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

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Blog Home > Archive (April, 2014)
Spring - Finally!

Now it is time to think about our buildings! 

This is the perfect time for every business and property owner downtown to take a serious look at their building for both maintenance issues and to evaluate whether it is time to make visual improvements.

Instead of starting with the glitz and glamour—it is really important to go through a checklist of basic maintenance items to be prepared for the spring storms and summer sunshine.

First, take a good look at the back of your building. Are the gutters and downspouts in good condition? Or have they gotten disconnected or damaged—it is easy to check during a rain storm to be sure the water is being carried down and away from the building instead of backing up on the roof or blasting onto the back wall where it can cause leaks through the roof or damage the back wall—both expensive to repair and easy to avoid with just a regular inspection of the gutters.

Then, make sure all the trash and leaves that collects through the winter, and even the dead weeds, are all cleared out—both in back and out front—this let’s people know you are really still in business. First impressions count for you and the entire downtown!

 

Cleaning the window glass so it sparkles and hosing down the canvas awnings to remove dust helps the building shine.

 

Now is a good time to check your exterior lighting as well as the lights for your display windows to make sure they are working well—it is hard to compete with the summer sunshine—it is so bright that it will look like your business is closed if you don’t have lights on.

With the basic spring cleaning finished, now is the time when property and business owners should take a step back—across the street—to really look at the front of the building.  Does it look tired and worn? Does it need a fresh coat of paint? Or is it time that you want to consider a major facelift or a new sign? This is the time of year to make those design decisions and line up the contractors who will help you get it done. Remember, your downtown’s Main Street Design Committee can help provide some great ideas and design assistance.

If you think it is time to do a major renovation and repairs, you might want to investigate whether you could utilize some of the financial incentives available to help fund these expenses. If you are in an historic district, you might be able to use historic tax credits to offset 25 to 45% of those improvements. Your city government or Main Street program may have other incentives to help as well. Ask your local Main Street director for details!

Here are two links from our friends in Illinois on building maintenance:

http://www.illinois.gov/ihpa/Preserve/Documents/Maintenance%20Schedule%202013.pdf

http://www.illinois.gov/ihpa/Preserve/Documents/site_review_form.pdf

Written by Karen Bode Baxter, Preservation Specialist and Advisory Board Member of Missouri Main Street Connection.

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We will use this space to uphold our mission, which is to provide communities with knowledge and tools to economically and physically revitalize their downtown.

 

Missouri Main Street Connection is part of the National Trust’s nationwide Main Street® Program that works to ensure that downtown districts are essential elements to their sense of community, their cultural heritage and to the total economy of their individual cities and states. Downtown revitalization is encouraged through economic development within the context of historic preservation. The primary purpose of a local and statewide Main Street® Program is to ensure the long-term success of the downtown by creating, educating, training and empowering a comprehensive, professional, volunteer-based downtown revitalization organization. 

 

Wow, that seems like a tall order but we do this everyday through the Main Street network of volunteers, board members, managers, business owners, property owners and city/county government officials…and want this blog to be another avenue to continue this work. We will work towards this mission through the sharing of stories, photos, examples and links to assist our Missouri downtown communities in their work of revitalizing. We will site examples from our communities and share their best practices.

 

We have some great folks working in our downtowns and they have much to share on their hard work. Currently there are six Accredited Communities, three Associate Communities, eleven Affiliate Grant Communities and fourteen Affiliate Communities – so we have some great folks ready to share their expertise.

 

We, as staff, will also share some of the exploits of our travels around the state. We will also utilize our great board and advisory board members to share knowledge and information related to the Four Points. So much great information and we will try to put it into the context of the Main Street Philosophy.

 

Please share your thoughts and advice as we share these blog posts. We want this blog to be interactive. That is the essence of Main Street – sharing information and expertise and we need your feedback to be successful. We look forward to this new journey and relationship and welcome you along for the ride.

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