We love historic downtowns!

Enhancing the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of historic downtown business districts in Missouri.

Public and Private INVESTMENT

$1000000000

Net new businesses

834

Net New jobs

4109

volunteer hours

444113

Designated Missouri Main Street communities report economic impact in their districts each quarter. Cumulative totals for the program.

 

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Ben White »

Missouri Main Street Connection’s Community Empowerment Grant (CEG) program continues to guide Main Street revitalization through its tailored programing. Currently, there are 16 community organizations receiving technical assistance through this program. The CEG program guides the development of a strong Main Street Board of Directors and programs while establishing strategies and implementation measures based on community feedback.

 

Brookfield is a community of just over 4,000 people in Linn County. Main Street Brookfield chose to make the most of their final specialized service by pairing the CEG specialized service with assistance from another grant, the USDA’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) grant program. In addition, the community agreed to provide matching funds to bring branding and design services to Brookfield. This process, brought by the specialized service, allowed the community to come together through input sessions on what is important to the future of downtown and their community.

 

 


To facilitate the branding portion of the specialized service, Ben Muldrow of Arnett Muldrow and Associates, was brought in with his expertise and recommended a new brand scheme for Main Street Brookfield, the City of Brookfield, and other local organizations. Ben Muldrow’s process solicited the needs and wants of the community to provide a comprehensive and cohesive branding service that brought an identity to the community. Previous efforts were disjointed as logos and branding were completed at different times. This effort presents a united effort by local organizations towards the betterment of Brookfield.

 

 


Randy Wilson, Community Design Solutions, provided the design portion of the specialized service to Main Street Brookfield. Randy worked with two building owners on façade renderings to showcase the untapped potential of their properties. This helped visualize the potential for two key buildings downtown. The two building owners are eager to make improvements to their buildings. One of the building owners is in the early stages of implementing Randy’s recommendations. Another component of Randy’s deliverables provided during this specialized service was design-related recommendations including ordinance review, beautification, vibrancy amenities, façade improvements, and how to handle dilapidated buildings. As part of these recommendations, Randy provided a streetscape rendering.

 

 


Using this service, Main Street Brookfield was able to leverage Randy’s recommendations to establish a formal contract for services with the City of Brookfield that will be used to provide beautification upgrades. This service provided a road map for the City of Brookfield to provide funding for tangible efforts.

 

 


This service helped to bring unity and targeted short-term and long-term recommendations for downtown and the community. Through this service, this passionate community received direction from experts that provided implementation steps now and into the future.


If you are interested in revitalizing your downtown using the structured services and resources of the Community Empowerment Grant program, please reach out to Senior Program Specialist Ben White at ben@momainstreet.org for more information.

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AUTHOR
Ben White »

Winter can be one of the hardest seasons on an historic building, especially in Missouri. The constant freezing and thawing can warp building materials and cause damage if not properly prepared for or dealt with quickly. Building owners need to be diligent in protecting historic buildings during the harsh winter months. Here are some helpful suggestions to alleviate problems before they occur:

 


-Check weather stripping around windows and doors. Install to prevent air filtration (1 hour, depending on type)


-If applicable, install interior storm windows for winter (2 hours)


-Caulk any gaps in wood for a temporary water tight seal (30 min)


-Inspect basement or crawl space for excessive water during wet weather (30 min)


-Sweep debris from flat or low sloping roofs (30 min)



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The City of Canton, Missouri and the local Main Street program, Canton Main Street, boldly joined forces to enhance their community economically and socially.  Canton is located in the northeast corner of the state on the Mississippi River with a population of 2,455 and is home to Culver-Stockton College.  It is a rural community with farming as one of the main industries, which serves as a port for grain distribution using the river and railroad. 


The local Main Street program began in late 2013 with a group of downtown stakeholders wanting to improve the trajectory of their downtown.  Like many downtowns, Canton saw years of deferred building maintenance, absentee property owners, and increased storefront vacancies.  Other issues were commercial retail space used for storage or part-time or hobby business owners with very limited store hours.  The goal of the small group was to start a Main Street program and turn that situation around. 


Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC), using the Affiliate Grant Program (now called the Community Empowerment Grant), partnered with city officials and district stakeholder to form a not-for-profit Main Street organization using the 40-plus year template of the National Main Street Center to form a board of directors, utilize Main Street ApproachTM committees, and implement projects and initiatives using economic development-based action plans.  This partnership and implementation of the Main Street Approach™ created Canton Main Street. Canton Main Street utilized additional grants and services from MMSC to gather economic and market demographics, provide board training and support, assist in developing a list of priorities, and strengthen stakeholder relationships.  All of these activities lead to the community wanting more.  The leadership in downtown and throughout the city wanted to use the Main Street ApproachTM to provide a focused direction for the future of the entire community.  That is where the idea of a community-wide master plan was born. 

