Forty-one percent of respondents reported operating budgets of over $150,000, compared to 34 percent of respondents last year. Other top successes included partnerships, local buy-in, and accolades (including grants and awards).

This year wasn’t without challenges for survey respondents, who identified store variety, inconsistent store hours, vacancies, parking, and infrastructure as their biggest obstacles. Store variety and inconsistent store hours are new to the list in 2018.

Sixty respondents identified partnerships as one of their biggest successes in 2018, and many communities highlighted real estate development partnerships in their surveys. In West Point, Mississippi, a vacant downtown grocery store was purchased by the county for a new courtroom, which will draw more people downtown. The West Point Main Street Growth Alliance will work with the county on marketing and landscape efforts as they get closer to completing construction. Gardiner Main Street in Gardiner, Maine bought five buildings and three lots two years ago, and they are now under contract with locals who will open art galleries, restaurants, a brewery, and other high-end storefronts.

Main Street programs are continuing to foster small business growth in their communities, with more than half of survey respondents reporting that 90-100% of businesses in their communities are locally-owned. Communities offered a range of exciting entrepreneurship programs in 2018, including an Entrepreneurship Day in Mesquite, Texas. The City of Mesquite offered four roundtables on planning, opening, running, and expanding businesses, with panelists who provided expertise on each subject. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance in Harrisonburg, Virginia offered small businesses an economic gardening lite program that focused on building an online presence. Participants applied for free marketing, web design, and visual merchandising technical assistance and then applied for mini-grants to put their new ideas into action.

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The Art in the Alley program sponsored by Farmington New Mexico Main Street. Artwork by Jamie Fairchild.

Main Streets also continued to nurture art and artists in their communities in 2018. Upham’s Corner Main Street in Upham, Massachusetts held a four-week workshop tailored to creative entrepreneurs and artists called “The Confident Creative Business Owner: A 4-Week Course for Creative Entrepreneurs.” Farmington Main Street in Farmington, New Mexico received a grant for an Art in the Alley project to make their alleyways more pedestrian-friendly and encourage business owners to beautify their back entryways.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this year’s survey. Main Street America members can always learn more about what other Main Street programs are doing throughout the year, share successes, or ask for help with a challenge by starting a conversation on The Point.

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Main Street America’s 2019 “State of Main”

Source:  Main Street America – February 20, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 edition of State of Main, the annual publication of Main Street America. Serving as both an annual report and an industry journal, State of Main provides a detailed look back on all that we have accomplished together and offers cutting-edge ideas and trends in the commercial district revitalization field.

This year’s edition is dedicated to celebrating the incredible depth and diversity of the Main Street experience and exploring the role of place in creating stronger communities.

With articles written by industry experts on topics ranging from the transformative placemaking to inclusive entrepreneurship, the publication is brimming with tools, tips, and strategies that will help you lead a results-oriented revitalization effort.

Click here to download the publication.

Fellowship Opportunity – America Walks Walking College

Take your walking advocacy to the next level by joining other community change agents from across the US to take part in the America Walks Walking College.

America Walks invites you to apply for a 2019 Walking College Fellowship to help you expand knowledge, build connections, and develop plans to improve walkability in your community. The application opens February 1st and America Walks will host an informational webinar in February.

America Walks is an inclusive organization and is currently seeking applications from diverse individuals who are interested in getting more involved in the walking movement.

The 2019 Walking College Application Process will open on February 1st. Please visit https://americawalks.org/walkingcollege for more information.

Grant Opportunity: Historic Preservation Fund – Revitalization Subgrant Program

Dear Partners:
 
An early holiday present for our partners before the official announcement is made in a new year press release.
 
The FY2018 Historic Preservation Fund budget allocated $5 million for the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program. The application period for this program is now available on Grants.gov with a deadline of March 1, 2019. Details for the program are below and may be found at: go.nps.gov/revitalization 
 
Click here to download a fact sheet for the program. If you have questions please email stlpg@nps.gov.  
 
Program Information: 
The Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program (HRSP) is a new Historic Preservation Fund grant program created in fiscal year 2018 that supports the rehabilitation of historic properties and foster economic development of rural communities. This program funds physical preservation projects for historic sites, including architectural and engineering services through subgrants to communities determined rural by the US Bureau of the Census.
 
Eligible properties must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or determined eligible for listing at the National, State, or local level of significance and located within rural (non-urban) communities with populations less than 50,000. States, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits will apply for funding that will in turn be subgranted to rural communities in their jurisdictions.
 
Grant Recipients versus Grant Projects:
Under this program, eligible grantees (nonprofits, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, State Historic Preservation Offices, or Certified Local Governments) will receive funds to be subgranted to organizations within their jurisdictions to undertake project work. Applications must come from eligible grantees; these applications will describe the proposed subgrant(s).
 
Eligible Applicants & Subgrant Recipients:
The range of eligible applicants is defined by the National Historic Preservation Act (54 USC 300101) is limited to:
  • Nonprofit US organizations (with or without 501(c)(3) designation)
  • Tribal Historic Preservation Offices
  • State Historic Preservation Offices
  • Certified Local Governments
These eligible applicants will make subgrants to projects involving:properties listed in or determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places properties located in areas defined as rural by the Bureau of the Census (less than 50,000 people) properties within the applicant’s jurisdiction.
 
