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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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Supporting small businesses deserves to be part of your everyday routine. Why?

 

Small business is BIG!

 

Did you know that of nearly 29 million businesses operating in the US (as of March 2016), 99.7% of those are small businesses? And that most are “self-employed,” many of which make up your local coffee shops, favorite local boutiques, go-to mom-and-pop deli, or local pet shop?

 

Small Business Saturday® was founded in 2010 by American Express as a day to support our local businesses nationally on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Subsequently the Shop Small movement, a concept more about supporting your local community every day all year, was introduced.

 


Ray's Diner in downtown Excelsior Springs, MO


Change Your Views on Prices


According to the American Independent Business Alliance, 48 percent of the money spent on purchases at local independent businesses is re-circulated locally. Less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores stays within the community.

 

 
Work by a local artist in Moberly, MO


Why then do so many Americans overlook their local merchant and flock to chain stores without considering the smaller options? Misconceptions play a large role in shopping decisions, the most common being that prices will automatically be higher in small businesses.

 

Truth is, vendors control pricing of most products and provide a Manufactured Suggested Retail Price that tell both big box stores and small businesses the price the product should be sold at.

 

Choose Quality Over Quantity


A big box store is – well, bigger – so that means they have more variety to offer you, right? Wrong. It just means the assortment of inventory is deeper, not more diverse. Small, independent businesses stock a broader range of unique choices based on the interests of the owner and their local customers.

 

When you walk into a local business, the inventory options often surprise you. This is to your advantage and is among the many reasons to frequent your local stores more often.

 

 
Dickens Christmas 2015 in downtown Warrensburg, MO


Can’t find what you’re looking for? Small store owners can likely get in touch with a vendor and order an item for you right away.

 

Receive a Unique, Personalized Experience


Most small store owners are eager to go above and beyond to deliver stronger customer service. Having a more hands-on role within the company, they build a stronger sense of care for the job they do with more personalized and noteworthy customer care.

 

 
Holiday Open House 2016 in downtown Blue Springs, MO


While every business is different, what makes customer care among small businesses more valuable is just that – it’s different. Do you want one-size-fits-all service, or would you prefer a unique experience?

 

Invest in Your Community


When you shop local, you invest in your community. You support families and individual artists and crafters. In turn, local business owners are more likely to recycle a larger share of their revenue back to the local economy. They are also more likely to support local causes in your community.

 

Small businesses inspire local character and prosperity by strengthening partnerships among residents, other small business owners, community leaders and schools. They deliver economic advantages like creating more jobs locally and guaranteeing a broader range of products. They help to sustain vibrant, walkable town centers and reduce sprawl, automobile use, and pollution to the town they are positioned in.

 

 
Tout Your Tote Campaign in Historic Downtown Liberty, MO


What happens when YOU shop local? Shopping local on Small Business Saturday®, on any Saturday, or on any other day in between builds strong communities and develops economic and social relationships. You benefit. Your community benefits.

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The holiday season is upon us and in addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are two other holidays we are observing here at Missouri Main Street Connection.

The first as many may know is Small Business Saturday on November 26th. Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate all of your local businesses and the hard work they accomplish within your community. Many of our Main Street communities are celebrating Small Business Saturday with their downtown businesses. For a list of our Main Street communities visit our website and find some of the local businesses participating

The second is Giving Tuesday on November 29th. This global day of giving was founded in 2012 as a day for celebrating philanthropy and giving to causes all across the world. Giving Tuesday’s focus is uniting all people toward a common goal of giving and kindness to causes close to our hearts.

A popular trend in Main Street right now that unites the community in a celebration of local artisans, producers and historic character is a Farm to Table dinner. This unity of community is the basis for all of our work at Missouri Main Street Connection and all local Missouri Main Street organizations throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

We have so much to be thankful for this year, but most importantly we are thankful for you! Thank you for the work you do to ensure the continuation of Main Street in Missouri and to ensure our historic downtowns are vibrant places now and in the future.

As you celebrate the holidays with your families in the communities you work so hard for, please consider supporting Missouri Main Street Connection and our work in many Missouri communities like yours throughout the state through a donation. Also, consider donating in some way to your local Main Street organization.

Thank you once again for your hard work and let us all continue to celebrate and unite our communities on Main Street.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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For centuries, people have rallied in the street, danced in the street and marched in the street. Today, the trend is to come together and eat in the street.

The popularity of the Farm to Table movement, or Eat in the Street as some call it, has grown the last few years. What was initially introduced in the early 2000s by chefs to promote local farms and “knowing where your food comes from” has been picked up by Main Street and downtown organizations across the country. Downtowns from the East Coast to Tennessee to even Hawaii have hosted successful meeting and eating in the street events.