 

 

 

Through a partnership with the City of Canton, Canton Main Street, community stakeholders, and Missouri Main Street, the process of planning began in February of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic began.  This first meeting set the foundation for the Master Plan by meeting with various stakeholder groups for a larger community input session to gather viewpoints of the current community assets, what the community would like to see in the future, and how the community and downtown can be activated.  The consultants, representing the Main Street comprehensive approach to vibrant community development brought their expertise to the input sessions but also began formulating themes or focus areas.  Main Street calls these focus areas Transformation Strategies which help guide the community development activities from brainstorming to funding to implementation. 

 

 

 

Future visits both virtually and in-person helped to refine these strategies and put more detail to the plan with the outcome being a 96-page document with visuals for potential projects, guidelines of how to implement, and recommendations on potential funding sources.  The report was presented in November of 2021 to a packed house at the new City Hall building.   Wayfinding signs, building renderings, new branding for downtown and the community, and business recruitment tactics were included in the plan and were featured during the presentation. 


Following the adoption of the plan, MMSC checks in with the leadership of Canton on their implementation progress, helps to remove obstacles, or assists with partnerships as the community moves through the timeline of implementation as outlined in the plan.  


 



MMSC provided 60% of the overall costs for the City of Canton Master Plan and the community contributed the remaining 40%.  MMSC provided a team of professionals to lead the community vision and provided the technical resources and trainings throughout the implementation of the plan’s goals and objectives.  If your Main Street community is interested in a community-wide Master Plan, please reach out to 
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Volunteers are the lifeblood of Main Street. From the board of directors to committees to event volunteers, each community member that volunteers in Main Street is a Rockstar! Not only are they coming together to revitalize their downtown, reinvigorate their community, and cultivate a place to live, work, and play, they are making an economic impact! Volunteers make a significant economic impact in their community through the donation of their time and skill. The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $27.21 (as of April 2022).


Downtown Washington has nominated Kenny Pinnell for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. This nomination enters Kenny into the running for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination from Downtown Washington was submitted by Tyler King:

“Kenny, a longstanding volunteer and board member for Downtown Washington, Inc., embodies what a true volunteer is all about. He shows up to EVERYTHING and does a lot of behind the scenes work when no one is watching. One particular reason I am nominating him is when we have events at our downtown Farmer's Market, Kenny is always the one making sure all electrical outlets are updated and working, making sure the ice machine is cleaned and ready to go, setting up and communicating with our outside vendors to make sure they are welcomed and well attended to, having trash bags on hand when no one can find any, and always keeping us on our toes with reminders at the office when things we forget about need to be done. We enjoy his laugh, his stories, and his presence. This isn't a one-time off when we spy great work; Kenny is always doing great work and needs to be recognized for all of his efforts.”

 

Kenny is not the only one volunteering in Downtown Washington. Downtown Washington reported 9,712 hours of volunteer time in 2021 equating to $264,263.52, a huge community investment in downtown!

 

Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time it takes and sacrifices made to volunteer time at a nonprofit and along side our local Main Street programs thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Though I Spy Great Work is currently closed, if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work, contact your local Main Street program and recommend them to be highlighted by the local Main Street program or Missouri Main Street Connection in the future. 

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The winter holiday season can be full of family and community traditions. Families around Missouri partake in amazing activities that are a part of their holiday celebration and form memories for everyone old and young. Communities like Lee’s Summit deck out their downtown with lights throughout the district but especially their downtown Howard Station Park. Every year it is covered with candy canes hanging along the fence.




Downtown Lee’s Summit has nominated Nate Moore and Boy Scout Troop 1264 for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. This nomination enters Nate Moore and Boy Scout Troop 1264 for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination from Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street was submitted by Donnie Rodgers:

  


“The candy canes along the fence in Howard Station Park have been a part of the holiday tradition in Downtown Lee’s Summit for nearly 30 years and would not be possible without Boy Scout Troop 1264. We want to wish a special thank you to Nate Moore and Boy Scout Troop 1264 for keeping a downtown tradition alive for years to come. As part of Nate’s Eagle Scout project this year, he restored and built additional candy canes to hang. These candy canes have been maintained by Boy Scout Troop 1264 and were part of prior Eagle Scout projects.”