What is Funded:
The program funds the rehabilitation of properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at the National, State, or local level of significance. Projects will include physical preservation at historic sites (including architectural/engineering services). State, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits may apply to the NPS for funding to support a subgrant program, that will in turn subgrant to preservation projects in their jurisdictions for architectural/engineering services and physical preservation.
 
Funding Details:
The Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund using revenue from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenue, not tax dollars.
Approximately $5 million is available for grant funding. We anticipate awarding 7 to 10 grants, ranging between $100,000 to $750,000. Matching funds are not required; however, providing match will be considered in the application scoring process.
 
How to Apply:
Complete application information is available on grants.gov under funding opportunity number P19AS00015. Applications are completed and submitted also through grants.gov. States, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits may apply for funding to support a subgrant program. This means that they will administer a program that awards funds to projects within their jurisdictions.
 
State, Tribal, Local, Plans & Grants Division

National Park Service
1849 C Street NW, Mail Stop 7360
Washington, DC 20240
phone: 202-354-2020

Vail Preservation Society will host a special screening of the “Voice of Vail: Stories as Big as Arizona.

Vail Preservation Society will be hosting a special screening of the “Voice of Vail: Stories as Big as Arizona” on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. at the Galaxy Luxury Theatre, 100 S. Houghton Road, Tucson, AZ. You are welcome to arrive at 12:45 p.m. to gather ad connect in the lobby with Cienega H.S. Folklorico, special displays, pick up tickets and learn more about the exciting plans for the 1908 Old Vail Store & Post Office.

Tickets are only $15.00 Purchase at www.vailpreservationsociety.org or email vailpreservationsociety@gmail.com .  100% of funds raised at this special screening will support the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of Vail’s oldest building. Our goal is for future generations to be able to see and experience our history as they create their own meaningful connections at the 1908 building. 

The story of America is written in its small towns. The Voices of Vail documentary follows Vail, Arizona, The Town Between the Tracks™, through more than a century of change. It is a celebration of the people, history, and remarkable natural beauty that make Vail special. The film is accompanied by an original overture, written by Tucson Symphony Young Composer Claire Thai, and performed by the Vail Youth Symphony. 

Voices of Vail was produced by Vail Preservation Society and brought to the silver screen by local filmmakers Dennis Farris and Gerald Lamb with support from Arizona Humanities and a cadre of dedicated volunteers. The film earned the Audience Choice Award at the 2018 Show Low Film Festival. 

In 1880 Vail was a tiny railroad siding serving ranchers and miners whose existence, like that of the Peoples who preceded them, depended on the life-giving waters of nearby Cienega Creek. Voices of Vail provides a vision for a path forward that acknowledges the need to live harmoniously with the Sonoran Desert and honors the diverse cultural traditions that have shaped the Vail community. 

The Old Vail Store & P.O. will be another Vail Preservation Society Preservation Powered by Youth project engaging Cienega H.S. Construction Tech and TSW students learning lifelong skills as they make a real and lasting impact on their community.

For more information, contact – VPS Executive Director: J.J. Lamb (520) 419-4428 or vailpreservationsociety@gmail.com

AmeriCorps NCCC Southwest Region is Requesting Applications

The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Southwest Region is requesting applications for team-based community service projects in Arizona.  AmeriCorps NCCC is seeking projects that engage members in service for 40-45 hours per week for 6-13 weeks from April 13- July 13, 2019.   Projects Concept Forms are due December 19, 2018.

Click here for the detailed instructions for creating the concept form.

Click here for Project Concept Form in Word.

Click here for Project Concept Form in PDF.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. By implementing several programs including AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the Social Innovation Fund, CNCS provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country. More than two million Americans will serve through these programs to support thousands of national and community nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, schools, and local agencies to meet community needs in economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, veteran and military families and other critical areas. National and community service programs work closely with traditional volunteer organizations to broaden, deepen, and strengthen the ability of citizens to contribute not only to their  communities, but also to our nation.

Check out the accomplishments of graduating class 24B Sun Unit in this video from the October 18 graduation ceremony: https://youtu.be/TxXC8aX_m1U.  For additional information, contact Jennifer Manhoff at 202-815-5783 or email jmanhoff@cns.gov

Vibrant Downtowns Stem from Community Efforts

Source – Kingman Daily Miner, Kingman, Arizona – June 24, 2018

First Friday events, the Welcome Arch, efforts of Kingman Main Street and the Economic Development Department are all working to make downtown Kingman a vibrant place to socialize and do business, and Lani Lott, of Arizona Downtown Alliance, a coordinating program with Main Street America, says making downtown a priority is the first step to achieving that vibrancy.

(Photo by Travis Rains/Daily Miner)

Lott told Council at its meeting Tuesday that downtown revitalization like what Kingman has started is really “economic development with a twist.” She said downtown is important because it holds many of Kingman’s historical assets, and how it is managed shows the degree of pride the community has for its city. “A thriving downtown is the community’s gathering place, and that’s becoming very obvious with your new Friday event, your events, your park, people strolling on sidewalks,” Lott said. “It is a natural community gathering place, and that is one of the key aspects of a very vibrant downtown that is really looked at and managed well.”