Closer to home, four Missouri Main Street communities recently partnered with farms, chefs, vendors, and producers – all local to their area – to supply everything from meat, produce, dinnerware, furniture and décor to host 150-200 people.

Downtown Odessa included dancing in their first Eat in the Street event to fundraise for future downtown projects.  

 

Downtown Excelsior Partnership incorporated their annual awards and recognition program with their event to raise money for a mural project. 

 

Old Town Cape planned and executed their Farm to Table event in only three months’ time to showcase and raise money for the Cape Riverfront Market. 

 

Downtown Washington Inc. had a record sell out of 150 tickets in nine days for their event to fundraise for repointing of their c1856 Farmers’ Market building. 

 

Through proper planning, diligence, and partnering with key groups and experienced individuals, all four groups reported great successes with few obstacles.

The phrase Farm to Table can mean different things to different people, but it most commonly means the food on the table came directly from the farm or farmers’ market without going through a store or distributor.

For Main Street, Farm to Table means the same thing, with a twist:  It’s a great event to bring the community together downtown, create awareness for a specific project, and raise a little bit of funds with the fun. 

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Once upon a time in the land of the Show Me State, Main Street was on the verge of elimination. The state-funded program within the Department of Economic Development (DED) was chopped from the state budget, and the lone staff person was reassigned to other DED duties. In essence, the princess was in distress.

Cue 12 knights in shining armor – the local Main Street program managers took up the fight to retain a state program in Missouri. After many calls and unsuccessful pleas with Missouri legislators, they refused to yield to the loss and continued to provide training themselves in communities around the state. Their victory finally came a decade ago when the decision was made to transition the program from a state-run organization to a nonprofit 501(c)3. Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was born.

And they lived happily ever after...

But it wasn’t the end of the story.

Missouri Main Street Champions lighting anniversary cake during the 2016 10-Year Celebration and Evening of Excellence in Washington, MO.

Because those Main Street Champions were so determined, MMSC is, today, an independent nonprofit organization funded by corporate sponsors, individual contributors, services provided, state and federal grants, and a contract with DED. Through this financial support, the program is able to provide conferences and workshops, consulting services, and publications to educate and empower local organizations to lead their downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization efforts. Acting as the coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, MMSC serves as the state’s clearinghouse for information, technical assistance, research, and advocacy.

Missouri Main Street Connection celebrates 10 years of nonprofit service success with these 10 key stats:

  1. The state of Missouri’s Main Streets is healthier than ever with over $683 million of private investment…
  2. And over $140 million in public investment since 2006. 
  3. Missouri’s Main Streets are led by volunteers who make downtown revitalization a powerful force. Those volunteers donated over 285,312 hours of service to the heart of their community…
  4. At a value of over $6.0 million. 
  5. With small business at the heart of downtown development, Main Streets foster that entrepreneurial spirit every day. Since 2006, over 526 net new businesses opened their doors…
  6. With over 2,936 net new jobs created. Even during the recession, Missouri Main Street communities were adding jobs faster than losses. 
  7. Currently, over 124 communities are served through outreach with workshops, in-community training, assessments, conferences and consultations.
  8. An MMSC staff of 4-1/2 with a combined 68 years of Main Street experience provides trainings, workshops, consultations and mentoring.
  9. Since 2006, 70+ trainings and workshops (not including consultations and trainings for specific communities) have been conducted statewide…
  10. With 2,882+ persons attending those events.

As you can see, over the last 10 years, Missouri Main Street has helped empower thousands of people at the local level to implement positive and sustainable change for their communities. 

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As Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) celebrates a decade of successful nonprofit service in Missouri, we are reflecting on all things to the power of 10.  Here are 10 services provided by Missouri Main Street.

Coordinating Program for Missouri.  The National Main Street contracts with Missouri Main Street to administer the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization in Missouri.  This is very powerful because it allows the communities in Missouri to utilize the Main Street program and all that brings with it:  the network, the brand, the resources and the partnerships.  Not every state has a coordinating program and several have come and gone due to budgeting and personnel.  MMSC is strong because of the relationships with our Main Street organizations, the State of Missouri through the Department of Economic Development and the legislators, the local municipalities and the MMSC board of directors. 

Accreditation.  Through an extensive annual review of the Main Street programs in Missouri, MMSC is able to accredit the best Main Street programs in the state alongside the National Main Street Center.  National accreditation is a big deal.  It is based upon the National Main Street 10-Point Criteria which measures the organization’s capacity, leadership, community involvement and effectiveness.  There are currently only six accredited Main Street programs in Missouri:  Old Town Cape, Inc. (Cape Girardeau), Main Street Chillicothe, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Historic Downtown Liberty, Warrensburg Main Street, and Downtown Washington, Inc. 

