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Bobbie Mills

Bobbie is the Media and Communications Coordinator at Missouri Main Street Connection. She joined the MMSC team part time in 2009 and took up permanent residency by 2012. Her responsibilities include managing social media, updating the website, and preparing the quarterly newsletter. She has a thing for daisies, bread pudding, and the Peanuts gang. In her free time she enjoys reading fantasy or mystery, watching history documentaries, and writing her own bestseller.

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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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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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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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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The state revitalization conference is well underway and off to a great start. This morning in the opening ceremony our State Director, Gayla Roten, welcomed all of the attendees and announced two new MMSC programs that we are very excited to offer to communities in Missouri!

People Energizing Places

The first program that Gayla announced is People Energizing Places. Starting and sustaining a Main Street organization can be challenging. Missouri Main Street Connection's new People Energizing Places (PEP) Grant can help your Main Street organization gain additional training and expert guidance to become more effective. This new two year program provides individualized training, focused initiatives for sustained revitalization and technical expertise developed to advance the Main Street organization's downtown development.

Strategic Teams Engaging Places Grant

The second program announced is the Strategic Teams Engaging Place Grant. Sustaining a Main Street organization can be challenging. Missouri Main Street Connection's new Strategic Teams Engaging Places (STEP) Grant will catapult your organization to the next level through expert guidance and training to create real change in your revitalization efforts. This new one year program provides customized training from a detailed assessment to strategically advance the Main Street organization's downtown development.


Contact the MMSC office at 417-334-3014 or email Keith Winge at kwinge@momainstreet.org for more information about these programs.

 

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Missouri's premier revitalization conference, Get Plugged in Downtown, starts on Tuesday. We can't wait for you to see what's in store. If you haven't signed up you can still register online on the conference website or onsite the day of the conference. For those of you that have already signed up for this inspiring conference we've put together a top 10 list of things to know before you come below. 

  1. The Registration Office is located in the Presidents Room on the 3rd Floor and will be open the following hours: Tuesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Wednesday & Thursday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

  2. Main Street Basic Training courses in the Four-Point Approach® are all day Tuesday. Conference attendees who attend all four sessions/points and answer designated essay questions over each point may receive a Certificate of Completion at the Evening of Excellence.

  3. NEW! Certified Local Government** (CLG) workshops will be on Tuesday. Attend this two-part workshop for information on why you should be a CLG community and how you can utilize the CLG program to benefit your downtown.

  4. The “Main Street Clinic” (formerly Doctor Is In) is open 8 to 9 am and 1:15 to 2:15 pm on Wednesday and Thursday for anyone needing a boost of inspiration or a listening ear. By appointment only. Sign up at the MMSC registration desk.

  5. What to wear:

    a) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Conference Sessions: Business Casual (no jeans please).
    b) Tuesday evening’s Opening Reception at The Culinary Center: Casual, non-flowy attire and kitchen safe shoes.
    c) Wednesday and Thursday In-the-Field Tours: Casual attire and flat, sensible shoes.
    d) Wednesday evening for the ShowMe Bash in Excelsior Springs: Casual attire and flat, sensible shoes.
    e) Thursday evening, Wine Reception and Evening of Excellence Dinner & Awards: Semi-formal/Cocktail attire.

    As conference hotel session rooms tend to be chilly, we suggest wearing layers or bringing a sweater or jacket.

  6. Weather forecast for the conference (as of 7/23/15):
    Tuesday: High of 99 / Low of 75, Sunny, 0% Chance of Rain
    Wednesday: High of 87 / Low of 65, Scattered Thunderstorms, 50% Chance of Rain
    Thursday: High of 90 / Low of 67, Isolated Thunderstorms, 0% Chance of Rain

  7. Parking & Wi-Fi: Daytime parking is available to attendees for $10 per day. Passes will be issued at the MMSC registration desk. Complimentary Wi-Fi will be available for conference attendees in guest rooms and conference areas.

  8. Be sure to visit our fantastic exhibitors in the Expo Hall! They are there especially for you and offer a wide variety of services and products that will help to enhance your downtown revitalization efforts. The Expo Hall hours are: Wednesday: 7:30 am – 1:00 pm; Thursday: 7:30 am – 12:15 pm w/PRIZE giveaway at noon!

  9. New! Is this your first Main Street Conference? A First Time Attendees session will be on Wednesday at 8 am. Also, look for the in the sessions descriptions in the program to help guide you on the best sessions track to help lay a foundation of knowledge to build your Main Street skills.

  10. This year, the conference surveys will be sent with a link via email to be completed online following the conference.

We're looking forward to seeing you this week!

 

**This workshop 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, D.C. 20240.

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