Missouri Main Street Connection is happy to see youth in a community take ownership of their downtown’s traditions and find ways to enhance them. Traditions are an important binder as they connect us all by shared memories formed from the tradition and it is important to pass them to the next generation. This allows them to take that tradition and add their unique perspective to it. When people are allowed to participate in the perpetuity of a tradition it brings vitality and strength to have it withstand time in a meaningful way.

 


If you see individuals in your community that are completing great work contact your local Main Street program and recommend them to be nominated for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. Anyone who has volunteered and gone above and beyond, donated something spectacular, or is a hear warming volunteer story is applicable for ‘I Spy... Great Work’. A local Main Street Board can submit approved submissions through the website

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Missouri Main Street Connection values the benefits of face-to-face educational training. Main Street conferences and workshops offer real and creative solutions to common community revitalization problems through educational sessions and mobile workshops. They provide the opportunity to network and exchange valuable ideas with colleagues experiencing similar success and challenges.

 

Hosting the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City meant that ensuring the attendance by as many Missouri communities as possible was imperative. Knowing that some community programs have slim budgets, and not wanting anyone to miss the opportunity, we provided scholarships to those desiring to attend this national event. Our focus was primarily on awarding scholarships to first-time attendees and individuals from newer, younger downtown revitalization programs. Included here are some comments from recipients following their attendance at the 2018 Main Street Now Conference.


Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.

 

A Wealth of Information

 


  As a retired teacher, I have attended my share of conferences. However, the scope, depth and professionalism of this conference blew me away. From the Monday Morning Kick-off Session, to every agonizing decision on which workshop to attend, there was a wealth of information, enthusiasm and expertise to guide and challenge me. – Dan Green, Kirksville, MO 
    The first general session...was absolutely wonderful. It made me think of our Main Street organization in a completely different way. – Liz Ogle, Grandview, MO
    There were vendors present who provided services relevant to my downtown and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with them. – Melissa Combs, Kennett, MO
    Attending the 2018 Main Street Now Conference was far more than any of us expected. After three days, meeting many new friends, hearing new ideas, building renewed energy, and developing real strategies for success, we all believe this conference was the jumpstart we needed. – Rusty Sullivan, Belton, MO

 


Highly Motivated Individuals



  I cannot express how fulfilling it was to be around like-minded professionals that do what they are passionate about every day. – Lauren Manning, St. Joseph, MO
    The experience of being surrounded with people driven, focused and with a passion for the revitalization of their community’s downtown was an energizing start to my new position as Executive Director. – Kristel Reiman, Warrensburg, MO

The camaraderie and networking that permeated the event was priceless. – Dana DeFoe, Odessa, MO

    Being around a group of highly motivated individuals, ready to do whatever it takes to improve their organization and community had me itching to get back home and start implementing that optimism. – Riley Price, Missouri Preservation

 

 

Incredibly Positive Experience



  Simply put: WOW! Without a doubt, the National Main Street Conference was one of the most empowering conferences I have ever attended. – Adam Morton, Knob Noster, MO 

 

Having the conference in Kansas City was an absolute joy, as Kansas City has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit. I believe [Missouri] Main Street Connection is one of the very best non-profits out there and is making useful strides on the front lines of revitalization efforts in small and mid-sized historic towns across the country. – Adam Flock, Moberly, MO

 

It was wonderful to see the impact a revitalized Main Street has on all aspects of life within a community. Thanks for reminding me why “this place matters.” – Kim Buckman, Moberly, MO

 

I was impressed by the size and sophistication of the conference, then amazed by the presenters. – Gaylene Green, Kirksville, MO

 

Overall it was an incredibly positive experience and I hope to repeat it in Seattle in 2019. – Isabelle Jones, Willow Springs, MO



 Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.

 

As you can see, a live setting of classroom sessions, mobile workshops, and networking with fellow Main Streeters provides an invaluable experience for volunteers working to revitalize their community.

 

MMSC is grateful to the following scholarship sponsors. Due to their generosity, we were able to award scholarships for registration fees to 30 individuals to attend the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City.

Ameren

Dalco Industries, Inc.

Karen Bode Baxter, Preservation Specialist

Kiku Obata and Company

Lisart Capital, LLC

Mangrove

R.G. Ross Construction Co., Inc.

STRATA Architecture + Preservation

Header photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.
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May is Preservation Month, the annual celebration of history, culture, and special places, designed to raise awareness about the power that historic preservation has to protect and enhance our historic communities. It’s the celebration of places that are meaningful to us. It is the telling of stories of the places we can’t live without.