Tier System.  When MMSC started in 2006, it had resurrected itself from a state run organization into a non-profit with only 10 communities in the network.  Today MMSC has assisted more than 170 communities across the state.  With a staff of four people, that assistance had to be categorized into tiers.  The more invested a community is in the Main Street program, the more services MMSC could offer.  This four-tier system offers phone consultation, technical and organizational visits along with board planning sessions and access to the resource library for members via the MMSC website.  You can learn more about the services offered through the tier system online.

State Conference.  Every July MMSC offers the only statewide educational and networking event for commercial district revitalization that blends economic development, community revitalization and historic preservation.  It brings together experts in the field of downtown revitalization into three days of educational sessions, in-the-field tours and networking.  The conference also features the Evening of Excellence awards recognizing the best in Missouri Main Street communities.  Visit the conference website for details.  Don’t miss this year’s conference on July 26-28. 

Cultivating Place Training, Kansas City, MO

Quarterly Workshops.  It is written in the Missouri Main Street mission that providing tools and resources to Missouri communities and one of the ways that is achieved is through quarterly workshops held in the spring and fall.  These workshops focus on a specific aspect of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®.  The most recent workshops have been focused on economic vitality through education on real estate investment, attracting and retaining businesses and marketing those spaces in downtowns.  Missouri Main Street members receive a discount on these training opportunities.  Mark your calendar for November 11, 2016, for the next workshop in Chillicothe.

Grant Programs.  Because of the funds Missouri Main Street receives from the State of Missouri, grants, memberships and fundraising, it can offer service grants.  These grants are varied in the services they offer with the Affiliate Grant guiding a community with starting and building a Main Street program.  The People Energizing Places and Strategic Teams Engaging Places grants assist a Main Street community in growing the organization’s capacity and effectiveness.  All of these grants are matching with Missouri Main Street assuming 60-75% of the costs. 

Technical Services.  Maybe you don’t need a grant but a specialized service to grow.  Missouri Main Street offers a full list of services ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of days.  Some of these services include conducting a community visioning session, board strategic planning session, customer service training, technical visit on economic development or a multi-day downtown strategic planning session.  The complete list is available online. 

2016 Annual Conference, Kansas City, MO

Partnerships/Relationships.  Missouri Main Street has relationships with other state-wide organizations that can be utilized by downtown organizations to assist in the revitalization efforts.  The Department of Economic Development, State Historic Preservation Office, Certified Local Government Program, Missouri Preservation, Missouri Arts Council, USDA, AARP and many others have programs and resources for Missouri communities.  Contact us for more information.

Networking.  Everything Missouri Main Street does revolves around the downtown communities being served.  With that in mind, the act of bringing people together to share ideas and learn from one another is vital to everyone’s success.  Missouri Main Street receives feedback every year on the value of conversing with other Main Street professionals and learning from their successes and failures.  Take advantage of this service because in many cases, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

2016 Main Street Showcase, Jefferson City


Advocacy. 
And last but certainly not least, Missouri Main Street promotes and shouts from the downtown rooftops the importance of downtown revitalization in Missouri communities.  This shouting is to state legislators, local politicians, business owners, property owners, residents, visitors and many others within a community.  This advocacy also belongs to the local effort doing Main Street…believing in the principle of locally controlled decisions based upon the wants and needs of the local community.  Main Street is a volunteer lead, volunteer driven, locally empowered organization doing economic development while preserving a community’s historic assets.  If you believe in this idea, then Main Street is for you!

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We’re celebrating a successful decade of nonprofit service as Missouri’s premier downtown revitalization organization!  As a coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has administered the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to any interested community in Missouri, helping to raise the state of Main Streets in Missouri to the healthiest it's ever been.

The reinvestment on Missouri’s Main Streets has continued to climb since 2006 with over $683 million of private investment and over $140 million in public investment. 

Volunteers in Missouri Main Street communities have donated over 285,312 hours of service at a value of over $6.0 million, making volunteer-led downtown revitalization one of the most cost-effective economic development programs anywhere. 

And with small business at the heart of downtown development, Main Streets foster the entrepreneurial spirit every day.  Since 2006, over 526 net new businesses opened their doors with over 2,936 net new jobs created.  Even during the recession, Missouri Main Street communities were adding jobs faster than losses occurred. 

Although the Main Street Philosophy has been present in Missouri since its launch in 1989 as a state-funded program within the Department of Economic Development (DED), the success of the program was halted in July 2003 when funding was stripped from the state budget and the lone staff person administering the program was reassigned to other duties within the DED.  Was Main Street in Missouri dead then? 

