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Missouri Main Street Blog Section

Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) is proud to be selected by The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association as the winner for the Outstanding Plan Award.


The Community Master Plan for Marceline, MO, was based on the Main Street Four-Point Approach® which includes overall strategies implemented through Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization. Through their discussions with community members, the team developed three overarching important revitalization strategies based upon community input, economic data research, and potential success of implementing the Transformation Strategies. Goals within each strategy will help the Marceline community enhance the lives of current residents and appeal to visitors. These strategies included diverse housing and downtown properties, food and entertainment, and creative arts.


MMSC worked with the Board of Directors of Downtown Marceline, the City of Marceline, and a special Steering Committee consisting of community members to help lead the effort for the Master Plan for Marceline, MO, boyhood home of Walt Disney.  The MMSC Team consisted of MMSC staff and members from across the country with expertise in all aspects of community revitalization utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®.

Gayla Roten, MMSC State Director noted, “This plan came from the community of Marceline identifying a common goal for the future that will ensure community success for years to come. MMSC is very proud to have worked with all involved on this project and we look forward to assisting in the implementation of this plan.” MMSC is honored to receive the APA Outstanding Plan Award. 

 
 
 
 
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Missouri Main Street Connection recently introduced a new benefit for our network, the Grant Resource Directory. The directory provides subscribers with a summary of the currently available grant opportunities that can be utilized to support downtown revitalization work.


One of the questions we get asked the most is where to find funding for Main Street organizations. Grants are one of the many ways in which an organization can support its work. Unfortunately, the research process is often so time consuming that Main Street organizations are unable to dedicate that time on top of everything else they do for their district. In response to this, we wanted to create a resource for our network that would cut down on the research time by putting the available opportunities in one place. The directory is sent via email twice a month to ensure that we are able to alert subscribers to new grant opportunities as soon as they become available in order to give them enough time to put together an application.




The directory includes a short summary of each opportunity, a link to more information and the deadline. There is also a section of opportunities that are available on an ongoing basis. These opportunities are often overlooked or not prioritized because they do not have a looming deadline. The directory will continually share these opportunities as a reminder of what is always available.

To give other subscribers ideas for grants, the directory will also feature how grants have been successful for other communities. Subscribers can also submit projects they are in need of funding for, for us to keep in mind when we are researching grants for the directory.

The directory is not meant to take the place of an organization’s individual grant research, however, we hope that this makes it easier for our communities to utilize available grant funding for projects that benefit their historic districts and the work of Main Street in their communities.

To subscribe to the Grant Resource Directory, send your request to Katelyn at katelyn@momainstreet.org.


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In August of 2016, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was awarded a USDA Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) to provide technical assistance to rural communities in Southeast Missouri.  When writing the grant, we looked for an area of Missouri without widespread participation in Main Street by the local communities to focus our efforts. While we have and currently work with communities in the southeast region, our goal was to expand this effort by strengthening relationships with community partners in the Southeast Region.

 

Using the grant we worked with many communities on various issues and projects they were facing in order to help them move forward in their revitalization work. Communities in the southeast region received a variety of services and trainings that were all tailored to the individual community’s need and their experience with implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. These services included town halls to gather public input and support, introduce the Main Street philosophy to the community as well as utilizing the help of consultants to guide the communities in the next steps for their Main Street organizations. Consultants were brought in to provide information and ideas for business recruitment, façade and streetscape design and what steps the Main Street organization must take to implement these plans.

MMSC also organized workshops specifically for communities from the southeast region to learn more about Main Street and how it could help their communities. While some communities in the area have experience with Main Street, we also wanted to reach out to those that want to learn more. In October 2016, we hosted a Main Street 101 workshop that introduced the basics of how Main Street can work for community as well as what MMSC could do to help in the process. Two Affiliate Grant workshops, hosted in the region, explained ways that MMSC could provide dedicated, specialized services and support to the communities in order to get their Main Street organizations started.

 

Early in 2017, MMSC hosted the Main Street Summit for the communities in Southeast Missouri. The Main Street Summit focused on building a partnership between the local government and the local Main Street organization. Two people from each community attended, one with the city and one with the downtown organization, to learn about Main Street. We have found that bringing people together to hear the same information helps them get on the same page about what the next step is for their community, allowing them to work together better.

Finally, twice during the grant period, MMSC has hosted Basic Training on the Four-Point Approach® for people who wanted an in-depth look at how the four points of organization, promotion, design, and economic vitality work together in a Main Street organization. These workshops covered what each point is and what tasks fall under them for the Main Street community.

Through the Rural Business Development Grant, MMSC has made great progress in the education, training and implementation of Main Street in Southeast Missouri. As with all other regions of Missouri, there are communities at different stages of community revitalization. We tried to tailor the services provided in this grant to all levels of revitalization experience in order to assist as many communities as we could. It was very important to teach the basics of Main Street through many of the workshops described above to lay the groundwork and get communities excited about the transformation that could take place in their communities. We then expanded on these principles and addressed specific needs in the communities that had more experience with Main Street. We were able to help overcome preconceived notions that the historic district wasn’t worth investing in. We helped create or reestablish relationships with communities and their local and state officials. Finally, we provided motivation for communities to take the next steps to create a vibrant and sustainable downtown.

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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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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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