 

In many Missouri communities, the old and new live side by side. Historic buildings not only give a community character but also emphasize sustainability. The preservation of unique neighborhoods containing historic landmarks ignites economic development and enriches communities. From first dates to family dinners and shopping trips to nights on the town, America’s thriving historic main streets are where we come together and share experiences that shape our lives and communities.1

WE’RE CELEBRATING MISSOURI’S TREASURES

 

In partnership with the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), we are launching the #MoPlacesMatter campaign to raise awareness of Missouri’s historic treasures and their vital role in sustaining local communities. Over select dates in May, our Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show2 will visit four historic sites in Missouri dedicated to preserving our state’s historic resources and nine Missouri communities dedicated to preserving and revitalizing their historic districts to further enrich their communities and celebrate their heritage. Our campaign coincides with the #ThisPlaceMatters3 nationwide celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural scavenger hunts and historic site tours to educational programs and heritage travel opportunities.

Southeast Missouri State University students learning how Historic Preservation and Main Street work together.  

 

Preservation Month is a great time to learn more about the activities going on around you in your community and state. The Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show is our project to engage the public in preserving historic places and increasing awareness of their role in sustaining local communities. Through the project, we hope to encourage Missouri citizens to learn more about the history surrounding them, discover new sites and communities, and understand the importance of preserving our history and historic places for generations to come. Think about the places in your community that mean the most to you. What are the “must see” or “must experience” places you take visitors from out of town? What places do you think about when you’re away from home and tell other people about your home town? How would your community change if these places were suddenly lost or modified beyond recognition?4

 

WE’RE HITTING THE ROAD TO VISIT THESE PLACES

 

The following communities and historic sites (selected by popular vote) are stops along the 2018 Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show. You can download the complete schedule here.

 

Cape Girardeau – Old Town Cape, Inc.

Chillicothe – Main Street Chillicothe

Excelsior Springs – Downtown Excelsior Springs Partnership

Independence – Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Jackson – Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization

Jefferson City – Missouri Governor’s Mansion

Kansas City – Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio State Historic Site

Lee’s Summit – Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.

Liberty – Historic Downtown Liberty, Inc.

Mansfield – Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum

Moberly – Main Street Moberly

Warrensburg – Warrensburg Main Street

Washington – Downtown Washington Inc.

Follow one of the official Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show cars to the places that matter to you! 

 

In addition to joining us on our Road Show, here are a few more things you can do to participate in Preservation Month5:

  • Read up on your community’s history.
  • Talk to preservationists and learn more about their ideas for your community.
  • Find out or review what properties or neighborhoods your community has listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Review the web pages of your local main street or downtown revitalization program, regional heritage area, and State Historic Preservation Organization (SHPO).
  • Take a tour of a rehabilitated building in your community such as a restored historic theater, historic courthouse or municipal building, or a historic school or commercial building converted to apartments or offices.
  • Take a walk around a nearby historic residential area or shop/dine in a historic commercial district.
  • Take a field trip to a nearby community with a strong historic preservation ethic or main street program.
  • Visit the Preservation Month web pages of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and National Register of Historic Places.
  • Participate in other local Historic Preservation Month activities.

 

1Quote by Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

2This activity is partially funded by a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Office, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Grant awards do not imply an endorsement of contents by the grantor. Federal laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, handicap or ethnicity. For more information, write to the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240.

3#ThisPlaceMatters is the annual campaign created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

4, 5"Preservation Can Be Inspiring – This Month (and Every Month),” by Amy Faca, May 7, 2013.

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Everybody, have you heard? We’re gonna buy you a mockingbird!


No. No, we’re not. But…

 

We’re going to Kansas City. Kansas City, here we come!

 

We’re bringing a national event to the Heartland in March! Mark your calendars for March 26-28 to join us in Kansas City for the 2018 Main Street Now national conference for three exciting days of learning innovative solutions, exploring unique neighborhoods, and networking with peers.

 

Power & Light District, Kansas City. Credit: VisitKC

 

On the local (aka Missouri) home front, the Missouri Main Street committee for the national conference is working hard to plan an outstanding conference for downtown professionals in Missouri and nationwide. We expect upwards of 1500 individuals passionate about re-energizing local businesses, refurbishing historic buildings, and building vibrant, sustainable local economies.

 

The Elms Hotel & Spa, Excelsior Springs

 

Registration is open now and offers early bird registration rates through January 12, 2018. Don’t worry, registration will be open up to the event – but it’ll cost you more. Our advice – register early! The hotel block at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown (conference location) is also open. We advise you reserve that early, too!