After many calls and unsuccessful pleas to Missouri legislators, 12 local Main Street program managers fought to keep the state program going in Missouri.  By working with the National Main Street Center and the DED, a valuable contract was in place by July 2003 to take up some of the slack in funding.  The Main Street managers continued to meet in communities around the state for training and looked to a representative from the National Main Street program for guidance and assessments.  It became apparent in training after training that more Missouri communities wanted help with their downtown revitalization efforts.  But...without a state-funded program, how would that need be met?  

Through the determination of that core group of local program managers and supporters, the Missouri Main Street program was resurrected in 2006 from a discarded state-run organization into Missouri Main Street Connection, a nonprofit 501c3 with the potential for broader opportunities and resources for funding to support the education effort for revitalization. 

Today, as the coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, MMSC serves as the state’s clearinghouse for information, technical assistance, research and advocacy.  Through financial support from partners that believe in our mission, corporate sponsors, individual contributors, grants and a contract for services with DED, we are able to provide consulting services, on-site visits, conferences/workshops, and publications to educate and empower local organizations to lead the revitalization of their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. 

We’re proud of the success we have achieved over the past 10 years and invite you to celebrate with us at our annual Get Plugged In…Downtown Revitalization Conference July 26-28!  Join us in Washington, Missouri, and help us celebrate the power of our Missouri Main Street communities!

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What does community development mean to you?  In the Main Street world, community development is economic development with a historic preservation emphasis.  This translates into developing customers, places, resources and businesses – a comprehensive focus.  Over 2,000 communities across the country utilizing Main Street and its principles can’t be wrong.  So if your community hasn’t already invested in Main Street, how do you get started?

There are many ways to get started but the easiest is to utilize Missouri Main Street’s Affiliate Grant Program.  This program is a two-year, hands-on platform to assist with establishing or jump-starting a Main Street program in the community.  It can either help with building the organization from scratch including by-laws and 501(c)3 filing or help an already created organization implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to revitalization.  In both scenarios, the Affiliate Grant Program assists with gathering feedback and buy-in from the community, provides direction in creating priorities, and trains the organization and community on the Main Street principles.  The hands-on approach and two years of consultation in the community reduces the learning curve so the revitalization process can take hold much quicker than without the Affiliate Grant Program. 

In the last three years, over 16 communities have completed or are currently in the program.  Blue Springs graduated from the program in 2013, hired their first executive director in 2014, and attained the Associate Tier level by 2015.  Board member and newly hired executive director, Cindy Miller, has shared that “the formula provided by Missouri Main Street provides the structure that enables a group of people to work together.  Structure is the key to the success of any project and the Affiliate Grant Program provides just that.”

Since 2008, the Affiliate communities have experienced over $28 million in redevelopment and rehabilitation in both the private and public sectors.  The Main Street program provides that structure and comprehensive approach to redevelopment which sets the stage for investors and entrepreneurship.  With development comes job creation, new businesses/expansion and increased property values, all items that contribute to the overall stability of the community. 

So as you look at your community, is it an asset or liability?  Look at your community from the perspective of a visitor, tourist, potential business owner or developer, new teacher, prospective manufacturer, or someone looking to relocate to your community.  Do they see empty storefronts or bustling sidewalks?  Crumbling buildings or rehabilitated structures?  Dirty windows and unkempt sidewalks or neat landscaping and benches for shoppers? 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” is a quote by Margaret Mead that we use to demonstrate the power of the local community.  Someday is here…what are you waiting for?

The next Affiliate Grant Workshop is March 9, 2016, in Jefferson City.  To participate in the program, someone from the community must attend the workshop.  This workshop is free to attend but an RSVP is required.  Find more information here

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It is has already been a busy start to the new year of Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC). January saw us planning for a year full of events, trainings and celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

On the 25th of January we held our first event of 2016 in Jefferson City. Each year MMSC hosts a showcase of our Main Street communities for all of the state legislators in order to not only illustrate the impact and power of Main Street but also to highlight, once more, the outstanding work completed by our 2015 Missouri Main Street award winners. Guest enjoyed the reception while sharing their experiences in Main Street. The showcase was held at Revel Catering in downtown Jefferson City.


The beginning of February was spent finishing program visits to many of our Main Street communities. With the assistance of the National Main Street Center’s (NMSC) Norma Ramirez de Miess, members of our staff were able to visit some of our community organizations and assess their use of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. After touring the downtown districts, they met with staff, the board of directors and committees to see what each community is working on.