She said downtown is also a business incubator, and that retention of those businesses is a component potential investors and developers will look at when considering moving to downtown Kingman. How downtown is perceived by the community and the shape it is in “is an indicator of the health of your city,” Lott said. “If it’s well-kept, if it’s got lots of different types of independent businesses there, if there’s people on the streets, they will come and look at your downtown’s central core,” she continued.

Properly maintaining downtown can be helped along by utilizing the Main Street America’s four-point approach that looks at areas necessary for helping sustain and revitalize that area of a city. Lott said it is an approach, a way that a community can come together with the public and the private to make downtown a destination for both residents and visitors. Those efforts pay off, as National Main Street statistics cited by Lott show that for every $1 reinvested downtown there is more than a $26 return on investment.

Community support and engagement, economic and entrepreneurial development, marketing and promotion, and placemaking comprise the four points, which need to be community driven to be successful. Lott explained the approach requires a comprehensive plan, like what Kingman Main Street has embarked on, a vision, leveraging of a community’s resources and reinforcement of community partnerships and collaborations.

“The one thing that keeps the Main Street four-point approach moving forward is consistency and a coordinated effort,” Lott said of the first pillar in particular. “So the key piece is having someone who’s dedicated to really rallying the troops, herding the cats and keeping those activities moving forward.” Kingman is doing just that, with multiples groups, individuals and City departments working together to progress its efforts in revitalizing downtown.

For more information on Main Street America visit www.mainstreet.org and/or the Arizona Downtown Alliance. To see what is happening with downtown Kingman revitalization efforts visit kingmanmainstreet.com.

Made on Main Street Project Grants Announced

Source – Main Street America Press Release – May 16, 2018

OneMain Financial and Main Street America Announce Six Winning Cities to Receive $25,000 ‘Made on Main Street’ Project Grants.  “Made on Main Street”, a partnership program between OneMain Financial and Main Street America that provides community action grants for innovative beautification projects, today announced six cities from across the nation that will each receive a $25,000 grant to help improve their local communities. The six winning cities are Mesa, Arizona; Brunswick, Georgia; Charlotte, Michigan; Painesville, Ohio; The Dalles, Oregon; and Prosser, Washington. These cities join Goldsboro, North Carolina, which was awarded the first grant in March, for a downtown revitalization project that is currently underway.

“We are deeply committed to the communities we serve, and it’s an honor to help local citizens revitalize their downtown areas,” said Jay Levine, President & CEO, OneMain Financial. “Celebrating these transformational projects alongside neighbors and friends is a key element of these projects. Our local branches offer community members assistance in improving their financial health, and “Made on Main Street” is an extension of our positive footprint to help make meaningful changes. Together, we hope to build stronger communities by improving the places where we live and work.”

“Made on Main Street” organizers encouraged local changemakers to submit proposals for innovative ideas that would enhance their community. The winners were selected by Main Street America, a program of the National Main Street Center, whose mission is to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving local economies. The winning organizations are RAILmesa (Ariz.); Main Street Brunswick (Ga.); Charlotte Rising (Mich.); Downtown Painesville (Ohio); The Dalles Main Street (Ore.); and Historic Downtown Prosser Association (Wash.).

“We received nearly 60 applications, and it was exciting to see the level of creativity, and thoughtfulness that went into the proposals for each project,” said Patrice Frey, National Main Street Center President & CEO. “While it was difficult to select only six communities, our decisions were based on the ability of local leaders to roll up their sleeves and engage with community members to create long-term economic improvement through a small, creative revitalization project.”

The winners’ proposals outlined how they will invest the money. RAILmesa in Mesa, Arizona, will help expand access to their all-volunteer community maker space, Heartsync Labs, by holding community classes, upgrading the physical space, and purchasing new tools. Main Street Brunswick in Brunswick, Georgia, plans to improve streetscapes by installing aesthetically pleasing planters, new trash receptacles, and bike racks for their bicycle-enthusiast community. Charlotte Rising in Charlotte, Michigan, outlined a proposal to transform a vacant lot into a pocket park that will host events and public programs including outdoor classes, yoga, open mic nights, and more. The Ohio- based organization Downtown Painesville, will create and manage a landscaped public space, with designated seating in and around their community’s beloved historic Gage House, thereby creating the only park and seating area in that part of the downtown district. The Dalles Main Street in The Dalles, Oregon, will improve their downtown aesthetics by restoring historic neon signs, partnering with local businesses to display them, and creating a walking tour app to connect the various sites. Finally, in Prosser, Washington, the Historic Downtown Prosser Association will work with a variety of local partners, and a large group of volunteers, and lead a two-day downtown beautification blitz, replacing non-functioning elements with new banner poles, planters, and trash receptacles.

“Made on Main Street” organizers will work with winning organizations to host a community celebration event in each community. The events, hosted by OneMain Financial, will take place this summer and fall, and will include free, family-friendly activities, food, and fun.