 

Liberty, MO

 

Check out the mobile workshops we’re planning around downtown Kansas City and in some great Main Street communities in the area – Liberty, Excelsior Springs, Chillicothe (ahem, 2018 GAMSA semifinalist!), and Emporia, KS. Tickets for mobile workshops and special events are available now for purchase with registration.

 

Chillicothe, MO

 

Don’t forget about the big party – the Big Bash – thrown by Downtown Lee’s Summit (ahem, 2010 GAMSA winner!). Buy a ticket for the Big Bash and get a $25 gift card to spend on dinner, shopping, and lots of other great stuff!

A preliminary schedule of session topics is available. Detailed descriptions of sessions will be on the conference app soon.

 

 

Of course, an event this epic needs the help of volunteers. Opportunities are available before, during and after the conference including educational session monitors and mobile workshop assistants plus a variety of other positions. And volunteers who work at least 8 hours receive $160 off a full conference registration! See all available opportunities and sign up here. 


Well, we might take a plane, we might take a train
If we have to walk, we're going just the same...
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I am an avid gardener and love sticking my hands in the dirt.  Playing in the dirt allows me time to reflect and process work-related challenges and opportunities.  As I was planting some spring flowers recently, I was reflecting on the old saying about when to plant a tree.  The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago with the second-best time being today.  Of course, you benefit from a tree planted 20 years ago as the tree now offers shade, beauty and strength from years of growth.  If it is a fruit tree, you enjoy the fruit that it now produces as a mature tree.  If you didn’t plant that tree 20 years ago, then the next best time to plant a tree is today. 

The same goes for downtown revitalization – the best time to start a revitalization organization or project was 20 years ago with the next best time being today.  Had we begun our efforts in rehabilitating buildings, adding pocket parks, or creating that event over 20 years ago, we would now be enjoying the fruits of our labor.   I think many communities get into that mode of “it’s too late” to start or we should have done that a long time ago.  True.  But if you didn’t get started years ago, you can start today.  Make that call to garner support from property and business owners, contact Missouri Main Street for assistance, or begin that project that has been on the shelf for years.  It isn’t too late.  In fact, today is the second-best time to get started. 

 

Missouri Main Street offers several grants to assist you in your efforts in planting those seeds of downtown economic development in your community.  Contact Keith Winge, Community Development Coordinator at kwinge@momainstreet.org for more information.  

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Throughout 2016, we have celebrated 10 years of Missouri Main Street Connection. We have accomplished a lot in these first 10 years and hope to have as much success in the next 10! In 2017, we officially kick of the next 10 years of MMSC with some exciting projects.

 

We began working on the first of these projects in October 2016. Earlier this year we received a grant, from the State Historic Preservation Office to conduct a study on the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri. These initiatives include the Missouri Main Street program, SHPO’s Certified Local Government program, and the use of state and federal historic tax credits. We have visited several communities to collect data and stories on their experiences with these initiatives. The study will also examine stats that we have collected over the past 10 years from our Main Street communities. We are very excited to see the results of this study and hope it will be a tool to showcase the impact of Missouri Main Street and other preservation initiatives.

 


Cape Girardeau visit to study the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri.

 

Another amazing opportunity we are looking forward to in 2017 is partnering with USDA on two different projects. First, through the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG), we will be able to focus our revitalization efforts in the southeast region of Missouri in order to help those communities establish a revitalization organization. When examining our work with Missouri communities, we noticed that few communities in the Southeast region of Missouri had taken advantage of the assistance we had to offer. We felt that it was important to expand our reach to communities in this area and with assistance from USDA, we will be able to offer communities in this region specialized training and mentoring.

 


Lee's Summit visit to study the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri.

 

The second great partnership opportunity we are working on with USDA is through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) grant. This three-year project allows us to provide in-depth training and assistance to 12 communities throughout Missouri. This assistance will help them strengthen and expand their Main Street organizations. We are very excited to work with USDA on both this project and the RBDG project.

 


Jackson community visit to study the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri.

 

The final project that we are very excited about is partnering with the National Main Street Center to bring the Main Street Now conference to Missouri in 2018! The Main Street Now conference boasts many educational opportunities to learn and connect with Main Street groups throughout the country. Currently we are still working with National Main Street to confirm the details of the 2018 Conference in Kansas City, but are so excited to have the opportunity to showcase the great revitalization work happening throughout Missouri.

 

And finally, we couldn’t take on all of these exciting new projects without a fresh new look to go with it! With the assistance of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and their local design firm, Fossil Forge, we have a new logo to usher in the next 10 years of Missouri Main Street Connection. Read more about the new logo and the competition we hosted for its design here

 

Missouri Main Street's fresh, new look beginning in 2017!

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