March is proving to be a very busy month at MMSC. We are hosting our Main Street Summit on March 3-4 at our office in Branson. The summit is a free, invite only event for communities wanting to learn more about advancing their community and downtown using the Main Street Four Point Approach®. Two participants per community, one from the city and one from the downtown organization must be in attendance. Presented by the National Main Street Senior Program Officer Norma Ramirez de Miess, this event will focus on board, volunteer and fund-raising development as well as identifying key players and organizations to assist in each communities revitalization goals. Attendees will also learn practical tools for success of their organizations. For more information, please call our office at 417-334-3014.


At MMSC we offer three matching grant programs that help communities advance their downtown organizations. One of these, the Affiliate Grant, helps communities in the beginning stages of developing their organization. To apply for this grant, community representatives must attend one of the Affiliate Grant Workshops that we host throughout the year. The first of these workshops will be on March 9th in Jefferson City. Attendees will receive an introduction to the Main Street Philosophy of Revitalization, information on how to apply for the grant as well as the application materials. This is one of only two Affiliate Grant workshops that we are hosting in 2016, so reserve your spot today!

We begin April on a high note with our Quarterly Workshop on April 1st in Grandview, one of our Affiliate Main Street communities. This workshop titled Nuts and Bolts of Commercial District Real Estate Investment will teach attendees how, given the right tools and fundamental understanding, they can influence the market dynamics that impact local real estate investment as part of an overall Economic Vitality strategy. Speaker Matt Wagner from the National Main Street Center will use case studies and hands on examples to showcase how organizations can improve their success by understanding how to create a more attractive community environment conducive to district property development.

As you can see, our 2016 calendar is full of events to help communities across the state continue their work in revitalization. For more information and to register for these and many other events go to our upcoming trainings page. Also, stay tuned for updates on each opportunity by signing up for our newsletter. And don’t forget, early bird registration for the Main Street Now conference hosted by NMSC on May 23-25, 2016 in Milwaukee ends on February 29th. Register today in order to hear about great revitalization work happening in communities of all sizes throughout the country!

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Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) is excited to announce the appropriation of matching grants to two communities seeking to create a Main Street program and one well-established Main Street program aspiring to grow and improve their efforts.  Main Street Moberly, Inc. was awarded the Strategic Teams Engaging Places (STEP) Grant, a one-year program to identify, create, and implement a plan of action for a specific initiative.  The cities of Sugar Creek and Butler were both awarded the Affiliate Grant, a program designed to help each community create a Main Street program, build a foundation, then identify and implement goals. 

Main Street Moberly has Renewed Energy

Main Street Moberly, Inc. was established in 1989 to counteract the blight in downtown Moberly, but the program has ebbed and flowed through the years.  Recently new businesses have opened in downtown and downtown events have been successful in sparking a renewed energy for the organization to take the opportunity with the STEP Grant to tackle a few obstacles for growth.  Main Street Moberly currently supports approximately 125 downtown businesses with a part-time executive director. 

Sugar Creek is taking an Active Revitalization Role

Situated on the Missouri River between Independence and Kansas City with a population of over 3,000, Sugar Creek attempted downtown revitalization in the past with small successes which led to the renewed interest in the Affiliate Grant program.  Some private and public improvements have happened organically in the downtown district in Sugar Creek, but with the assistance of the Main Street Four-Point Approach® the community wants to take a more active role to speed up the process.  Armed with small town charm and an active plan for growth and development, Sugar Creek declares “life is about to get even sweeter.” 


Butler is Eager to Preserve Their Rich History

Butler is south of Kansas City along I-49 and is the county seat for Bates County.  Downtown Butler features a square as the city center and is rich with history having been one of the first communities west of the Mississippi to install electric lights illuminating the downtown area, giving it the name “The Electric City.”  With a renewed drive from some enterprising community members, interest in downtown is on the rise.  Opportunities for developing empty storefronts and attracting business from the interstate will allow this town of over 4,200 to create a vibrant downtown.  Historic preservation, community pride, and job creation were the main drivers for Butler when applying for the grant. 

Grants are Available for New and Established Organizations

Missouri Main Street offers three matching grant programs providing up to 75% of the costs:  Affiliate Grant, People Energizing Places (PEP), and Strategic Teams Engaging Places (STEP).  These grant programs continue the mission of MMSC, which is to provide the tools and resources for downtown revitalization to Missouri communities.  MMSC is a 501(c)3 and financially supported by funding from the State of Missouri, Missouri Department of Economic Development, grants, sponsors, members, and other donations.  Over 178 Missouri communities receive education, training, and mentoring from MMSC through workshops, conferences, consultations, assessments, and personal visits. 

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